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From The Signal Archives: Technology pros and cons

Posted: June 4, 2009 11:07 p.m.
Updated: June 4, 2009 11:03 p.m.
Editor's note: As The Signal celebrates 90 years of service to the Santa Clarita Valley, we offer this peek into the SCV of days past. Following is from the first week of June 1934 in The Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise.

Hot news: livestock report
The economic landscape of the Santa Clarita Valley was very different back in 1934: Instead of growing housing tracts, we grew cattle. Front-page news was a report on the rising profitability of the cattle market in Los Angeles.

"Seven-dollar cattle again made their appearance on the Los Angeles market during the past month the first time this year.

"California grass cattle finishers also are sharing in far better prices than a year ago, with $6 grass steers on the Los Angeles market.

"However, with limited numbers of cattle and the price of alfalfa hay raising a hefty $2 per ton over the 1933 price, warning signs for Southern California's cattle market abound.

"With numbers of cattle on the Pacific Coast far below market requirements, cattlemen in the West are intensely interested in developments in the Middle West."

Better than worrying about the Middle East, we guess.

From the high-technology department
"Flying deputies in the Los Angeles County sheriff's Aero Squadron will be given another acid test of their ability on June 10," another story reads.

"Their flight will be directed entirely by radio and teletype, and the 30 members of the squadron will search for a ‘bandit car,' according to Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz.

"Arrangements have been perfected, it was said, to stage one of the most unique police investigations in history."
That new-fangled radio and teletype. What'll they think of next?

A challenge to residents
An ad for an upcoming popularity contest seemed bent on using reverse psychology:

"Say, how come Newhall is void of beautiful girls?" it reads. "What's the matter with you fellas?

"Did you know that a popularity contest is being conducted by the Saugus Community Club for the Fourth of July Homecoming?"

The ad encourages would-be gentleman callers to find an entry form and "Put the name of a fair young lady in the blank and get busy and sell some script so the thermometer will boil over.

"A rise in temperature will be caused by more votes being cast for your candidate. Let's show these people how many lovely girls we have in this district."

No word on how well the plan worked.

New Deal and government control
A popular column of the day, "Washington Digest," summarizes some of the conflict in Washington as FDR struggled to lead the country out of the Great Depression.

"It can be stated without equivocation that the so-called alphabet soup (the various administrations and boards and commissions known only by initials) are making their presence felt for better or for worse.

"The Reconstruction Finance Corporation has been exercising its influence with banks for some time: While RFC officials insist they are not attempting to control policies of banks, they are exercising voting power in the boards of directors.

"The expanding influence of the federal government on the lives of individuals throughout the United States suddenly has become a matter that is attracting attention, and more and more repercussions are happening in the nation's Capitol.

"I cannot agree with the exaggerated assertion by a leading Republican politician that we are subject to Hitler decrees from a hundred different sources," the columnist wrote, "but there seems little doubt about the vast power being wielded."

Bad machinery or good excuse?
An apology to readers at the bottom of the front page proves that as long as there's been technology, there's been a need for tech support:

"A two-week battle with a refractory linotype, which has not yet been won, has made the setting of type very difficult the past week, and made it necessary to do just as little as possible.

"It is hoped to have the machine going as usual soon."


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