Way back when, Wednesdays

What a funny old fellow

On page 6 of the edition dated 2 May, 1973 the Leader Messenger advertised that Humphrey B Bear would appear at St. Agnes Shopping Centre. His visit was in celebration of Mother’s Day and a retail promotion.  Despite being a children’s character, we all know that mums love Humphrey!  Everybody wanted a photo with Humphrey and a big bear hug.

Humphrey

If you did not grow up with Humphrey, he is a local television legend. He does not speak but communicates through gestures.  Humphrey wears a tartan waistcoat, a big yellow tie and a straw boater.  In true bear style, he loves eating honey.

Perennially young at heart, Humphrey turned 50 in May last year. Here’s Humphrey first appeared on Australian television on Monday, 24 May 1965, televised by Adelaide’s NWS9. Each episode of the show aimed to both entertain and educate its preschool audience while making children feel good about themselves.  Young children could identify with Humphrey as he explored his world of the Magic Forest, meeting friends, dancing and singing.  Humphrey learned from his mistakes but also had lots of fun.  Humphrey was always accompanied by a human companion who narrated his adventures.  One of the writers of the show, Anthony O’Donohue, also hosted it for an extended period.

Humphrey last aired on mainstream television in 2009. Humphrey became an international celebritity when an american version of his show was translated into different languages and screened in several countries. Humphrey was honoured to be declared official ‘Ambassabear’ for the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation in 2012. He was introduced to a new generation of children and the hospital successfully raised funds from sales of a limited edition plush doll and DVD.

In July 2013 Humphrey returned to television when his show was screened on Community Television stations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. In May 2015 the Sydney Morning Herald reported on plans to produce a high quality Humphrey themed animated television series or film.

Humphrey B. Bear is still making public appearances and drawing crowds at community events and school performances. He even has his own Facebook page.  Humphrey does lead a very exciting life!

#waybackwhenwednesdays

Way back when, Wednesdays

Holiday fun with ‘Cubing’

Before the current system of having four terms during the school year was implemented, the long summer holiday break used to extend into February.   On Wednesday 3 February, 1982, the Leader Messenger pictured 9 year old Jarrod Young attempting to solve the Rubik cube puzzle, when he attended a school holiday program held at Tea Tree Plaza. This would have been a very popular event.

jarrod-cube

Anybody born into Generation X will remember the Rubik’s Cube! You just had to have one.  The objective of the Rubik’s Cube puzzle is to rotate the 26 brightly coloured smaller cubes that make up the larger structure, so that each face of the cube features a different uniform solid colour. Amazingly, there are more than three billion possible combinations to the puzzle.

Architect Ernő Rubik invented his Magic Cube in 1974 in communist Hungary. It was designed as an innovative way to teach his students at the Budapest Academy of Applied Arts and Crafts about 3D objects. Their positive reaction to his creation inspired Rubik to take out a patent.  In conjunction with a state-run company, Rubik began marketing the cube as a puzzle in Europe in 1977. When American company Ideal Toys negotiated with Rubik to produce and market the puzzle, it sold over 4 million cubes in 1980. Cheaper unlicenced copies such as the Wonderful Puzzler also appeared on the market. The Rubik’s Cube became a worldwide obsession and global cultural icon and made Professor Rubik a millionaire at age 36.  He also created spinoff puzzles from his original design such as Rubik’s Race and Rubik’s Revenge. The first international world championship was held in Budapest in 1982.

cube-in-box

The New York Times reported that by June, 1981, the Ideal Toy Company had sold 30 million cubes, accounting for about 25 percent of their sales, which earned $216.8 million for the company. However, by 30 October 1982, sales of the Rubik’s Cube were in decline. New electronic video games were top sellers, as well as the Smurfs and merchandise associated with the movie E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial.   (Rubik’s Cube: A craze ends http://www.nytimes.com/1982/10/30/business/rubik-s-cube-a-craze-ends.html).

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Way back when, Wednesdays

Not the swinging 60s

‘Fifty Fifty’ was a column in the Messenger newspaper in which “men and women from all over Adelaide speak their minds freely on their hopes, their problems, their fears and what they really think of each other. If you think your parents have complained about how often you go out and how late you get home, spare a thought for this poor woman. Her mother is complaining about her ‘inconsiderate’ behaviour in the North East Leader Messenger, on page 14 of the 2 December 1965 edition.

