11.29.2011

Undated: Reverse mortgage

The first documented reverse mortgage is made by Deering Savings & Loan in Portland, Maine. The recipient is Nellie Young, the widow of the loan officer's high school football coach.

* Reverse mortgage definitions (from thefreedictionary.com): @
* History of reverse mortgages (from reverse.org): @
* Gardner Historical Museum of Reverse Mortgages (located in Gardner, Kansas): @

11.24.2011

Friday, November 24, 1961: SAC-NORAD communication failure

From www.mentalfloss.com:

On November 24, 1961, all communication links between the U.S. Strategic Air Command (SAC) and the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) suddenly went dead, cutting cutting off the SAC from three early warning stations in England, Greenland and Alaska. The communication breakdown made no sense, though. After all, a widespread, total failure of all communication circuits was considered impossible, because the network included so many redundant systems that it should have been failsafe. The only alternative explanation was that a full-scale Soviet nuclear first strike had occurred. As a result, all SAC bases were put on alert, and B-52 bomber crews warmed up their engines and moved their planes onto runways, awaiting orders to counterattack the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons. Luckily, those orders were never given. It was discovered that the circuits were not in fact redundant because they all ran through one relay station in Colorado, where a single motor had overheated and caused the entire system to fail.

* Entry from "The Limits of Safety: Organizations, Accidents and Nuclear Weapons" (book by Scott Douglas Sagan): @
* Entry from "Book of Lists: Subversive Facts and Hidden Information in Rapid-Fire Format" (entry by Alan F. Phillips, book by Russell Kick): @

11.23.2011

November 1961*: The Beach Boys

Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine -- The Beach Boys, newly renamed from The Pendletones -- see their first single, "Surfin'," released. The song would be popular locally in Southern California and a minor hit (reaching No. 75 on the national charts); the group's next song, "Surfin' Safari," would put them on the pop music map to stay.

* Note: Various dates are given as to the actual release date of "Surfin' " -- Jim Fusilli, the author of The Wall Street Journal article linked below, said in an email that it could be either November 11 or November 16. Other sources, including The Beach Boys' own website and "The Definite Dairy" book (both linked below), give December 8 as the release date.

* Beach Boys official website: @
* "Fifty-Year-Old Boys" (Wall Street Journal, November 2011): @
* "The Beach Boys: The Definitive Dairy of America's Greatest Band On Stage and In the Studio" (book by Keith Badman): @
* Rolling Stone biography: @

11.21.2011

Tuesday, November 21, 1961: Revolving restaurant

From The New York Times:

Honolulu's tallest office building has a revolving restaurant perched on its roof. The saucer-shaped restaurant, opened last week, offers diners a panoramic view of the city. A sixteen-foot-wide ring set into the floor of the restaurant, called La Ronde, makes one compete revolution every hour. Windows completely circle the restaurant and are tilted outward to reduce glare. The dining facilities are on the roof of the twenty-two-story Ala Moana Building. The office building, restaurant and an adjoining shopping center were designed by John Graham & Co., Seattle and New York architects. The restaurant seats 162 persons on the revolving floor. The seventy-two-foot-wide restaurant is cantilevered from a thirty-eight-foot-diameter concrete core which contains stairwells, elevators, kitchen and other facilities for La Ronde. A three-horsepower motor moves the floor of the restaurant. Two additional motors have been installed for emergency use."



From "Some Construction and Housing Firsts in Hawaii," by the Hawaiian Historical Society:

La Ronde is a revolving restaurant on the twenty-third floor of the Ala Moana Building, 1441 Kapiolani Boulevard. Opened to the public on November 21, 1961, it was variously described as "one of the first of its kind in the United States" and even as "the first revolving restaurant in the United States."

* Entry from "Firsts: Origins of Everyday Things That Changed the World" (book): @
* "Revolving Restaurants in the Americas" (from InterestingAmerica.com): @
* "Revolving architecture: A History of Buildings That Rotate, Swivel and Pivot" (book): @

11.19.2011

Sunday, November 19, 1961: Michael Rockefeller

The youngest son of New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller disappears in New Guinea. He had been studying the Asmat tribe and collecting native art. Through the years various theories have been put forth as to his fate. He was declared legally dead in 1964.

