Peeking into the Past: Hundreds of kids see ‘Disney’s Greatest Achievement’ at Pittston’s American Theatre in ‘65


Peeking into the Past - Judy Minsavage



The unusual thing about these 23 Pittston men, members of the 153rd Engineer Construction Battalion serving in the Philippines, New Guinea and Japan, is that they managed to stay together throughout their stint in the service. The group entered the Army on March 27, 1943 and remained together through basic training and then as members of the 153rd. Each received the Meritorious Service Plaque. A reunion was being planned in 1985. Taken in 1945, this picture shows from left first row, Ted Connors, Frank Murphy, Bill Morgan, Mike Naples. Second row, Bernie Butsavage, Leo Insalaco, Ed Calunas, Sam Pagnani, Mike Dabbieri, Jack Donahue. Third row, Tom Connors, James D’Angelo, Ned McNevin, Joe O’Malley, Frank Mack. Fourth row, Peter Menchinsky, Tom Keller, Leonard McHale, Bill Pope and Joe Tavella. Absent were Pat Tigue, Don Maruska and John Kelly.


Sunday Dispatch File Photo

1955 – 61 Years ago

The Fourth Pittston Payoff was held on the corner of Main and Broad streets, which included a pre-Payoff parade along with a special appearance by the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Clydesdale horses pulling an old-fashioned draft beer wagon. Miss Wyoming Valley, Lois Long, drew the winning tickets. Does anyone remember the history of the Pittston Payoff? Call us at 570-991-6403.

Everyone in Pittston was excited over the prospect of the Pittston Little League team going to Williamsport to play for the state title. Members of the team were Bernie Richards, Wesley Mugford, Patrick Walker, Carl Tuinylas, Earl Bechtold, George Vergilius, Joe Morgan, Joseph Rinaldi, Frank Pisano, George Alaimo, Bernie Ford, James Kane, John Martinelli, Jackie Kohlmansberger, and Jimmy Barrett. The Eighth Little League World Series match up played in Williamsport was won by Morrisville. It was the first time in the history of the championship the game was won with a walk-off home run.

The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked Pittston residents, “Ted Kluszewski, Duke Snyder and Willie Mays are flirting with Babe Ruth’s 60-home run record. Do you think any of them will beat it?” Louis Spiccioli answered, “No, none of them will break the record.” Sam Adonizio added, “I don’t think anyone of the three has a chance.” John Carden stated, “I’d say Duke Snyder has a possible chance.” Leo Scoda said, “If anybody can do it Duke Snyder seems to be the likely one.” It wasn’t until Oct. 1, 1961, New York Yankee Roger Maris broke Ruth’s 1927 record of 60 home runs in a single season.

1965 – 51 Years Ago

“Mary Poppins” opened a weeklong engagement at the American Theatre in Pittston. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was performed by Robert Loftus, Pittston mayor, and Fred Snyder, theater manager. Hundreds of children and their parents came to see the movie, which was billed as “Walt Disney’s Greatest Achievement.” Perhaps the very first Harry Potter-type success, Mary Poppins, an English nanny with magical powers, was adapted by Disney in 1964 from a series of books written by P.L. Travers.

The Wyoming playground opened in 1954. Over the years, the Wyoming Playground and Recreation Association estimated that approximately 15,000 children enjoyed the facility each summer, which was designated by various inspectors as “one of the finest play areas in Luzerne County.” But funds were dwindling and organizers were determined to keep the play area open. A house-to-house canvass was organized by Mrs. Pacific Turchetti and Mrs. John Elko. Others who participated in the fund drive were Mrs. James Jeffery, Mr. and Mrs. Wesley T. McKaig, Nelson Kile, Peter G. Podwika, George Endrusick, Mrs. Gilmore Murdock, Ann Giardina, Josephine Guarnieri, Louella Perfetto, Jean Willis, Agnes Podwika, John Wilson, Ted Eddy, Warren Reed, John Basta and Hubert Gilmore.

The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked, “Where were you in August of 1945 when the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan and ended World War II?” John O’Hara, Avoca, answered, “ I was on an island named Cebu in the Philippines.” William Horan of Plains Township added, “I was on a boat coming tack to the U.S. from Europe. It was the best news we could get; our outfit was scheduled to be sent to the Pacific.” Sam LoBrutto, Pittston, stated, “We were on a ship on maneuvers to prepare us for the landing on Japan, which would have had to be done if it wasn’t for the bombs.” Japan marked the 71st anniversary of the first atomic bomb dropped on Aug. 6, 1945. The second was dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9.

