Little Bits of History

September 30

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 30, 2017

1861: William Wrigley, Jr. is born in Philadelphia. At the age of 29, Wrigley moved to Chicago bringing his entire life savings, $32. He founded Wrigley’s Scouring Soap, a company which used premiums to get people to buy the product. That is, he gave away baking powder if soap was purchased. He learned the baking powder was more popular than the soap and changed his business to selling baking powder. He kept the same marketing scheme however and now gave away two packages of chewing gum for each can of baking powder purchased. Again, the bonus was more popular than the actual product. And so, again, Wrigley switched the focus of his business.

Since he was no longer selling soap, or even baking powder, the name of the business needed to change. The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, or the Wrigley Company, was founded on April 1, 1891 under the name mentioned above. Today, it is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated which purchased Wrigley’s for about $23 billion in 2008. They sell their products in over 180 countries and districts. They maintain operations in over 50 countries and have 21 production facilities in 14 countries. The company had been run by family members until 2006 when William Perez took over the leadership. Martin Radvan is the current president of the company.

William was interested in more than just selling gum. He played a leading role in the development of Santa Catalina Island, California which lies off the coast of Los Angeles. He bought a controlling interest in the venture in 1919 and became the owner of the island. He then developed it with utilities, new steamships, a hotel, and the Casino building. He also beautified the island. These improvements created jobs and provided raw materials for later projects. His son continued his improvements and created the Catalina Island Conservancy in order to secure protection for the island. The Wrigley Botanical Gardens on the island are a testament to their care.

William also bought a minority interest in the Chicago Cubs, the baseball team. As Charles Weeghman, another investor, had to back away from the team, Wrigley bought his shares. By 1921, he was the principal owner and the ballpark in which they play today is named Wrigley Field in honor of him. Wrigley was also the owner of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. The Wrigley Mansion is nearby and was the smallest of Wrigley’s five residences with “only” 16,000 square feet under roof. It was here that Wrigley died in 1932 at the age of 70.

Anyone can make gum. Selling it is the problem.

Everybody likes something extra, for nothing.

Make a good product at a fair price – then tell the world.

Business is built by men who care – care enough to disagree, fight it out to a finish, get the facts. – all from William Wrigley, Jr.



Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 30, 2015
Canadian anti-aircraft team in 1918

Canadian anti-aircraft team in 1918

September 30, 1915: For the first time, ground-to-air fire brings down an aircraft. During World War I, Serbian Army troops watched as three aircraft neared Kragujevac. The soldiers fired at the planes with machine guns but were not able to keep them from dropping 45 bombs over the city. Military installations and railroads were hit as were many other civilian targets. As the city was being bombed, Private Radoje Ljutovac fired his cannon at the enemy and managed to bring one of the planes down. The plane crashed in the city and both men aboard were killed. The cannon Ljutovac used was not designed as an anti-aircraft gun but it was a slightly modified Turkish cannon captured in 1912 during the First Balkan War.

Before the Great War broke out, Britain realized the need to protect themselves from aerial attack. In the July 8, 1914 edition of the New York Times, it was reported the British government intended to build towers, each armed with two “quick-firing guns of special design”, all along the coast and encircling naval installations as well as other particularly vulnerable points. By December 1914, the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve was manning AA guns and searchlights which were placed at nine ports. The Royal Garrison Artillery was responsible for AA defense in the field. The tactic of firing on planes was well established and the practice spread quickly as a defense against attacks from above.

Between the two World Wars, it was realized that battles would not just be fought on the ground or at sea. The air was also a battlefield. Many countries developed an Air Force to supply this need for any future confrontations. But with every tactic to secure superiority, a countermeasure is also developed and so anti-aircraft guns were seen as necessary equipment and vital for national safety as well as for protection both at sea and on the ground. After studying the effects of AA guns during the Great War, there were five major areas to work on to improve the equipment.

AA guns are still in use today but they are being replaced by missiles. The onetime best AA gun, the GAU-8 Avenger 30 mm seven-barrel Gatling gun is being replaced by new systems such as the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile which is both smaller and faster and allows for mid-flight course correction, another name for guidance. These are being thwarted by stealth technology as they need a longer flight path, something the stealth feature mitigates. Detection ranges are shorter and there is not enough time to intercept the plane – that’s if the plane is seen at all. Detection systems are then the key to success and these are also being updated. There are other ways on the books to try and halt attacks from the air. World Peace seems a distant dream.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack. One defends when his strength is inadequate; he attacks when it is abundant. – Sun Tzu

War, except in self-defense, is a failure of moral imagination. – Bill Moyers

The best missile defense system of all would be a just and lasting peace. – Hillary Rodham Clinton

Also on this day: Meet the Flintstones – In 1960, The Flintstones came to prime time television.
FBI HQ – In 1975, The J. Edgar Hoover Building was dedicated.
Farm Work – In 1962, the first meeting of the National Farm Workers Association took place.
Magic – In 1791, The Magic Flute premiered.
Rebellion – In 1955, James Dean died.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 30, 2014
James Dean

James Dean

September 30, 1955: A cultural icon dies prematurely in a car crash. James Dean was born in Marion, Indiana on February 8, 1931. The family moved to Santa Monica, California. Dean was close to his mother and she was said to be the only person who understood the child. She became ill in 1938 and died from uterine cancer when her son was only nine. Dean’s father could not care for his son and James was sent to his aunt’s farm back in Indiana. He was raised as a Quaker. James was a mediocre student in high school but was popular and played sports. After high school, he moved back to California to attend college, majoring in pre-law.

