American Bandstand Goes National Sixty-Five Years Ago: August 5, 1957

From The History Channel

Sixty-five years ago today, an American phenomenon went national. American Bandstand with “America’s Youngest Teenager,” Dick Clark at the helm, changed from a local Philadelphia show into a national, coast-to-coast hit sensation.

In the late 1950s, when television and rock and roll were new and when the biggest generation in American history was just about to enter its teens, it took a bit of originality to see the potential power in this now-obvious combination of television, rock and roll, and teenagers.

The man who saw that potential more clearly than any other was a 26-year-old Utica, New York, disc jockey named Dick Clark, who transformed himself and a local Philadelphia television program into two of the most culturally significant forces of the early rock-and-roll era. His iconic show, American Bandstand, began broadcasting nationally on August 5, 1957, beaming images of clean-cut, average teenagers dancing to the not-so-clean-cut Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” to 67 ABC affiliates across the nation.

“…Bandstand remained a popular local hit, but it took Clark’s ambition to help it break out.”

The History Channel

The show that evolved into American Bandstand began on Philadelphia’s WFIL-TV in 1952, a few years before the popular ascension of rock and roll. Hosted by local radio personality Bob Horn, the original Bandstand nevertheless established much of the basic format of its later incarnation. In the first year after Dick Clark took over as host in the summer of 1956, Bandstand remained a popular local hit, but it took Clark’s ambition to help it break out. When the ABC television network polled its affiliates in 1957, for suggestions to fill its 3:30 p.m. time slot, Clark pushed hard for Bandstand, which network executives picked up and scheduled for an August 5, 1957, premiere.

Renamed American Bandstand, the newly national program featured a number of new elements that became part of its trademark, including the high school gym-like bleachers and the famous segment in which teenage studio guests rated the newest records on a scale from 25 to 98 and offered such criticisms as “It’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it.” But the heart of American Bandstand always remained the sound of the day’s most popular music combined with the sight of the show’s unpolished teen “regulars” dancing and showing off the latest fashions in clothing and hairstyles.

American Bandstand aired five days a week in live national broadcasts until 1963, when the show moved west to Los Angeles and began a 24-year run as a taped weekly program with Dick Clark as host.

Dick Clark suffered a stroke in December, 2004, and died eight years later on April 18, 2012, following prostrate surgery.

USS INDIANAPOLIS Sunk 77 Years Ago: July 30, 1945; 316 Survived

by HB Auld, Jr.

Two Navy ship disasters’ anniversaries in two days: Yesterday it was the USS FORRESTAL (CV 59) and today it is the heavy cruiser USS INDIANAPOLIS (CA 35). I knew this one was coming; it’s been on my calendar all year.

On this day 77 years ago, July 30, 1945, USS INDIANAPOLIS is sunk by Japanese torpedoes. The few survivors would float in the ocean for days before they were found.

Of the nearly 1,200 men on board the ship, about 900 men survived the initial explosion and went overboard into the water. The ship sank 12 minutes later, taking 300 to their watery graves. Almost 600 Sailors died in the water of dehydration, saltwater poisoning, and the worst of all: shark attacks while stranded in the open ocean with few lifeboats and almost no food or water. Those surviving in the water would not be rescued for days. The Navy only learned of the sinking four days later, when survivors were spotted by the crew of a PV-1 Ventura on routine patrol. Of the 1200 original crew, only 316 Sailors survived the tragedy.

There was just one silver lining, if there was one, to the tragedy. INDIANAPOLIS had already performed the most critical part of its mission: It had successfully carried parts for the “Little Boy” atomic bomb across the Pacific before it was sunk. American bombers would soon carry “Little Boy” toward Hiroshima. Along with the bomb “Fat Man” dropped on Nagasaki, “Little Boy” would ultimately force an end to World War II.

My landlord was one of those 316….

Several years ago, my landlord was one of those 316 INDIANAPOLIS survivors. During World War II, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Charles McKissick served in INDIANAPOLIS and survived the sinking. We used to sit and talk in McKinney, TX, about our times in the Navy and he would talk about the hellish days and nights he spent in the water after the sinking before being rescued. Every year, Charles would travel to Indianapolis, IN, each July 30 for the ship’s reunion. When he returned, he would tell me that many more of his shipmates were missing that year. The numbers continued to dwindle down at each annual reunion after that. This was in the early 1990s. LTJG Charles McKissick is also gone now. Rest In Peace, Sir. You and your Shipmates earned your reward. “Rest your oars, Lieutenant. We have the Watch, now.” God bless these brave men and God bless America.

