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Yesterday in La Crosse

Bowling goes high-tech, 56 years ago

Brad Williams



Cartwright Center at La Crosse State was expanding its basement bowling lanes in ’63…also adding pinsetting machines which included what was called ‘the Sparemaker.’ After a bowler’s first ball, lights on the machine would show what pins were left standing, plus a lighted arrow pointing to the best place to aim the second ball. However, you still had to keep score with a pencil and paper.

The W.T. Grant stores had an outlet on 5th Avenue in La Crosse for many years. In 1963, Grant’s had a sale on pet birds, like canaries and parakeets. You could get a male canary with ‘colorful plumage,’ guaranteed to sing, for $4.77…and parakeets, which could do ‘amusing tricks,’ cost $2.99.

The ‘Birdman of Alcatraz’ died that fall. Robert Stroud had become an expert on birds while serving time in federal prisons for murder. He inspired a 1962 movie starring Burt Lancaster. Two of the top 10 box-office movies for ’63 were ‘The Birds’ and the musical ‘Bye Bye Birdie,’ yesterday in La Crosse.

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