Monday, March 10, 2008

A look back in Time

I spent awhile Sunday digging through Time magazine archives and felt like I had been rummaging around the attic of my childhood home. This site is a treasurer trove. It looks like each edition is fully archived. And each edition was that week's first draft of history.

The March 8, 1968, edition, which featured Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller on the cover, was full of politics as the nation was getting ready for the first presidential primary of the 1968 campaign -- New Hampshire, on March 12.

President Johnson's secret trips to Texas were chronicled under the headline Fly Now, Tell Later. To boost security -- and to avoid demonstrators -- LBJ kept the itinerary from reporters -- and even local police officials -- and told the White House press corps only to pack a coat and a bathing suit. The swings took to him to Dallas, for his first campaign speech of '68, and on to Austin, for John Connally's 51st birthday celebration. Later in the week, LBJ and the press took another stealth trip, this time to Houston and Beaumont. The entourage traveled to Georgia then on to Puerto Rico.

A report headlined Saigon Under Siege told about the first battle for Saigon. The dispatch concludes:

"The unpleasant fact is that the Viet Cong used the Tet assault to infiltrate into Saigon hundreds and perhaps even thousands of agents who pose as normal Vietnamese going about their jobs. . . . The V.C. have been active in Saigon for years but, in a city under siege, their presence is more unnerving than ever."

These reports make a reader feel omnipotent today. As I read the old dispatches, they are new to my memories, but I knew how the stories were going to end.

On the upbeat side, this edition has a piece about NBC's Laugh-In, which was just a few months old at the time, and reviews of albums by The Butterfield Blues Band, Tim Hardin, Richie Havens, John Mayall's Blues Breakers and a 16-year-old Janis Ian. (There'll be more on Laugh-In later.)

This was my favorite post, from the People section. Variety may be the spice of life, but this was too spicy:

"Just ten days of the meditative life with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh proved sufficient for Ringo Starr, 27, and Wife Maureen, who fled back to the more familiar vision of London. "The meditation camp is a bit like summer camp," said the littlest Beatle, who left his three confreres to finish out their month. "We all lived in chalets, and we used to go to the canteen for breakfast, then perhaps walk about a bit and meditate, or bathe. Then it was time for lunch." He and Maureen gave up such transcendental experiences, said Ringo, "because we missed the children. I wouldn't want anyone to think we didn't like it there. Of course, Maureen and I are funny about our food—we don't like spicy things."

Source: Time magazine

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