James transferred to UCLA and changed his major to drama. His first TV appearance was in a Pepsi commercial. He quit college to pursue acting fulltime. He got his first speaking part in a made for TV Easter special. He next got walk-on roles in a few movies. He worked as a parking lot attendant for CBS Studios and met Rogers Brackett there. His new mentor suggested he move to New York City which he did and got more work there. He also picked up more TV roles. He eventually got starring roles and made three box office successes. East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant were his three major films.

He was also interested in racing, fast cars, and motorcycles. He purchased some of both. He traded up and eventually acquired a Porsche 550 Spyder. On this day, he was taking his new car to race over the weekend. The first plan was to tow the car behind his Ford station wagon. But the car was new and James needed to get some miles on it as well as learn the handling. He left home with Rolf Wutherich, a Porsche factory-trained mechanic, in the sports car with him and with Bill Hickman (movie stuntman) and Sandford Roth (a professional photographer) following in the Ford. Their route along the path to Salinas was well documented.

Around 5.15 PM, the two cars left Blackwells Corner and the Porsche pulled away from the Ford, passing cars along the way. They were speeding toward the junction of Route 466 and Route 41 going about 85 mph. Donald Turnupseed made a left turn onto Route 41 and as he headed toward Fresno, Dean tried to pull a side stepping racing maneuver but had not enough time or space. The two cars hit, nearly head-on. Donald’s heavier car was pushed 39 feet down the road. The Spyder flipped into the air and landed back on its wheels in a gully. Dean survived the crash with many injuries, both visible and internal. He was taken to Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival at 6.20 PM. He was 24 years old.

Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.

If a man can bridge the gap between life and death, if he can live on after he’s dead, then maybe he was a great man.

Being a good actor isn’t easy. Being a man is even harder. I want to be both before I’m done.

Studying cows, pigs and chickens can help an actor develop his character. There are a lot of things I learned from animals. One was that they couldn’t hiss or boo me. – all from James Dean

Also on this day: Meet the Flintstones – In 1960, The Flintstones come to prime time television.
FBI HQ – In 1975, The J. Edgar Hoover Building was dedicated.
Farm Work – In 1962, the first meeting of the National Farm Workers Association took place.
Magic – In 1791, The Magic Flute premiered.

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Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 30, 2013
J. Edgar Hoover Building

J. Edgar Hoover Building

September 30, 1975: President Gerald Ford officially dedicates the J. Edgar Hoover Building. The building is located at 935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. It is the national headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It was named for the former director of the Bureau. From 1975 to 1999, guided tours were available to the public. They have been discontinued. The FBI headquarters had previously been located in the Department of Justice Building. Designs were finalized in 1964 and construction began in 1967. The new name was authorized on May 4, 1972 – two days after Hoover died.

The building is in the Brutalist architecture style and is often criticized. Brutalist style stems from the modernist architectural movement. The term comes from the French béton brut, or raw concrete. Buildings designed in the style contain repetitive angular geometries. The concrete often displays the wooden forms used for pouring. Buildings of this type are found around the world. The Washingtonian magazine has listed this building along with the Kennedy Center as structures they would like to see torn down.

The FBI came into being in 1908. Attorney General Charles Bonaparte and President Theodore Roosevelt worked together to create a new efficient and expert investigative service. Each state had domain over its own territory and when the country was smaller, it worked well. With crime crossing state lines, a new federal service was needed – but controversial. The corps of Special Agents had no name and only the Attorney General to answer to. The Department of Justice also saw a need for an investigative force. On July 26, 1908 Bonaparte ordered ten agents to report directly to Chief Examiner Stanley W. Finch, the beginning of the FBI.

Today, the FBI has 56 field offices in major cities throughout the US and Puerto Rico. These field offices are further subdivided into smaller resident agencies. There are over 400 resident agencies as well as 50+ international offices in US embassies around the world. There are nearly 31,000 employees for the government controlled agency. Their 2007 budget was $6.4 billion. Robert S. Mueller, III has been the Director since 2001. The FBI’s investigative priorities are responsive to the needs of the country and have shifted over time.

