Indian Summer and... Censorship

September 29, 2018

A repeat of a previous column noting some wishful thinking. Indian summer occurs in mid to late autumn, usually after the first killing frost.  It’s difficult to experience this in our sub-tropical, south Louisiana climate but is greatly appreciated through other sections of the country.  Its usage has been traced to 1778 as Native Americans utilized these days to increase their winter food stores.  In Europe a similar weather pattern has been called Old Wives’ summer, Halcyon days, and St. Martin’s summer. Years ago, I referenced Indian summer on one of our broadcasts and received an e-mail from Marsha Reichle.  She wrote, “Dear Pat:  It’s called Indian summer when we have Apache fog.” As we slide into October we also move closer to the end of baseball season.  After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Office of Censorship advised radio stations in the Code of Wartime Practices to omit all mention of weather. Even though the "code" was voluntary, radio station managers feared that their licenses could be compromised. Newspapers were cautioned as to what with limitations to the previous day's highs and lows for no more than 20 cities and could print briefly worded weather bureau forecasts. Any mention of a weather forecast from the Lower 48 could have helped Germany's meteorologists with weather conditions affecting ships and submarines in the Atlantic. Surprisingly, the daily mention of field conditions for a baseball game was acceptable but constraints were placed on games that were rained-out. Announcers were instructed to broadcast a cancelled event due to "weather", "wet grounds" or "muddy fields."

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