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Yesterday in La Crosse

The VP called it quits, and La Crosse was “Reddy” for Helen, 47 years ago

Brad Williams

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Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned in October of 1973, less than a year into his second term, and in the middle of the Watergate scandal surrounding President Richard Nixon.  But Agnew’s troubles were not connected to Watergate.  He pled no contest to tax evasion, related to his time serving as Governor of Maryland.  The 25th Amendment was used for the first time to choose a new vice president, Congressman Gerald Ford.   

In ’73, Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale was already thinking about running for president in 1976.  Mondale said he would have to decide early if he was going to run, in order to compete with better-known Democrats like Ted Kennedy.  In the ’76 election, Mondale was elected…vice-president to Jimmy Carter.  

Jim Croce had a number 1 hit in 1973, with the song ‘Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.’  Croce died in a Louisiana plane crash that September, at the age of 30.    Croce’s accident happened the same night as the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ in Texas between tennis pros Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King.  Riggs was a former men’s champion at Wimbledon who was back in the spotlight for claiming that the best women in tennis, such as Billie Jean, couldn’t beat an old guy like him.  In a prime-time TV match, King beat Riggs in straight sets.   

Helen Reddy had a big year in 1973, with hit records and a summer TV show on NBC.  Reddy’s song ‘Delta Dawn’ was in the top 10 when she performed in La Crosse at the Sawyer Auditorium.  For the La Crosse audience of 2500, Reddy performed on stage in pants, a T-shirt, and a jacket decorated with an Oktoberfest button, because she had gotten a peek at the crowd and figured she’d fit in wearing casual clothes, 1973, 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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