Mystery of Missiles
One of the problems of those who guide our missile program is making it understandable to earth-bounders. In other words, translating complex scientific data into ordinary terms.
Toward this end former newspaperman Chris Clausen, now with Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, conducts monthly symposiums for reporters who cover the sky. Even then it doesn't all come through.
The situation is not helped by confusion in the Pentagon. Take the case of the Agena B space satellite system, now being checked out at Lockheed's Missiles and Space Division test base at Santa Cruz. When the time came recently to name the project, a phase of Agena B, to put a camera reconnaissance satellite up there to see what Mr. K.'s boys were doing, the Pentagon became nervous. The political implications were obvious. The project was successfully called Big Brother, Pied Piper, Sentry, Midas and finally simply project WS-117A. The papers, having no such inhibitions, dubbed it Spy in the Sky and the Super Snooper.
LAST WEEK, when reporters went to see the satellite at its Santa Cruz base, nestled among the giant coastal redwoods, another whimsical note entered the proceedings.
A press handout which explained how the Agena B works stated the testing was to locate and correct potential trouble under space flight conditions before the bird is sent to Vandenberg to be fired.
It pointed out that the sensitive satellite was almost human in its reactions, stating,"The missile can move a fraction of an inch during these tests, fooling it into thinking it is actually flying. In fact, it can go anywhere but up."
It was also stated that the Agena can turn itself on and off in flight and its re-start mechanism was explained.
Despite the briefing, the message apparently didn't come through to a San Francisco paper, which headlined, "Turnabout Rocket Revealed!"
Someone somehow got the idea the missile could be landed on the moon, wound up again like a top and flown back to earth.
IT MAY BE that I don't have the proper attitude toward tradition but I read with dismay that more than 500 high school athletes, each running a mile, relay style, will carry the Olympic torch from the Coliseum to Squaw Valley for the opening of the snow events there.
They'll go through Newhall, Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto, Sacramento and Auburn to Donner Pass, where the final runner will hand the aluminum, kerosene-burning torch, which must be renewed every half hour, to a skier who, with other skiers, will carry it triumphantly to the valley of the squaws.
This ceremony, the carrying of the torch, doubtless was impressive when the Grecians started the games but it seems an awful waste of energy today. I have a three-word suggestion which would release the teams of state Highway Patrolmen who will accompany the runners, clearing traffic and insuring their safety: one motorcycle rider.
A MAN WHO is confronted daily with the choleric outcries of taxpayers and the indifference of some public officials came up the other day with this profound and ironic remark: "Thank heavens we don't get all the government we pay for!"
A principle that's quite
And never fails to pass,
Is that when a price war
My car is filled with gas.
AT RANDOM -- As if life weren't complicated enough, a postal card notice of a luncheon for L.A. yacht-men tomorrow asks, "Are you using an alkyd-fortified epoxy polyester ultraviolet-absorbent acrylic plastic urethane catalyzed paint or varnish on your boat?" If you aren't, obviously you're out of it . . . A lady named Kathleen who participated in last week's mothers' March of Dimes came upon a man on her beat with empty pockets who asked, "Say, could I charge a $1 contribution to my Bankamericard?" The answer was no.
Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
Category: Classical Music
“You Remember Her?”
NBC used to have an opera company. Amazing, no? Although I can’t say I’ve ever heard of Virginia Copeland (Gordoni), David Poleri or Chester Ludgin.
“Goliath and the Barbarians” in Colorscope!
Paul Zimmerman takes a look at “Hot Rod” Hundley of the Lakers and Guy Rodgers of the Philadelphia Warriors.
|Feb. 1, 1960: Republican National Chairman Sen. Thruston B. Morton (R-Ky.) comments on the results of a Gallup poll showing that the party was losing strength. He talks about the effect of Vice President Richard Nixon being unchallenged as GOP nominee and praises President Eisenhower, while saying Eisenhower has "concentrated more on running the country than on building the party. Morton also notes: "Complacency has been our serious weakness." |
| Three Tristans update: I sent this item to bass-baritone Alan Held, who’s appearing in the current Metropolitan Opera production of “Tales of Hoffmann.” |
Held says, “ I have been in several performances where a singer had to be replaced midway through the night--most memorably was a Tannhauser at The Met where we went through 2-3 tenors in one night (can't remember). It seemed we went through the entire list of Met tenors during that show. I also did a lot of Tristans in Barcelona that seemed to have a revolving door of tenors. My own professional debut was made while jumping in as Colline in Boheme. These things happen all the time in opera--sometimes a singer really isn't sure if he can make it through the night but wants to give it a try and then once confronted with the dryness of the stage, things change. And I've been in countless performances where the singer isn't sure they can even start the night but ends up singing the best performance of the run. These are special nights and can bring a lot of excitement to the show.”
Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera
Mickey Cohen says: "I'm a lover, not a fighter."
Sandy Hashagen says going steady with Mickey Cohen for 14 days gave her a police record and cost her a job as a dancer in Las Vegas..
Adjusted for inflation, these trees start at $13.81, USD 2008.
Igor Stravinsky gives his manuscript for “The Rake’s Progress” to USC.
