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YMCA Nude Swimming Classes Many stories that your parents and grandparents tell you about the 'good old days' seem far-fetched, but some are actually true. Consider this one: For many years it was mandatory for male swimmers at YMCAs to wear absolutely nothing while in their pools. Based on a recommendation from public health officials, a similar measure was on the books and usually rigorously enforced in American high schools from 1926 to 1962. Why? For many years swimsuits were made of materials that shed fibers and clogged filtration systems. There was also the belief that nude swimming was somehow more healthful and sanitary than swimming in trunks. (Curiously no such rules were ever implemented in female swim classes.) In 1941 Life magazine printed a half-page photo of such a class as an example of 'democracy.' By the early 1960s, however, public sentiment began favoring modesty over nudity and the nude swim classes became a thing of the past.
Tags: nude  swimming  classes  YMCA 
Added: 20th April 2015
Views: 3018
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Posted By: Lava1964
Katyn Forest Massacre - 1940 One of the most horrifying events during the Second World War was the Katyn Forest massacres which occurred in the spring of 1940. About half the officer corps of Poland was put to death by the Soviet Union's secret police (NKVD). In August 1939 Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union--two ideological enemies--shocked the world by signing a non-aggression pact. As part of the deal, Germany was allowed a free hand to invade Poland from the west on September 1. The Soviets would invade from the east half a month later. The Poles were utterly overwhelmed. The Soviet Red Army met almost no opposition as the Polish Army was told by its government to not confront the Russians. In effect, conquered Poland was divided into two sections: one controlled by Nazi Germany, the other under the heel of the Soviet Union. Polish prisoners in the Soviet Sphere numbered about 30,000. At least 22,000 were executed methodically by gunshots to the back of their heads from close range. Along with most of the Polish officer corps, numerous intellectuals, journalists, doctors, lawyers, and professors were also killed by the NKVD on the special order of Josef Stalin. Their corpses were hastily buried in mass graves in the Katyn Forest. After the Germans attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, they learned about the mas graves. Sensing a propaganda bonanza that would demonize the USSR, they exhumed thousands of corpses. International Red Cross officials and top forensic scientists were called in by the Germans to make a report. They all agreed the massacre was done by the Soviets. Some Allied POWs were also brought in to witness the scene. One American agreed, saying the Russians were undeniably to blame. After reconquering the area, the Soviets blamed the Germans for the massacre. It took until 1990 before the Soviet Union accepted responsibility for the mass extermination of the cream of Poland's officer corps and much of its intellectual community half a century before.
Tags: Katyn  Forest  massacre  NKVD  Second  World  War 
Added: 11th June 2015
Views: 1444
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Posted By: Lava1964
Polio Ward Photo This photo from the 1930s shows a hospital's polio ward where children were placed in iron lungs to assist their breathing. Polio epidemics were a frequent occurrence in the first half of the 20th century in industrialized countries. They were actually a strange bi-product of affluence. By the beginning of the 20th century, a significant amount of babies were being born in the antiseptic conditions of hospitals rather than at home. This meant that many infants were not exposed to the polio virus and thus did not build up an immunity to it. Therefore when they were exposed to it later in life, they were vulnerable. Although the disease mostly afflicted children, adults were not necessarily immune. (President Franklin Roosevelt was crippled by polio at age 39.) The polio virus moved from one person to the next via human bodily fluids. Children who sneezed and coughed were the main culprits. The first symptoms varied. Sometime people had runny noses, sore throats, or aches. However, the minor discomforts could quickly change to partial paralysis if it struck one's central nervous system. Whenever a major polio outbreak hit, many public facilities such as swimming pools and parks would shut down. The last major outbreak occurred in 1952. By the mid-1950s the Salk and Saban vaccines had done much to eradicate the virus from North America.
