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Feb 5th, Page 1

The Palladium-Item

Vol. 185, No. 31 / Richmond, Ind., Friday, February 5, 1965 / City Edition / Single Copy 10 Cents

Some Phones In Use; Repair Work Slow

[Photo] The job of splicing telephone wires is under way in the vault room. The two men seated here, left to right, are professional contract splicers Lynn Atchison, 314 North Ninth St., and Alva Gore, Longer Trailer Court. A third splicer, Bill Hargrove, also of Richmond, is almost lost in the maze of wires.
[Photo] Little remains in the main switch room except charred debris and blackened wires. More than four inches of water, laden with debris, covered the second story in the old section.

More Than 200 Men Work Around Clock

Emergency Long Distance Service Available; Origin Of Fire Unknown


Firemen were sent to the rear of the telephone company building about 1:30 p.m. Friday when smoke began to come from the top of an elevator shaft above the garage where repair work is under way. The building is just North of the one hit by fire on Thursday. Smoke could be seen and the odor on the floor below was very strong.
Firemen said they could find no fire but theorized that smoke may have been trapped in basement elevator shafts, moving upward when second floor doors were opened. They left the scene at 2:15 p.m.
Crippled by a disastrous blaze Thursday, most costly in telephone history in Indiana, the General Telephone Company Friday continued its round-the clock job of trying to provide some semblance of telephone service for Richmond.
The progress is tortureously slow, but at least it is progress. How long it will be before normal service can be restored is something on which Telephone men would not venture a guess.
Some service is being restored now. That which will be restored in the immediate future will be manual,a process of lifting a receiver and getting an operator. Renewal of automatic equipment such as has been in use must wait.
By noon, this was the picture:

25 Numbers In Service

More than 25 emergency and critical user numbers were in service. These include fire, police, sheriff and hospital.
Critical number holders can call each other and can make long distance calls. They also are connected with the substations which remained in use.
New numbers for critical users are being assigned and will be published by the telephone company. The first list is expected to be mailed over the weekend. Others will be added and mailed daily.
Work was being speeded on making pay stations over the city available for use.
The first goal is 80 but the work is tediously slow.
Directions will be posted on those in use. Emergency local calls will be handled through pay phones as well as emergency long distance calls on a collect or charge basis. The pay stations will be operated without the usual dime.
Pay telephone stations in use at 2 p.m. were at:
Greyhound Bus Station (2)
Rathskeller, 1311 South Eighth St.
North West Fifth and Richmond Ave.
Wake-up Oil, U.S. 40 East.
South Eighth and E Sts.
Coin Laundry, North West L and Sheridan Sts.
Kutter's, Sixteenth and Main Sts.
North West Fifth and L Sts.
Heavy use was reported being made of a battery of 25 telephones set up in the company's downtown office, 31 North Ninth St., where emergency long distance calls can be placed. The office is open day and night.

Some Calls Received

Some emergency long distance calls in the city were received at the office but because of the destruction of switching equipment, could not be relayed to the intended receivers. Word was gotten to them by police.
Telephone patrons with numbers beginning with 962, 966, and 969 are still completely out of service.
Those with numbers beginning with 935 may call 935-1161, 935-1171 and 935-1181 to get an operator who will relay emergency calls.
Those with numbers beginning with 973 may call 973-1162, 973-1163 or 973-1164 for the same service.
Those with telephones beginning with 957 may call 957-2055, 057-2065 or 957-2075.
These numbers are linked with substations and each can call the other.
The only service available to all other phone users is the emergency long distance set-up at the phone company office, and the service being put in at pay stations, although by no means have all of the more than 200 been so equipped.
W. P. Rigdon, Richmond manager for General Telephone, said he believes that utility "can handle all the incoming and outgoing emergency calls that must, (and he stressed 'must') be placed from the business office
Several emergency calls were placed and received during the night both at the business office and at the three substations. Close cooperation of police and other volunteer emergency radio units made it possible.

More Equipment Arrives

Meanwhile repair equipment continues to pour into the city, not only from Indiana but from surrounding states. Telephone companies help each other out in emergencies. This one is no exception.
Michigan Bell sent a 1200-line manual emergency central office which is in a huge semi-trailer. Best way to make use of it is being studied.
More than 200 men make up the force at work in and around the telephone company office. Trucks are everywhere. So is equipment. But one look at the
(MORE THAN) (Continued on Page Two)
[Page two is not part of the ghg archive or this archive.]

