(Pictured: Senator Joe McCarthy and his staff in better times; L to R, G. David Schine, Roy Cohn, McCarthy, and Frank Carr.)
May 3, 1957, was a Friday. Funeral services are pending for Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy, who died at Bethesda Naval Hospital last night at the age of 49. In her syndicated newspaper column My Day, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt writes about the recent decision by a U.S. Senate committee to return $9500 of an appropriation it had been given to select the portraits of five outstanding former senators to be hung in the Senate’s Hall of Fame. Wichita Falls, Texas, is faced with serious flooding after heavy rains swelled the Sabine River. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., visits New York City, where he speaks to a crowd in front of the Hotel Theresa in addition to scheduled addresses at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue and the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. Off the coast of California near San Luis Obispo, the search continues for a Cal Poly architecture student who is missing and believed killed by a 20-foot shark. In Staten Island, New York, shoppers at Food Fair can get USDA grade choice sirloin steak for 59 cents a pound; live Maine lobsters are 79 cents a pound. In today’s Peanuts strip, Lucy continues her week-long adventure on roller skates. In Detroit, Michigan, Henry Ford’s grandson William Clay Ford and his wife Martha Firestone Ford welcome a son, William Clay Ford, Jr. Also born today: future pro hockey star Rod Langway.
In Los Angeles, city officials meet with Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley to discuss an offer from the city that would entice the Dodgers to move. On the field today, the Dodgers are idle; they trail the Milwaukee Braves by two games in the National League standings. The Braves beat the Pirates in Pittsburgh tonight 8-7 when Bobby Thomson singles in Hank Aaron with the winning run in the 11th inning. The Braves’ record of 12-and-2 is the best in baseball. The American League-leading Chicago White Sox are 11-and-2 after beating the Washington Senators 11-6. Light heavyweight boxer Eddie Machen wins a 10-round unanimous decision over former champ Joey Maxim.
On TV tonight, CBS shows include Beat the Clock, The Lineup (a detective series), and Edward R. Murrow’s Person to Person. Murrow’s guests include Alcatraz prison warden Paul Madigan and actress Sophia Loren. NBC presents The Joseph Cotten Show (an anthology series), Blondie (based on the comic strip), and the Machen-Maxim fight live from Louisville, Kentucky. ABC’s lineup includes The Adventures of Jim Bowie, Crossroads (an anthology show focusing on clergy from different denominations), and Treasure Hunt (a game show hosted by Jan Murray).
In London, Lonnie Donegan and his Skiffle Group and the Platters continue a three-night stand at the Palladium. In Hollywood, Elvis Presley lays down a few new tracks, including “Treat Me Nice” and “(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care.” At KLIF in Dallas, on the new survey that will come out tomorrow, Elvis is at #3 with “All Shook Up,” behind “Little Darlin'” by the Diamonds (#1) and “School Day” by Chuck Berry (#2). Also at the top of the chart are “I’m Walkin'” by Fats Domino at #4 and “It’s Not for Me to Say” by Johnny Mathis at #5. Also on the KLIF chart this week: “Lucille” by Little Richard, the Del-Vikings’ “Come Go With Me,” “A White Sport Coat” by Marty Robbins, and Perry Como’s “Round and Round.” KLIF also charts Elvis’ “Peace in the Valley” and “I Believe.”
Perspective From the Present: William Clay Ford, Jr., is now chairman of Ford Motor Company. Rod Langway ended up in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Most of the music Elvis recorded on May 3 was released later in 1957 on an EP titled Jailhouse Rock. The Dodgers would move to Los Angeles for the 1958 season.
Last January I read Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy, a new biography by Larry Tye. Tye says he was inspired to write the bio partly by the rise of Donald Trump. Witnessing the fall of Trump during the very same week I was reading the book set off a cascade of historical echoes, not least among them the fact that McCarthy’s right-hand man, Roy Cohn, was one of Trump’s early mentors. And also, as Tye wrote: “Each man made his name into a ubiquitous brand. Neither had a master plan other than accumulating and holding onto power.” In the months since Trump’s ouster, we’ve seen that the modern edition of the McCarthy/Trump party also has no plan other than that.
(Come back Wednesday for a less ancient ODIYL post.)