Reel History: Salmon Patties and Benny Benson


Marina Cummiskey/KMXT
Hello, I’m Marina Cummiskey, an intern at KMXT as part of the station’s summer archiving project. This week I listened to an Alaska Fisheries Report from 1993, hosted by Laine Welch. In the audio, Welch talked about a new menu item coming to the local Kodiak McDonalds.
“And speaking of salmon, the manager of the Kodiak McDonalds is hoping customers will think fish instead of turkey this holiday season, he’s ordered 1000 salmon patties from a local processer, to test market at the local fast-food market.”
The manager, Gary Ervine, explained that the salmon burger will have all the toppings of a regular hamburger: American cheese, ketchup, pickles and onions, and served on a sesame seed bun. The year before the release of salmon patties, Kodiak McDonalds tested out salmon nuggets, as a variation on the popular chicken McNuggets, but the community’s reaction was mostly negative.
I also digitized some mystery audio, with nothing labeled on the reel case. It turned out to be a storytelling program, but I could not find who was hosting or the date it was produced. The audio included the story of Benny Benson winning the competition for the Alaska flag design.

“That day in school, the teacher told the children there was a contest to make a flag for Alaska. With all his heart, Benny wanted to win the contest. He thought how grand it would be to see his flag carried in a parade or hung on the house flagpole on holidays. Or flying at the mast of big ships that came to the village in the summertime.”
Benny spent a long time thinking about what he wanted his flag to look like. Finally, it came to him. He wanted it to look like the stars he saw every night, gold stars spread out like the big dipper in the Blue sky. Benny wrote that the blue sky represented Alaska’s sky and flower, the forget-me-not, the North Star represented the path for Alaska’s future, and the bear from Ursa Major symbolized strength. Benny didn’t show his design to anybody because he was shy and he thought that everybody else’s was better than his. But he still waited all year for the results.
“The one day when school was almost over, the teacher called the children together. ‘Children,’ she said,’ the flag contest has ended. From all over Alaska boys and girls turned in designs for the flag. From northern Nome to the busy cities of Anchorage and Fairbanks, from the fishing towns of Seward and Petersburg, to Juneau the capitol, and the lumber town of Ketchikan, from everywhere and hundreds of designs. And, boys and girls, Benny’s flag won the contest. From now on, Benny’s design will be Alaska’s flag.”
Thanks for listening as I recap my week of archiving reel to reel audio.

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