I ran across information I had saved from an old Daily Times newspaper this week and had to laugh at the news of the day, Oct. 31, 1952. The reports could have been taken from the headlines of a few days ago rather than almost seven decades earlier. The newspaper was published in two sections, 14 pages. A single copy cost 5 cents.
The big news concerned the elections that would take place on Nov. 4. “Truman Denies Plan to Fire Van Fleet” was the major story. President Truman, a Democrat, was accused of planning to relieve Gen. James A. Van Fleet as Eighth Army commander in Korea because the general wrote a letter disagreeing with Truman’s policies there. Republican presidential candidate Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower read part of this letter on a radio broadcast hoping to discredit the current president and Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson. Truman denied the allegations and stressed that Stevenson was his own man and would have his own policies when elected.
“Ike says Democrats Are Using Super-Smear” was another front-page story. Eisenhower declared that the Democrats were upset that they “failed to prevent the unification of the Republican Party” and turned their fire on him personally instead. “They have made wild charges, spread vile rumors and played fast and loose with the truth ... they are determined to destroy me,” Ike said. He also said that “No man has a claim on me ... I am my own man.”
A sample ballot was published showing that the candidates for president and vice president were Adlai E. Stevenson with John J. Sparkman, Dwight D. Eisenhower with Richard M. Nixon, Vincent A. Hallinan with Charlotte A. Bass, and Stuart Hamblen with E.A. Holtwich.
Candidates for U.S. senator were Hobart F. Atkins, Richard M. Barber, Albert Gore and John Randolph Neal. Candidates for representative to Congress were Howard H. Baker and Boyd W. Cox. Candidates for governor were Frank Clement and R. Beecher Witt.
The Republicans and Democrats planned their final pre-election rallies that weekend with music, refreshments and free campaign literature for the faithful. “The GOP rally will be slated promptly at 6:30 p.m. in order to give those attending an opportunity to leave in time for the Maryville College homecoming football game with Georgetown, Ky. College” on Nov. 1. The Democrats prudently avoided this predicament by rallying the night before.
Small-town news was covered, as well.
“Blount Teachers Plan Talent Show” to raise funds for the Blount County Teachers Association. Among the participants were Everett Principal J.B. Robinson and Spence Renfro and family of Everett.
“Forest Fires Break Out Anew in Blount County.” Extremely dry weather caused problems with recurring forest fires on Chilhowee Mountain. Six hundred acres of Chestnut Flats alone were burned.
Much of the news concerned communities, social functions, church revivals, “In the Services” and Blount Memorial Hospital’s “Have You a Friend on the Sick List?” at a time when patients’ names were published so friends and family could go and visit. Of course, the obituaries were published, too.
The advertisements in 1952 also caught my attention: From Sterling Seed & Supply, Harper Street: “If you believe in fair trial — try a new DeLaval Sterling Milker Unit on your present milker pipeline in your own barn on your own cows! Be your own judge without obligation!” The phone number was 266.
From Proffitt’s: “Elmo All-Weather Lotion, regular $1, now 50 cents. In the Toilet Goods Department.” Proffitt’s also had a special purchase of “famous Kroehler Hostess Chairs luxuriously upholstered in carved pattern mohair frieze, now $29.95.”
Parkway Drive-In Theater was showing “Double Dynamite” with Jane Russell, Groucho Marx and Frank Sinatra, and “Santa Fe” (“with men of iron, women of fire”), starring Randolph Scott and Janie Carter. Cartoons and news were included.
Lakemont Drive-In was showing “Quo Vadis” with Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr. “Christianity’s Birth is Told” for the admission price of 75 cents for adults and 50 cents for students.
The classifieds advertised a six-room house, “water in kitchen only,” renting for $40 a month. A five-room house, newly redecorated, rented for $55. And six acres adjoining Bungalow School could be purchased for only $2,600.
I do enjoy seeing our past through vintage newspapers. I wonder, what will readers 66 years in the future think when they read today’s Daily Times?
They will probably shake their heads and say, as I did, “Wow. Some things really never change.”