1949 – 69 YEARS AGO
It didn’t matter that the Chicago Cardinals football team and a local football hero were set to be on hand for an exhibition game with the Wilkes-Barre Bullets at Bone Stadium. What did matter to local fans was the price of entrance to the event. The game pitted The Cards, 1947 and 1948 Division Champs of the NFL West, against the Bullets, and was expected to draw huge crowds as the team’s running back Pittston native Charlie Trippi was set to play. The Bullets set the entrance fee at $2.75 for reserved seats, $1.75 for general admission and $1 for children. Several Pittston organizations opposed the high fees, quoting Bill Veeck, head of the Cleveland Indians baseball team, who once stated, “Better to have 80,000 fans at $1 than 40,000 at $2. Needless to say, the Bullets organization relented and attendance was disappointing. Some fans stated local high school games had brought greater crowds. Trippi played for the Cardinals from 1947 to 1955. Along with being the team’s running back, his versatility allowed him to fill a multitude of roles over his career, including quarterback, defensive back, punter, and return specialist. The entrance fees would calculate to $29.13, $18.54 and $10.59 at the current inflation rate.
1953 – 65 Years YEARS AGO
Private First Class John Kundratik, of Port Blanchard, was killed in action in July 1953 while serving with the Seventh Infantry Division in Korea. He was the last area soldier to lose his life in battle during the war. Kundratik’s remains arrived at the Lehigh Valley Railroad station in Pittston and were met by family, friends and members of the American Legion of Jenkins Township. The Korean War, fought from June 25, 1950 to July 1953, was a war between North Korea, supported by China and the Soviet Union and South Korea, supported by the United States. The battle in which Kundratik lost his life was likely the Battle of Pork Chop Hill. The final battle of the war fought in July 1953 raged as the United Nations, China and North Korea negotiated an Armistice Agreement with the United States. Almost 40,000 Americans died in action in Korea, and more than 100,000 were wounded.
1960 – 58 YEARS AGO
The American Theater in Pittston featured “Ocean’s 11” starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Angie Dickinson. “From the Terrace,” starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, was screened at the Comerford Drive-in. A 1960 Rambler Custom Cross Country 4-door station wagon could be purchased for as little as $39.95 per month at Luchetti Sales and Service Inc. on Tunkhannock Avenue in Pittston.
The last chapter of Bone Stadium was written as crews dismantled remaining outbuildings at the stadium. Built in the late 1940s for midget and stock car racing, football and other events, the popular venue saw enormous crowds during its heyday. It was reported that one of the midget drivers who competed in the stadium in earlier days was “contracting” for what remained of the stadium. It also was reported that “ground breaking for a shopping center” had begun at the site.
The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked, “Do you think it is a good policy to provide a can of beer daily for American front-line soldiers?” Wally Shepherd, of West Pittston, answered, “I approve of it. Those guys are fighting and fighting hard. One can of beer isn’t enough to hurt anybody.” Michael Roche, of Pittston, stated, “A little drink of beer always puts a little spirit in a guy. A drink of the old Schnapps will put some pep in him.” William Navarouski, of Pittston, added, “I’ve heard that beer has been substituted for water on several occasions and we haven’t lost any wars yet.” Joseph Sarti, Pittston, said, “Give them two cans a day or more.”
1964 – 54 YEARS AGO
Dupont Borough Council members wrestled with the decision to employ a full-time police force. Expansion during the early 60s brought evidence of concern by borough officials and residents regarding increased criminal activity and the budget issues brought on by adding additional men and hours. Many felt a full-time police force would create additional revenue from citing more motorists with highway violations. The idea of a full-time police force had been proposed 10 years earlier by Frank Russ Polumbo who had served as a policeman, constable and “detective.” At the time, Polumbo offered his full-time service for less than $60 per week.
