August 24 - 1979: The Straw Hat circuit was hot

1986: Cod was still king
The Falmouth Playhouse in its prime around 1940.

1979: It's frantic time on the Straw Hat Circuit as 158 summer playhouses are open

On Cape Cod several decades ago in summer, a caretaker throws open the doors and the old theater--once a barn --seems to sigh, expelling in a single breath the cold, musty air of winter. The staff arrives, followed by apprentices and a procession of painters, plumbers, crew members and carpenters. Then the actors and directors, and the audience fills the hall for real, live Broadway-level entertainment.

It's was a frantic time along the Straw Hat Circuit that summer as no fewer than 158 summer theaters would be in operation throughout the Northeast. There was the Falmouth Playhouse in that town, as well as the Cape Playhouse which alone holds sway today.

1986: The Cod is king

Cod delicacies fishermen call the best parts tongue 'n cheeks and skully joes

On this day in 1986, the New York Times could still claim that cod was king, or at least the Times' was still "King." Actually, he was Seth King who had retired to the Cape but still wrote for his former newspaper. Here's the beginning of Mr. King's report:

August 24, 1986

FARE OF THE COUNTRY; COD, STILL COMMON, AND STILL KING
By SETH S. KING; SETH S. KING, A former correspondent for The New York Times, lives on Cape Cod

No other creature, extinct or extant, has played a greater role in the history of coastal New England than the common cod. Today, 489 years after the English explorer John Cabot described the seas of this region as ''covered with fish,'' cod is still most often the catch of the day at the auctions on the fish piers in Boston, New Bedford and Gloucester.

In 1602 the prevalence of cod prompted Bartholomew Gosnold, an English adventurer poking around the New England coast in search of sassafras, to call a strange, claw-shaped segment of Massachusetts Cape Cod. Eighteen years later codfish sustained the Pilgrims in their first harsh winter in the New World. The cod's role became vital in Massachusetts, and for more than 200 years the State House has displayed a five-foot wooden fish carving known as the Sacred Cod of Massachusetts.

In the magazine articles he wrote in the early 1850's, Henry David Thoreau described the cod's place in the lives of that day's Cape Codders, noting with some scorn that the front yard of every house in Provincetown was several feet deep in cod scales, disturbed only when the householders brought their fish out each morning to dry.

Read the full story here.


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