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By Linda Emley
This story is one of the cool things I found in the Richmond News from the spring of 1957.
On April 12, the newspaper reported on Professor Singer, the hypnotist, coming to Richmond. “Horizontal-Hypnotized. Professor George Singer, a professional hypnotist, maintains hypnotic pressure on Miss Helen Creekmore as her inert body is placed in a bed in the window of Blair’s Wednesday afternoon. Miss Brenda Clark and Miss Nora Payne, hospital aids, assist Professor Singer. The demonstration of hypnosis at Blair’s preceded a full show Wednesday night at the Richmond High School auditorium, sponsored jointly by Blair’s and the Richmond Junior Chamber of Commerce.”
The story and a picture appeared on the front page of the paper. There was another picture on page 4 and its caption said, “Miss Helen Creekmore nods and closes her eyes as Professor George Singer, hypnotist, lulls her into a hypnotic trance in a demonstration at Blair’s Wednesday afternoon.”
It looks like Blair’s store got its money’s worth for its ad because it got wonderful coverage from the Richmond News.
On the same front page April 12, we found out who the first guest was at the new Rose Court Motel. “… J.D. Rector, an irrigation engineer from Hutchison, Kansas, registers Tuesday night as the first guest of Richmond’s first motel, the Rose Court on Highway 13 near the 10-13 intersection. Mrs. Nora Delaporte, operator of the motel, holds Mr. Rector’s key, as he signs the register. Open house at the motel will be held April 28.”
We all know that Richmond had several hotels before the Rose Court came to town, so what is the difference between a hotel and a motel? Today there really isn’t any, but in the 1950s, a motel was a hotel that provided parking. You could drive your car up to the motel door, so the Rose Court really was the first one in Richmond and some guy from Kansas was the first guest.
I wanted to know what kind of open house they had on April 28, but after checking the April 29 and May 1 newspaper, I didn’t find a story, so I guess we will just have to assume that nothing earth shattering happened at the open house.
The Farris Theater was playing Bill Haley’s Comets in “Don’t Knock the Rock” and Freddie Bell in “Rumble in the Docks.” That was the schedule for Friday and Saturday only. On Sunday and Monday, you could watch Henry Fonda in “War and Peace.” We can’t leave out the Highway 13 Drive-In Theater. On Friday and Saturday they were playing “The Return of Jack Slade” and “Cult Cobra” as a double feature. On Sunday and Monday, you could see “Fox Fire,” starring Jane Russell, and a bonus of eight cartoons. Like many others around town, I have fond memories of trips to the Farris and the Highway 13 Drive- In. It’s nice that the Farris is still around for us to enjoy with our children and grandchildren. The Drive-In will live on in our memories of the good-old days.
The old newspapers are always full of interesting facts about business around town. I enjoyed the following one that helped clear up a few details about two of the local ice cream shops many of us remember. This was in the April 15, 1957 paper: “Bar, Not Queen. The announcement of the opening Saturday of the Dairy Queen, Highway 13, advertised in the News Friday should have read Dairy Bar. The Dairy Queen, a trade name, is operated by Mr. and Mrs. George Winders, Institute and Main Street. The Dairy Bar, a block south of the 10-13 intersection, will be operated by Mr. and Mrs. Donald Ray Woods, Excelsior Springs.”
The local grocery stores were busy trying to keep your business. Jim Johnston’s Super Market was the local “United Supers” store. “Switch to United Supers and Save! We give Pioneer Savings Stamps. Gov’t. State Assistance and we pay cab fare one way on all orders of $10 or more. Payroll Checks Cashed Free. Saturday 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Open Late Monday thru Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Free Cotton Candy Friday afternoon and Saturday.”
This ad had a Libby’s Green Thumb Sale where you could get four cans of fruit cocktail, five bottles of catsup or eight cans of corn for $1. Round Steak was 59 cents a pound and you could get four pounds of hamburger for $1. A half-gallon of ice cream was 69 cents.
A few weeks later, the April 26 Richmond News had a story about a local girl that many of us know. “Richmond Student On Anniversary Television Hour. Miss Billie Stoenner, Richmond, will participate in the golden anniversary celebration of the Kansas City Conservatory of Music Saturday night. The Program will be televised at 9 p.m. on Channel 9. This will be an hour-long program, with Jim Lantz as narrator. Miss Stoenner, vocalist, is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. W.G. Stoenner.”
And as Walter Cronkite always said, “And that’s the way it is” in 1957 Richmond.
There are many more treasures in the pages of our old newspapers. If you find yourself with a little extra time, come on out to the Ray County Museum and we’ll be glad to show you our old newspapers. Pick a year and soon you will go back in time as you enjoy the world as we knew it then.
You can write Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ray County Historical Museum is open Wednesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.