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Russian Leader to Visit L.A.! A.L. Wins All-Star Game

August 4, 2009 |  8:00 am
 Aug. 4, 1959, Editorial Cartoon

Bruce Russell's editorial cartoon is appalling today, but this style is typical of the 1950s, when artists frequently relied on a small repertory company of characters that included the Peace Dove, the Russian Bear, Mr. A-Bomb, Uncle Sam, the Taxpayer, etc. 

Aug. 4, 1959, Times Cover

Aug. 4, 1959: Nikita Khrushchev is coming to America! He'll be in Los Angeles -- but he's NOT going to Disneyland.

Aug. 4, 1959, Polyzoides

Aug. 4, 1959, Editorial

The Times editorial page takes the announcement of Khrushchev's visit as an opportunity to lead the cheering for Vice President Richard Nixon:

"This is not to say that Mr. Nixon was a mere instrument or expendable pawn. As a trial balloon, he is of the dirigible kind, and his magnificent steering in the tumultuous winds of Russia probably did much for the prestige of his country as well as for himself. From his preliminary exchanges with Khrushchev at the fair to the savage conference with the Soviet reporters that closed his visit, Nixon had himself and his materials in wonderful control."

The editorial ends by saying: "The wise American will not conclude that the time is near for reducing the defense budget."

At left, an opinion/analysis piece by Polyzoides on the Soviet leader's upcoming visit. I rarely run any of these because they're not especially interesting or insightful, but they were a staple in The Times for many years. 

Aug. 4, 1959, Khrushchev Visit

The Times sends reporters to the streets to get the views of average people. Somewhat miraculously, nobody interviewed a taxicab driver, a bartender or someone in a laundermat.

Construction worker John Lewandowski said: "I don't know. That fellow has been ranting and raving about us so much over there ... no, I don't think I like it."

Florist Edgar Berens said: "Khrushchev has been fighting capitalism. Perhaps if he is shown what we've got over here, how much better off we are, it might be effective. So I think it's a good idea. Of course, though, we don't know what he'll tell the Russians when he gets back."

The head of the American Council of Christian Churches denounces the visit: "It is morally wrong to extend an invitation to the bloody butcher of Hungary who has announced his intention to bury us."

Aug. 4, 1959, Hollywood Bowl

Sol Hurok schedules extra performances by Soviet artists at the Hollywood Bowl.

Aug. 4, 1959, Sports The all-star game came to Los Angeles and the town greeted the event as if, well, it was the only all-star baseball game of the season.

More than 55,000 were at the Coliseum to watch the American League win, 5-3. This was the first time two all-star games had been played in one season. Don Drysdale, who was the top player in 1959's first all-star game, took the loss in this one. He gave up home runs to Yogi Berra of the Yankees and Frank Malzone of the Red Sox.

I think baseball should return to the days of two all-star games. Pick a charity each season, raise some money for a good cause and let fans in two cities see baseball's best.

I'd also like to see World Series games played in the day, at least on the weekend. And bring back Sunday doubleheaders. And the 154-game schedule. And I wouldn't mind seeing another baseball game at the Coliseum with 115,000 of my closest friends.

--Keith Thursby