Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.
I think of it as a report card from the past. For the last few months, the 47P has explored stories that seemed important or unusual, funny or quirky or simply said something about the city and the era.
At the end of the year, George Gallup polled Americans on the top stories of the year. Some will be familiar to 47P regulars and others didn’t get a mention. Let’s see how it went.
Gallup said the following were the 15 most frequently mentioned in order of votes received:
I’d say 47P got nearly half of them, certainly the high cost of living, the future of Israel, Hollywood Communists, Hughes-Meyers investigation (a passing mention, anyway), Truman food-saving and long skirts. Princess Elizabeth’s storybook wedding and the massive coverage it received were far more compelling at the time than to those of us jaded by the ensuing 58 years of petty scandals among the royals, although 47P did carry their wedding poem.
Several stories didn’t register with the public in 1947 and were added by the editors at Associated Press: the independence of India (India and Pakistan, mentioned in 47P) and the Florida hurricane (that one made it). The editors at United Press, which had yet to become United Press International, added airline crashes, also covered in 47P, and the World Series.
On the other hand, nobody in the 1947 poll mentioned television. Or smog. Or mass transit and the automobile. Or segregation. Or law enforcement. Or product safety laws (think of all those stories about children who ate pesticides or swallowed small objects, for example). Or breaking the sound barrier. And those are just for starters. As someone once said (or should have), people living in historic times aren’t always aware of it.
The top 10 sports stories, according to the Gallup poll:
Of course, since 47P is rolling around to Jan. 1, 1947, there’s still time to get Illinois over UCLA in the Rose Bowl. But in all, I think 47P caught most of the highlights. I’ll just have to assume nobody asked newspaper readers about runaway hearses crashing into candy stores or Nathan’s famous cafeteria of doom.
Bonus factoid: James B. Beam, Kentucky distiller, dies in bed at the age of 89.
Holy Land death toll: 10 Arabs and 4 Jews.
Quote of the day: “Barring some unexpected supply, such as sea water condensed in huge quantities by atomic energy, that’s the deadline: 1968.”
The Times, on the rising rate of water use in Southern California and the projection of when California would reach maximum consumption of the Colorado River and need new sources of water.