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Yesterday in La Crosse

The plan to put women in space was top secret, 47 years ago

Brad Williams



In the fall of 1973, word got out that NASA was testing women to see if they could withstand the rigors of space travel, like weightlessness and the stress of re-entry.  This was 10 years after Russia sent a woman into orbit.  The space agency apparently tried to keep the tests top secret, and insisted that no decision on female astronauts had been made yet.  A newspaper headline said that American women might be in orbit by the end of the 70’s.  It didn’t happen until Sally Ride boarded a shuttle in 1983.  

The Wisconsin Assembly overwhelmingly legalized the game of Bingo in Wisconsin, after a constitutional amendment was passed earlier that year.  Public Bingo games would be common around the state by the following summer.   

The Legion Post in Onalaska had a Halloween dance, with music provided by “Chief Many Horns and His Tomahawks.”  That band probably would have a different name today.   

The top TV shows in 1973 included “All in the Family,” “Sanford and Son,” and “Bridget Loves Bernie,” which was cancelled after just one year because viewers were offended by the comedy about a Jewish cab driver and his Catholic wife. Buddy Ebsen was back on TV, two years after “The Beverly Hillbillies” ended, playing detective “Barnaby Jones” in 1973.

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.

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