WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN MARCH 1950:
 
 

While rock ‘n’ roll songs were still confined exclusively to the R&B Charts, there was an increasing prevalence of country material that was meeting with pop acceptance, both in terms of cover versions of hit country songs but also more recently with the originals crossing over and appealing to mainstream listeners.

Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy was among the biggest in this regard, as the original by Red Foley tops both the Pop and Country Charts, dominating the latter for three whole months.

Meanwhile the pop covers to become hits in their own right included versions by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Phil Harris, with Crosby’s ultra-relaxed rendition reaching #4 on the pop charts.

With major labels moving into what had previously been a largely segregated market aimed at rural listeners the divide between the two fields began to break down as Decca Records had Crosby, their biggest star, record his take on it before they even released Foley’s original, thereby pushing both versions in the trades simultaneously expecting them each to have their own separate constituency.

But when listeners heard Foley’s more authentic rendition highlighted by Grady Martin’s guitar they picked up on it in surprising numbers showing that the strict constructs between musical fields was far more pliable than anticipated.
 
 

 
 
 

Soon after America declared war on Japan in December 1941 the best minds of science began to collaborate in an effort to find a substitute for rubber, most of which came from the Far East and was used for such important war materials as tires, boots and gas masks, but not until five years after the war ended did the revolutionary invention that came from this endeavor finally get brought to market this month.

The result of all that work by the best minds in military development is… Silly Putty, a viscoelastic substance that acts as both a solid and a liquid depending on how it’s used.

Because America’s victory in World War Two had re-opened access to rubber producing countries the new invention was no longer deemed necessary – nor was it ever completely suited as a replacement for rubber in the first place – and as such it seemed destined to be a quickly forgotten failure.

But when a toy store owner discovered it and along with a partner they began to sell it as a novelty toy in which the coral colored putty was packaged in plastic eggs to highlight its visual appeal. The putty was able to bounce, stretch, float, be pulled apart and put back together and melted into puddles before reforming.

Slly Putty, which had came into existence because of one war nearly went out of business because of another war as America’s involvement in the Korean conflict in the early Fifties’s restricted the use of silicone, it’s main ingredient. When the rationing was lifted however sales exploded and to date approximately six million eggs of Silly Putty are sold each year.

In 1950 it was still mostly adults, not children, who laid down one dollar to play with this intriguing scientific reject.

 
 
 
 
 
After two and a half years and approximately 300 episodes television’s first sitcom Mary Kay And Johnny leaves the air.

Though it existed in the era before official ratings the program was sufficiently popular to be picked up during its run by all three networks, debuting on the DuMont network in November 1947 before CBS had it for a stretch in late 1948 when new episodes aired nightly after which it appeared on NBC until it left the air March 11th 1950.

The show was written by and starred Mary Kay and Johnny Stearns who were married in real life and it depicted an exaggerated and humorous version of their home life, in the process establishing many of what are now standard television plots such as the calm professional husband dealing with a somewhat harried housewife.

Its most notable achievement was in breaking new ground by showing Mary Kay’s pregnancy and incorporating it into the storylines after it became impossible to hide her condition on screen. Their infant child Christopher then began to be featured in episodes starting when he was just a few weeks old.

Because the program aired live for most of its run it survived only on kinescope for decades until those too were destroyed in the 1970’s as part of an effort to clear out warehouse space by dumping the unwanted stock of old shows into the East River and as a result there are known to be just a few surviving clips of the landmark program still in existence.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The F.B.I. debuts its Ten Most Wanted list in an effort to satiate J. Edgar Hoover’s need for shameless self-aggrandizement.

The idea came about when William Kinsey Hutchinson, the editor-in-chief of the International News Service, published a lavish story on F.B.I. director J. Edgar Hoover who had been looking for a way to publicize the job he was doing capturing dangerous fugitives.

The article came up with a sort of scorecard along those lines and when the piece received a lot of good publicity Hoover quickly adopted the concept with an official Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list to be made public – primarily on the walls of U.S Post Offices – where it’s since become an iconic pop culture reference.

While conceived more as a way to bring added praise for his department so the F.B.I. could check off the names of those captured it wound up actually being an effective tool in accumulating information on those it listed. In the seventy years since its debut the public has been credited with providing tips for more than thirty percent of those that have been apprehended over the years.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What’s apparently a normal everyday experience for mothers in 1950 would be a horrific crime in the next century as A&P Supermarkets proudly advertise how their stores are such a valued part of new families’ neighborhoods that these inexperienced mothers happily leave their infants outside unattended while they roam the aisles in the store!

It’s a pretty good sign, when you see a pram parade lined up outside the store, that mothers are inside doing a smart bit of shopping.

Yes, what supermarket wouldn’t want to encourage child abduction even if it meant cutting back on the mouths to feed in their customers households? That kind of selflessness is probably why A&P Supermarkets have been a valued member of their communities for years.

So c’mon down, leave your babies on the sidewalk while letting their older siblings run unsupervised through crowded parking lots getting into trouble so you can shop for canned peaches and fresh eggs to feed what’s left of your brood after their adventures in our unofficial “playground of disaster”.
 
 
 
 


What can you buy while you abandon your children in A&P’s parking lot?

They have plenty of sales – ground beef is 49 cents a pound as are fully dressed frying chickens, while freshly caught sea bass is just 39 cents a pound.

Since you’ll no longer have pesky kids around to eat them all before you get a chance to indulge your sweet tooth, why not also pick up six jelly doughnuts for twenty five cents? If you want to pretend you eat healthy for when neighbors stop by you can always stock up on two pounds of apples for 29 cents.

Find it all in the roomy and uncluttered aisles of children-free A&P Supermarkets!
 
 
 
 
 
RECORDS REVIEWED FOR MARCH 1950:
 

PAUL WILLIAMS (ft. CONNIE ALLEN): What’s Happening
PAUL WILLIAMS: Camp Meeting Bounce
JIMMY “BABY FACE” LEWIS: I’m So Good To You
JIMMY “BABY FACE” LEWIS: Mailman Blues
THE BEAVERS: Big Mouth Mama
THE BEAVERS: I’d Rather Be Wrong Than Blue
FRANK CULLEY: Waxie Maxie Boogie
FRANK CULLEY: Hop ‘N’ Twist
THE FOUR TUNES: Am I Blue?
LITTLE ESTHER & MEL WALKER (with JOHNNY OTIS): Mistrustin’ Blues
LITTLE ESTHER (with JOHNNY OTIS): Misery
THE JAMES QUINTET: Don’t Worry
WILLIS JACKSON: Chuck’s Chuckles
BIG JAY McNEELY: Jaysfrantic
BIG JAY McNEELY: Deac’s Blowout
 
 
 
 

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