Dave Garroway, Helen O’Connell and the rest of NBC’s "Today" crew had to get up pretty early in the morning to broadcast the show live from the east side of Lake Calhoun. Among the guests that day were football legend Bronko Nagurski of International Falls and concertina legend Christy Hengel of New Ulm. The lake was abuzz with sailboats at that hour (7:02 a.m., judging by Garroway’s watch), but the lakefront itself was empty. The sign-waving crowds that swarm the “Today” set now were unknown back then. Or maybe Minneapolitans worn out by Aquatennial events decided to sleep in.
Here's a portion of the original Minneapolis Star caption published on July 22, 1958:
Dave Garroway was up with the chiggers on Lake Calhoun this morning. So were a lot of other people. These erstwhile slugabeds were out before sun-up to see “Today” – live and in person – from a point just south of the 32nd street beach on E. Lake Calhoun Blvd. Garroway looked healthy. Minnesota’s Bronko Nagurski, a guest on the TV show, looked healthier. Singer Helen O’Connell [above, with Garroway], curlers in her blonde hair, looked sleepy-eyed and pretty. Newsman Frank Blair was as dapper as if he were on New York’s E. 49th street. And Jack Lescoulie was grinning cheerfully – even without breakfast.
Sample Minnesota newspaper articles, photos and ads dating back more than 140 years. Fresh items are posted weekly. Go here for tips on how to track down old newspaper articles on your own. Follow the blog on Twitter. Or check out "Minnesota Mysteries," a new book based on the blog.
Email your questions or suggestions to Ben Welter.
The Minnesota State Fair has featured many unusual attractions in its 150-year history: death-defying aerial acts, colliding locomotives, freak shows, live animal births, the Minnesota Iceman and premature babies in incubators. Wait … what? The Minneapolis Morning Tribune was there:
"We're more popular than Jesus now," John Lennon told an British journalist in 1966. A year later, the Monkees' Mike Nesmith, in the Twin Cities for a show at the St. Paul Auditorium, humbly explained his band's place in the cosmic pecking order.
A musically inclined vagrant known as Banjo Ben walked the streets of Minneapolis in the city's early days. His weakness for alcohol and penchant for strong language landed him in court with some frequency. In February 1876, for example, he was sentenced to 20 days in jail for spewing obscenities at the St. Paul and Pacific depot. Later that year, he walked into the Tribune newsroom and issued an invitation to witness a spectacular feat at the new suspension bridge under construction nearby.