Another installment of me revisiting the Boston Globe from 50 years ago today and seeing what’s in it. If you have a Newspapers dot com subscription you can follow along.
Page 1: The Globe sends a reporter to Rome to watch (and write) as Pope Paul VI makes Archbishop Humberto Medeiros a cardinal.
This is about all the good news there is on Page One. Other items include the midair collision of two jetliners during an air traffic controllers’ strike in France … a 120-mph chase through several Boston suburbs that ended with the teenage driver being struck and killed by one of the police cruisers following him … and some actions taken by the new interim superintendent of the state prison at Walpole, whose predecessor quit over the phone the preceding Friday after fewer than four months on the job.
The view from 2023: I wonder if the Globe would send a reporter to Rome now? It might, just as a kind of protest against its gradual diminution. The state prison at Walpole is still there; like many other institutions, it seems to have been more chaotic in the Seventies than it is now, though that might be a well-tended illusion.
Page 2: The return of prisoners of war from Vietnam remains a major news topic. An unbylined story — is it Associated Press? UPI? Another paper? — reports on the first words of four returned POWs’ first telephone conversations with their families.
TVF23: It was exceedingly generous of those men — more so than I would have been — to allow a reporter anywhere near their personal conversations. (This assumes they were asked for permission; I can’t imagine they weren’t.)
Page 5: Department store Filene’s takes an ad, spanning at least three-quarters of a page, paying tribute to the newly named Cardinal Medeiros.
TVF23: Remember department stores?
Page 9: Filene’s, which apparently has lots of money to throw around, takes up much of this page with a series of ads for pocket calculators, adding machines, and a phone answering machine. The latter of these devices is $140.
TVF23: that’s $967.29 today. Imagine going out tomorrow and paying $967.29 for a stand-alone answering machine that doesn’t fit in your pocket. 2023 totally rules, man.
Page 10: A summary of Supreme Court decisions. One resolves a boundary dispute between Ohio and Kentucky, noting that Ohio cannot claim that the dividing line is in the middle of the Ohio River after acquiescing since 1792 to the idea that the boundary is on the river’s northern shore.
TVF23: I got nothin’, except to note that William Douglass dissented, and now I wonder why.
Page 12: Headline of the day: “All of a sudden, ‘half the wing was missing.'” It turns out that one of the two planes involved in the mid-air collision in France actually managed to land.
TVF23: That must have been a legit feat of flying on the part of the pilot and co-pilot.
Page 13, 16, 17 and 18: Annual town elections were held the previous day in a bunch of Massachusetts towns, and the Globe obediently reports on them all. The results from my current little town are included, as are those from a few towns I used to cover as a cub reporter 25 years ago.
TVF23: I actually recognize a couple of the names, all belonging to people who were still knocking around local politics when I arrived.
Page 19: A full page of additional analysis of the Medeiros installation (is that what it’s called?), including a column by a columnist who might have been shipped to Rome as well, and a brief item noting that Medeiros was scheduled to appear on The Dick Cavett Show.
TVF23: Not sure I see today’s Globe shipping two people to Rome. I note that the photos were AP, anyway.
Page 28: Sports! Bobby Orr is having knee problems but insists he doesn’t need to see a doctor. Underdog Medfield High loses in the state high school basketball finals, with most of the town in attendance at Boston Garden. And, in the day’s best-remembered sports news, Yankees pitchers Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich announce plans to swap their wives, children, and homes.
TVF23: He probably needed to see a doctor.
Page 29: The American League’s new designated hitter rule is still a matter of chatter, and Red Sox manager Eddie Kasko doesn’t like it.
TVF23: I don’t think I’ve ever seen an interview with a baseball-lifer type who actually liked the DH in 1973. (I wonder what Earl Weaver thought? He liked power hitting.) I like the DH just fine, myself … and I need just 345 more major-league wins to catch Eddie Kasko.
Page 31: The Globe runs the standings for not one, not two, but three professional hockey leagues, and that’s just awesome. Boston has teams in all three, which is even more awesome. I don’t know how anybody in March 1973 got any work done for all the hockey going on. For that matter, the Globe also runs the scholastic hockey standings for the private and prep-school conference. Nineteen seventy-three was a good year for Browne & Nichols (10-0-1) but a poor one for Governor Dummer (0-11-0; 10 goals scored; 81 goals surrendered.)
The paper also prints the standings of 18 different college basketball conferences; I’ve never cared deeply about hoop, but I do miss the experience of opening a newspaper to a sports agate page and having it be a wonderland of games and information.
TVF23: Which hockey leagues and teams? The NHL (Bruins), the World Hockey Association (the New England Whalers, not yet resettled in Hartford) and the American Hockey League (the Boston Braves).
Page 33: I can’t remember noticing this in the small print before, but nestled near the bottom of the page beneath the weather report is a list of incoming and outbound international flights that day at Logan Airport. I wonder who the hell used this, and for what.
TVF23: Who was on the Swissair 9 p.m. to Zurich?
Page 34: Arts section. An ad for the movie Fear is the Key features a woman’s alarmed eyes, with raised eyebrows; something undiscernable and dark is covering the bottom of her face.
TVF23: At first glance she looks like she’s wearing a COVID facemask — like, one of the homemade ones from early in the pandemic — and she’s trying not to sneeze into it. Not until I Google an image of the ad can I tell that the bottom half of her face is covered by a hand in a dark glove. Freaking COVID.
