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Looking Back - Jan. 6, 2013

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

As a new year begins, here is a look back at the world 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago.


• Louis Armstrong, as an 11-year-old boy in New Orleans, was arrested by police after firing his stepfather’s pistol to celebrate the arrival of the new year. He was sentenced by the juvenile court to 18 months at the Colored Waifs’ Home.

• Grand Central Terminal opened. Between 1903 and 1913, the entire Grand Central Station was torn down in phases and replaced by the current Grand Central Terminal. Although it has now been 100 years since the ‘new’ terminal opened, it is still most commonly called Grand Central Station.

• The 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, authorizing the Federal government to impose and collect income taxes.

• The Woman Suffrage Parade took place in Washington D.C. led by Inez Milholland on horseback.

• The 17th Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed, dictating the direct election of senators.

• The Lincoln Highway, the first automobile road across the United States, was dedicated.

• The Ford Motor Company introduced its first moving assembly line, reducing chassis assembly time from 12½ hours to 2 hours, 40 minutes. Although Ford was not the first to use an assembly line, his successful adoption of one sparked an era of mass production.

• The Camel cigarette brand was introduced by R. J. Reynolds in the United States, the first packaged cigarette.

• William D. Coolidge applied for a patent for his invention of the x-ray tube, which “made the use of x-rays for medical diagnosis safe and convenient”.

• The American Cancer Society was founded by ten doctors and five laymen in Washington, D.C., as the American Society for the Control of Cancer. It would change to its current name in 1946.

• The first new American five-cent pieces, known as the “Buffalo nickel”, were manufactured at the Philadelphia mint.

• Kansas became the first of the United States to legalize the practice of chiropractors.

• New to the shopping list ... Pep O Mint Lifesavers and Brillo Pads.


• The March of Dimes was established by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

• Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, the first cel-animated feature in motion picture history, was released.

• Action Comics #1 was published, which is the first publication featuring the comic book character Superman.

• Adolf Hitler was Time magazine’s “Man of the Year”, as the most influential person of the year.

• General Motors began mass production of diesel engines.

• Du Pont began commercial production of nylon toothbrush bristles.

• Jewish lawyers were forbidden to practice in Germany. Nazi Germany invaded Austria. Germany demanded all Jewish passports stamped with letter ‘J’.

• Freeze Dried Coffee (instant coffee) was introduced by Nescafe.

• Most states made syphilis testing mandatory in order to get a marriage license.

• Orson Welles’s radio adaptation of “The War of the Worlds” was broadcast, causing mass panic among listeners.

• The use of the zipper became wide spread because it was less expensive than the buttons and closures previously used.


• The top news story of the year was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22nd in Dallas. Vice President Lyndon Johnson was sworn in the same day as president. Two days later, the American public witnessed its first live murder on television when Jack Ruby shot assassination suspect Lee Harvey Oswald.

• The cost of a 1st class postage stamp was raised from four cents to five cents.

• A not-yet-famous Bob Dylan walked off the Ed Sullivan Show when censors would not let him perform the song of his choice, “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues”.

• The United States banned all monetary transactions with Cuba.

• The “Dear Abby Show” premiered on radio for what would become an 11-year run.

• George Wallace became the governor of Alabama. In his inaugural speech, the governor proclaimed, “segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.”

• The Beatles recorded their debut album, “Please Please Me.”

• The U.S Supreme Court ruled that the poor must be represented by lawyers.

• The Coca-Cola Company introduced TaB, its first diet cola.

• Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to an estimated crowd of 250,000 people.

• The first push-button telephone became available to AT&T customers.

• Kodak introduced the Instamatic camera.

• The top three shows on TV were (in order) “The Beverly Hillbillies”, “Bonanza” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show”.

• Car manufacturer Studebaker ended production. The company was started in 1852 to produce wagons for farmers, miners and the military.

• State-mandated Bible reading and/or recitation of The Lord’s Prayer in public schools was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

• The record of the year was “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” by Tony Bennett.


• Radio Shack announced the new and improved personal computer, the Tandy SL, for $899.

• The Republican National Convention in New Orleans selected the George Bush - Dan Quayle ticket. The Democratic National Convention in Atlanta went with the Michael Dukakis - Lloyd Bentsen ticket.

• Jerry Lewis’ 23rd Muscular Dystrophy Telethon raised over $41 million.

• Nike began its “Just Do It” advertising campaign.

• CDs outsold vinyl records for the first time.

• The U.S. shuttle program resumed more than two years after the Challenger disaster.

• After eight years, the Iran-Iraq War ended. At least one million lives were lost.

• The first Stealth Bomber was unveiled.

• Prozac was marketed for the first time and quickly became the top antidepressant drug. On the illegal market, the new drug was crack cocaine.

• The top movie of the year was “Rain Man” while the most watched TV show was “The Cosby Show”.

• The U. S. Supreme Court ruled that trash may be searched for evidence without a warrant.