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A blast from the past

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Unearthed time capsule offers look at the Edge's predecessors

BANGOR The Maine Edge has been part of this area's cultural fabric for the past six years. What you may not know is that there have been previous incarnations of our fair periodical that have come and gone throughout Bangor's past. Unfortunately, all records of these past publications have heretofore been lost to the mists of history until now.

During the construction of the new Cross Insurance Center, a time capsule was unearthed. No record of this capsule's interment could be found, though our best research indicates that its burial coincided roughly with the onset of construction of the Bangor Auditorium. 

Contained within this capsule were a number of news clippings, culled from past incarnations of the Edge. While the sources of these aged articles do not share a name with our current publication, there is no doubt that they are spiritual cousins to the paper that you are reading today.

After an extensive and painstaking process of selection, we have chosen a few of the most representative pieces to share with our current readership. Together, they make up a wonderfully vivid glimpse into years gone by. Not only is it a chance to experience some of Bangor's historic moments anew, but it is also an opportunity to remember the ancestry of our own Maine Edge.



(From the April 1, 1925 edition of 'The Maine Ledger')

Paul Bunyan's triumphant return

Beloved Bangor hero comes home

By E.L. Saladman

This week past, the streets of the Queen City were lined a dozen deep with adoring throngs for a parade welcoming back one of Bangor's favorite sons.

The multitudes turned out to watch as Paul Bunyan, known the world round as the greatest lumberjack in all of creation, returned to the place of his birth. Necks were craned the length and breadth of Main Street as the titanic timberman marched the length of the thoroughfare at the head of a procession the likes of which this town had never seen.

At parade's end, Mr. Bunyan was met by city officials who presented the fearsome feller with a custom-made key to our fair city a key as large and weighty as an automobile.

Mr. Bunyan was gracious enough to spare a few moments of his precious time to speak with The Maine Ledger.

'I never could have expected such a boisterous welcome,' boomed the mighty Bunyan. 'Having spent so much time hewing my way through the forests of this fair country, I might have thought that the fine folks of my hometown would have long forgotten me over the span of years.'

But the older residents of Bangor have long memories; stories of Mr. Bunyan's legendary childhood have become a fine currency, swapped back and forth so often as to become well-worn and smooth.

Mr. Bunyan laughed when reminded of the extreme nature of his upbringing.

'I'll always be grateful to the people of this city for the part they played in raising me up,' he chuckled. 'I know it could not have been easy. Devoting those teams of oxen to the rocking of my cradle, committing such resources to constant cookery so that I might stay fed the sacrifices of this fine populace made me the man I am today.'

Mr. Bunyan is world-renowned for his many mighty feats. However, when we asked him what he believed to be his greatest accomplishment, he was quick to answer.

'I've done many things and been many places,' he said. 'I've felled whole acres of timber with a single swing; I've built mountains and straightened rushing rivers. But nothing compares to my most enduring feat dragging my axe behind me and carving the magnificent Grand Canyon.'

When we inquired as to what was next after his visit to Bangor, the legendary lumberman offered a response that was more cryptic than concrete.

'I reckon I'll go collect my pal Babe' (his legendary blue ox companion) 'and make my way northward. The farther we spread ourselves across this great land, the less room there is for folks like me. There's plenty of wide-open space up Canada way; me and Babe will surely find some ways to occupy ourselves for as long as we need.'

And with that, Paul Bunyan Bangor's favorite son scooped up the eight-foot commemorative key that the city had bestowed upon him and walked away, each enormous stride taking him leagues away. In minutes, his enormous frame had disappeared from sight.

Godspeed, Mr. Bunyan. May you find whatever it is that you seek.


(From the May 15, 1950 edition of 'The Maine Ledger')

Jewel thieves nabbed, pig cleared of all charges

By Ken Gland
Pledge Staff Ledgerman

BANGOR Investigators found the thieves that allegedly purloined the gems from Lady Holiday after breaking news uncovered by twin reporters K. Frog and F. Bear.

