1957: Movies, vaccines and waves

July 27, 2007 12:00 am

Sharon McKinney

In July 1957, the two movie theaters, the Mecca at Third and H Streets, and the Pic at Fourth and G Streets, had new movies for the area. The Mecca presented Alan Ladd in "The Big Land" plus the "Bowery Boys," and the Pic had "The Last of the Bad Men" starring George Montgomery followed by "Spook Chasers." They changed the bill weekly.

A Centennial visitor, Phyllis Diller, writer, artist-designer, concert pianist and mother of five children, came to Crescent City at the request of the Centennial Committee. Diller was a representative of Martha Ramey, TV star during the Cavalcade of Del Norte County. Phyllis was a dynamic woman with a lot of talent and it was no surprise to her friends that soon after her trip here she decided on a new career as a comedienne. She had a successful run at the "Purple Onion" nightclub in San Francisco.

Polio vaccination

The County Medical Society announced the successful conclusion to the polio vaccination program. Humboldt and Del Norte Counties inoculated a total of 33,800 people between the ages of 0 to 40, protecting them from the dreaded disease. Despite problems at the beginning of the program, many volunteers helped with coordinating the efforts of local physicians and other health care offices. The doctors and the hospital gave time in their schedules and allowed the use of sterilizing equipment for the good of public health. Nurses volunteered their time to administer the Salk vaccine in public clinics. Volunteers handled the mass registrations, filling syringes and preparing arms for the injections. There was mass education of the public by newspapers, radio and television to insure that everyone eligible knew when and where to appear for their protective shot. Teamwork gets things done.

Disaster averted

Two men were fined $25 each by Municipal Judge Alyce Mosely for taking too many razor clams. Meanwhile, 14 new street lights were installed in the Beresa Tract on Indra, Gainard and Essex Streets. New lights were also up at the courthouse at H and Fifth Streets.

The July Bulletin of the California Disaster Office focused on the tidal wave that failed to appear in March of 1957. Although the city evacuated the downtown area, there was no wave. The Chief of Police ordered the evacuation based on the report via teletype from the U. S. Coast Guard and because of the devastation caused by the wave in 1946. The bulletin read, "During the period of uncertainty as to how large a wave could hit the California coast, civil defense is organized and ready to respond."

Sharon McKinney is a Del Norte Historical Society volunteer.