New Emergency Fire Plans Announced

Be Sure You Know Fire Station Location; Some Alarm Boxes Out

New emergency Fire Department plans went into effect Friday as a result of the General Telephone Co. fire that silenced the city's fire alarm box system except those of the West side of the Whitewater River.
No alarm boxes are operating East of the river, but efforts are being made to restore service. The East side boxes operate through a hookup with the telephone company.
Chief Ernest Fredricks urged all residents to acquaint themselves with fire station locations; emergency communication centers and the public pay telephone stations in their immediate areas which so far have been made available for use. All will be as soon as possible.
Men are on duty at the six fire stations all the time as they are at Citizen Band radio locations. The latter locations are listed in another part of The Palladium-Item.
"Clip out the list of stations and alarm boxes carried below; the radio operators; and public telephone locations so you can readily get to one or the other in event of fire," the chief urged.
The widespread failure of fire alarm circuits has caused concern in systems which operate over telephone lines in factories and stores.

Guards Needed

Most plants served by the automatic (ADT) systems have been requested to keep night guards on duty in case a fire should break out. City and Civil Defense Police units are stationed near industrial and business areas to be on hand in case an emergency develops.
Chief Fredricks reminded again that anyone using a West side alarm box should stay at the box until firemen arrive so they can tell them where the fire is located.
Fire stations are located as follows:
No. 1, in the City Building.
No. 2, near North Eighth Street and the Pennsylvania Railroad.
No. 3, between Fifteenth and Sixteenth on North A Street.
No. 4, at the corner of South Eighth and L Streets.
No. 5, near North West Fifth and Peacock Road.
No. 6, on North West Fifth Street near the Belden and Avco plants.
Radio communication is operative between the stations. The same is true between the stations and Citizens Band radio operators.
The Fire Chief said whenever residents in the following areas see a department vehicle parked in front, a fire can be reported because they are radio equipped.
Chief Fredericks' residence, 22 South Fourteenth St.
Inspector Fred Klotz's residence, 2203 North E St.
Maintenance man Harry Hengstler residence, 317 South Fifth St.
(EMERGENCY FIRE) (Continued on Page Two)
[Page two is not part of the ghg archive or this archive.]
Advert to phone in stories to Palladium-Item via collect call to a New Paris, Ohio Citizen Band Radio Operator
Other Page 1 Fire Stories ...

Girls Work In Chill, Smoky Atmosphere

By Sharon Little
Stalwart is the word that best describes General Telephone Operators.
Working on a switchboard set up in a garage at the North Ninth Street firm, there were smiling faces despite the chill, smoky smell, and men working up, over and around them.
Slacks, warm jackets and boots replaced the usual apparel of blouses, skirts and heels!
Four operators were manning the board at 8:45 a.m. Friday, according to Larry Bricker, division traffic manager. Operators had worked throughout the night Thursday.
These women are handling the calls for users considered "critical": Reid Memorial Hospital, Wayne County Sheriff's Department, police and fire departments.
These users can contact one another, Bricker said, but their calls to other locations are still impossible.
Emergency calls coming into the board for persons still without telephone service will be given to a feminine "runner," who will deliver the message by car or see that it is delivered to the called party.

To Man Substations

Some operators will be located in three telephone substations in Richmond when service into these sites is established and will also dispatch messages, Bricker said.
Some 80 pay stations located in strategic sections of the city will be put into service as soon as possible.
This will enable residents without service to use a pay station phone for contact into the telephone switchboard.
Bricker emphasized announcement will be made when this phase of temporary emergency service is completed and in operation.
A setup in which some operators will assist in placing calls on a manual basis rather than through a switchboard will be functioning also, Bricker said.
He said a large number of operators will be need for this type of service.

