October 19, 1957 – Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip Attend Football Game

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip: Honorary Terrapins for the Day. Photo: University of Maryland Library Archives.

On October 19, 1957, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip took time out from a busy diplomatic schedule of visits during their United States tour to take in a “typical American sport”, college football.  College Park played proud host to the royal couple as the University of Maryland Terrapins played the visiting Tar Heels of University of North Carolina.  Adding extra zest to the day, the Terrapins “thrashed” the Tar Heels (and their coach, Jim Tatum, formerly at the helm at U of M) by the score of 21 – 7.  University President Wilson Elkins and Maryland Governor Theodore McKeldin joined Elizabeth and Philip for the brisk fall afternoon rite.

Elizabeth’s whirlwind tour of the East Coast included visits to Virginia’s historic Jamestown and Williamsburg settlements, tea at the College of William and Mary, a New York City ticker tape parade aboard U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower’s limousine, a view of Gotham from the top of the Empire State Building, an address to the United Nations General Assembly, and an occasion-calling-for-a-diamond-tiara banquet atop the Waldorf-Astoria.  At Williamsburg, the Queen graciously acknowledged the common heritage and fraternity of the United States and Great Britain:

“Here, at a great period in your history, [the descendents of your forefathers and my countrymen] proclaimed their faith in certain great concepts of freedom, justice, law, and self-government.  Those concepts have had a profound influence on the political development, not only of the United States, but all freedom-loving countries.  This magnificent restoration of Colonial Williamsburg is a constant and vivid reminder of  those principles.  That is why we regard it as a major contribution to understanding between us.  If it inspires us all to closer cooperation in the fulfillment of these common ideals, then Williamsburg will have done more than dramatize history and rebuild the past: it will have helped to build the future.”

October 18, 1957 – The Frank Sinatra Show Debuts on ABC

On October 18, 1957 (“It Was a Very Good Year“!), the first episode of The Frank Sinatra Show was aired on ABC.  Viewers could be excused a slight feeling of deja vu (“A Foggy Day“?), however.  An earlier television show starring Sinatra had appeared on CBS between 1950 and 1952 – also called The Frank Sinatra Show (“They Can’t Take That Away From Me“).  ABC’s sequel (“The Second Time Around“) was to include thirteen variety shows (“Let’s Face the Music and Dance“), thirteen dramas starring Frank, and ten dramas hosted by Frank, all taped in advance at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood (Not “My Kind of Town“?) and lasting a half-hour (“Come Rain or Come Shine“).  Sinatra would have total artistic control (“I Did It My Way“) and receive $3 million (“Nice Work if You Can Get It“) for the series.

Frank’s guests were a stellar bunch.  Bob Hope (“I’ve Got You Under My Skin“), Kim Novak (“The Girl Next Door“), and Peggy Lee helped Sinatra kick off the series opener, one of the variety offerings.  Other big names during the season included Dean Martin (“I Get a Kick Out of You“), Bing Crosby, Robert Mitchum, Sammy Davis, Jr., Eddie Fisher (“Love and Marriage“), Ethel Merman, Ella Fitzgerald, Natalie Wood, Van Johnson, Eydie Gorme, Dinah Shore, Shirley Jones, the McGuire Sisters (“Young At Heart“), Ann Bancroft, Lloyd Bridges, and his daughter, Nancy Sinatra (“Nancy“!).

Low ratings for the drama offerings led to schedule adjustments (“In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning“?).  ABC switched to more variety shows, and a majority of them ended up being live broadcasts (“The Way You Look Tonight“).  By the time the series ended in June of 1958, fourteen live variety shows had been broadcast, eight filmed varieties, four dramas starring Sinatra, and six dramas which Frank hosted.  Critics weren’t generous to Ol’ Blue Eyes (“Please Be Kind“!)- and Frank doesn’t seem to have put his all into making the show a success (“Fly Me to the Moon“!).  Reports were he hated to rehearse (“Don’cha Go ‘Way Mad“).  As a result, filming for eleven shows was shoehorned into fifteen days (“Luck Be a Lady“), with an understandable but unfortunate loss of quality (“The Best is Yet to Come“?).

