Brad Williams

Brad Williams

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from U-W-La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area.  Brad writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse.  He's been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.  

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Friday - November 24, 2017 8:47 am

How did they ring in the new year, 51 years ago?

On New Year's Eve of 1966, Bing Crosby hosted the "Hollywood Palace" variety show on ABC.  On that night's show, Bing became the first person to perform the title song of the new Broadway musical "Cabaret" on network TV.  He had special lyrics for the occasion, singing "At 12 o'clock, start celebratin', 1967's waitin'."

One of the big hit songs on the radio that December sounded like it was from 1926..."Winchester Cathedral," by the New Vaudeville Band.  Popular hit movies of '66 included "The Singing Nun," with Debbie Reynolds..."The Ghost and Mr. Chicken," with Don Knotts...and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sandy Dennis, and George Segal.  It was the first movie directed by Mike Nichols.

La Crosse set a record for new construction in 1966, for the second year in a row...$17 million.  The new projects included a headquarters building for the Trane Company, an addition to Gundersen Clinic, and a Country Kitchen. 

The Packers won the NFL championship on New Year's Day, a 34-27 win over Dallas.  That put Vince Lombardi's team in the first-ever Super Bowl, matching them with the AFL champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.  A good way to end the 1966 football season, yesterday in La Crosse.



November 22nd in 1963 marked the last time that Americans woke up with a president who would not be alive by the end of the day.  President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie had gone to Texas on a political trip when the president and Texas Governor John Connally were shot while riding in an open car in Dallas.  Kennedy died, and  Connally recovered and later ran for president himself.  Lyndon Johnson of Texas suddenly became president.

The three big TV networks suspended all their regular programming for four days to cover the assassination, meaning cancellation of programs such as "The Twilight Zone," "Route 66," and a Grammy Awards special. 

That November 22nd was unusually warm in La Crosse, with a high of 59.  That record high for the day would stand for nearly 50 years, until a high of 64 was set in 2012.  The Sears store in downtown La Crosse was advertising deals on sewing machines and vinyl recliners.  The NFL played its games as usual that weekend, and La Crosse Central beat Richland Center in basketball at the Sawyer auditorium.  And the Friday fish fry specials also went on as usual, but as David Brinkley said that night on NBC, what happened in Dallas that day was "too much, too ugly, and too fast" 1963, yesterday in La Crosse. 


Tuesday - November 21, 2017 10:54 am

Nuns end sponsorship of Viterbo, Mayo Franciscan

Franciscans founded both hospital and college in the 1800's


In late 1973, Mayor W. Peter Gilbertson said he was thinking of entering the governor's race the following year.  Gilbertson had just won his second term as mayor of La Crosse.  He argued that his main reason for wanting to run was to force other candidates to focus on issues important to local government.

America's bicentennial was less than three years away, and La Crosse was forming a committee to plan the local celebration.  Richard Pearse chaired the 21-member group.  Other members included Viterbo president Fr. Thomas Finucan, UW-L mass communications instructor Jim Conway, and city library director Gertrude Thurow.

One local bank was showing off new uniforms for female staffers.  The Batavian National Bank of La Crosse ran a newspaper ad, picturing the women of the bank wearing uniforms "carefully chosen for fabric, color, and styling."  The skirts were slightly above the knee, and the color was described as "Batavian blue"...44 years ago, 1973, yesterday in La Crosse.


Wisconsin firefighters union president was not thrilled about Foxconn deal


Tuesday - November 21, 2017 2:28 am

Overall passenger numbers down at La Crosse airport

More seats coming next year, as American brings larger planes 


Just before Thanksgiving of 1977, a referendum for a new convention center in La Crosse passed by a 2-to-1 margin...with about 6700 people voting "yes." The city council had voted to spend almost $10 million dollars to build a civic center, a parking ramp, and a skyway to link the center to the proposed Radisson Hotel. Radisson said it would only build a motel on the Harborview land if the city provided a 4000-seat convention center, and a skyway, and a ramp. Some opponents on the council suggested that most people in La Crosse wouldn't have a reason to go to the civic center.

Innocent until proven guilty? A University of Minnesota political science student polled juries in Hennepin County to find out how biased they might be. Joseph Barbeau's survey discovered that one-fourth of the Twin Cities jurors believed that defendants are almost never innocent, and one-third claimed they would have convicted a defendant just after hearing the opening statement, without reviewing any other evidence.
Richard Dreyfuss had the #1 movie in America four weeks in a row that fall. Three of those weeks, that movie was "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," the Spielberg space adventure about aliens visiting Earth. The other #1 for Dreyfuss was "The Goodbye Girl" with Marsha Mason...and that comedy won Dreyfuss the Best Actor Oscar for 1977...40 years ago, Yesterday in La Crosse.

La Crosse committee wants to reverse that perception


The city of La Crosse may be named after the game of lacrosse, but it seems bowling was played here before lacrosse was.  The La Crosse Tribune wrote in 1922 that city founder Nathan Myrick built La Crosse's first bowling alley in 1846, near the corner of Vine and Front Streets.  Only about 50 white settlers lived in La Crosse at the time, and the newspaper said settlers and natives patronized the bowling hall, with some Indians wagering furs against money or whiskey bet by the white bowlers.

The bowling pins at Myrick's place were made of soft wood, and the balls were made from any material hard enough to resist damage...sometimes, just harder wood. 

Many other bowling alleys have come and gone in the area since 1846.  The Company Store building just off the pike was built as a bowling place in the 60's.  La Crescent used to have Shamrock Lanes, and Charlotte's Bridal in La Crosse is inside a converted bowling alley.  But the first bowling lanes in town were on Front St. in 1846, yesterday in La Crosse.


Tenants feel city didn't listen to their ideas


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