1964 Jackson Primary

1964 Jackson Primary Election 12The photos were taken in August 1964 in the Cape County Courthouse in Jackson. The sleeve says “Jackson Primary,” so the workers must have been counting ballots while the candidates chewed their fingernails. I would have been working at The Jackson Pioneer at the time. In the background are name plates that seem to read Rada Lou Kamp, Rusby C. Crites and Marie H. Bradford when I blew them up.

Covering elections fun, frustrating

1964 Jackson Primary Election 6Covering election night could produce some good images, unfortunately, the best pictures often didn’t run because they were of minor candidates or of relatively insignificant races. Photographers would be frustrated because they wasted a lot of time and editors were frustrated because they didn’t have key photos.

We finally came to a compromise at The Palm Beach Post. We would determine in advance what races we wanted to focus on, then reporters were responsible for finding out where the candidates were likely to be when the results came in. (The good old days when everybody gathered at election central had given away to elaborate parties.)

I played air traffic controller

1964 Jackson Primary Election 8Each photographer was given a master list of candidates he or she was responsible for covering, along with the size and shape of the photo that had been laid out in advance. (We could make a limited number of changes on the fly, but tight deadlines meant we had to stay to the script most of the time.)

I coordinated moving the shooters from place to place based on results that were being relayed to me from the newsroom. I also arranged for film to be picked up so the photographers wouldn’t have to come back to the office. We’d have been lost without two-way radios. I handled the logistics of getting the photos taken. Chief Photographer John Lopinot edited the film and saw that the pictures got in the paper. It wasn’t unusual that I would realize that I had juggled bodies all evening without seeing the results until the paper came off the press.

Wife Lila key player

1964 Jackson Primary Election 4Wife Lila was a staff favorite because she’d brew up a huge pot of her special chili to fuel the staff before they headed out to chase candidates. We joked that it was not only filling, but that about two hours into the evening, it would produce gas that would keep the TV crews from getting too close to you.

Gladys Stiver and Gary Rust

Gladys Stiver, Gary Rust and others at Jackson courthouse c Aug. 1964I recognize Gladys Stiver, Friend Shari’s grandmother, and a young Gary Rust in this photo. Gary was the subject of my first big political story.

Primary night photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the side to move through the gallery. Call out anybody you recognize.

Jackson Cheerleader Clinic

1964 Jackson HS Cheerleader Clinic 12

In the summer of 1963, I was working for Dad’s construction company unloading trucks, chopping weeds with a scythe in the hot, hot sun and doing other unpleasant tasks.

In the summer of 1964, I was working for The Jackson Pioneer covering dull stuff like county commission meetings and … cheerleader clinics. I was pretty much sure which career path I wanted to follow.

“Yell Along with Herkimer”

Our sister paper, The Advance Advocate, ran the same photo as The Pioneer on September 2, 1964, but had a longer cutline:

“Approximately 400 high school cheerleaders from throughout the Southeast Missouri district, including nine cheerleaders from Advance High School, attended a special clinic Tuesday in the high school gymnasium at Jackson. The clinic, sponsored by the Missouri High School Activities Association, was directed by L.R. Herkimer, executive secretary of the National Cheerleaders Association.

“The Advance cheerleaders are Linda Croy, Kathy Rhodes, Sandra Ward, Judy Croy, Jill Jenkins, Linda Holland, Stephanie Strobel, Sondra Harnes and Sharon Sims.

Speaking of cheerleaders, does anyone have any idea who these girls are?

Cheerleader clinic photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger (but, please overlook the dust spots), then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery.

 

Jackson High School 1964

1964 Jackson HS

There were photos of a cheerleader clinic (more about that on another day), football practice and this frame in a sleeve marked 1964. The cheerleader shots ran in the Sept. 2, 1964, Advance Advocate and the September 4 Jackson Pioneer, so these must have been shot at the end of the summer or at the start of school.

I guess I just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to document a moment of smalltown wholesomeness on the front steps of Jackson High School. Wife Lila said those white shoes were “costume de rigueur” for our era. I guess I didn’t pay much attention to shoes ’cause I didn’t even notice them.

I hope players were sharper than their pictures.