It was common for young people to live with their parents until they got married, which really wasn’t very long. In 1965, the average age for women to marry was 21 and men 23 It looks like this lady’s parents have gotten the idea that their unmarried daughter was set to look after them for the longterm, rather than having a life of her own.

fifty-fifty-girl-out-late

Way back when, Wednesdays

Bridge of no return    

 Adelaide has recently experienced heavy rain and flooding, with more wet weather forecasted this week.   High water levels in the River Torrens have damaged bridges in the local area. If you travel on Kelly Road which crosses Valley View and Modbury (near the North East Road turnoff) be grateful that you don’t have to travel over this old wreck of a bridge. Probably built for a horse and cart to cross, it looks so old that it was and it could have had a troll living under it.

On page 1 of the North East Leader Messenger on 27 May, 1965 the newspaper reported that in the Spring, the District Council of Tea Tree Gully was set to replace the stone bridge which crosses a section of Dry Creek, with a solid structure made of steel and reinforced concrete. The bridge’s safety rails were falling down and drivers were advised not to travel over it or to reduce speed when doing so. Councillor V.O. Jacobsen, Chairman of the Council told the reporter that despite the safety rails falling over and the apparent poor condition of the bridge, all the timbers were in sound condition. If you cared to take the chance! Let’s hope that the bridge actually lasted the Winter of 1965 without any casualties incurred crossing it.

Driving over this section of Kelly road in 2016, you may not even notice that you have actually crossed a bridge.

kelly-road-bridge-cropped

Way back when, Wednesdays

Band, bugs or a Volksy?

The Leader Messenger reported on a pre-wedding function in the edition of 9 August 1967. We may never know if this party actually featured a Beatles tribute band (imagine, your event makes the paper but the reporter or typesetter makes an awful error). Maybe the couple were fans of the Volkswagen Beetle and this vehicle was also used as their wedding car! Or could it be that Miss Mary Christie and Dr John Dickens just loved beetles? Perhaps a shared hobby of amateur entomology brought them together? Did they decorate with colourful ladybird and scarab motifs and snack on Rowntree Hoadley’s Bertie Beetle chocolates?

Mary’s friends prepared her well for her new role as a 60s housewife, with gifts of money and a cookbook. Come to think of it, we still need money in 2016. Many couples set up a ‘wishing well’ at their weddings and home cooking is in fashion again.

beetles-at-wedding

Way back when, Wednesdays

Showtime!

Recently the Australian media has criticised our Olympians performance in Rio as they only won 29 metals, instead of the expected 45. Most of us have been brought up with the adage that it’s not winning that is important but competing in an event. The actual saying was coined by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the Olympics “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”

Perhaps little Dawn Starick said something like that to her pet goat in March 1970, when they did not win a ribbon at the Golden Grove and Yatala Vale show. Along with “Never mind, I love you, you are still the most beautiful goat in the world.” I think they deserve a prize, even if it for Dawn being brave enough to stand up and compete with adults. At least they were rewarded by a photograph in the Leader Messenger on 24 March 1970. In the hot Adelaide weather it seems that little girls dressed pretty much the same as they do now.

Nowadays onlookers would have posted their smartphone photographs of this cute scene on Instagram or filmed it for YouTube. Newspapers use digital technology and desktop publishing software to produce each edition.

In 1970 a photographer from the Leader Messenger would have taken this image with a single lens reflex (SLR) camera. The film would then have been exposed on photo paper and in a tedious process set alongside typeface. A process camera operator then made the page into a large photographic negative, which was made into a metal printing plate, which in turn was mounted onto a printing press.

goat-and-girl

Way back when, Wednesdays

Who rules the world? Girls!

Beyonce released her song in 2011. Recently Britain recently appointed its second female prime minister Theresa May. Should the Democrats win the 2016 US election, Hilary Clinton will be named the first Madame President. Hilary, Condaleeza Rice and Madeleine Albright have all served in the highly responsible position of US Secretary of State, the President’s chief foreign affairs adviser. It is a job which involves representing their country overseas and carrying out the foreign policy of the United States.

But in 1977 the idea of women in power was the subject of comedy. The Leader Messenger ran a story on page 22 of the 7 August edition, promoting the first major production of local theatre group Tea Tree Players called No time for Fig Leaves.

By modern standards, it is interesting how the play centres on how women ‘try to run the world’ without success (of course) and that ‘power is in the hands of the least attractive of the women’. For a female, being unattractive equates with being in charge!

blast