News of the Week: The 1950 Census Is Out, Baseball Has Begun, and You Could Use a Gin & Tonic

In the news for the week ending April 8, 2022: library fines are off, baseball is on, a young Prince appears, old census records arrive, and more.

Yogi Berra preparing to catch baseball

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After 72 Years …

You would think that the census numbers would be released as soon as they have everything sorted out and checked, maybe the following year or so. But by law they actually have to hold the data for exactly 72 years. Records from the 1950 census — 1950! — were just released, and it’s fascinating. If you’re a fan of American history and documents and handwriting, you’ll find it intriguing too.

What I love about the forms are that they were filled out by real people using pencils, walking around neighborhoods and knocking on doors (46 million doors). Nothing digital, nothing via an online form (though it was the first time a computer, the UNIVAC 1, processed the results). You can see the stray marks they left, the boxes they decided to fill and the ones they left blank, the homes where no one was home when they visited. Every form is as much about the census-taker as the citizen they were talking to.

And it’s always great to see a piece of your family history, info you never thought about or never thought you’d actually see. When this census was taken, my parents were impossibly young, and my two oldest sisters were only 2 years old and an infant.

The 1970 census was the first one where I made an appearance, and I can’t wait to see my name and age there. But I’ll have to wait until 2042 for that.

Play Ball!

We thought the entire season might be in jeopardy because of the strike, but Major League Baseball began this week, and they’re going to play a full 162-game season. Here are the season schedules for every team.

NYC Libraries End Late Fees, Get Books Back

I haven’t checked a book out of the library in … I honestly don’t know how long. Probably around Reagan’s second term. (I spend a lot of money buying books.) But when I was a kid I spent a lot of time at the library, and I remember the utter panic of forgetting to bring back a book in time and having to pay the penalty. I think it was 5 cents a day. And I’d panic if it was just a few days late. I can’t imagine holding on to a library book for years.

But some people do — I’ve told you about many of those people in this very column — and now New York’s large public library system is seeing many books being returned after many years now that they’ve waived late fees and penalties. Some of the books were checked out 20, 30, even 50 years ago.

This is something they thought would happen. Not only are they getting the books back but they’ve also seen an increase in library visitations, too. Most people are returning the books via mail or the book drop box, not directly to a librarian at the desk. I guess people don’t want to explain face-to-face why they borrowed Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1972 and never returned it.

When Is a Whopper Not a “Whopper”?

That sounds like the start of a joke (and if you can think of a punchline, let me know in the comments), but it’s actually the basis of a new class action lawsuit.

Burger King is being accused of false advertising because the Whopper sandwiches they show in ads are much bigger than what you get when you buy one, as much as 35 percent bigger.

Something in an ad doesn’t look like what you actually get? I think this is called “advertising.”

The South Florida lawsuit is actually more specific in its claims though. It says that Burger King used to serve food that closely resembled what was seen in ads, but that changed for all of their products around 2017.

He’s Got the Look

Reporters accidentally came across footage of a rock icon at only 11 years old while researching a 1970 Minnesota teacher’s strike. You can tell who it is just from the facial expressions.

Posted to YouTube by WTVR CBS 6

RIP Bobby Rydell, Estelle Harris, Nehemiah Persoff, Fred Johnson, Bill Fries, Patrick Demarchelier, Tommy Davis, Barrie Youngfellow Freed, and Paul Herman

Bobby Rydell sang such songs as “Wild One,” “Volare,” “Kissin’ Time,” “Sway,” and “Wildwood Days.” He was also in the movie version of Bye Bye Birdie. He died Tuesday at the age of 79.

Estelle Harris was best known for her roles as George’s mother on Seinfeld and as Mrs. Potato Head in the Toy Story movies, among many other roles. She died Saturday at the age of 93.

You might not know the name Nehemiah Persoff, but you know his work. He was in hundreds of TV shows and movies from the late 1940s until 2003 (way too many to mention here). He later became an accomplished painter. He died Tuesday at the age of 102.

Fred Johnson sang the “bomp-ba-ba-bomp” vocals in The Marcels’ classic song “Blue Moon.” He died last week at the age of 80.

Bill Fries — under the name C.W. McCall — was known for his No. 1 1976 song “Convoy.” He died last week at the age of 93.

Patrick Demarchelier was an iconic fashion photographer whose work appeared in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. He was even an unseen character in the movie The Devil Wears Prada. He died last week at the age of 78.

Tommy Davis was a star player for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1960s. He won two National League batting titles and three World Series rings. He died Sunday at the age of 83.

Barrie Youngfellow Freed starred in the sitcom It’s a Living (aka Making a Living). She died last week at the age of 75.

Paul Herman appeared in such TV shows as The Sopranos, Miami Vice, and Entourage and movies like The Irishman, Heat, and American Hustle. He died last week at the age of 76.

This Week in History

Susanna M. Salter Becomes First Female Mayor (April 4, 1887)

Salter was the mayor of Argonia, Kansas, for one year, declining to seek another term.

First Tony Awards (April 6, 1947)

The very first ceremony declared two winners in the Actor category (José Ferrer and Fredric March) and two for Actress (Helen Hayes and Ingrid Bergman). The directing award went to Elia Kazan for All My Sons.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Charwomen (April 6, 1946)

Women cleaners reading out of a book
By Norman Rockwell
April 6, 1946

These two women got to the theater a year early to make sure they had good seats for the Tony Awards.

Saturday Is National Gin & Tonic Day

Is there more than one way to make a gin & tonic, beyond using different brands of gin? There is!

Bon Appétit has a recipe for a Classic Gin & Tonic. The Craft Gin Club has several twists on that classic recipe, including Grapefruit & Pink Peppercorn and the Roasted Pineapple gin & tonics. I sometimes make mine with ginger-ale. The Spruce Eats has the recipe for that drink, called the Gin Buck.

Using ginger-ale is as daring as I get with my gin & tonics. I don’t want to stray too far from the classic, clean recipe. But if you’re adventurous, you can try’s Coffee & Cigarettes, which adds coffee liqueur and cocoa nibs to the gin and the tonic water (but thankfully no Lucky Strikes).

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Eight-Track Tape Day (April 11)

If you owned eight-track tapes, there’s a very good chance you’re old.

Passover Begins (April 15)

… and ends on the evening of April 23.

Featured image: © SEPS

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  1. As far as the Whopper goes, it hasn’t been a “whopper” in a long time. Remember Clara Pellar and her “Where’s the Beef?” commercials? WE need a new incarnation of Ms. Pellar in more ways that one. Oh and BTW, if I really want a top notch fast food burger then I make my way to my local Hardee’s. No other fast food restaurant around here can match them for their quality.

  2. The results of the 1950 census results just released now? Good grief, Bob! As for the Whopper, the advertising busters are a little late to the party there, too. What about everything else? What’s going on around here?

    That sure is Prince, just a year younger than me. It’s been 6 years this month since he passed away far too soon. Such a talent. For other singers too. One of my favorites is ‘Sugar Walls’ he wrote for Sheena Easton. Oh, the video of her in that yellow dress and geometric earrings to match. No one has to look it up if they don’t want to.

    Estelle Harris was one of the big reasons I love ‘Seinfeld’ and sill do. Such a talent as George’s mother. “I go out for a quart of milk. I come home and find my son treating his body like it was an AMUSEMENT park!”


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