Tags: polio  ward  photo 
Added: 16th June 2015
Views: 656
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Posted By: Lava1964
James Scott - Prisoner Boxer One of the most controversial professional athletes in history was James Scott--a light heavyweight boxer who was permitted to pursue a professional ring career from within the confines of a New Jersey state prison. By the time Scott was 28 years old he had spent about half his life in reformatories or prisons. After serving time in Rahway State Prison for robbery, Scott began boxing professionally in Miami under the tutelage of Angelo and Chris Dundee in the mid-1970s. He compiled a record of 11-0-1 before trouble found him again. A car he owned was linked to a robbery and murder. Scott maintained he had merely loaned the car to friends and was utterly unaware of their plans. Law enforcement didn't buy his story and Scott was returned to Rahway prison to serve a 30-year term for parole violation. While there Scott persuaded correctional officials that a prison boxing program would benefit everyone: Prisoners would be able to release their frustrations in an acceptable manner, they could pursue professional careers upon their releases, and the overall camaraderie among all prisoners would be improved. The state thought Scott's idea had merit. Remarkably, they also allowed Scott to resume his pro boxing career--as long as his opponents were willing to fight inside the prison. Scott--whose fitness regimen reputedly included 1,500 push-ups per day--became a force to be reckoned with. He earned a top-10 ranking from the World Boxing Association in an era when the light heavyweight division was very deep. NBC and CBS each aired Scott's bouts. ABC, however, kept its distance from Scott due to his criminal convictions. Scott's biggest win came over Eddie Gregory in 1977. Gregory was the number-one-ranked contender at the time and would eventually win the WBA championship. Whenever a Scott bout was shown on TV there were numerous complaints forwarded to the network from people who did not think an incarcerated person should be allowed to pursue a pro sports career in prison. The rival World Boxing Council agreed and never did rank Scott. Eventually the WBA dropped Scott from its rankings too, largely because he would most likely have to leave Rahway to fight for a championship. With no hope of ever fighting for a title, Scott's career waned. Scott lost two of his last three fights to end his career with a record of 19-2-1. Scott's final bout, a 1981 defeat, came at the hands of Dwight Braxton who would later win world titles in the light heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions. Ironically, Braxton had been a former Rahway inmate himself. Scott was finally released from prison in 2005 when he was in his mid-sixties.
Tags: boxing  James  Scott  prisoner 
Added: 6th July 2015
Views: 1004
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Posted By: Lava1964
Darla Hood on Jack Benny Program On October 30, 1962 the Jack Benny Program featured 31-year-old Darla Hood, who had been the prominent female character in the Our Gang comedy shorts from 1936 through 1943. When this show aired, Hood had a few minor hit records to her credit, was a nightclub singer, and was a mother of three. She performed one of her songs in the first half of the show--but this second half featured a wonderful parody of Our Gang titled 'My Gang' in which Jack played Alfalfa. Of course Darla Hood played...Darla Hood! Enjoy the fun!
Tags: Jack  Benny  Show  Darla  Hood  Our  Gang  parody 
Added: 7th September 2015
Views: 1066
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Posted By: Lava1964
Halftime At The First Super Bowl Kansas City Chief quarterback Len Dawson having a cigarette during the halftime during the first Super Bowl.
Tags: Halftime  At  The  First  Super  Bowl  Len  Dawson  Green  Bay  Packers  Kansas  City  Chiefs  NFL  National  Football  Leauge 
Added: 2nd February 2016
Views: 1352
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Posted By: Cliffy
Exploding Whale - 1970 On November 12, 1970, the good folks of Florence, Oregon awoke in their seaside community to an unusual sight and an awful odor. A dead 45-foot sperm whale had washed ashore. Already in the first stages of decay, the huge carcass' overpowering stench presented a major logistical problem. No one knew quite what to do with the departed sea creature whose weight was estimated at eight tons, but something had to be done quickly. Towing it back out to sea was considered but dismissed because of the whale's huge size. There was also no guarantee it wouldn't wash ashore again. Burying it on the beach was considered impractical too because of its size and the risk that erosion might expose the beast. The only logical solution, of course, was to blow up the dead whale with half a ton of dynamite and hope that scavenging birds would feast on the bits! The engineer in charge of the unique project--who was recruited from Oregon's Highway Division!--expected most of the whale blubber to be blown back into the shallow sea. It didn't quite work out that way. Local TV news reporter Paul Linnman describes what happened.