Despite the series’ cancellation, Sinatra’s successful career would continue for decades (“Pocketful of Miracles“).  Frank always remained a great favorite with the American public (“Let’s Fall in Love“!)(“All the  Way“!)

October 17, 1957 – Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock” in Memphis Theaters

Promotional Image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.

On October 17, 1957, Elvis Presley’s third film, “Jailhouse Rock”, debuted in Memphis, Tennessee.  Produced by MGM and directed by Richard Thorpe, “Jailhouse Rock” was the musical story of convict Vince Everett and his rise to riches and fame in a post-incarceration singing career.  The film challenged American movie-goers with its positive depiction of Presley as a convict hero who swore and spent on-screen time in bed with his female agent, Peggy Van Alden (Judy Tyler).  Vince and Peggy’s sometimes racy dialogue included a scene in which Peggy protests, “How dare you think such cheap tactics would work with me!”, to which Vince replies, “That ain’t tactics, honey.  It’s just the beast in me.”

The movie opens with Vince serving a one-year manslaughter sentence following his involvement in a bar fight started by someone else.  Vince’s cellmate is Hunk Houghton (Mickey Shaughnessy), a country singer past his prime but happy to pass along to Vince his singing and guitar-playing skills.  Vince is eventually released from prison, starts working in nightclubs, meets Van Alden, a record company talent scout, and records a demo which he and Peggy pitch to a record label.  When his song is given to one of the label’s already established stars, disillusioned Vince and Peggy start their own label.  The American dream comes true for Vince, as he becomes an overnight singing and movie-starring sensation.

The dance sequence to the song “Jailhouse Rock” has been cited as one of Elvis’ greatest moments on screen.  The series of steps, choreographed by Alex Romero and incorporating a number of classic Elvis “moves,” combined with the setting in a men’s-only cellblock, gave an erotically (if not homo-erotically) charged energy to the film.  One of film’s greatest male dancers of all time, Gene Kelly, applauded a run-through of the dance sequence on a visit to the set during production.

Filming had just begun on May 13th when Elvis inhaled a loosened dental cap and was rushed to the hospital.  Surgery to remove the cap, followed by several days of recovery, hardly slowed the speedy film shoot.  “Jailhouse Rock” wrapped on July 17th and just three short months later, men, women, boys and (especially) girls were lapping up popcorn and Elvis in the plush seats of a local movie palace.

57 + 57 Football – Detroit Lions Regular Season Week 7

Detroit Lions LogoThe Detroit Lions defense – ranked No. 1 in the nation – delivered the goods on Sunday, holding the Minnesota Vikings scoreless until the very closing moments of the fourth quarter. How good were they? Eight sacks, three interceptions, one fumble recovery, and this tribute from Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, “They kicked butt.” “Give credit to Detroit,” Zimmer continued, “they did a good job.” Quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 19 of 33 passes for 185 yards. Golden Tate, Theo Riddick, and Joique Bell added their contributions to the offense which resulted in the 17-3 victory at Minneapolis’ TCF Bank Stadium. Lions kicking disappointments Nate Freese and Alex Henery were released earlier in the week.

Who answered Detroit’s Help Wanted ad? Matt Prater (current holder of the NFL longest-field-goal record at 64 yards) joined the squad from Denver and put in a less-than-stellar but hopefully-promising performance. Points-after kicks were no problem, but Prater missed two field goals of 44 and 50 yards. In the second quarter, he was able to finagle a 52-yard field goal in spite of swirling winds. “We have all the confidence in the world in him,” coach Jim Caldwell said after the game. “I mean the guy’s got a great track record. We feel good about him.” We can all feel good about another Lions win. Our team is now 4-2 and tied atop the NFC North with Green Bay. Next up: the New Orleans Saints, at home, Sunday, October 19th, 1:00 PM Eastern. The Saints may march in, but after the Lions are through with them, they might crawl out.