1964 Jackson HS 4Shooting night football had all kinds of difficulties, but I can’t explain why most of the these afternoon football practice shots are, to put it kindly, unsharp.

Other Jackson High School photos

Football practice gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery.

Elephantiasis and The Kid

“KID!!!” bellowed the burned-out copy editor who had come to The Jackson Pioneer from The Kansas City Star. I was “KID!” until I was about 25, but in this case, I really WAS a kid. It was the summer of my junior year of high school.

He was editing my “exclusive” interview with Gary Rust, a Goldwater supporter and a delegate to the 1964 GOP National Convention.

My lead was “One week out of the year, once every four years, the nation is stricken by elephantiasis.

“Kid,” he continued, in a quieter tone, “either you don’t know that elephantiasis is an African venereal disease that causes your nuts to swell up so big you have to carry them in a wheelbarrow, or you DO know and you are the most astute political writer for your age in the country.” After a pause, he said with a sly grin, “Either way, I’m not going to change it.”

[This isn’t the grizzled copy editor, by the way. It is Gary Friedrich. Gary played a role in the SEMO Fair investigation.]

Cow Palace Conclave

I’ve been telling that tale for years, but, truth be told, I wasn’t absolutely, positively sure that it was true. HAD the story actually run?

When I came home this time, Brother Mark gave me a huge, wax-coated cardboard box that had once contained chicken pieces. In it was a stack of clips from the paying-my-dues days at The Jackson Pioneer, The Central High School Tiger, The Ohio University Post and a smattering of other things.

For better or worse, near the middle of the stack was my June 24, 1964, story as I had remembered it. (Like always, you can click on the photos to make them larger.)

How to get a newspaper job

Rust had gotten me the job in the first place. I was a Barry Goldwater fanatic; had worked on a political campaign a year or so before; Friend Shari’s grandmother was a big poobah in the Republican party, and The Pioneer was a Republican paper. The Pioneer’s publisher, John Hoffman III, had been injured in a car wreck that had killed his wife. Rust thought Hoffman could use some help, so he introduced us. [That’s Hoffman in a wheelchair covering a high school football game.]

Hoffman said, “We’re not making much money; we can only afford to pay you $75 or $100 every two weeks.”

Not completely understanding how this negotiating game was played, I promptly said, “I’m just getting started out. I’ll take $75.”

Wall to wall people

Rust described the convention as “wall to wall people.” Always a sucker for numbers, I shared that the event was linked to the world with 30 TV cameras, 325 teletypewriter lines, 264 radio circuits and over 3,000 telephones.

He said the convention was basically a “fight between the liberals and the conservatives of the Republican Party. By the end of the week everyone was trying to outdo the other in being a conservative. About 80% of those attending the powwow were behind Goldwater.

Counting hand claps

I never watched one of those political events afterward without thinking about an observation he made. It was reported that immediately after Goldwater spoke, there was a brief silence before the applause.

It wasn’t the type speech you clap or applaud. It was more an outline of his principles and philosophies, and it was a shame to have to applaud, but we were all politically-minded enough to know there was probably someone in the back of the room marking down ’26 hand claps for Nixon – hmmmm, only 22 hand claps for Goldwater…’

Could have torn them up

Rust told the group, including candidates Jean Ann Bradshaw, Truman Farrow, Robert Hemperley and Harold Kuehle, that most of the Goldwater people there were “most generous and decent. At any time during the convention, they could have torn them (the Scranton people) up on any vote.”

Goldwater’s success came as a shock to many people. Rust said, “We found ourselves with a winner and we didn’t even know how to celebrate.

I’ll tell you later about another paper in the stack: my story of covering Ronald Reagan stumping for Goldwater and how I got to meet the new Linotype operator.

You can see photos of Goldwater campaigning in Cairo here. There was some talk about The Pioneer’s staff throwing yellow food coloring in the Jackson Courthouse fountain so Jacksonians would wake up to real gold water, but I don’t know if that got beyond the talking stage. I doubt that they could have scraped together enough money to buy the food coloring.

Gary Rust went on to become a newspaper publishing magnate in the region. I don’t know if he ever saw my story.

 

 

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.