Churchill Ups and Downs
The crowd at the Kentucky Derby, carefree and slightly awash in bourbon and sentimentality, carries a great responsibility without knowing it. Every year the total sum it bets on the Derby points out the path—either up or down—that the nation's economy is going to follow.
This, at least, is the lightly held theory of some Kentucky businessmen. One of them, a young Louisville investment counselor named Tyrus R. Davis, has published a pamphlet which shows that the amount of money bet on the Derby, the Dow Jones averages, and the gross national product have risen and fallen together, year after year, from 1920 through 1957. But the Derby bettors are out of step: what they do this year, the charts show, is what the economy will do next year. A sharp drop in the total that was bet in 1928, for example, warned of the 1929 crash. In the rich year of 1957, betting was off by $265,533, heralding in May the recession that people began to talk about the following January.
Well, what of 1958? Betting totaled $1,635,520, up $234,503 from last year and only $41,658 under the alltime peak year of 1955. The recession, it appears, is on its way out.
Mr. Davis warns that his indicator is not to be taken seriously. Still, he insists, it is every bit as good as some of the investment guides people do use, such as sunspots, humidity or the fluctuating fortunes of soap opera heroines.
Any Further Questions?
Sooner or later, the stubbornest visitor to Rome must learn to do as the Romans do. In the view of at least one exacerbated Southern Californian the same holds true of newcomers to Los Angeles' more-or-less-Roman Coliseum.
Big league baseball is now an established part of life in the City of the Angels, but there are those who affect to see in it no relationship with the game as played in the East. "Of course," wrote Columnist Red Smith, "it isn't baseball."
Fed up with such talk from dissenters at home and abroad, Editor Loyal D. Hotchkiss of the Los Angeles Times last week set the record straight. In a signed editorial headlined THE COLD WAR OF BASEBALL, he ticked off and answered one by one the complaints of those who claim that in baseball, as in Kipling, East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.
Complaint: The Coliseum seats too many people.