October 1947: Idaho’s Singing Cowboy Senator, a Future Toupee Tycoon, Saddles Up for Cross-Country Ride

 imageL.A. Times, 1947

Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.

Sen. Glen H. Taylor (D-Idaho) gave up his cross-country trip after three days, arriving in Phoenix by car with the admission that “he bit off more than he could chew.” One of the more colorful politicians of the 1940s, Taylor made news in 1946 when he knocked a legislative committeeman to the floor of a Boise hotel over a political dispute.

By 1948, he was deemed vice presidential timber and joined Henry A. Wallace’s third-party ticket, opposing a peacetime draft, the Marshall Plan and advocating a “Golden Rule” with the Soviet Union.

During a 1948 campaign appearance at the Southern Negro Youth Congress in Birmingham, Ala., Taylor was arrested and put in jail for refusing police orders to use the white entrance and instead entering by the door reserved for blacks. In 1950, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld Taylor’s sentence: a $50 fine and 180 days in jail, saying that he was guilty of disorderly conduct rather than protesting segregation.

Defeated in the race for a second Senate term (The Times editorialized “He Won’t Be Missed”), Taylor became a wealthy executive in the toupee industry as the inventor of the Taylor Topper, which he credited for his own political success.

Bonus factoid: Taylor and his wife, Dora, made the first Taylor Topper in their kitchen, using a pie tin lined with pink felt, covered with hair from the dime store and held to his head with double-stick tape.

Quote of the day: “The study of Latin is supposed to improve your mastery of the English language, but it is only reasonable to suppose that the same time and effort spent in studying English would be vastly more effective.”

C.H. Ristad, Pasadena, letter to The Times on the American educational system.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, Music, Politics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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