The dynamic duo learned that the gems had been nicked by Lady Holiday's dastardly brother, Nicky, and that he and his female assistants had framed a local pig that was subsequently taken to the pokey. Police are not commenting on what evidence was found that linked the sow to the crime, though they were quick to point out that one of the reporters had been dating the pig, which was as weird, if not weirder than arresting the pig.

'Look, this whole case has been weird,' said the spokesperson, who despite being the public information officer, declined to be named due to the ludicrous nature of the crime. 'It was weird for your reporters and it was weird for my officers. Can we just all agree that it was weird and get on with our lives?'

The Maine Pledge agreed to not name him, because most of the editorial staff, including Frog and Bear, agree that the whole case was weird.

Authorities said that the bandits were pinched as they attempted to pinch a large diamond, roughly the size of a baseball, but the reporters got wind of the caper and were able to keep the treasure out of the hands of the dastardly team.

'We had to think on our feet, and batted the diamond around out of their reach. It got a little hairy towards the end, I was lucky when that beautiful pig busted in on the motorcycle and put those bandits in their place,' said Frog.

They are however investigating how the pig escaped, procured a motorcycle and then assaulted Nicky and his female co-conspirators leading to their apprehension. The pig and the reporters are being hailed as heroes.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story went on to be made into a major motion picture in the 1980s. The scene was changed to London to help protect the identities of the innocent parties.


(From the September 19, 1956 edition of 'The Maine Pledge')

Queen City parents fear Rock and Roll' youth rebellion

By Flip Scribe

Last Friday evening on Harlow Street, the crisp autumn air was thick with tension as more than 75 parents of local students filed in to Bangor High School for an emergency 'Meeting of Concern' regarding the increased popularity of 'rock and roll' beat music and its perceived threat to their children. 

Bert Holloway was the first to voice his concern. 

'I have two youngsters and I've seen the news from other cities and what this music can do,' Mr. Holloway said.  'The kids shake and scream when they hear it.  It's like something has taken them over.  I'm telling you the truth right now.  I'm more scared about this getting a hold of em than I am commies' or reefer.'  My brother in Baltimore says one of the theaters there was torn up when they played a movie full of this music.  The seats, the curtainsit was a mess.'

In other states, and even other countries, stories abound of violence erupting among young movie-goers who attended films containing 'rock and roll' music.  Last year's 'Blackboard Jungle' starred Glenn Ford as a teacher in a school populated by juvenile delinquents who listen to 'rock and roll' music.  This year's 'Rock Around The Clock', with its soundtrack of raw, pulsing beat music, was banned in England due to outbreaks of youthful rebellion at various screenings.  According to CBS News, Iraq, Cuba and the Soviet Union have also forbidden screenings of the movie, calling it a 'capitalist conspiracy.' 

While most of the parents present at last Friday's meeting had heard stories about previously well-behaved youngsters turned into hooligans after being exposed to the churning rhythms of 'rock and roll,' only one parent cited an example of the phenomenon occurring within her family.

Betty Matheson raised her hand and spoke of a recent incident involving her 15-year-old daughter.  'Last Sunday night, we were watching Ed Sullivan and he had that Elvis Presley on. We couldn't believe it.  The swiveling and the gyrating was not what we usually see on that program.  My husband and I were shocked but Tammy seemed spellbound by it all.  The volume of the screaming girls sounded like an airplane taking off.  When I told Tammy to turn it down, she spun around and started talking sass' to us.  It happened that fast.'  

A murmur rippled through the room as Mrs. Matheson sat down.  

Desiring a professional perspective on the situation, this reporter met with   George Hale of WABI radio and television.  Mr. Hale's morning show features popular singers such as Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett but his station also plays the new 'rock and roll' music for a portion of each afternoon after students have been released from school.  

'I've heard that some people are nervous about this music. I'm not saying that they have no reason to be concerned but my personal opinion is that it's much ado about nothing.  Every generation has their music.  If you remember, some people were nervous about Sinatra and the stir that he caused.  Now, we don't even think about it he's accepted.  I like jazz music. Some of it can get pretty wild but nobody goes kooky over it,' Hale said with a wink.   'My guess is that those kids who caused problems elsewhere were violent to begin with.  It takes more than music to turn kids into monsters.'

