Thursday, November 03, 2005

A Republican President Appointed a Catholic Democrat to the Supreme Court

I rediscovered a copy of LIFE magazine for the week of October 8, 1956, in a box of items on a garage shelf the other day. The magazine provides additional evidence of how different our world is from a half century ago.

Many of the advertisements are black and white. The inside cover and eleven of the first twelve pages are devoted entirely to advertising. That is followed by a two page article, and then fourteen more pages of nothing but advertising, before the main news section. There are almost no ads smaller than a half-page anywhere in the magazine. Most are a full page, and many are double page spreads. There are brassiere ads, but the models are drawings, not photographs. Bell and Howell advertises the world’s first totally automatic, electric eye movie camera. Argus has a page to show their newest color slide camera. Magnavox brags that their 24 inch tv is the biggest picture in television. Motorola claims two color pages for a new feature, a wireless t.v. remote for a television that “really tunes itself.” Chesterfield advertises in a two-page, black and white ad: “Enjoy the smoothest cigarette you ever smoked.” Various tire ads feature the latest in tread designs, with rayon cord construction, and B.F. Goodrich announces new, tubeless tires.

A lengthy scientific report tells of limitless power on the horizon from the seas through fusion, not fission. One prophecy back then states that a method for liberating fusion energy in a controlled manner will be developed within twenty years.

The magazine from 49 years ago mentions but one Black American. Syracuse University senior halfback Jim Brown is shown climbing a rope in a training drill with four other players, all White. The story of Syracuse’s rise to power tells of Brown gaining 154 yards against Maryland in the first football game of the season. Five smaller pictures also showcase the team. Brown appears in three of them, as well. So do thirty other players a reader can identify as White. No other Black is pictured. The article states that Jim Brown “hopes to go into pro football.”

Eisenhower and Nixon were running for a second term in October of 1956. Nixon says there will be a four-day work week within ten years. There is a color photo of Ike and Mamie Eisenhower in a beautiful yard, and a four-page article divided into half-page columns and spread across 15 pages, completed by advertising, praising Ike’s “New-Model Cabinet.” I found no mention of Democrat candidates in the issue of LIFE magazine, published one month before the election.

A small, black and white photo of Republican President Eisenhower shows him seated with his Supreme Court nominee. The caption states, “A Surprising Choice For the Court.” The cut line reads: “It came as a surprise last week when President Eisenhower picked William J. Brennan Jr., associate Justice of the New Jersey supreme court, to succeed Sherman Minton on the U.S. Supreme Court. A Democrat and a Catholic, the 50-year-old judge has shied away from politics. He was picked, the White House said, because he was ‘highly qualified’ for the post.”

See? A different world.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 47 and it seems hard to believe that things have changed so much since I was born. Fascinating post.

11/03/2005 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They must have thought that justices should be independent interpreters of the law rather than supporters of the President's agenda. Isn't that quaint?

11/06/2005 8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be prepared for the next hurricane housing or find another one that's similar. As the Boy Scouts say: "Be Prepared"!

11/07/2005 1:58 PM  
Anonymous pieface said...

Wow...lots of changes since just before I was born. I thought tv sets always had remotes. If Bush had nominated a Catholic Democrat, even the 30% who are still loyal would be asking for the return of Harriet Miers.

11/10/2005 11:31 AM  
Anonymous doctordoolittle said...

Can you believe that the great Jim Brown was quoted as hoping to go into pro football?

11/12/2005 4:35 PM  
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2/16/2007 4:26 PM  
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3/16/2007 4:55 AM  

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