Matt Weinstock, April 23, 1960
April 23, 2010 | 3:59 pm
“What’s That?! Someone in a Space Suit Is Leaving the Eliza Ann!”
The Amok Amoeba
Future historians looking back on 1960 doubtless will make a footnote on April 19, the day of the great L.A. amoeba quest. It started innocently enough. Bruce Hayes, early morning KFWB broadcaster, reported an amoeba was amok near the Civic Center and a search was under way.
Now anyone who has taken even elementary zoology in school knows an amoeba is a microscopic, one-celled animal, actually a shapeless, harmless blob.
BUT SWITCHBOARDS lit up all over town. Literal-minded people somehow got the idea, as other fun-loving KFWB announcers carried on the joke during the day, that the berserk amoeba was a cross between Godzilla and Mighty Joe Young.
Of course, many persons joined in the gag, reporting sightings. A woman in Wilmington said she'd trapped it in her fish pond. It was seen hopping fences in Gardena. Members of the Encino Mulch Society claimed to have captured it. It was observed near Santa Barbara, heading north. But there was some genuine concern.
| The incident can be reported only with sadness. It certifies what a file of evidence already indicates -- that to some people nothing is funny. Oddly enough, those who need to laugh the most never seem to do so.|
AT DUSK a few days ago Mrs. Jo Duarte, a census enumerator, came to an apparently vacant house. But it had curtains on the windows so she knocked on the front door. The door opened a little. She knocked harder and it opened wide. No one was there but she went inside to count the rooms. As she entered the kitchen the front door slammed shut, giving her an eerie feeling. She wonders if the ghosts resented being counted.
The perfume he thought that I would crave
I gave back to him as after shave.
I DON'T KNOW about anyone else but I've been on the qui vive all week, waiting anxiously for some word of the 300-pound, bell-shaped capsule that was supposed to drop off the Discoverer XI satellite placed in orbit from Vandenberg AFB. Our boys had nine C-119 Flying Boxcars deployed over a 150-by-50-mile area in the Pacific last Monday, set to catch the darn thing with snares. It was ejected successfully on its 17th pass over the North Pole but for some reason it didn't drop.
Do you suppose there's a big magician in the sky trying to make our missile men look bad?
WHILE HIKING in the sagebrush-covered hills near Corona about a week ago Leland E. Conner of N Kenmore Ave. came upon a weather balloon and attached instruments with the notation Radiosonde No. 941413. As instructed, he sent them to the U.S. Weather Bureau in Joliet, Ill.
He couldn't resist the opportunity to include a letter which stated in part: "Gentlemen: We are displeased with your recent efforts. There has been a noticeable reduction in the quantity and quality of what you've been sending us. The daily 2:30 p.m. cooling ocean breeze has gradually diminished since 1923 until it has all but disappeared. The air is filled with smog from refineries, industrial plants and auto exhaust which, added to the pollutants emanating from public relations offices, renders the air almost unbreathable. Furthermore, every four years the air becomes saturated with political platitudes. We earnestly solicit your immediate attention to these conditions."
FOOTNOTES -- The Democratic convention won't open until July 11 but Mitchell Gordon of the Wall Street Journal has written a forecast of potential problems. They include traffic jams, a cab shortage, possibly that the Sports Arena air conditioning won't work properly and that excessive heat will set off the sprinkler system, dousing the delegates. Only thing certain- it won't rain . . . People are talking about how deserted Ventura Blvd. is now that motorists use the freeway . . . All worthwhile sights: The fields of yellow mustard at Palos Verdes . . . Doris Hellman's annual Daylight Saving Time reminder: Spring forward, fall back.