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Good / Bad Old Days

February 22, 1987

The Times reported Wednesday that Ford Motor Co.'s profits topped those of General Motors last year for the first time since 1924. Ah, the Roaring '20s, the good old days. Henry Ford's Highland Park, Mich., plant was rolling off Model T autos at a merry pace, at the merry price of $290. Will Rogers' wit was a hit on the radio. Coolidge won a full term as President. George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" was performed for the first time. Flappers flapped, and the stock market thrived.

Just for fun, Page 1 of the the Los Angeles Times of Feb. 17, 1924, was summoned on the magic microfilm screen for further verification of just how good the good old days were. Well, maybe that was a rare bad day. The lead story that Sunday was the Senate confirmation of a special counsel to pursue the oil-leasing cases stemming from the Teapot Dome scandal. Below that was a story about former Sen. Albert Fall of New Mexico, a key figure in the scandal, returning home "broken in body and a nervous wreck."

There was an impending government crisis in France. Striking dockworkers had tied up every port in Great Britain. The life of Sen. Frank I. Greene of Vermont hung in the balance after he was shot in the head "in a pistol duel between alleged bootleggers and prohibition agents." In Los Angeles, police arrested 15 members of the International Workers of the World on charges of suspicion of criminal syndicalism for distributing newspapers and other literature at the Los Angeles harbor. Another man, identified as a Greek, told police that he was not a Wobbly, but was at the harbor to organize for the communist cause.

Also in Los Angeles, the district attorney sought a grand jury to investigate possible gross irregularities in the granting of certain leases at the Los Angeles harbor.

Well, maybe the good old days weren't so hot after all. What if the Model T sold for only $290? You could get it in just one color--black.

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