PA history buffs alert

With the death of former PA Gov. George Leader, a York County Democrat revered during his time in office in the 1950's and until his death Thursday at the age of 95, the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) is offering a fitting tribute.

It's Website -- -- includes a film of Leader's inauguration day, January 18, 1955, that PA history buffs will enjoy.

It was sponsored by a union, the Glass Bottle Blowers Association of United States and Canada, and is striking for a number of reasons.

The narrator, the union's international president, notes PA at the time was the nation's third-largest state (today, we're sixth); the new governor, his family and others are seen riding in open cars, waving to a crowd of 40,000 lining downtown Harrisburg streets.

Almost every man and woman in the crowd wears a hat. Some men are seen smoking cigars or pipes.

The "pledge" Leader takes (then signs) as part of his oath of office includes a promise not to accept any money or anything of value in connection with actions or non-actions as governor.

His speech talks of full employment, environmental protection, expanding PA's competitiveness and -- as proof some things never change -- inheriting a budget deficit, in his case of $86 million.

Leader promised to restore fiscal stability, not tolerate "laziness of sloppiness of duty" in government and vowed that during his tenure state workers would work tirelessly: "This administration will be no hayride for anyone."

(He grew up on a farm. He was only 37 when elected. The Inky has a nice piece on his life and times.)

Leader ended his inaugural address with a quote from Proverbs: "Where there is no vision, the people perish," and he said, "In Pennsylvania, I promise you there will be vision."

After the speech, the film shows lots of shots of a parade that lasted four and a-half hours and included floats, bands, tanks and, of course, the Mummers.

The film is a piece of history that state history buffs will enjoy.

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