To Use Mobile Units

In addition to the four positions being manned at the firm's garage switchboard, mobile units, each having positions for five operators, will swing into action as soon as possible.
Private Branch Exchange (PBX) operators who operate switchboards in places such as industries and schools have been or shortly will be contacted by a General Telephone representative as to what they can expect service-wise in the days ahead
Richmond residents, Anxious to assure out-of-town relatives that things are under control here, were driving to pay telephones in nearby communities to make calls.
Many who needed to make long distance calls of a family nature that they felt did not classify as emergency were seeking out phones in these nearby towns where telephone systems are not connected with the Richmond tie-up.
Some went to New Paris, Ohio; others to towns north of here, where phones are connected with the Winchester exchange, and some to Cambridge and Milton and west of the city.
What is happening if yours is one of the telephones with the still operable 973, 935 or 957 prefixes?
Mrs. Lewis Glover, 206 Cartwright Drive, who has a 973 prefix, says she can easily phone any numbers with the same prefix. These are located mostly in her immediate neighborhood. However, she keeps getting busy signals when she dials numbers with either of the other two prefixes.
On a try for a 935 prefix number in a home south of the city Thursday night, she cut in on a jumble of sounds and conversations.

Telegrams Keep Extra Staff Busy

Extra operators were busy Friday as the Western Union office, 14 North Ninth St., kept communication lines open between Richmond and other parts of the nation.
Telegrams delivered to the office took a big jump before noon as factories and businesses without telephone service used Western Union facilities.
As of 3 p.m., the office had been open 36 hours. A taxicab was used to deliver telegrams, in addition to the regular bicycle messenger. An additional auto was being sought.
P.M. Shields of Indianapolis, district manager, said the office would remain open if business warranted.
All outgoing telegrams were being routed through Detroit, Mich.
Trunk lines were kept open to Perfect Circle Corporation, Nettle Creek Industries, Richmond Fireproof Door and to Cambridge City.
The grain ticker remained in service, but no New York stock quotations were received Thursday or Friday.
Service to several industries was hampered because Western Union went through the office of General Telephone, damaged by the fire.
To provide extra personnel to keep the local Western Union office open, workers were moved here from Muncie, Bloomington and Connersville.

"Phoning By Foot" Becomes Common

Like many others, O.M. Kendall, Richmond businessman, was hot footing it down Main street Friday.
"Doing my telephoning by foot," he explained.
"Our grandparents didn't have it any better but then they were used to it."

From page 2 of the Sunday, February 7, 1965 Palladium-Item, a partial story.
[The first part of this story most likely was a recap of the previous coverage.]

Moving On Highway From Illinois Town

Civil Defense officials, operating an emergency radio network based at City Hall, also urged persons to limit their use of the radio system to calls for medical aid, an ambulance, fire or police.
Paralleling installation of emergency work, according to William P. Rigdon, company manager, was preparation of facilities to receive new, permanent equipment.
Rigdon said that all new equipment will be installed on the second floor of the company's newer building, north of the area which burned. The old switchroom, almost entirely consumed by fire, will be sealed off and no efforts will be made to clear it until all new facilities are installed.

Space Available

Rigdon said adequate space is available in the newer area to make this possible. Previous plans for expansion, now postponed indefinitely, will be carried out after the fire-gutted area is cleared and rebuilt. Exact fire loss will be determined at this time also, when total damage can be assessed.
Companies of the Richmond Fire Department were called back to the phone office twice in two days following the fire. Both times, Friday afternoon and, Sunday, smoke was observed coming out of ventilators. In each case, it was believed smoke was escaping from pockets formed in the basement of the building. No additional fire was noted.
Arrival of the Illinois switchboard will bring to more than 9,000 the potential number of phone lines which can be hooked into emergency manual equipment. However, according to Rigdon, it may be weeks, if ever, before this number is even approached.
Other lines scheduled to be tied into the emergency system at an early date are those serving industrial and other private switchboards. Restoration of service to home phones will not begin until business lines are back in operation on the temporary system.
Exactly how many lines will be hooked into manual facilities will depend on speed with which new automatic dialing equipment can be obtained and installed. It is hoped these units will be in operation within a few weeks, although telephone officials declined to give any estimate of time.