After 77 years, only two confirmed survivors of the sinking of the USS INDIANAPOLIS now remain: Cleatus Lebow, who at 98 is the oldest survivor, and Harold Bray, Jr., who is 95 years old.

Billy the Kid Dies at the Hands of Sheriff Pat Garrett 141 Years Ago

From The History Channel

Sheriff Pat Garrett shoots Henry McCarty, also known as William H. Bonney and popularly known as Billy the Kid, to death at the Maxwell Ranch in New Mexico 141 years ago today on July 14, 1881. Garrett, who had been tracking the Kid for three months after the gunslinger had escaped from prison only days before his scheduled execution, got a tip that Billy was holed up with friends. While Billy was gone, Garrett waited in the dark in his bedroom. When Billy entered, Garrett shot him to death.

Back on April 1, 1878, Billy the Kid ambushed Sheriff William Brady and one deputy in Lincoln, New Mexico, after ranch owner John Tunstall had been murdered. Billy had worked at Tunstall’s ranch and was outraged by his employer’s slaying-vowing to hunt down every man responsible. Sheriff Brady and his men, who had been affiliated with rival ranchers, were involved with the gang that killed Tunstall on February 18. Billy’s retaliatory attack left Brady and Deputy George Hindman dead. Although only 18 years old at the time, Billy had now committed as many as 17 murders.

“…most wanted man in the West.”


Following his indictment for the murder of Sheriff Brady, Billy the Kid was the most wanted man in the West. Evading posses sent to capture him, he eventually struck a deal with the new governor of New Mexico: In return for his testimony against the perpetrators of the ongoing ranch wars in the state, Billy would be set free. Although he kept his word about the testimony, he began to distrust the promise that he would be released and so he escaped.

Once a fugitive, Billy killed a few more men, including the gunslinger Joe Grant, who had challenged him to a showdown. Legend has it that Billy managed to get a hold of Grant’s gun prior to the fight and made sure that an empty chamber was up first in the man’s revolver. When it came time to fire, only Billy’s gun went off and Grant was left dead.

Legendary Sheriff Pat Garrett finally brought Billy the Kid in to stand trial. The judge sentenced Billy the Kid to hang until “you are dead, dead, dead.” Billy reportedly responded, “And you can go to hell, hell, hell.” Two weeks before his scheduled execution, Billy escaped, killing two guards in the process.

Garrett mounted yet another posse to bring in the Kid. After tracing him to the Maxwell Ranch, Garrett shot him to death. No legal charges were brought against him since the killing was ruled a justifiable homicide.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rumors of Billy the Kid escaping death that night in New Mexico abound. One of the most notable comes from Texas where “Brushy Bill Roberts” claimed to be Billy the Kid until his death, December 27, 1950, in Hico, Texas. For more info on this claim, see this article on Wikipedia.

Famed Aviators Flew into History 85 Years Ago Today on July 2, 1937

by HB Auld, Jr.

Today is a significant anniversary in American flight history.  “Eighty-five years ago today on July 2, 1937, the Lockheed aircraft carrying American aviatrix Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan left Lae, New Guinea. The pair were attempting to fly around the world when they lost their bearings during the most challenging leg of the global journey: Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island, a tiny island 2,227 nautical miles away, in the center of the Pacific Ocean.

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca was in sporadic radio contact with Earhart as she approached Howland Island and received messages that she was lost and running low on fuel.” (The History Channel)

Throughout the almost one century since Amelia and Fred were declared lost, various hypotheses have been offered, most of them eventually proven as either false or unlikely.

The most likely answer to the flight is offered up by Mike Campbell, a world-renowned Earhart researcher and expert.  His three books on her last flight all detail her ditching her Lockheed Electra 10E airplane in the Marshall Islands near the Mili Atoll, where she was captured by the Japanese and taken to the island of Saipan. 

More than 100 eyewitnesses….

