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New York Mills boxing promoter; Prairie Drive-In Theater recalled at 1950's event

Boxing was a more prominent sport in East Otter Tail County back in the 1950's.

New York Mills promoter Simon "Bomber" Olson promoted fights throughout the area, including a 1955 card that featured several local names: Tony Silbernagel, Herb Guck and Jack Schmidt. Admission: $1 for adults, 50 cents for students.

This was just one item that was recalled at the "Remembering the 1950's" program hosted by the Otter Tail County Historical Society Oct. 15 in Perham.

Leading the program on 1950's memories was Bob Gasch, a master storyteller who was the guest speaker at the annual meeting.

Printed here are a few memories and highlights from the back to the 1950's program, hosted in the east part of the county at Mulligan's. Some of the items were gleaned from Historical Society newspapers of the era. Other memories were simply shared by guests as Gasch roamed the banquet room, conducting brief interviews.

-- Another really big show in 1955 was a traveling troupe of lady wrestlers. The show, at Perham City Hall, featured "Lady Angel: The world's ugliest girl wrestler."

-- In 1956, a brand new Tastee Freeze opened in Perham. It competed against the "Perham Ice Cream Store."

-- What color was your farm? This question made perfect sense to those raised in the country. A "green" farm was one with John Deere. A "red" farm was International Harvester. A "yellow" was Minneapolis Moline; an "orange" farm was Case. Another color, quipped Gasch, was "rusty." There were also "rainbow" farms. At those farms, there were tractors of every color--accumulated as one broke down, and was replaced by the best deal the farmer could find for a replacement.

--In reviewing newspaper clippings of the era, Gasch noted Prairie Drive-In Theater, and the Comet Theater-which still exists today.

--Gasch asked how many in the audience remembered:

--Only one phone in the house-and it had a dial.

--Sharing a bedroom with siblings.

--Only one bathroom in the house. bathroom, on the farm?

--Boys wore dress pants to school-not jeans. Girls wore dresses. Male teachers wore white shirts and ties.

--Layaway shopping at local stores. Before credit cards, said Gasch, there were layaway plans.