"Ahead Of Schedule"

Although most repair work is slow and painfully tedious, Rigdon said restoration efforts were running "well ahead of schedule."
Identification of individual phone lines, as they enter the telephone building, was coming along well. A total of 24 cables,each carrying 300 sets of wires, was run from the basement area where phone lines come in, into the garage where temporary equipment is set up. As each phone line is identified it is spliced into wires in one of the new cables and connected into circuit frames in the garage.
These lines eventually will be hooked into switchboard facilities. For the present, however, only emergency-circuit phones are being so handled.
Workmen were also busy cleaning switching equipment, located in the newer building, which was only smoke stained and not physically touched by fire. Although the cleaning job was a painstaking, slow one, it was hoped eventually several hundred dial telephones would be put back into operation.
Rigdon stressed that all phases of the rehabilitation are, and will continue to be very slow, and urged the public to bear with the phone company. He said that, work which has been completed in the past 60 hours would have taken "at least 10 to 12 weeks."
Officials from General Telephone of Indiana, Inc., parent company to the local firm, announced Saturday that phone customers will be billed only for long distance calls made as long as service is out. No local service charge will be accessed.
Those whose phone are put back into service later torturously be billed only for the period and to the extent their phone was in operation. This itself will be a big bookkeeping job.

Other Equipment Arrives

During emergency conditions, other shipments of heavy equipment also have been arriving in the city. Largest of these was 46,000 pounds of lead-covered cable, shipped by air freight from San Fransisco to Chicago, and trucked the remainder of the way.
Ordinarily, phone officials said, such a load might have taken a week to arrive. Under emergency conditions, however, the trip required less than 12 hours. The cable arrived here Saturday morning.
Long distance service, partially established only 12 hours after the fire was brought under control Thursday, has expanded steadily since that time.
A total of 25 telephones for long distance dialing are on hand for emergency use at telephone headquarters. All phones on the emergency network may be tied into long distance lines. Trunk lines to other cities have been opened. Most recent of these was the circuit to Chicago, put back in service Saturday by the Indiana Bell system.

The Palladium-Item

Vol. 185, No. 33 / Richmond, Ind., Monday, February 8, 1965 / City Edition / Single Copy 10 Cents

Page 1

Phone Service Seen in Two Weeks

[Photo] Here is the huge switchboard rushed here from Antioch, Ill., over the weekend. It has been pushed into position at the north end of the General Telephone Company building. A wall at the far end, which separated a conference room from this area, was ripped out to make room for the board.

Big Board To Play An Important Role

Party Lines For Residences But Private For Doctors, Businesses

Restoration of telephone service in the form of four-party lines and private lines for doctors, businesses, and PBX boards in industries and other busnesses was promised her Monday within two weeks.
Arrival late Sunday Night of a 3,500-line, 28-operator switchboard from Illinois Bell in Antioch, Ill., to go with a 1,200-line board rushed here by Michigan Bell, and an 800-line unused board from Wakarusa, Ind., will make the service possible, W.P. Rigdon, Richmond manager for the fire-wracked General Telephone of Indiana, said Monday.
All restored services will be manual. Lifting of a receiver will being the voice of an operator.
About 13,000 customers, involving more than 20,000 phones, will be given manual service.
Some 3,000 customers with about 6,000 phones, now served out of substations, and who have at least restricted service even after last Thursday's fire, will be able to make connection with other phones in the city.

Will Be Two Systems

In effect, there will be two systems. One will be a manual operation involving numbers which formerly started with 962, 966 and 969. These numbers will be changed to 5 and 6 digit numbers. New directories are in the process of being published.
The second system, which will remain automatic, will involve those phones in the substation areas. Their numbers will continue to start with 935, 973, or 957 and will be unchanged.
A person in the manual system will get an operator by simply lifting a receiver. A person in the substation area will have to dial zero to get an operator. But the two systems will be interlinked.
It is hoped to have the restoration of service, on the basis outlined, by no later than the weekend of Feb. 20-22.
How long it will be before the automatic system, as Richmond has known it for the past half century, is restored remains to be seen, but Rigdon said that it will not take a year, as some has said, or feared.
"Just how many months I can't say," he added.
Meanwhile, service was being restored to more critical users.
Substation patrons still have contact with each other and with an operator.
Those in the completely knocked out areas still have nothing.
But the Civil Defense radio center remains in operation at City Hall and Citizens Band operators are still standing by and delivering messages.
This problem has cropped up.
Too many messages minor in nature, or involving tasks which can be handled by persons themselves, are being pushed off onto the radio hookup, which Mayor Edward L. Cordell said should be stopped "because there just aren't enough people to go around to become ordinary messenger boys."
Service is still being set up at additional stations over the city, formerly pay stations. There are more than 200 of them and eventually all will be in the manual service.
At present about 75 have been so equipped. Each has had a large sign with "Emergency Telephone" in red letters. New signs will say "Working Telephone." The phones can be operated without charge unless a long distance call is involved.

