Looking Back Jan. 8 2012

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or mary.braswell@albanyherald.com.

Just what was the world like 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago? Here is a look back at those times in history.


• The “unsinkable” oceanliner Titanic sank on her maiden voyage after colliding with an iceberg. More than 1,500 lives were lost.

• The unemployment rate in the U.S. was 4.6 percent.

• The cost of a first-class postage stamp was two cents.

• Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low assembled 18 girls from Savannah, Ga., on March 12 for the first Girl Scout meeting. Low believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally and spiritually.

• “Photoplay” made its debut as the first magazine for movie fans.

• Perry Como was born, as were Jay Silverheels, Art Linkletter, Minnie Pearl and Pat Nixon.

• The divorce rate in America was one in 1,000.

• The life expectancy for a male was 48.4 years and 51.8 years for a female.

• Fifteen young women were fired by Curtis Publishing, publisher of the Saturday Evening Post, for dancing the”Turkey Trot” during their lunch break.

• The Dixie Cup was invented.


• The first issue of Look magazine went on sale.

• Chicago’s Cook County Hospital opened the first blood bank that stored blood given by live donors. This, with improved anesthesia, made the chances of surviving major surgery on vital organs much greater.

• The unemployment rate in the U.S. was 14.3 percent, down from the 25 percent just a few years earlier.

• In Crystal City, Texas, spinach growers erected a statue of Popeye.

• The first edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” was published, as was John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.”

• The DuPont company in the U.S.A. was able to make nylon stockings for the first time, although they were not yet available in stores to the general public.

• The average wage earner made around $1,500 per year.

• Walt Disney’s first full-length animated film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” hit theaters and became an instant success.

• Rent on an average home was $26 per month and a loaf of bread cost nine cents.

• A prototype “antihistamine” was produced to treat allergies.

• A variety of board games served as a popular and affordable pastime for all ages.

• All-steel toy trucks and airplanes (24-31 inches in length) cost $1.98 each.

• The soap opera “The Guiding Light” premiered on NBC radio.

• Quaker Oats paid Babe Ruth $25,000 a year for advertising the company’s product.

• Cartoon characters Daffy Duck, Elmer J. Fudd and Petunia Pig made their debuts.


• The unemployment rate for the nation was 6.7 percent.

• Marilyn Monroe died from a drug overdose. She was 36 years old.

• The Record of the Year was “Moon River” by Henry Mancini.

• Lt. Col. John H. Glenn Jr. became the first American to orbit the earth. Glenn circled the globe three times in four hours, 55 minutes aboard Friendship 7.

• The new hit on TV for the year was “The Beverly Hillbillies” and the first of the James Bond movies, “Dr. No,” was released.

• A factory worker with three dependents averaged a weekly take-home pay of just under $95.

• The average cost of a new home was $12,500.

• There was rioting on the University of Mississippi campus after a black student, James Meredith, attempted to enroll. Federal troops and U.S. marshals were called in to restore order.

• Marvel Comics published the “Amazing Fantasy No. 15”, which featured the first published appearance of the character Spider-Man, created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

• The first Wal-Mart discount store was opened by Sam Walton in Bentonville, Ark.

• Little girls loved the talking doll Chatty Cathy by Mattel ($9.96) and boys longed for the remote controlled Mr. Mercury Robot by Marx ($6.99).

• Johnny Carson took over as the host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” Joan Crawford was a guest.

• Inspired by the music of Chubby Checker, the “Twist” was ruled impure and banned from all Catholic schools.

• The U.S. Justice Department filed the first suit to end segregation in public schools.


• Median annual household income was $26,061.

• The anti-depressant Prozac was released for use in the U.S. by Eli Lilly & Company.

• The Record of the Year was “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood.

• Unemployment across the nation was 6.2 percent.

• The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Rotary Clubs must admit women.

• Iraqi missiles killed 37 in an attack on the U.S. frigate Stark in the Persian Gulf. The next day, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein apologized.

• Aretha Franklin became the first female inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

• The American Motors Corporation (AMC) was acquired by the Chrysler Corporation.

• “The Simpsons” cartoon first appeared as a series of shorts on “The Tracey Ullman Show”.

• During a visit to Berlin, President Ronald Reagan challenged Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.

• Microsoft released Windows 2.0.

• Popular toys for the year included Pound Puppies, made by Tonka, and Talking Alf, The Storytelling Alien. The puppies sold for $17.99 each while the Alf pricetag was $69.99.

• B.B. King donated his 7,000 record collection to the University of Mississippi.

• No-smoking rules took effect in federal buildings. An anti-smoking ad aired for first time on TV, featuring Yul Brynner.

• The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that schools teaching evolution do not have to also teach creation.