More than 100 eyewitnesses, including US Army and Marine Corps military members and many Saipan natives, have detailed Amelia and Fred’s imprisonment in Garapan Jail on Saipan and their subsequent execution by beheading by Japanese soldiers.  Her aircraft, which was seen by Soldiers and Marines on Saipan, some of whom eventually rose in the ranks to General, was eventually burned and it and Amelia and Fred were buried under what is now a large airport tarmac there. 

The conclusion to their flight was even revealed to a world-famous CBS reporter, Fred Goerner, by no less than US Navy Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz.  The cover-up of her final flight by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the US Government is greatly detailed in Mike’s blog and books.

For much more on the final flight of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan that began eighty-five years ago today, see Mike Campbell’s web blog: and his excellent most recent book, Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.  That book is more than 400-pages long with hundreds of footnotes, photographs, and eyewitness accounts to the end of this daring pair of aviators. 

Who’s Packing Your Parachute?

Compiled by HB Auld, Jr.

(Editor’s Note: The following was posted on Facebook by Paul Harrington, but it has been around in many different forms, including a book, for years. It is NOT an original post)

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent six years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said, ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.” Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory — he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

“…recognize people who pack your parachutes.”


Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing my parachute. And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours!

Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word. Maybe this could explain it: When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do — you forward jokes. And to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get? A forwarded joke.

So my friend, next time when you get a joke, don’t think that you’ve been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you’ve been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile, just helping you pack your parachute.

The Battle of Midway Ended 80 Years Ago Today on June 7, 1942

by HB Auld, Jr.

On this date, 80 years ago, the Battle of Midway, a turning point in the war against Japan, ended. The Japanese fleet was limping back toward Japan, licking its wounds, as the US Pacific Fleet celebrated the victory with the first triumphant reply to Japan’s surprise ambush against US Forces at Pearl Harbor, six months earlier.

Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto, Japan’s architect of the war against the United States, had planned to feint an attack against the Aleutian Islands, strung out from Alaska. He planned to hide his four carriers near Midway Island in the Pacific and when the US diverted its forces and answered the false attack against the Aleutians, he would invade Midway Island.

(PERSONAL ASIDE: I was stationed with the US Navy at Adak, Alaska, in the Aleutian Islands from December, 1966, to December, 1967. When I was there back then, quonset huts dotted the island, left over from World War II. The Quonset huts were constructed for American troops to hunker down in during the expected Japanese naval attack that never came. The Quonset huts there on the island were still usable. Many of the naval departments on the island “homesteaded” a hut for department parties and just to get away from one of the five bases still on the island).

Unfortunately for Admiral Yamamoto, the United States had just secretly broken the Japanese JN25 military code and learned of the false attack. When Yamamoto attacked Midway Island, the US was ready and waiting on June 4, 1942.

When the smoke cleared four days later on June 7, the battle was over and Japan had suffered 2,500 casualties and lost four carriers, a cruiser, and 292 aircraft. The US Pacific Fleet lost one carrier (the behemoth USS YORKTOWN (CV 10), one destroyer escort (USS HAMMANN…DE 131) 145 aircraft, and 307 casualties. Japan’s losses brought them down into parity with the US.

In August, 1942, the US pushed its counter-offensive at Guadalcanal, eventually leading to Japan’s surrender three years later.

A Story from World War II

Quoted from ARGunners Magazine, December 20, 2918

by Guest Author: Harold Gerwien

Here is a sad video of Loyce Deen being buried at sea during World War 2 on Nov. 5, 1944. He was a Gunner on a Grumman TBF Avenger but after attacking Japanese vessels during the Battle of Manila Bay, he received a direct hit from Anti-Aircraft fire. As the body was too badly mangled and the aircraft badly damaged, he was buried with the aircraft at sea with military honor and still is the sole soldier to date who was buried at sea with the aircraft. Also ordered was that they didn’t remove the guns from the aircraft, which was normally the procedure!

In the video: Grumman TBF avenger torpedo bomber of VT-15 Torpedo Air Group, approaches and lands on the deck of the USS Essex (CV-9) during the Battle of Manila Bay, in World War 2.

