The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: 1960 Democratic Convention

The TV Convention

May 20, 1960, Sports Arena
Los Angeles Times file photo

The Sports Arena, configured for the 1960 Democratic National Convention. 

  July 13, 1960, Huntley Brinkely
David Brinkley, left,  and Chet Huntley will report for NBC.
 July 10 1960, Cronkite, Murrow, Smith
Edward R. Murrow, left, anchorman Walter Cronkite, right, and Howard K. Smith will cover the convention for CBS. John Daly will report for ABC

July 12, 1960, Cecil Smith

July 12, 1960: Times TV writer Cecil Smith looks behind the scenes as the three networks prepare to cover the opening of the 1960 Democratic National Convention.

“There was a breathless moment as seconds ticked off, teletypes rattled. Then [director Don] Hewitt cued Cronkite, the show was on,” Smith said.

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Matt Weinstock, June 22, 1960

June 22, 1960, Comics

June 22, 1960: ABC is planning to ionize the air in the  green room for politicians waiting to go on the air to discuss the Democratic National Convention, Matt Weinstock says.  And who is W. Hermanos?

CONFIDENTIAL TO ANNETTA: This may sound like another version of a very old joke, but it conveys the message perfectly: "No one will buy a cow he can milk for nothing,"  Abby says.

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Matt Weinstock, June 17, 1960

June 17, 1960, Comics  

June 17, 1960: A reporter filed a story saying that hotel rates were being raised so much for the Democratic National Convention that he was going to bring a trailer. The convention director took him at his word and canceled the reservation for his hotel room, Matt Weinstock says.

Ask Lester to get the raincoat back or to replace it. But don't you go collecting things your husband gave away, drunk or sober. P.S. Nudge Lester toward restraint on the giggle-water, Abby says.

On the jump, debutantes in hats and gloves!

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The Democrats Are Coming to L.A.

May 29, 1960, Democratic Convention

May 29, 1960: Former Times Editor in Chief L.D. Hotchkiss (1893-1964) writes a long advance on the Democratic National Convention, which starts July 11 at the Sports Arena. He says that although he worked for a Republican paper for 40 years, the Democrats put on better shows. Hotchkiss says that one of the best speeches he ever heard was given by Alben Barkley at the 1952 Chicago convention. Barkley, if you don't recall, was vice president under Harry Truman.

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Found on EBay -- Democratic National Convention

July 16, 1960, Cover
1960 Democratic National Convention EBay

"The world is changing. The old era is ending. The old ways will not do." -- Sen. John F. Kennedy, July 15, 1960

A pass to the July 15, 1960, session of the Democratic National Convention has been listed on EBay. Bidding starts at $11.

Nixon Dedicates Sports Arena

July 5, 1959, Nixon

July 5, 1959: Vice President Richard Nixon waves during the dedication of the Sports Arena.

July 5, 1959, Cover It has been a long time since anyone referred to the Los Angeles Sports Arena as a "marvel of modern design."

But that was the Mirror-News' view in an editorial celebrating the arena's dedication. This would be a sports arena without a team--the Lakers were still a part of the city's future. Shoot, people were still getting used to having the Dodgers in town.

Vice President Richard Nixon was the keynote speaker, mixing sports metaphors with a preview of the stump speak he'd use in his run for the presidency.

The Times' story included Nixon's three rules for participants in all sports:

"No. 1: Never quit, no matter how tough the going. No. 2: The best defense is a good offense. No. 3: Play to win. Don't play a defensive game."

He was talking about sports, but sure sounded a lot like his brand of politics too.

Having Nixon speak at the dedication of an arena that would host the Democratic National Convention was a nice piece of irony. Nixon said the convention "may turn out to be the battle of the century."

--Keith Thursby


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