1972 – 46 YEARS AGO
Top 10 songs of September 1972
1. “Goodbye to Love” – Carpenters
2. “Go All The Way” – Raspberries
3. “Guitar Man” – Bread
4. “Brandy” – Looking Glass
5. “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me” – Mac Davis
6. “Back Stabbers” – The O’Jays
7. “Beautiful Sunday” – Daniel Boone
8. “Saturday in the Park” – Chicago
9. “Honky Cat” – Elton John
10. “I Am Woman” – Helen Reddy
1974 – 44 YEARS AGO
Coach William Kennedy, Anthony Blaskiewicz, Mrs. Alfred Clifford, Mrs. Robert Nolan, Mrs. James O’Malley, Stanley Waleski and Thomas Lavelle, officers of the athletic committee of St. Mary’s Parish in Avoca, presented the school with a trophy case designed and constructed by parishioner Robert Brennan.
1984 – 34 YEARS AGO
Frank Albert Memorial Lodge No. 43 State Police Fraternal Order of Police honored retired Trooper Thomas Burke, of Yatesville, at their 38th annual dinner. Trooper Burke enlisted on June 16, 1949 and served in Towanda, Greensburg, Washington and on the PA Turnpike. He and his wife Lillian had three children Margaret, Patty and Thomas Jr. Lodge #43 of the Fraternal Order of Police was named after Frank L. Albert who was assigned to the old Troop “B” Third Squadron in Wyoming. According to the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association website, “Albert was killed in a bombing run over Friedrichshafen, Germany during World War II. Unable to release his bombs due to a low group of B-17’s below, he elected to make a repeat run over the target. His #4 engine was hit but, rather than break formation, he continued the mission, ordering the rest of this crew to bail out. Albert went down with the plane. The Lodge represents members in the counties of Bradford, Sullivan, Wyoming, and Luzerne.”
1994 – 24 YEARS AGO
In March 1993, Leonard “Lenny” C. Insalaco II and John F. Lombardo lost their lives in a tragic fire on Main Street in Pittston. A monument in honor of these two brave men was lifted onto a four-ton black marble base at a site on Kennedy Boulevard. The statue was commissioned through John Marino of Dupont Monument.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1846 — The first anesthetized tooth extraction is performed by Dr. William Morton in Charleston, Massachusetts.
1864 — Confederate troops fail to retake Fort Harrison from the Union forces during the siege of Petersburg.
1927 — Babe Ruth hits his 60th home run of the season off Tom Zachary in Yankee Stadium, New York City.
1935 — George Gershwin‘s opera Porgy and Bess opens at the Colonial Theatre in Boston.
1938 — Under German threats of war, Britain, France, Germany and Italy sign an accord permitting Germany to take control of Sudetenland, a region of Czechoslovakia inhabited by a German-speaking minority.
1943 — The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps becomes the Women’s Army Corps, a regular contingent of the U.S. Army with the same status as other army service corps.
1949 — The Berlin Airlift is officially halted after 277,264 flights.
1950 — U.N. forces cross the 38th parallel, separating North and South Korea as they pursue the retreating North Korean Army.
1954 — The first atomic-powered submarine, the Nautilus, is commissioned in Groton, Connecticut.
1955 — Actor and teen idol James Dean is killed in a car crash while driving his Porsche on his way to enter it into a race in Salinas, California.
1972 — Pro baseball great Roberto Clemente hits his 3,000th, and final, hit of his career.
BORN ON THIS DAY
1861 — William Wrigley, Jr., founder of the Wrigley chewing gum empire and owner of the Chicago Cubs baseball team
1924 — Truman Capote, author and playwright whose works include “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood”
1935 — Johnny Mathis, singer
1955 — Andy Bechtolsheim, engineer, co-founder of Sun Microsystems
1958 — Marty Stuart, singer, songwriter, musician (“Hillbilly Rock”), joined the renowned Lester Flatt’s Nashville Grass bluegrass group at age 14; he hosted “The Marty Stuart Show” on RFD-TV
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