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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

Sun., Aug. 22, 2010, midnight

From our archives, 75 years ago

The nation paid final tribute to one of its greatest stars, Will Rogers. The humorist-actor died in a plane crash Aug. 15 alongside his good friend, aviator Wiley Post, as the two were exploring mail-and-passenger air routes in Alaska. A simple, private service was held for Rogers on this day at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Calif., as thousands jammed the highways to catch a glimpse of the funeral procession. Post was memorialized in his native Oklahoma.

As part of the nationwide tribute to the beloved cowboy philosopher, Spokane’s theaters pledged to go dark for two minutes at 7 p.m. that night. Also, a couple of Rogers films were being shown at Spokane movie houses, including “Doubting Thomas” at the Liberty and “Judge Priest” at the Empress.

From the tourism beat: The publicity director of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce had some good news to report: Tourism in the Inland Empire was nearing 1929 levels, which was a record year. “Tourist traffic is up one-third over last year,” said W.G. Oves of the chamber. “Cabin camps cannot meet the demand for lodging.”

The tourists were flocking to the area from Alberta and British Columbia, California and the “middlewest.”

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