“Agents need to be free to pursue investigations in ways that they haven’t. There have been restraints that a reformed FBI needs to make sure we don’t impose.” – John Ashcroft

“And so every one of us in the FBI, I don’t care if it’s a file clerk someplace or an agent there or a computer specialist, understands that our main mission is to protect the public from another September 11, another terrorist attack.” – Robert Mueller

“Good FBI officers are not noticeable. You would never look at them.” – Ridley Scott

“Just the minute the FBI begins making recommendations on what should be done with its information, it becomes a Gestapo.” – J. Edgar Hoover

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: J. Edgar Hoover was the first director of the FBI and held the post from its inception until his death in 1972. He served under six Presidents beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt and ending with Richard Nixon. Truman accused Hoover of turning the FBI into his private police force. Hoover’s largest concern was the spread of Communism. Although he did spend time with controlling gangsters and the Mafia, he was far more concerned with the Red Menace. He fought against any restraints placed by any outside force, including the Supreme Court, and would deliberately and secretly ignore any rule he didn’t like. COINTELPRO was his chief area of concern and was often working directly outside the law but to Hoover’s specifications.

Also on this day: Meet the Flintstones – In 1960, The Flintstones come to prime time television.
Farm Work – In 1962, the first meeting of the National Farm Workers Association too place.
Magic – In 1791, The Magic Flute premiered.

Farm Work

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 30, 2011

César Chávez

September 30, 1962: The first convention of the National Farm Workers Association (UFWA) convened. The meeting was held at an abandoned movie theater in Fresno, California. There were hundreds of delegates in attendance. The flag of the new group was first shown. It was a black stylized eagle on a white circle in a red field. UFWA was created from the merging of two older groups, the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee and the National Farm Workers Association. The latter was led by César Chávez. He and Dolores Huerta worked together to bring about the new organization, now called United Farm Workers (UFW).

Chávez was born in Yuma, Arizona in 1927. He was one of six children born to this Mexican-American family. The family owned a grocery store and a ranch but lost their property during the Great Depression. The family had agreed to clear land for a clear title to the ranch, but the deal was broken and they lost their home. Although a bright student, Chávez faced discrimination in school. He quit school after graduating from eighth grade in 1942. To keep his mother from working in the fields, he took over and began the laborious task himself.

He worked in the fields for ten years. In 1952 he became an organizer for the Community Service Organization, a group advocating for Latino rights. He was outspoken against police brutality and encouraged all Latinos to register and vote. It was Filipino workers who began the Delano grape strike in 1965, but Chávez supported their efforts. Six months later, NFWA initiated their own grape pickers strike. They marched from Delano to Sacramento and asked for all Americans to boycott table grapes. National attention led to US Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare to look into the case.

Organizing farm workers was a difficult task. Many times in the past, attempts had been made to fight for better wages and working conditions. They did not receive the backing for industrial unions and were often in conflict. Some local efforts would work for a short time, but then be disbanded. In 1936, it became law that workers could join together and fight for their causes and bargain collectively. During World War II, an agreement between Mexico and the US allowed “guest workers” to come north to harvest crops. This program lasted until 1964. UFW has as a goal the integrity of the working class to maintain the right attitude, encourage innovation, and work non-violently toward empowerment.

“From the depth of need and despair, people can work together, can organize themselves to solve their own problems and fill their own needs with dignity and strength.”

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.”

“In some cases non-violence requires more militancy than violence.”

“Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.” – all from César Chávez

Also on this day:
Meet the Flintstones – In 1960, The Flintstones come to prime time television.
FBI HQ – In 1975. The J. Edgar Hoover Building was dedicated.

Meet the Flintstones

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 13, 2010

The "cast" of the Flintstones

September 30, 1960: Fred and Wilma Flintstone and Barney and Betty Rubble come to prime time television. The animated series was the first prime-time cartoon series and ran for 166 episodes. The first episode was entitled “The Flintstone Flyer” and had Fred and Barney avoiding Wilma’s and Betty’s request that they all enjoy the opera. Instead, the guys play sick and then Barney uses a human powered helicopter to get the guys to their preferred sport, bowling.

The Flintstones were a “modern stone age family” according to the intro song. They had a whole slew of modern conveniences – a baby elephant vacuum cleaner, an elephant dishwasher, birds who sewed, played phonographs, typed out letters, or chipped out photographs.

The Flintstones had a pet, Dino, a dinosaur. They eventually had a daughter, Pebbles in 1962. It was originally planned for a son to be born, but the fact that Pebbles would make a wonderful doll altered that. Bamm Bamm, the Rubbles son, arrived in 1963 left on the doorstep after Betty wished for a child.

The show ran from 1960-66 and was followed by many other prime time cartoon series. The next to make the airwaves was The Jetsons who were produced by William Hanna and Joe Barbera (the same creators as The Flintstones) but was set into the future rather than the past. Cartoons continue to be a relatively inexpensive way to fill prime time airwaves. Cowabunga!

“All the modern inconveniences.” – Mark Twain

“To treat your facts with imagination is one thing, to imagine your facts is another.” – John Brookman

All television is children’s television.” – Richard P. Adler

“Imitation is the sincerest form of television.” – Fred Allen

Also on this day, in 1975 President Ford dedicated the J. Edgar Hoover Building, the FBI headquarters.