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Yesterday in La Crosse

Smoking and drinking, both bad ideas, 53 years ago

Brad Williams

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In May of 1967, Wisconsin lawmakers were talking about raising the drinking age to 21, and banning cigarette ads. At that time, 18-year-olds could drink beer in the Badger State, and local governments could set their own minimum ages for consuming alcohol.  As for tobacco, one legislator slammed cigarette commercials for showing people doing healthy things like running and swimming, while still smoking.  TV ads for cigarettes wouldn’t be banned until 1971, but one popular cigarette brand stopped sponsoring “The Beverly Hillbillies” in ’67 because kids were a big segment of the show’s audience.  

Men hadn’t landed on the moon yet, but one scientist at Cape Kennedy figured out how much a vacation trip to Mars might cost.  To ride a spaceship carrying 20 tourists to the red planet, you might have to pay $70,000 a seat.  You’d only spend a few days on Mars, but the round trip would take 11 months.   

For Mother’s Day, “The Ed Sullivan Show” would feature stand-up comic Woody Allen, singer Leslie Uggams, the rock band the Turtles, and two Sullivan regulars–the comedy team of Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. A really big show in 1967, 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.

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