Did You Know?
By Al Owens
…an entertainer a New York writer called “one of the true miracles of show
business” played Uniontown, not once, but twice in the same year?
Bandleader Ted Lewis, who popularized the phrase, “Is everybody happy,” brought
his orchestra to the State Theatre for a July 2nd, 1941 performance.
He and his band returned to the State Theatre on a day that the Uniontown
Morning Herald ran an historic headline on its front page that, in part, read:
U.S. ISLAND BASES ATTACKED.
Lewis’ second performance of that year took place on December 8th, 1941.
Did you know a month earlier, on November 7th, 1941, a Fayette County woman and
her daughter made nationwide news because they were trying to make history?
The Oakland (California) Tribune carried a story about German Township High
School students Irene and Wanda Franks.
Both were trying to become German High School majorettes. That wouldn’t have
made national news, but for the fact that Irene was Wanda’s mother.
The mother/daughter team was, according to the article, “training for majorette
posts.” It seems Mrs. Frank had dropped out of school when she’d gotten married.
She returned to school as her daughter’s classmate.
The article concluded by saying, “Friends say mother and daughter look as much
alike as twins.”
Did you know in May of 1937, an estimated 15 thousand people marched in
Uniontown’s annual May Day parade?
The parade had started a few years earlier by leading the nation in a
“spontaneous expression of patriotism.”
The Morning Herald, on May 3rd of that year, also estimated that 50 thousand
people had lined the streets to watch the parade.
Did you know an NFL coach who’d eventually coach four teams, would make frequent
rounds at annual high school sports banquets in the area forty years ago?
Ted Marchibroda, who’d recently, completed his football played days as a
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, made the rounds at a number of dinners honoring
high school athletes.
He’d eventually become the head coach of the Baltimore and Indianapolis Colt,
the Baltimore Ravens and he would also become the offensive coordinator for the
But before his coaching days he hit the high school banquet circuit.
In May or 1960, for instance, he was one of the speakers at St. John’s Social
Center, which paid tribute to the athletes of Perry-Lower Tyrone High School
Did you know that a simple Uniontown wedding made national news in 1972?
According to the Fayetteville, Arkansas’ Northwest Arkansas Times on September
11th of that year, a man walked into the Uniontown Police station and made a
request to get married right on the spot.
However, that didn’t happen. Instead the police officers on duty found an
Alderman across the street, Jacob Ruben, who performed the ceremony.
According to the article, Desk Sgt. Richard Hoch was the best man. Three other
on duty officers, Howard Springer, John Ridgley and Kenneth Sickles acted as
witnesses. Alderman Ruben was later quoted as saying, “All I can tell you is
that they wanted to get married in a hurry.”
Did you know that 22 years earlier a failed Uniontown marriage earned as much
The March 2nd, 1950 edition of the Oakland Tribune carried a story about a
Uniontown man who’d been hauled into court because he hadn’t been making alimony
payments to his ex-wife.
The judge, W. Russell Carr, asked the man why he’d been neglect.
He claimed his wife had deserted him “50 times.”
Judge Carr dropped the charges.
Did you know that yet another Uniontown case of marital discord made national
news as far back as 1928?
On October 12th of that year, the San Mateo (California) Times reported that a
Uniontown woman had filed for divorce because she’d been mistreated by her
The disgruntled woman revealed that her husband owned a grocery store. She
claimed that her husband would only allow her to eat the food samples left at
their store by food salesmen. To make matters worse, when the salesman left
samples the husband preferred – he ate those, claiming “they were too rich for
The judge granted the woman’s divorce.
Did you know there’ve been a few people who’ve shown a bit of interest in these
That’s why next week, I’ll revisit some of the people and events I’ve been
writing about these past few months.