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Lila Littlejohn: Goat milk, cash for clunkers

From the Signal archives

Posted: February 19, 2010 10:26 p.m.
Updated: February 20, 2010 8:00 a.m.
Editor’s note: As The Signal celebrates 91 years of service to the Santa Clarita Valley, we offer this peek into the SCV of days past. Following is from the Feb. 20, 1936, issue of the Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise.

Rural roots
If one didn’t know the rural nature of the Santa Clarita Valley back in 1936, one need only look at The Signal of that era.

A weather story at the top of the page reports that 6.85 inches of rain had fallen since Feb. 1, adding that a good season for crops seemed assured.

Another story reports a local goat farmer had purchased a new ranch out of town. His target audience: goat-milk buyers in Los Angeles.

Before Cash for Clunkers
“Many unsafe cars removed from highways by Chevrolet,” reads a headline on page 3 of The Signal. The story wasn’t about recalled vehicles; it was about a kind of early version of cash for clunkers, which was ostensibly aimed at getting old, unsafe vehicles off the road.

“With 857 unsafe automobiles removed from the highways of Southern California during January under the Chevrolet $1,000,000 Used Car Disposal plan, Chevrolet dealers estimate that an equal number will be junked during February,” the caption reads.

The photo is an eye-catching one: It shows a man with a pickaxe standing over an old-fashioned car with its hood open. Not quite the same disposal method as clunkers traded in during 2009.

The unsafe cars, of course, had to be exchanged for Chevys. Not surprisingly, the caption reported “record-breaking sales made by Chevrolet this season.”

Trainmen vs. truck drivers
Ever been stuck behind a slow truck with no chance to pass? If so, you’ll appreciate the efforts of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen back in 1936, when they tried to prove that the operation of trucks and buses on the highways “constitutes a menace or a nuisance or is obnoxious or offensive to the public.”

An A-3 story about the trainmen’s effort included a picture of a row of cars trapped behind a truck on a hilly two-lane highway.
As you might suspect, the trainmen weren’t driven only by kindness toward motorists.

They were trying to convince the California Railroad Commission, which had oversight of trucks at the time, that trains were the best way to haul petroleum products.

Outrageous pay for pitchers
There wasn’t any local sports coverage in The Signal of those days, but there was a syndicated sports columnist, Hugh Bradley of the New York Post, who bemoaned the high rate of pay for professional athletes.

Seems there were reports that the Giants had just signed a new pitcher, Carl Hubbell, for $18,500 a year.

Bradley found this unbelievable. Or, as he put it, “I am overcome with very serious doubts as to its truth.”

Only three Major League pitchers topped $15,000 a year, he noted, adding that “boxcar figures” paid to professional athletes “is an important indication of one of the very great ills now besetting such enterprises.”

Proud to be Americans
Another story reported that American Legion members were busy visiting local schools to teach pride in the nation on Lincoln’s Birthday.

Legion 20th District Vice-Commander Nickerson “should rank very high among the very few speakers that are capable of creating a desire among the children to hear and enjoy his talks on education and Americanism,” The Signal reported.

Despite unceasing rain, the Legion entourage “journeyed up to Castaic Union School where, as a finish to their wonderful program, Mr. Gill presented the trophy won by the Castaic school for having the best program at the Americanism meeting.”


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