* Short summary from outsideonline.com: @
* Long summary from trutv.com: @
* Newsreel (from britishpathe.com): @
* Newsreel (from criticalpast.com): @
* Life magazine article (December 1, 1961): @
* Website for the documentary "The Search for Michael Rockefeller": @

11.13.2011

Monday, November 13, 1961: Pablo Casals at the White House

Spanish cellist Pablo Casals' dramatic rendition of "Song of the Birds" closes an evening of classical music at the White House. The performances, considered a cultural high point in the Kennedy years, were recorded and released as the album "A Concert at the White House."

* NPR story (from 2011): @
* Kennedy's remarks: @
* Listen to "Song of the Birds": @
* More about "Song of the Birds" (from kennedy-center.org): @

11.10.2011

Saturday, November 11, 1961: Volgograd

From a Reuters story that appeared Nov. 11 in The New York Times:

The "Hero City" of Stalingrad has been renamed Volgograd, the Soviet Communist Party newspaper Pravda reported today.

The move was the third name change of a Soviet city named for Stalin since the sweeping "de-Stalinization" program of Premier Khrushchev was stepped up last month.

The huge steel city of Stalinsk in southern Siberia reverted today to its old name of Novokuznetsk and the Ukrainian mining city of Stalino was renamed Donetsk yesterday.

Last Wednesday the Mayor of Stalingrad, which earned the status of "Hero City" because of its defeat of Nazi Armies in World War II, said the proposals had been made to change the city's name.

Pravda reported the Stalingrad name change in a decree issued today by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (Parliament) of the Russian Republic.

Cities in the Soviet Union still carrying the former Soviet leader's name include Stalinabad, capital of the Tadzhik Republic; Stalinogorsk, in central European Russia; and Staliniri, in the Georgian Republic.

The highest mountain in the Soviet Union, a 24,590-foot peak in the Pamirs, is also named for Stalin.

Note: The photo is of "The Motherland" statue commemorating World War II's Battle of Stalingrad. It was completed in 1967.

* Volgograd website: @
* "The High Cost of Forgetting Stalin" (Life magazine, November 17, 1961): @

11.09.2011

Thursday, November 9, 1961: Pro golf

From The New York Times:

Pro Golf Organization Ends Ban
Against Nonwhites as Members

The Professional Golfers Association eliminated the "Caucasian" clause from its constitution yesterday and thereby opened the way to membership for Negroes and Orientals. ...

Although the United States Golf Association has permitted nonwhites to compete in all its championships, including the Open, only a handful of Negro professionals are considered good enough to climb the ladder to P.G.A. Class A membership for players. ...

Members of the P.G.A. tournament bureau said yesterday that Charlie Sifford (shown at left) of Los Angeles was the leading Negro player on the tournament tour.

In 1957 Sifford won the Long Beach open, a 54-hold event. Last spring, after the Masters tourney at Augusta, Ga., an invitation event for which he was not eligible, he competed in the Greater Greensboro open in North Carolina.

That made him the first member of his race to play in a P.G.A. co-sponsored event in the South. He tied for fourth and earned $1,300, his top prize of the year.

* Sifford profile at World Golf Hall of Fame: @
* "Charlie Sifford broke barriers, but no one broke his spirit" (Los Angeles Times, 2011): @
* "African American Golfers During the Jim Crow Era" (book): @
* "A Course of Their Own: A History of African American Golfers" (book): @


Author's note

Just now seeing that Time magazine has limited access to its archived stories to print subscribers only. Until and unless I get a subscription, you're likely to see very few mentions of Time coverage. Too bad. Great resource.

November 9, 1961: 'Flying bicycle'

What's believed to be the first flight of a human-powered aircraft capable of taking off under its own power takes place as Derek Piggott pedals a plane to a height of 5 feet and a distance of 50 yards. The SUMPAC (Southampton University Man Powered Aircraft) was designed and built by students at the British university.