Page 35: A reviewer chronicles a truly bizarre multi-performer concert held at the Orpheum Theater last weekend to benefit alternative/free-form radio station WBCN. The bill included Eric Weissberg, of “Dueling Banjos” fame; Texas troubadour and ostensible headliner Doug Sahm; folkie David Bromberg; and hometown purveyors of “loud, raucous punk rock” Aerosmith, who apparently wiped the floor with everybody else.
TVF23: A search of Newspapers dot com suggests that this was the Globe’s first review of an Aerosmith show. I don’t know if this particular gig circulates on bootlegs, but the band was kind enough to release a few live recordings from April 1973 on its Live! Bootleg album, which give a sense of what they sounded like.
Page 36: Arts ads are always rich mines of joy, and this page has more. The Astor Theater, wherever that is, is showing a movie two-fer of Reefer Madness and Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels. The Cannonball Adderley Quintet is at Paul’s Mall on Boylston Street; the Tony Williams Lifetime is next door at the Jazz Workshop; once Williams moves on, Herbie Hancock and then Horace Silver will stop by. Meanwhile, the entire right-hand column of the page advertises Stouffer’s Top of the Hub, an extremely long-gone restaurant at the top of the Prudential Building. Just $3.95 for Sunday brunch, “52 Stories Above the Hubbub.”
TVF23: How did anyone in Boston in 1973 get any work done, in between all the hockey and all the primo jazz? Even though rooftop restaurants are never about the food, I would have been tempted to try the Top of the Hub, just once, if I’d been there. But when I got to the Pru, not only was the restaurant gone, but the skywalk kiosk was closed.
Page 38: The paper reviews a pair of poetry collections, including one by Leonard Cohen, lamenting the fact that “The persona in his work, however, is always himself.”
TVF23: never been a big fan. But you probably knew that already.
Page 41: Obits. The departed include a former operations director at two H.P. Hood milk plants in Vermont; a former “buyer of fabrics and notions” for a department store in suburban Waltham; and an internationally known authority on allergies. There’s also a former Globe circulation employee of 40 years’ standing, described as “a familiar figure at downtown news stands.”
TVF23: There’s always stuff in these papers that I never expect to grab me until I read it … and today’s entry is “a familiar figure at downtown news stands.” That sounds simultaneously awesome (what could be a more interesting setting than a downtown news stand, watching and mingling as all humanity passes by?) and sad (news stands are pretty low-money operations, and open to the cold to boot; I bet the late gentleman more than once knew the feeling of slush oozing through a hole in the sole of his shoe.)
Page 42: An auctioneer is selling off a “modern school or office building” in the northern suburb of Chelmsford and now I want to see what such a building would look like. What kind of building could satisfy both needs? Did it have a goofy Seventies open-plan thing going on?
TVF23: I go to Google Maps to look the place up and, sure enough, it’s a one-story brick building. Could be an office building, could be my old elementary school. It’s a children’s center now, with a fenced playground out front.
Page 47: The First National Bank of Boston seeks keypunch operators to work a four-day week. Another company is advertising for a cost accounting clerk and a secretary. I zoom in and immediately recognize their dancing-devil logo — it’s W.M. Underwood, the canned meat people.
TVF23: My ability to recognize the Underwood logo and mentally picture Underwood’s packaging is astonishing, given that I have — as far as I can remember — never actually eaten their products (I know I’ve never bought any.)
Page 48: Southern New England Telephone seeks OS systems programmers. Requirements include 2-3 years experience with BAL, OS, JCL, disk files, system libraries; understanding of OS; appetite for systems programming work.
TVF23: I wonder what the heck any of those skills are, and how long it’s been since possessing them could get you hired someplace.
Page 50: I’m ready to stop now but the paper keeps coming — and anyway I can’t pass up the TV and radio listings. Tonight’s “First Tuesday” (not a program I’m familiar with) explores “the problem of monotony in certain job areas.” Bored on the job! Why, where have I heard that before?
Something called “The Vin Scully Show” is on at 4 pm; whatever it is, sign me up. At 8 pm,. Julia Child explores ‘To Press a Duck” (you do and you’ll clean it up.) At 11 pm, William Holden and Susan Hayward star in “Young and Willing.”
TVF23: If the title of that movie doesn’t put “Hey Nineteen” in your head, you’re made of sterner stuff than I.
Page 53: Ask The Globe fields an inquiry from somebody wanting to know if Burt Reynolds has done any more nude photo shoots, or whether he has gone back to acting. (The latter. Sorry.) Someone else from the tony town of Wayland wants to know which states are friendliest to hitchhikers. Jaysus, son: Just buy a secondhand Volkswagen and be done with it.
TVF23: Oh, you want the answer? Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, the Dakotas, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming are listed as states that substantially do not comply with federal warnings on hitchhiking. Good luck riding your thumb, son.
Page 54: There is a reward for making it to the end of this paper, and it’s an ad for something called Miller Ale, a new beer described as “a lusty ale brewed from a special traditional recipe.” Never heard of the stuff, so it must not have captured America’s imagination.
TVF23: Would it be fun to try that stuff now and compare it to even the most routine mid-market ale currently available? Mais oui.