Upon landing, Lt. Robert Cosgrove (Pilot) and Sailor Digby Denzek (Radioman) can be seen in their respective forward and middle crew positions. But the rear gunner position, occupied by Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class,Loyce Edward Deen (Gunner), who has only 23 years old, has been completely destroyed by enemy 40mm shell fire.

As the aircraft is parked amongst others, with wings folded, sailors of the Essex take fingerprints and cut dog tags from the body of AMM2C Loyce Deen in the gunner position.

A Chaplain conducts services from beside the aircraft.

AR Gunner Magazine, December 30, 2018

Captain Carlos W. Wieber, Commanding Officer of the Essex, and her crew, participate in funeral services on the deck. A chaplain conducts the services from beside the aircraft, where Loyce Deen’s remains in the gunner’s position have been shrouded. Closeup of Rear Admiral Frederick C. Sherman during the burial service. A bugler sounds taps. Beside the bugler is David L. McDonald, who was XO of the USS Essex (and later Chief of Naval Operations in the 1960s).

Deen’s remains are then buried at sea in the TBF Avenger in which he perished. The aircraft floats off the fantail for a short time before sinking from view. Two TBF Avengers are seen flying overhead , in tribute. Crew members then disband and return to their duties.

Music: The Brigham Young University Choir: Goin’ Home (Men’s Chorus) – Dvorak; arr. Rosalind Hall. More of BYU:

Memorial Day: May 30, 2022

For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

We will remember them….

From: “For the Fallen”

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Inspiration for “For the Fallen”

Laurence Binyon composed his best known poem while sitting on the cliff-top looking out to sea from the dramatic scenery of the north Cornish coastline. A plaque marks the location at Pentire Point, north of Polzeath. However, there is also a small plaque on the East Cliff north of Portreath, further south on the same north Cornwall coast, which also claims to be the place where the poem was written.

The poem was written in mid-September, 1914, a few weeks after the outbreak of the First World War. During these weeks the British Expeditionary Force had suffered casualties following its first encounter with the Imperial German Army at the Battle of Mons on 23 August, its rearguard action during the retreat from Mons in late August and the Battle of Le Cateau on 26 August, and its participation with the French Army in holding up the Imperial German Army at the First Battle of the Marne between 5 and 9 September 1914.

Laurence said in 1939 that the four lines of the fourth stanza came to him first. These words of the fourth stanza have become especially familiar and famous, having been adopted by the Royal British Legion as an Exhortation for Ceremonies of Remembrance to commemorate fallen Servicemen and women.

Laurence Binyon was too old to enlist in the military forces but he went to work for the Red Cross as a medical orderly in 1916. He lost several close friends and his brother-in-law in the war.

Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), published in The Times newspaper on 21 September 1914.

Bonnie and Clyde Ambushed in Louisiana 88 Years Ago Today

by HB Auld, Jr.

Today is the 88th anniversary of the ambush of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, notorious infamous outlaws who died on a lonely Louisiana two-lane road May 23, 1934.

Bonnie and Clyde were nationally known criminals who were wanted for kidnapping, auto theft, bank robbery, and the murder of 11 people, including nine law enforcement officers during their two-year crime spree. They were finally killed in an ambush on Louisiana Highway 154, outside of Gibsland, LA, near Arcadia, LA.

Six law enforcement officers from three agencies combined to ensure the pair were killed. After the killing outside of Gibsland, the pair were taken to Arcadia and laid out in the Conger Furniture Store and Funeral Home, located directly beside my grandfather’s dry cleaning shop. My father, HB Auld, had turned 20 years old the day before the shooting and still lived and worked in Arcadia when Bonnie and Clyde were brought in. My dad was born and raised in Arcadia and worked for his dad in the dry cleaning shop at the time Bonnie and Clyde were killed and brought there.

The 2000-person population grew to more than 12,000.

The 2,000-person population of Arcadia swelled to more than 12,000 onlookers who arrived by foot, car, buggy, and on horseback within hours of the deaths of Bonnie and Clyde.

I met the son of one of the law enforcement officers, Boots Hinton, in Gibsland November 5, 2005, during a visit back to Arcadia. Boots ran the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, located in the old cafe where the pair bought a couple of sandwiches before heading down Highway 154 for their dates with death: May 23, 1934, 88 years ago today.