* Anniversary story from The Guardian newspaper: @
* Video (from britishpathe.com): @
* Website for SUHPA (Southampton University Human Powered Aircraft): @
* "Gossamer Odyssey: The Triumph of Human-Powered Flight" (book by Morton Grosser): @
* "Man-Powered Flight" (Flying magazine, June 1963): @
* "Man-Powered Flight" (Popular Science magazine, January 1971): @

11.08.2011

Wednesday. November 8, 1961: Insider trading

From "The Iconic Insider Trading Cases," by Stephen M. Bainbridge, law professor, UCLA School of Law, Law & Economics Research Paper Series:

The modern federal insider trading prohibition fairly can be said to have begun with Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC or "Commission") enforcement action in Cady, Roberts & Co. Curtiss-Wright Corporation's board of directors decided to reduce the company's quarterly dividend. One of the directors, J. Cheever Cowdin, was also a partner of stock brokerage firm Cady, Roberts & Co. Before the news was announced, Cowdin informed one of his partners, Robert M. Gintel, of the impending dividend cut. Gintel then sold several thousand shares of Curtiss-Wright stock held in customer accounts over which he had discretionary trading authority. When the dividend cut was announced, Curtiss-Wright's stock price fell several dollars per share. Gintel's customers thus avoided substantial losses.
Cady, Roberts involved what is now known as tipping: an insider who knows confidential infromation does not himself trade, but rather informs -- tips -- someone else, who does trade. It also involved trading on an impersonal stock exchange, instead of a face-to-face transaction. As the SEC acknowledged, this made it "a case of first impression." Nonetheless, the SEC held that Gintel had violated Rule 10b-5.

* SEC ruling (in PDF form): @
* Summary of case and links (from sechistorical.org): @
* Insider trading timeline (from procon.org): @
* General information about insider trading (from upstartraising.com): @
* "From Horse Trading to Insider Trading: The Historical Antecedents of the Insider Trading Debate" (Paula J. Dalley, William and Mary Law Review, 1998): @


11.03.2011

November 1961: 'The Fantastic Four'

Mister Fantastic, the Human Torch, Invisible Girl and The Thing -- all given extraordinary powers after a spaceflight through cosmic radiation -- make their comic-book debut in Marvel's answer to DC's Justice League of America.

* Entry from marvel.com: @
* Series history from www.comics.org: @
* Series history from comicbookdb.com: @
* JC's Fantastic Four site: @
* "The Science of Superheroes" (book by Lois H. Gresh, Robert Weinberg): @

11.02.2011

November 1961: 'The Executive Coloring Book'

The tongue-in-cheek look at corporate life becomes a surprising best-seller. Wrote Time magazine, " 'The Executive Coloring Book' and a box of crayons will provide many a happy hour to growing vice presidents..." The book was written by Marcie Hans, Dennis Altman and Martin A. Cohen, who all worked in advertising in Chicago. Hans would go on to write "The Executive Cut-Out Book," while Altman and Cohen would team up on "The John Birch Coloring Book."

* Contents of "The Executive Coloring Book": @

11.01.2011

Wednesday, November 1, 1961: Women Strike for Peace

Thousands of women throughout the United States demonstrate in protest against nuclear weapons. The rallies were organized by Women Strike for Peace, founded by Bella Abzug and Dagmar Wilson. WSP's guiding statement, adopted in 1962:

"We are women of all races, creeds and political persuasions. We are dedicated to the purpose of complete and general disarmament. We demand that nuclear tests be banned forever, that the arms race end and the world abolish all weapons of destruction under United Nations safeguards. We cherish the right and accept the responsibility to act to influence the course of goverment for peace. ... We join with women throughout the world to challenge the right of any nation or group of nations to hold the power of life and death over the world."

* Official website: @
* "Women Strike for Peace: Traditional Motherhood and Radical Politics in the 1960s" (book by Amy Swerdlow): @
* "Peace as a Women's Issue: A History of the U.S. Movement for World Peace and Women's Rights" (book by Harriet Hyman Alonso): @
* Video footage: @
* "U.S. Women Parade in Bid to End Arms Race" (The Age newspaper, Melbourne, Australia, November 3, 1961): @
* "Jackie and Nina Plead for Peace" (responses from Jacqueline Kennedy and Nina Khrushchev; Miami News, November 15, 1961): @
* Slideshow of 1962 protest at Nevada Test Site: @

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