On This Date in History:
Look magazine was founded by Gardner “Mike” Cowles, Jr and his brother John. Mike was the executive editor of two newspapers in Iowa and started a new magazine in January of 1937…at least it was supposed to be in January. For some reason they skipped the first issue and the first released issue was Volume I number 2 in February 1937. For a few months it was a weekly magazine but then changed around June or so to a bi-weekly. Life magazine had begun a few months earlier and is generally more well known, though both magazines were very similar. Life was known for its photographs and Look also had very little verbiage but was heavy on the photos. Look was a hit very quickly as almost out of the gate it was selling nearly a million copies per issue. By 1948, they were up to 2.9 million and it peaked in 1969 with 7.75 million copies. That apparently wasn’t good enough though because TV really took a toll on advertising. Look lost about $5 million in revenue in 1970 and, in spite of a 6.65 million circulation. On October 19, 1971 Look magazine went out of business. Several months later in 1972, Life magazine also called it quits.
In 1940, war was going on in Europe and Asia but America was still at peace. Americans were hopeful that the country could stay out of the conficts building around the world that would later become World War II. Now, as I had said, Look magazine wasn’t heavy on the written word but instead depended on photographs. Often, there would be a pretty long caption under any given photo and the actual article was relatively short. On this date in 1940, there was a six page article that featured a Yale law student who also was a partner in a New York modeling agency and served as an assitant coach for the Yale football team. Odd combination…law student, model agency executive and football coach. The subject kinda fell into the modeling agency partnership because it was his girlfriend, Phyllis Brown, who made the arrangements for the business venture.
The title of the article was “A New York Girl and Her Yale Boy Friend Spend a Hilarious Holilday on Skis.” The “New York Girl” was none other than Phyllis Brown herself, who also was a model for Cosmopolitan magazine. The young Yale law student who was the subject was her boyfriend. His name was Gerald R. Ford. He went on to become a respected member of the United States House of Representatives. Then he was appointed to the post of Vice-President by President Nixon following the resignation of Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew. He then ascended to the presidency as, with the resignation of President Nixon, Gerald R. Ford became the 38th President of the United States.
Following Watergate, being the President from 1974 to 1977 was difficult for Ford and would have been for anyone. The economy was in the tank, South Vietnam was in the process of being taken over by the communist north following the pull-out of American troops in 1973. The man who replaced him, President Carter, became great friends with Ford and the two presidents even pledged to speak at the other’s funeral, depending on who died first. Carter lived up to the pledge. Ford was ridiculed by Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live for being somewhat clumsy. That was always odd because Ford had been a top flight athlete. Many consider him to be one of the greatest football players in the University of Michigan’s history, where he did his undergraduate work. He even turned down the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers. Nevertheless, Ford apparently was already known in Washington political circles as being somewhat of a tanglefoot. When Lyndon Johnson was in Congress, history says that Ford “couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time.” However, history often cleans things up and the real quote concerning Ford by Johson is that Ford couldn’t “fart and chew gum at the same time.” Gotta love that Lyndon.
His christened name was Gerald Rudolf Ford, Jr., but he generally went by “Jerry” and signed his name accordingly and for some reason changed the spelling of his middle name to Rudolph. But, that wasn’t the only name change that he had. He had been born in 1913 as Leslie Lynch King, Jr. His mother and father divorced in December 1913 and in 1916 his mother married Gerald R. Ford, Sr. He became Gerald R. Ford, Jr. at that time but he was never legally adopted by his step-father and he didn’t get around to legally changing his name until 1935.
A lot of “what ifs” in there. Had Ford played professional football instead of going to law school, would his life had been the same? If his mother had not married who he did or if she had stayed married to his father, would he have accomplished as much? Who knows…but speculation is silly. The fact is that he was extremely successful and quite accomplished. One would think that being President would stand head and shoulders above all other feats. But, Ford was an Eagle Scout and he put that accomplishment near the top of his list of proudest accomplishments. Here is what he had to say about it:
“One of the proudest moments of my life came in the Court of Honor when I was awarded the Eagle Scout badge. I still have that badge. It is a treasured possession. I am the first Eagle Scout Vice President. The three great principles which Scouting provides—self-discipline, teamwork, and moral and patriotic values—are the basic building blocks of leadership. I applaud the Scouting program for continuing to emphasize them. I am confident that your ability to bring ideals, values, and leadership training to millions of our young people will help to bring about a new era—a time in which not only our Republic will progress in peace and freedom, but a time in which the entire world shall be secure, and all its people free.”
Values and principles….what a novel idea for a politician and a president to have.
Weather Bottom Line: As I mentioned yesterday, we have a slight chance for some severe weather to wind up the week, though we often think of wind and tornadoes when we hear about “severe weather.” In this case, it would most likely come in the form of hail. The lapse rates look supportive of such activity. However, whether or not its a widespread event is up in the air. We won’t have the sun to help raise t’storms sufficiently to produce hailers…but…this piece of energy coming out from the unsettled pattern in the Southwest will behave a little differently from the others this past week in that this guy should come almost straight up the Mississippi Valley gut and into the Ohio Valley. So, that feature itself will have an opportunity to provide enough instability to help elevate storms sufficiently to produce hail. Those storms that might bring hail would also bring the prospect of gusty winds.
Now, I mentioned yesterday about some odd indications of snow but I kinda hurrumphed about that. While that seems very unlikely, the scenario that would bring that about is still there. This low that is coming up over us will most likely get stuck and even back up to the west instead of racing off to the northeast. So, as it goes by it comes back and parks itself somewhere northwest of Cincinnati for the weekend. It will hold temperatures down for the weekend with highs probably in the upper 40′s under cloudy skies and provide passing showers. So, I hope you enjoyed our 70 degree day on Wednesday because the weekend looks gloomy…good for watching basketball. But, there is no surge of polar air coming down so after this mess gets out to start the week, then we get back to a regime of mild conditions with temperatures recovering as the week goes on.