He continued while describing his station's approach to the new music.  'Once in a while, we'll get a complaint call in the afternoon but it's pretty rare.   We're talking about starting up an afternoon Bandstand' type show on TV where we'll invite young people in to hear the new records and dance.  There's a similar show in other markets called American Bandstand' out of Philadelphia.  I think it'll be big.' 

Officer Mark Mikel of the Bangor Police Department agrees with Hale's assessment.  'So far, we don't have any record of problems relating specifically to 'rock and roll' musicother than complaints about volume and that type of thing,' Mikel told me.  'It's not as if the British are coming.  If that happens, we might have a problem,' he said, smiling.  

Flip Scribe has been covering music for The Maine Ledger since 1954.  He sits on the board of the North American Loon Preservation Society and is an accomplished banjoist.  He lives in Bradley with his wife, three dogs and a chimpanzee named Otis.


(From the October 22, 1952 edition of 'The Maine Pledge')

Taking television' to task

A vile vision of an electric future

By Dean Llamas

According to my sources, this newfangled invention called 'television' is scheduled to soon make its way into our fair town.

It's a load of balderdash. The worst kind of humbuggery.

Even if you believe that these moving images are to be transmitted through the air and right into our homes and I have my doubts what's the purpose? The receivers are prohibitively expensive and by all accounts, the quality of image and sound pale in comparison to the wonderful worlds created by our numerous and beautiful moving picture houses.

We have radios, for Pete's sake! What more could we possibly need? With a simple twist of the dial, we have entertainment options from across the spectrum. Dramatic options abound serials such as 'The Shadow,' 'Dragnet,' 'Dr. Kildare' and 'The Adventures of Superman' will fill your thirst for adventure and derring-do. Looking for comedy? Why not 'The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet' or 'The Jack Benny Program'? 

There are westerns ('The Lone Ranger'; 'Hopalong Cassidy') and game shows ('Twenty Questions'; 'Quiz Kids'), as well as all the news programs and sporting events you could possibly hope to listen to. So how can this 'television' hope to replace all of that? 

And Hollywood already offers us the grandest, most exotic scenes that any person might ever imagine. How could television possibly replicate the vast grandeur of the silver screen? Are we to be expected to spend our days squinting at a blurry box, hoping to perhaps make out the odd recognizable image? Could 'television' ever give us a 'Gone with the Wind' or a 'Wizard of Oz'?


Perhaps the government might find some use for this technology. Larger cities might be able to utilize it for some purpose or another. But for the vast majority of Americans, it's a foolish extravagance that will prove to be nothing more than a fad a fad that hopefully will fade before it causes any lasting damage to the people and pocketbooks of the United States.

And what if the good Lord forbid the young people were to take a shine to this electric snake oil? We all know how impressionable children are, ripe to be led into temptation at the slightest provocation. What if they take it into their heads that this 'television' is the new and coming thing? We already see them strewn about our floors in front of the radio set, held rapt by the tales of their favorite programs. What kind of hold might this new distraction have over them? What cost might there be?

Shall we sit back and allow our next generation to grow up squinting into flickering light, letting their imaginations atrophy while being spoonfed the electric equivalent of sloth? Their minds will wither and their bodies will follow; can we stand idly by and let our children be corrupted thusly?

No, no, a thousand times no!

It is an easy thing for those of us who are older and wiser to dismiss out of hand the inherent ludicrousness of this 'television.' We can recognize that there is no need for it; it's simply another unnecessary extravagance in a world already too filled with them.

But at the end of the day, it is not enough for us to be vigilant for ourselves. We must think of the enormous potential damage to the younger generation.

We must think of the children.

WEB EDITORS NOTE: These articles appeared as part of our 2013 April Fools Edition. Please don't believe a word of it. 

Last modified on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 12:35


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