Somewhere at sea: Two landing craft ease their way — side by side — through the wide opening at the stern of the USS Duluth. The craft employs almost all the room available on coming aboard. After the boats are tied down, the ballast tanks are emptied and the wall is drained.
The subject of The Louie Show, Louie Anderson’s 1996 TV situation comedy set in Duluth, was covered fairly in-depth on PDD two years ago, but we mark the 20th anniversary of the airing of the first episode with a few updates. Particularly, there’s the discovery of the Louie Anderson interview above, conducted by KDLH-TV’s Joe Thornton, which aired during the 10 p.m. newscast following episode #2.
This film footage from 1928 shows U.S. President Calvin Coolidge arriving in Hibbing on the Duluth, Missabe, and Northern Railroad to view mining operations and see the highly acclaimed Hibbing High School. Modern-day aerial footage of the school concludes the video.
Next week’s theme will be focused on the happenings of January 2016 in and around Duluth. Send your suggested quiz questions (and answers) to lawrence @ perfectduluthday.com by noon on Wednesday, Jan. 27.
Aerial Bridge Over Ship Canal, Duluth, Minn.
Only one of its kind in the world; clear span, 400 ft.; clear height 136 ft.; total height above water 186 ft.; size of car 34×50 ft.; capacity of car, 125,000 lbs.; motive power, electricity; speed, 4 miles per hour.
For three seasons, the Green Bay Packers divided up their team for inter-squad scrimmage games in Duluth. The first-group players, or “starters,” played for the Packers, and the second group players, or “benchwarmers,” took the name of the Duluth Eskimos. Of course, there was an actual Duluth Eskimos NFL team from 1923 to ’27, but the games referred to in this post were from 1951 to ’53.
The scrimmages were known as “The Fish Bowl,” and attracted crowds of about 8,000. The Packers won two of the three games, both by small margins, but in 1952 the backup players, under the name Duluth Eskimos, defeated the Green Bay starters by a score of 34-7.
Ten years ago Duluth landed in the New York Times over a controversial sign in a campaign office window. Scott Cameron, a combat-wounded Vietnam War vet, made a sign tallying the dead and wounded in the Iraq war. While volunteering for Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Steve Kelley, Cameron placed the sign in the campaign office window, next to a U.S. Army recruiting office. The seven recruiters working there, six of whom had served in Iraq, found the sign disheartening and wanted it removed. Cameron said he did not wish to prevent recruits from signing up for the Army, but only wanted to honor those who made sacrifices.
In promotion of his recently released book, Hillsider, Duluth Mayor Don Ness has repeatedly shared his story of “a gift not given.” It’s from pages 155-156, under the title “Clooney & Zellweger.” The abridged version of the story goes like this:
George Clooney and Renee Zellweger made a trip to Duluth in 2008 to promote the movie Leatherheads, the plot of which is loosely based on the Duluth Eskimos football team. Ness was in his first month as mayor, and obviously wanted to impress the celebrities and do Duluth proud in front of the national media. He assigned his staff to put together an appropriate welcome gift for Clooney and Zellweger. The process of hunting down an old leatherhead helmet for an impressive plaque turned daunting, however, and on the morning of the visit the mayor discovered the gift ended up being a rather pathetic-looking miniature leatherhead resting on a small wooden pedestal. Ness made the executive decision to present the customary mayoral proclamation instead. He concludes his story with the punchline: “Over the years I’ve reconsidered a lot of choices. This isn’t one of ’em.”
Ness told the story last night at the DECC, which reminded me that after he told the story a few weeks ago at the Red Herring Lounge I asked him what happened to the silly little leatherhead-on-a-stick. He said he had no idea. It’s not in his office, and he hasn’t really asked around about it.
Did it land in the trash? Is it on a city employee’s mantle? Inquiring minds want to know.
President Bill Clinton was in Duluth on Nov. 4, 1994. Eyewitness News’ Colleen Mahoney interviewed three Duluth gawkers who were hanging out across the street from the Downtown Holiday Inn, where the president spent the night. One of the two unnamed UMD students interviewed was future Duluth Mayor Don Ness.
Clinton was in Duluth to stump for Ann Wynia, Minnesota’s DFL candidate for U.S. Senate. She ultimately lost to Rod Grams.
Clinton’s agenda for the day included a 3.5-mile run on Skyline Parkway from Twin Ponds to about 40th Avenue West. The Wynia rally was held at UMD’s Romano Gym.