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Headlines Make the News

November 19, 2003

Almanac Transcript

Headlines make the news this week on the Oklahoma Audio Almanac.

Hello, Iím Steven Knoche Kite.

Itís an argument as old, Iím sure, as the human race itself. Thereís always someone saying "this world is falling to pieces, it wasn't like this when I was young," or the opposite, "what a wonderful age we live in today." In an attempt to see if Oklahomanís were indeed involved in any sort of universal shift towards good or evil, I began sorting through news headlines from various papers around the state. Hereís a random assortment of what I found: Boy 16, fires shots in air liner over gulf; Stillwater warned of pollution woes; Five teen suspects sent to trial in gang attack; pills and alcohol kill TV figure; rape suspect seized; students and professionals fascinated with indoor tanning; terrorist cells infiltrating U.S.; dozens die in explosion over seas. Now those sound fairly typical, but I failed to mention that all of these stories came from this week of November in 1953. After fifty years the news is basically the same.

In this week of November, 1953 Oklahoman's didn't know who Al-Qaeda was or where he lived, but they did know that the ďredsĒ were out to get us and could possibly be lurking around every corner. Oklahomanís were constantly given instructions on what to do or where to go if they noticed any suspicious communist-like-behavior amongst their neighbors or friends. In Oklahoma City, November 1953, gang members stood trial, and citizens mourned the death of entertainment stars due to drugs and drink.

In 1953 Tulsa, the youth worried about pasty-white winter complexions received good news in the form of the new Hively-Stoops Tanning Machine. For one quarter you could stand on a circular spinning platform that rotated you in front of a bank of sun lamps. Invented in Tulsa and assembled in Hivelyís garage the coin operated devices found a favorable response in salons, sororities and clubrooms across the state. Iím not sure if this edition of the Almanac helped to settle any long-standing issues, but itís interesting to know that the fears, worries and shallow concerns regarding skin tone havenít changed much at all after 50 years. The Oklahoma of November 1953, with all of itís perceived differences and antiquation has perhaps more in common with the November of 2003 than we would like to think about.

Headlines across the state this week on the Almanac.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a joint production of Oklahoma's Public Radio and the Oklahoma State University Library.

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