The Lions defense of 1957, in Week 3 of their regular season, also dominated their floundering opponents, the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams offense, one of the top-rated offenses of the 1957 season, was virtually shut down in Detroit as the Lions won 10-7. Pro Hall of Fame Ram quarterback Norm Van Brocklin was held to 5 completions in 18 pass attempts for 74 total passing yards, with six interceptions. “Chris’ Crew,” as the 1957 Lions defense came to be known, brought their best game on October 13th.

Detroit Lions Defensive Back Jack Christiansen. Photo: AP Photo/NFL Photos

Detroit Lions defensive back Jack Christiansen. Photo: AP Photo/NFL Photos

Why “Chris’ Crew”? Out of respect for his on-field leadership, the “Chris” recognized Jack Christiansen, a 6′ 1″ defensive back out of Odd Fellows Orphanage High School (he grew up in the Kentucky orphanage) and Colorado State. Signed in 1951, Christiansen played an integral part in the successful string of Lions seasons until he retired in 1958. Opponents grew to respect his abilities and purposely changed their strategies to avoid getting the ball anywhere in Christiansen’s near vicinity. Jack led the league in interceptions in 1953 and tied for the lead in 1957. Christiansen surely had a hand (or two) in the Ram interceptions this day. He returned 85 punts during his career for 1084 yards, an average of 12.8 yards per carry, which still stands as a Lions record. Eleven of those punt returns resulted in touchdowns, another Detroit record, and he returned two punts for touchdowns in the same game twice in his career. Christiansen was All-Pro from 1952 to 1957, played in five consecutive Pro Bowls from 1954 until his retirement, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970. He went on to coach multiple seasons for the San Francisco 49ers and the Stanford University Cardinal. The father of four girls, Jack died in 1986 at the age of . . . 57.

With the Rams neatly turned out to pasture, our banner year team looked forward to a grudge match. Three weeks after handing Detroit a defeat in Baltimore, the Colts were coming out west. Would the Lions stop Unitas this time? Stay tuned.

October 16, 1957 – Margaret Mead Collects Schoolchildren’s Sputnik Drawings

Margaret Mead and Rhoda Metraux look at children’s drawings of Sputnik 1. Photo: Arthur Herzog, Library of Congress.

On October 16, 1957, 13-year-old Kathryn Leonard of Saratoga Springs, New York, completed a school assignment – draw an image of the recently launched Soviet satellite, Sputnik 1.  Her drawing survives, and was collected and included in a project by American anthropologist Margaret Mead, famous for her earlier studies of sexuality and the adolescent experience of teenage Samoan girls.  Horrified by the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mead set out in the 1950’s to study American perceptions of science and space exploration.  Mead and her partner, Rhoda Metraux, decided to study “images of the scientist” among American students.  After the launch of Sputnik 1, they expanded their project to include children’s reactions to the history-making event.  Essays and drawings were collected from across the United States, and also around the world.  Mead and Metraux also conducted interviews and administered questionnaires for their collection, which is currently held in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.

The driving force behind Mead’s research was her desire to find a “model for living in a radically changed world, a world in which human beings could destroy themselves.”

Sputnik drawing by student Kathryn Leonard. Image: Library of Congress

 

October 15, 1957 – Bridge and Cinnamon Coffee Bars

Cinnamon Coffee Bars; Betty Crocker Cookbook, 1957. Photo: Annacia at Food.com

On October 15, 1957, housewives across America may have anticipated a fun Tuesday afternoon playing bridge with the girls.  Ladies would have gathered in multiples of four around card tables in the living room for chat, a friendly rubber or two, and light refreshments.  Then, as now, a little something sweet was always welcome with a good cup of hot coffee.  Everyone had their favorite cookie recipes but having company over was often a fun time to try something new.  The 1957 edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook included a recipe for a double-your-pleasure coffee-accompanying cookie, “Cinnamon Coffee Bars“.  Most bridge guests probably “bid” for this treat, rather than “passed”.

