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From The Signal Archives: Santa’s on the naughty list

Posted: December 24, 2009 5:24 p.m.
Updated: December 25, 2009 9:55 a.m.
 
Editor’s note: As The Signal celebrates 90 years of service to the Santa Clarita Valley, we offer this peek into the SCV of days past. Following is from the Dec. 25, 1930, issue of The Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise.

Don’t talk hard times
A.B. Thatcher was the publisher back then, and he ran a front-page column each week where he offered opinion, gossip, tidbits of wisdom and tall tales.

“I heard of a man once who talked ‘hard times’ so much he scared himself and took his money out of the bank — and then rented a deposit box in that same bank, and was so afraid that he gave the banker the key,” relates “Dad” Thatcher in his Christmas Day Depression-era column.

“Then (when) he wanted to use a little money he had to come each time and get the key.”

“Dad” chastised incoming California Gov. James Rolph for his extravagant inauguration plans. Rolph was set to take office on Jan. 6, 1931.

“I wonder if Governor Rolph ought not to cut a lot of that inauguration foolishness,” Thatcher opined. “It is hardly fitting with the hard times, you know.”

The publisher’s column, called “Jin-Jer Jar,” observed of Christmas giving: “Anyway, in the multitude of gifts there is circulation of money.”

Irresponsible Santa
“Dad” also complained about the conduct of a “Santa” who made an appearance at a local event.

“I want to protest against the practice of using a Santa Claus in an entertainment, and then having him stop and take off his costume and joke with the kiddies while the gifts are being given out.”

“A few jokes and joke gifts, and away at full speed, is more in keeping with the legends of the busy old saint.”

A flood of the unemployed?
A front-page article addressed an apparent fear that masses of unemployed people were flocking to Southern California.

The story recounted a survey made by the director of Employment Stabilization for Los Angeles County, who surveyed some 1,600 cars passing through three entry points to the Golden State.

The county official reported that 8.3 percent of the new arrivals were here to hunt for jobs, and about 70 percent of those job-seekers came at the urging of friends or family already living in California.

Nearly 92 percent of those arriving in California “were well-financed families coming to spend the winter here as tourists.”

High tech, 1930 style
Another story reported that three new telephone circuits were being added to the line that runs from Los Angeles to the Santa Clarita Valley, “giving needed facilities for business.”

By the end of January 1931, if all went according to plan, Santa Clarita Valley residents could boast a total of eight phone circuits in the valley.

High-wattage wedding
The Signal of the 1930s came out only once a week, but with no photos and a wider page than today’s newspaper, it offered quite a variety of reading options.

Bedtime stories to read to children, fashion tips, recipes, and a craft section were included. One section of the paper was given over to the Saugus Enterprise, which offered accounts of residents’ vacation trips, shopping excursions and elementary school programs.

Among the Saugus Enterprise offerings: “Power Plant No. 2, located amidst a series of wild and woolly hills, is the central point of almost all of the social gatherings of the employees of the Bureau of Power and Light in this vicinity.”

The article went on to recount a wedding party held at Power Plant No. 2.

The new couple planned to live in San Fernando “for the time being” but looked forward to moving into a home at the plant when one became available.

— Lila Littlejohn

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