Vintage Pulp May 20 2013
POLICE EMERGENCY
America’s oldest magazine shows signs of advanced age.

Oh, the poor National Police Gazette. By 1974 it was impossible for the editors to keep claiming Hitler was still alive and hiding out in Argentina. If he’d ever been there he was long dead. Castro was still around, of course, but it was pointless to keep pretending the U.S. was going to send an armada to take back Cuba. Mao was a useful foil for a few years, but somehow he just didn’t resonate the same way for readers. So the magazine turned its focus to pettier intrigues, dogging the Kennedy clan and hoping to move issues by featuring bikini models on its covers. How the mighty had fallen. Launched all the way back in 1845, the oldest magazine in America was now uninspired and out-of-touch with 1970s readers. In this entire issue only a few pages were even worth scanning. Teddy Kennedy, Susan Shaw, Felicity Devonshire, Sliwka… and killer catfish, all below.

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Intl. Notebook Sep 9 2011
FUTURE THAT NEVER CAME
The good news is we have the technology to make travel quick, cheap and easy. The bad news is we’ll never use it.

This National Police Gazette from September 1974 treats us to several great stories, including an article claiming that Richard Nixon’s only crime was not knowing what the “boobs” around him were doing. Ah yes, the old rogue subordinates excuse. Works great for presidents and corporate heads, but for you, well, not so much. Elsewhere in the issue you get an article on how to score an exotic bride, and sharp-eyed readers may notice that the “Haitian” bride is actually American actress Gloria Hendry, who we featured a couple of weeks ago.

But what really caught our attention in this Gazette is the article by U.S. Senator Vance Hartke about cheap, superfast rail travel. It’s filled with promises and optimism, steeped in for-the-good-of-the-people rhetoric, and even includes a sample 1986 cross-country timetable. Imagine it. Within twelve years Americans would blaze overland at 300 mph, and this rail system, envy of the world, would be clean, pleasant, and cheap—a mere $75 coast-to-coast.

A funny thing happened on the way to this future—politics that used to frame tomorow in terms of the things that were possible changed so that it now frames tomorrow in terms of what it isn't possible. Although limited high-speed rail service has finally been built in the U.S., Americans who want to experience train travel at the velocities cited in Hartke's dreamy article have to visit other countries. As to whether a true super fast system will ever be built in the U.S., we wouldn’t venture a guess either way, but it certainly is thought provoking to read what some people thought the near future would bring. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 30
1955—James Dean Dies in Auto Accident
American actor James Dean, who appeared in the films Giant, East of Eden, and the iconic Rebel without a Cause, dies in an auto accident at age 24 when his Porsche 550 Spyder is hit head-on by a larger Ford coupe. The driver of the Ford had been trying to make a left turn across the rural highway U.S. Route 466 and never saw Dean's small sports car approaching.
1962—Chavez Founds UFW
Mexican-American farm worker César Chávez founds the United Farm Workers in California. His strikes, marches and boycotts eventually result in improved working conditions for manual farm laborers and today his birthday is celebrated as a holiday in eight U.S. states.
September 29
1916—Rockefeller Breaks the Billion Barrier
American industrialist John D. Rockefeller becomes America's first billionaire. His Standard Oil Company had gained near total control of the U.S. petroleum market until being broken up by anti-trust legislators in 1911. Afterward, Rockefeller used his fortune mainly for philanthropy, and had a major effect on medicine, education, and scientific research.
September 28
1941—Williams Bats .406
Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox finishes the Major League Baseball season with a batting average of .406. He is the last player to bat .400 or better in a season.
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