Tags: exploding  whale  carcass  dynamite 
Added: 2nd February 2016
Views: 842
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Posted By: Lava1964
Pickles the Pooch Finds Stolen World Cup The Jules Rimet Trophy--more commonly known as soccer's World Cup--was stolen on March 20, 1966. It was snatched from a glass display case at Methodist Central Hall in the Westminster section of London, England when the security guard assigned to keep an eye on it was temporarily absent from his post. England was going to host the quadrennial soccer tourney in three months--and the theft was a huge embarrassment for the country's Football Association. Shortly thereafter Joe Mears, the president of the F.A., received a parcel containing part of the World Cup. It was accompanied by a ransom note from a man calling himself Jackson. It demanded 15,000 British pounds in small denominations or else he would melt down the golden symbol of soccer supremacy. Mears contacted the police who arranged for a detective named Len Buggy to act on behalf of the ailing Mears who suffered from heart trouble. Buggy agreed to meet Jackson at London's Battersea Park at a specified time. Buggy brought a briefcase containing only about 500 pounds but Jackson did not bother to count it. Instead he got into Buggy's car and instructed him to drive aimlessly around London for 10 minutes. Jackson noticed a police van tailing the car. He panicked and attempted to escape on foot. He was quickly apprehended and identified as Edward Betchley, a 46-year-old army veteran. He claimed to be acting as a middle-man for a mysterious fellow he called The Pole. Betchley was the only man who was ever arrested in connection with the crime. He served two years in prison and died shortly thereafter of emphysema in 1969. The World Cup was missing for a week until David Corbett took Pickles--his mongrel dog--for a walk in the Norwich section of London on March 27. Pickles was drawn to a bundle tightly wrapped in newspaper lying near a parked car. Corbett removed the newspaper and there was the World Cup! Corbett immediately contacted police--who promptly interrogated him as a possible suspect. They finally let him go at 2:30 a.m. for lack of evidence. Pickles became a celebrity pooch. He was named Dog of the Year, was awarded a year's supply of dog food, appeared on several British TV shows, and had a feature role in a movie. Pickles was also invited to appear on TV programs in Chile, Yugoslavia and Brazil, but Corbett declined the offers as they would have required Pickles to go through strict quarantine measures and get several vaccinations to travel abroad. Corbett estimates that Pickles earned him 3000 pounds--money he put toward the purchase of a new house. When England won the World Cup on July 30, Pickles was invited to attend the team's private post-match victory party--a gathering so exclusive that even the players' wives were barred by the F.A.! Sadly Pickles accidentally suffocated in 1967 when his choke leash became entangled in a tree.
Tags: Pickles  dog  stolen  World  Cup  soccer 
Added: 19th February 2016
Views: 843
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Posted By: Lava1964
Party Lines Millennials will have trouble believing these ever existed, but at one time the majority of North American households did not have private telephone lines. Instead, they were serviced by party lines--basically one common telephone line that served numerous households. Party lines existed in urban areas where private lines were unavailable or expensive, but they are more frequently associated with rural areas where great distances separated neighbors and made private lines expensive for phone companies to install. As late as 1943, three-quarters of Pennsylvania's telephone customers had party lines. Party lines had certain advantages: Important community news could be relayed quickly to everyone who was connected, but of course there were major negatives too. Privacy was a virtual impossibility as anyone else who subscribed to the party line could eavesdrop on others' conversations. Also, there was the obvious problem of one subscriber hogging the line, preventing others from making a call. (If you look at Ann Landers-type newspaper columns from the first half of the 20th century, one person dominating the party line was a frequent complaint.) Phone companies responded by offering protocol tips to party-line users. Among the typical suggestions was a five-minute limit per call. Eavesdropping on others' phone conversations did lead to some amusing anecdotes. Criminal schemes were known to have been thwarted by listeners who heard crooks discussing their plans. One college football coach overheard his rival's plans on how to defeat his team in an upcoming game. Most telephone companies discontinued party lines toward the end of the 1970s.
Tags: party  lines  telephone  systems 
Added: 7th November 2016
Views: 512
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Posted By: Lava1964
Canadian Hockey Fans Finish US Anthem On November 15, 2014 the Toronto Maple Leafs were hosting the Nashville Predators at the Air Canada Centre. Whenever an American-based team plays in Toronto, both the US and Canadian anthems are performed. This night, the singer's microphone malfunctioned halfway through the Star-Spangled Banner. No problem! The crowd finished the anthem for her!
Tags: hockey  fans  Toronto  sing  US  anthem 
Added: 5th March 2017
Views: 298
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Posted By: Lava1964

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