Main Street Space Used

The telephone company also is moving its long distance calling center, which up to now has been maintained in the lobby of its building at 31 North Ninth St., to a vacant room at 712 Main St., on the North side of the street, arranged through the help of Ken Grover, local realtors president. It will be called the Main Street Telephone Center.
That will alleviate the situation at the main office. The new center will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When it is in complete operation, the telephone office will restrict its hours from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Rigdon said the firm is working around the clock to get "the most service the fastest."
He said that when the manual service goes into operation, it will be necessary for the public to remember that calls should be no longer nor more frequent than necessary because of the added number of party lines which will be in effect.
Rigdon said that the cause of the fire still remains unknown. No other damage figure has been given other than it will be in excess of $1 million.
The switching room, where the crippling blaze broke out last week, has been sealed off temporarily. There is sufficient space in the building to care for the equipment needed to put the manual operation in effect.
Rigdon said the 10-ton switchboard from Illinois arrived here "in good shape" and trunk line cables are being strung to it.
Glen Lauher, traffic engineer for General Telephone Company, knows more about the new 3,500-line switchboard than most people here. He was an employee for Illinois Bell and was assigned to the job of removing the board from service in Antioch, Ill., in 1961.
He said Sunday night he never expected to see that equipment again. Now he will be helping to wire it into the local setup.

City Councilmen Are Asked To Assist In Radio Work

Charles Yount, president of the Richmond Common Council, and Mayor Edward Cordell Monday called on councilmen to lend a hand with the Citizen Band Radio and Amateur Operations this week during the telephone emergency.
The councilmen are asked to meet in the mayor's office at 7 p.m. Monday night to work out a schedule of hours.
The Monday night meeting will be a briefing on duties, hours of work and how the Citizens Band and Amateur Radio operators are handling emergency calls.
In a message distributed Monday morning Yount said:
"Many of our volunteer workers have been extended to the limit of their physical capacity and some must return to work for economic reasons. I am asking each of you to help during the telephone emergency.
"We need to have a representative of the city work at headquarters in the City Building from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. to help coordinate activities."
Mayor Cordell said members of the council had volunteered earlier to help out in any way they could be of assistance but up to the present time the have not had to be called upon. However, since many of the volunteers who have been working will not be available now, we need their assistance.
Page 12 Fire Stories ...

Photos Tell Story As 10-Ton Switchboard Is Rushed Here From Illinois Town

[Photo] The huge switchboard is shown as it is backed across the Masonic Lodge parking lot, toward the garage door of General Telephone Company. Concrete in parking spaces first had to be removed.

[Photo] This photo shows the switchboard moving along the Tri-State tollway near Chicago.

[Photo] Mayor Edward L. Cordell and Robert A. Rogosch, division manager of General Telephone, discuss plans for operation of the 28-operator switchboard.

[Photo] This sign, on the side of the well-wrapped switchboard, made it clear to who saw the ponderous device go by where the unit was going and the nature of the mission.

By Jim Fleming
It was a big job but, like other big jobs in the past couple days, it was handled.
As a result, provision of more temporary service here drew closer late Sunday night with the arrival here of a 3,500 mile, 28-operator switchboard from Antioch, Ill.
An 80-foot house moving rig arrived here at 10:30 p.m., completing the 310-mile trip in 15 hours.
A large crowd began to assemble about 10 p.m. Sunday, near North Ninth and A Streets, when word was spread the Illinois Bell Co, switchboard was nearing the city. A light rain which fell all night failed to keep interested spectators away.
Palladium-Item newsmen were kept in contact with progress of the switchboard's movement through amateur radio operator relays from Fowler Macy of Converse, Ind., and Donald D. Dodson, of Antioch. A message from a police squad car told newsmen, too, when the equipment reached Cambridge City.
At 10:25 a murmur went through the crowd as the huge rig transporting the unit was spotted, moving ponderously South on North Ninth Street. One-way street designations were forgotten as an escort of three state and local police cars led the enormous equipment toward its destination.
The truck swung east onto North A Street. Immediately apparent were two signs, fastened on each side of the switchboard, reading:
"Emergency switchboard for fire stricken Richmond, Ind., from Illinois Bell Telephone Co."
A spokesman for the company which handled the unprecedented hauling job, J.C. Muehdelt & Sons, Wheaton, Ill., said the rig had pulled out of Antioch at 7:30 a.m. EST. At an average speed of 22 miles per hour, escorted by police all the way, it moved south on the Tri-State Tollway, into Indiana.
The truck was given right-of-way over all traffic as it lumbered along. By 7 p.m. it was reported coming around Indianapolis, as state police running an escort kept local officials notified by radio.
Crowds remained at the scene as the switchboard was pulled into Masonic Hall parking lot at the rear of the phone company. Slowly, almost inperceptibly at times, crews prepared the unit to be pushed into the company's garage.