“Solomon and Sheba” is coming!
Jeane Hoffman on open tennis.
|Nov. 30, 1909: Perhaps you thought George Gershwin was the first composer to use car horns in a piece of music (“American in Paris”). But no. August Bungert uses an auto horn in his new symphonic work, “Zeppelin’s First Voyage” or “Zeppelins grosse Fahrt.” Evidently it was a programmatic work and at the end, the airship is destroyed by fire. How Wagnerian! |
ps. Gustav Mahler will have something ready early next year.
Nov. 28, 1959: A plane crashes into a home at 519 W. Greenleaf in Compton.
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Mink jeans? Are you serious?
Running freeways through the upper floors of existing buildings is a startling concept – but it’s not new. As envisioned in the 1930s, the Los Angeles freeway system was quite futuristic and this was one of the key concepts. Another component was parking structures inside all four circular ramps of each exit/entrance cloverleaf.
Mstislav Rostropovich plays the Shostakovich Cello Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Arturo Basile. Times critic Albert Goldberg says: "It is a big and exciting piece, of far greater substance and musical worth than the composer's recent Eleventh Symphony. Shostakovich seems to have found himself again in this work."
What's this? "Respighi's "Roman Festival" is "about the noisiest and emptiest piece of claptrap ever written for a symphony orchestra."
Chocolate cigarettes? Thanks, dad!
USC hopes to defeat Notre Dame for the first time since 1939.
Braven Dyer writes: "You old-time football fans will recall the tremenders between Knute Rockne and Howard Jones. Four of their first six battles were decided by a total of five points. Played every other year back here after the Big Ten season closed, they drew national attention and kept students and faculty at Notre Dame in a dither of excitement the week of the game. David Condon, Chicago Tribune columnist who attended ND, recalls his freshman history class. On Saturday morning, his history professor opened the session by saying, 'You boys never have seen Southern California play. Let me diagram their offense for you.' And he strode to the blackboard and did so."
|Marion Eisenmann and I have been looking at Los Angeles landmarks as a modern version of Nuestro Pueblo, but we realized that the debut of Gustavo Dudamel as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic is also part of local history. Marion was fortunate in being able to attend a rehearsal and she sends her impressions of Dudamel. She says: His personality, playfulness and passion speak in this study.|
| Nov. 7, 1944: Gracie Allen performs her new work, “Concerto for Index Finger.” Some of Charles Laughton’s recordings of the Bible are too hot to handle or at least they're too hot for Decca. |
Yes, you can find the record on EBay. At least the commercial release.
Shostakovich meets the press at the Ambassador Hotel. Wouldn’t it be great to go see it? Oh, wait, we let L..A. Unified tear it down.
Oct. 20, 1959: Dmitri Shostakovich leads a group of Soviet composers on a tour of the U.S. After Mayor Norris Poulson’s headline-grabbing stunt with Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviets are justifiably worried about what sort of greeting they will get in Los Angeles. American envoy Ken Kertz, who is escorting the Soviets, angrily squelches any comments upon their arrival at Union Station.
In a news conference at the Ambassador Hotel, Kertz turned off the TV lights, but composer Dmitri Kabalevsky encouraged reporters to stay. An unidentified reporter asked about Soviet reaction to Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 and Tikhon Khrennikov replied that orchestras “"vied for the opportunity to lead their programs with the 11th.” Khrennikov isn’t an immediately recognized name these days, but he was head of the Soviet Composers Union and caused misery for Shostakovich, Serge Prokofiev and Alfred Schnittke.
The old saying that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes certainly seems true. Here we have high winds sweeping Los Angeles and burglars who targeted a movie star, in this case Joan Fontaine. The Times also carried a Charles Hillinger story about the system of dams used to catch ash and debris in the anticipated flooding of areas burned in the recent wildfire, the same problem we're facing after the Station fire.
Yes, there was a time when the Defense Department was working on nuclear-powered aircraft. A key component of nuclear reactors – lots of lead – posed unusual problems for the designers. And if it crashed, that could be messy.
The Ebony Showcase Theatre, at 4366 W. Adams Blvd. stages a new musical comedy.
John L. Mitchell interviews Horace "Nick" Stewart of the Ebony Showcase Theater. In the profile, Stewart takes stock of his career (he played Lightnin' on the "Amos 'n' Andy Show." "Almost every important black performer, at one time or another, has come through Nick's operation," says C. Bernard Jackson of the Inner City Cultural Center.
Jeane Hoffman visits UCLA football coach Billy Barnes and his wife, Frances.
The hall, later known as Philharmonic Auditorium, at 5th and Olive.
Oct. 26, 1909, a Times review.
|Oct. 25, 1909: John Philip Sousa and his band arrive for a weeklong engagement in Los Angeles. The Sousa band was composed of first-rate players and their skill comes through even on early, primitive recordings. |
Notice the variety of the selections. Of course, there are Sousa’s marches, but he has also programmed Rachmaninoff, Goldmark, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Smetana, Bizet and Chabrier. Sousa is also preparing for production of his new opera, “The Glassblowers.” And he's brought his family along.