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Yesterday in La Crosse

La Crosse had to catch up with the Caped Crusader, 54 years ago

Brad Williams



A superhero craze was sweeping the nation, but it was a little slow getting to the Coulee Region, yesterday in La Crosse. In early 1966, ABC showed “Batman” two nights a week, Wednesday and Thursday.  But if you lived in La Crosse, you pretty much had to get Channel 6 from Austin on cable to watch the Caped Crusader.  La Crosse’s only TV station at the time, WKBT, aired shows from both ABC and CBS.  However, on Wednesdays at 6:30, they showed ‘Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.’  And Thursdays at 6:30, you’d find “The Munsters.”   By September, Batman was popular enough to show up on the WKBT schedule.  The La Crosse station did hop on the Bingo bandwagon in January of ’66.  “TV Bingo” was on five afternoons a week, with Larry Dittman calling the Bingo numbers for viewers who got their free game cards at Mobil stations and IGA stores, so they could win cash and other prizes.  

At La Crosse City Hall, the hot law and order topic was jaywalking.  City council members considered a fine of $5 for crossing in the middle of the street, and then scrapped that idea for a ‘safety campaign’ to warn people against jaywalking.  The full council sent the campaign idea back to committee.  But there was action by the La Crosse school board to build a swimming pool on the block of Logan High School.  Good news for swimmers in January, 1966, yesterday in La Crosse.       

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.