Inside By 2:30 A.M.

By 2:30 a.m. Monday, the switchboard was completely inside the garage. Several hours later, men removed it from the frame which had comprised the "trailer" on which it had rolled, two 60-foot timbers nearly 18 inches square and dozens of smaller, cross-braces.
Most persons on hand for the arrival of the equipment, although informed of its size, were visibly impressed when they saw how big it was. Thousands of wires crisscross the back, and hundreds of plugs stand ready on the front for the day when it is put into service.
Glen Lauher, traffic engineer for General, but an employee of Illinois Bell Co. who helped take the board out of service when Antioch converted to dial phones in 1961, is one of many who will help hook the board here.
He explained that the unit at one time consisted of relatively few operator "stations," when it was first built 40 years ago. From time to time, especially after World War II, new stations were added.
The newest were put in only five years ago, just eight months before the board was taken out of service in favor of automatic equipment.
He said the board not only served Antioch, a community of 2,300, but also several neighboring towns and resort areas. Signs at each station still carry names of norther Illinois towns.
Lauher added that the board because so huge because of the vast numbers of people who moved to the area immediately after the war.

New Phone Center Downtown

[Photo] Telephone workers put the finishing touches on a new emergency long distance phone center, located at 712 East Main Street, as several take advantage of available phones. The center was transferred from the phone firm's business office on North Ninth street to give phone repair crews more room.

Red Cross Ends Emergency Service; Volunteers Praised

Late Sunday night the Wayne County chapter of the American Red Cross here concluded four days and three nights of around-the-clock aid during the telephone company emergency.
Although an emergency still exists as far as the phone company and phone service is concerned the crisis created by the fire itself is considered over.
"It would be difficult to estimate the number of volunteers participating," says Mrs. Thelma Koon, executive director of the local Red Cross chapter.

Many Offered Aid

"In addition to those volunteers assigned to specific duties others kept appearing, on the scene asking what they could do and where the Red Cross could use them," she related. "Offers of assistance also came form Indianapolis area and Fayette County Red Cross Chapters."
Beginning early Thursday morning volunteers served coffee and doughnuts to firemen followed by a warm lunch at noon. Also served at noon were the amateur operators at the chapter house and at the Richmond city building. Plans were then made to supply sandwiches and coffee to the four six-hour shifts of workers at the city building.
Thursday evening the need for canteen service at the General Telephone company garage became apparent. Large numbers of telephone workers who had been called into Richmond as well as the local workers were not taking time off to eat regular meals.
This canteen service was continued on a 24-hour basis and at 6 p.m. Friday the Food Committee of the chapter's regular disaster preparedness set-up took over the responsibility for delivering food to the telephone company garage.
Harold C. Cope of Earlham college, as chairman of this committee, was then in charge of the operation and the food was prepared and brought form the college.
Clem Zwissler is disaster chairman of the local chapter and Mrs. Ross Harrington is chairman in charge of all volunteers. Jack Bryan of Hagerstown is the chapter's canteen chairman for all of Wayne county.
There are four patterns of Red Cross organization for disaster preparedness, tells the executive director.
"Our Chapter has been classified under Pattern "B," which is for chapters that historically has not been confronted with major disasters.
"Last week we were confronted with a disaster during which time there was much evidence of our being a voluntary organization through which all people may serve in the American tradition of neighbor helping neighbor.

Transcribed by James E. Bellaire - Copyright 1965 Palladium-Item