Cinnamon Coffee Bars

1/4 cup shortening, or softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup hot coffee
1 1/2 cup flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
For the Glaze:
1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
1/4 t salt
1/2 t vanilla
1 T water

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Cream together shortening or butter, brown sugar and egg, then stir in coffee.  Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Blend in raisins and walnuts.  Spread mixture in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.  Mix together ingredients for glaze.  Cut cake into bars and frost with glaze while warm.

October 14, 1957 – Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Photo: White House, Pubic Domain

On October 14, 1957, United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower celebrated his 67th birthday with his loving wife, Mamie, by his side.  Possibly their son John and daughter-in-law Barbara, and grandchildren David, Barbara, Susan, and Mary were able to join in the festivities.  Dwight and Mamie’s first son, Doud (Mamie’s maiden name), had died of scarlet fever in 1921 at age 3.

Born David Dwight Eisenhower in 1890 in Denison, Texas, President Eisenhower was the third of seven sons for David  and Ida Eisenhower.  Finances were always tight for David, a college-educated engineer, and Ida, a homemaker and deeply religious woman.   The Eisenhowers moved to Abilene, Kansas early in the future President’s life and he worked for two years after graduating from Abilene High to help pay for his brother Edgar’s college education.  When it came time for Dwight, as he was called, to attend college, he chose West Point, and changed his name to “Dwight David” when he entered the prestigious Army academy in the fall of 1911.  Eisenhower enjoyed sports and was a good athlete.  While he didn’t make the academy baseball team (“one of the greatest disappointments of my life, maybe my greatest”), he played football and was a starting running back and linebacker from his sophomore year onward.  Eisenhower graduated in 1915 and served in a wide variety of roles and theaters during his Army career.

Eisenhower trained early in tank warfare, served in the Panama Canal Zone, marked time during the 1920’s and early ’30s, then served in the Philipines before assignment to high commands during World War II.  He was ultimately named Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, planning and carrying out Operation Overlord, the D-Day invasion of Normandy.  His ability to work with difficult personalities and maintain strong relationships gained him respect and greater responsibility.  Eisenhower found a way to stay on positive and constructive terms with such military and political luminaries as Gen. George Patton, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, British Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, French Gen. Charles de Gaulle, Soviet Marshall Georgy Zhukov and Soviet Premier Josef Stalin.

In 1948, after the conclusion of the war and the occupation of Europe, Eisenhower revealed the depth of his commitment to God, calling himself  “one of the most deeply religious men I know”, although he remained unattached to any “sect or organization”.

Prior to his election in 1952, President Eisenhower served briefly as the President of New York’s Columbia University, and as Supreme Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  He and his 1952 running mate, Richard M. Nixon, beat Democrats Adlai Stevenson and John Sparkman to gain the White House in a landslide victory.  His philosophy was one of “dynamic conservatism”.  He retained New Deal programs, created the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, championed the creation of the Interstate Highway System, crafted the Eisenhower Doctrine after the Suez Crisis in 1956, and spearheaded the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960, declaring racial discrimination a national security issue.

President Eisenhower’s health became a troubling issue while in office.  He was hospitalized for several weeks in 1955 following a heart attack, and suffered from Crohn’s disease, which required more surgery and hospitalization in 1956 to relieve a bowel obstruction.  Fortunately, he recovered his health and continued to ably lead the country he loved.

Some quotes from this great American:

“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.”

“Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels – men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine.  As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.”

“History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.”

“Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends.”

“I can think of nothing more boring for the American people than to have to sit in their living rooms for a whole half hour looking at my face on their television screens.”

“I have only one yardstick by which I test every major problem – and that yardstick is: Is it good for America?”