Seventy-five years ago "after being practically deserted for a month, the University of California campus awoke to bustling activity today to prepare to receive nearly 14,000 students who are expected to enroll in the spring semester," the Berkeley Daily Gazette reported Jan. 12, 1938. An estimated 14,500 students were expected to register for the spring.

Chamber event

The Berkeley Chamber of Commerce held a 37th annual "public dinner" on Jan. 11 to inaugurate officers and generally celebrate local business.

Among the attendees was the oldest member, William E. Woolsey, "retired capitalist" who joined in 1906.

At the event "considerable interested was manifested in the new 10-minute film, 'Berkeley,' which was arranged and produced by the Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the city government."

"The film, which includes 64 'shots' of beautiful homes, educational facilities in the city, churches, high points of the University of California, recreational centers, the post office, the yacht harbor and aquatic park activities, local industries and various departments of the city government in operation will be shown starting tomorrow at the United Artists and California Theaters. 'Berkeley' opens with these words by Hale Sparks, narrator and better known as the University Explorer on the radio: "'Berkeley -- where the westward moving pioneer spirit and the sturdy resourcefulness of industry have blended with the serenity of a college town to produce a modern city of graceful living.'"

"The film ends showing a panorama of Berkeley from the Campanile and with the following words: 'A city of inspiration where dreams come true. Standing in the shadow of the Campanile with its ringing mellow chimes, Berkeley combines into one all those qualities that lead us to love a city and delight to call it home,'"

Plane crashes

A "swirling blizzard" in Bridger Canyon near Bozeman, Mont., resulted in the crash of a Northwest Airlines "luxury liner" on Jan. 10, 1938. Two crewmen and the eight passengers, all men, were killed. The Gazette noted that the co-pilot, 29-year-old Fred West, "was a former Berkeley resident, having graduated from the University of California in 1934. During his college days his one ambition was to become one day a transport flyer, according to his brother."

The next day a Pan American Clipper apparently caught fire when discharging excess fuel in flight near Pago Pago, Samoa. Seven crewmen died including junior flying officer Paul Brunk.

The 31-year-old Brunk was also a UC graduate and "a former member of the Berkeley Police Department."

According to the report, "The four motor Sikorsky was inaugurating regular fort-nightly air service between the United States and the Antipodes."

The captain of the ill-fated flight, Edwin C. Musick, was the "pioneer pilot of the Pacific" according to a Jan. 12, 1938 Gazette article.

Love story

The Jan. 11, 1938, Gazette carried the story of the engagement of UC student John Terry O'Connell and Betty Scotchler, an 18-year-old student at University High School in Oakland. O'Connell was blind from a childhood injury, and "in the University his work in economics has won him praise from his professors."

The two had met when Scotchler had started reading to blind students at the high school as a form of voice training.

"They became fast friends and besides reading to him she started helping him with his studies," the Gazette reported. "When he entered college Miss Scotchler virtually became his eyes. O'Connell supported himself by typing themes for other students and tutoring backward students."

Schotcher, descended from Berkeley's first mayor, worked part-time in a local nursing home and together they were saving money to pay for an operation that might help restore one eye to sight.