1975 – 41 Years Ago

Anthony Rossi of Yatesville had read an article in the newspaper as to how to apply the Heimlich Maneuver to save the life of someone who is choking. He had no idea a few days later that he would be applying what he learned on a friend during a lunch break at the Tobyhanna Army Depot. Angelo Tolerico, turning blue, motioned to Rossi during their break something was stuck in his throat. Rossi performed the maneuver and dislodged the food from Tolerico’s throat. Rossi received the Depot’s second highest honorary award for his heroism.

Swimmers completed the two-week Red Cross Life Saving Course in order to receive their life guard certification. Those who completed the course were Stanley Telincho, Jenifer Hanlon, Rich Rynkiewicz, Phil Gianficaro, Bob Ackerman, Mike Mundenar, Ross Falzone, Jim Castellino, Phil Castellino and Dave Bachkosky.

Top 10 songs of 1975

1. “Swearin’ to God,” by Frankie Valli

2. “One of These Nights,” by Eagles

3. “I’m Not In Love,” by 10cc

4. “The Hustle,” by Van McCoy

5. “Please Mr. Please,” by Olive Newton-John

6. “Listen to What the Man Says,” by Wings

7. “Rockin’ Chair,” by Gwen McCrae

8. “Love Won’t Let Me Wait,” by Major Harris

9. “Morning Beautiful,” by Tony Orlando

10. “The Rockford Files,” by Mike Post

Grant City, Pittston, advertised frost-less refrigerators for $268, heavy duty washers and gas or electric ranges for $198. Giant Markets, Pittston, offered ground meat for $.89/lb. and 6 dozen fresh eggs for $.59. On the menu at Nardones Restaurant in West Pittston, stuffed peppers, $1.95; sprimp stuffed with crab meat, $1.95; and lasagna for $1.75.

1985 – 31 Years Ago

A call went out to to any group who wanted to participate in the second annual Tomato Festival parade.

Invitations were sent to local high school bands and fire companies. First, second and third place prizes would be awarded. The planned route would begin on South Main Street near Falcone Beverage continue up Main Street to the Anthracite Apartments and then back down Kennedy Boulevard.

This Date in History

1782 – General George Washington authorizes the award of the Purple Heart for soldiers wounded in combat.

1942 – The U.S. 1st Marine Division under General A. A. Vandegrift lands on the islands of Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the Solomon islands. This is the first American amphibious landing of the war.

1966 – The United States loses seven planes over North Vietnam, the most in the war up to this point.

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The unusual thing about these 23 Pittston men, members of the 153rd Engineer Construction Battalion serving in the Philippines, New Guinea and Japan, is that they managed to stay together throughout their stint in the service. The group entered the Army on March 27, 1943 and remained together through basic training and then as members of the 153rd. Each received the Meritorious Service Plaque. A reunion was being planned in 1985. Taken in 1945, this picture shows from left first row, Ted Connors, Frank Murphy, Bill Morgan, Mike Naples. Second row, Bernie Butsavage, Leo Insalaco, Ed Calunas, Sam Pagnani, Mike Dabbieri, Jack Donahue. Third row, Tom Connors, James D’Angelo, Ned McNevin, Joe O’Malley, Frank Mack. Fourth row, Peter Menchinsky, Tom Keller, Leonard McHale, Bill Pope and Joe Tavella. Absent were Pat Tigue, Don Maruska and John Kelly.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_153EngConstBat1943.jpgThe unusual thing about these 23 Pittston men, members of the 153rd Engineer Construction Battalion serving in the Philippines, New Guinea and Japan, is that they managed to stay together throughout their stint in the service. The group entered the Army on March 27, 1943 and remained together through basic training and then as members of the 153rd. Each received the Meritorious Service Plaque. A reunion was being planned in 1985. Taken in 1945, this picture shows from left first row, Ted Connors, Frank Murphy, Bill Morgan, Mike Naples. Second row, Bernie Butsavage, Leo Insalaco, Ed Calunas, Sam Pagnani, Mike Dabbieri, Jack Donahue. Third row, Tom Connors, James D’Angelo, Ned McNevin, Joe O’Malley, Frank Mack. Fourth row, Peter Menchinsky, Tom Keller, Leonard McHale, Bill Pope and Joe Tavella. Absent were Pat Tigue, Don Maruska and John Kelly. Sunday Dispatch File Photo

Peeking into the Past

Judy Minsavage

Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage

Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage

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