Herbert Brenon-Forgotten Irish Oscar nominated Movie Director

History of Sorts

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I pride myself to be a bit of a movie buff, but to my amazement I had never heard of this Oscar nominated and ‘Photo Play-Medal of Honor’ winner.

Today marks his 139th birthday. He has been credited for directing at least 124 movies and shorts, which is an amazing feat by any measure.

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Herbert Brenon (13 January 1880 – 21 June 1958) born Alexander Herbert Reginald St. John Brenon was an Irish film director, actor and screenwriter during the era of silent movies through the 1930s.

He was born at 25 Crosthwaite Park, in Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, to journalist, poet and politician Edward St John Brenon and Francis Harries.

In 1882, the family moved to London, where Herbert was educated at St Paul’s School and at King’s College London.

Before becoming a director, he performed in vaudeville acts with his wife, Helen Oberg. Started as a stagehand…

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Jeremy spoke in class today.

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The title of this blog is a line from the Pearl Jam song “Jeremy” it is one of my favourite Rock tracks and by far the best track of the album “Ten”. Although I have listened to the song hundreds of times I never really paid to much attention to the history of the song.

I assumed it was a made up tale of a made up boy in a made up school, but I was wrong. The Jeremy in the song was a real boy, who tragically committed suicide on January 8, 1991.

Jeremy Delle attended Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas

He was 15 at the time. On the fateful day he was late for his second period English class.Because of this tardiness the teacher urged Jeremy to go down to the office and get an attendance slip. However Jeremy did not go to the office, he went to his locker. Took out a with a Smith & Wesson .357 revolver and returned to the classroom . He turned to his teacher and said “Miss, I got what I really went for,” and then shot himself in front of his classmates.

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Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder read about the suicide in a newspaper article and decided to write a song about it, in a way as an ode to the troubled teenager.

Even though the song was well intended it does not portray an accurate picture of the situation.

One line of the song talks about a father who didn’t pay attention and a mother who didn’t care. This is however not true. Jeremy  was living with his father, his parents were divorced and he had been in counseling at the school which he was also new to. In the video of the song it is also suggested that he was struggling with his sexuality but according a friend that was not the case at all, in fact most of the video is totally inaccurate. Why Pearl Jam decided on this direction of the video, I don’t know.

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He was a quiet boy but there wasn’t any real evidence of bullying. The fact is the teenage years in anyone’s life are complex years, Stuck between childhood and adulthood, hormones flying of the charts. If you add an uncertain future to that and new surroundings it can easily lead to bigger problems. It is not a coincidence that a a great percentage of suicides are committed by teenage boys.

His mother said in a recent interview she said ‘That day that he died did not define his life. He was a son, a brother, a nephew, a cousin, a friend. He was talented,’ she said.

My heart goes out to her and the family. Each time I will hear the song now, I will say a quick prayer for a poor troubled boy and his family.

Ending the blog with Pearl Jam’s video.

 

 

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Cheers- A classic sitcom, but there is more…

History of Sorts

Cheers_intro_logo

I usually do very heavy historical blogs but every once in a while I do a more lighthearted and quirky ones, more for my own sanity then anything else, this is one of those quirky ones.

Cheers is one of the most popular sitcoms and rightfully so, not only was Cheers very funny the spin off was even funnier and more successful. That spin off , of course is ‘Frasier’

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Before I continue though I need to warn you because this blog is not so much about Cheers or Frasier but more about the theme song of Cheers, “Where everybody knows your name” After you have read this blog you will probably look at Cheers in a different way, but don’t worry it is all good.

At the start of each episode of Cheers we only hear a part of the theme song. The original song lasts for 2.30 minutes…

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The “wow” signal:A scientific event hardly anyone knows about

History of Sorts

Wow_signal

The Wow! signal, an intriguing radio signal detected on Aug. 15, 1977 that some thought was a call from extraterrestrials. The 72-second transmission was picked up by the Big Ear radio observatory at Ohio State University, coming from the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.

Because the radio signal was 30 times more powerful than the average radiation from deep space, a volunteer astronomer named Jerry Ehman who was watching the telescope data scrawled “Wow!” on a computer printout, leading to the signal’s moniker. No evidence ever arrived actually linking the transmission to an alien civilization, and no repeat message from the same direction has ever been detected, and the Wow! Signal remains a mystery.

Dr Ehman, who had been working on a project for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, noticed the surprisingly strong signal in a column of alphanumerical data.

With a red pen he scrawled the word…

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Crazy Irish Priest

History of Sorts

Cornelius-Neil-Horan

Unfortunately there is no other way to describe Father Neil Horan(not the One Direction dude) then crazy. On several occasions he disrupted major events and costing one athlete a GOLD medal.

On 20 July 2003, Horan ran across the track at the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit, wearing a kilt and waving a religious banner, which stated “Read the Bible. The Bible is always right”.

His protest took place on the 200 mph (320 km/h) Hangar Straight. Several drivers chose to swerve to avoid him and the safety car had to be deployed to protect him and the competitors. Horan was tackled by track marshal Stephen Green, who removed him from the track before he was arrested.He was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, aggravated trespass and sentenced to two months imprisonment.

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At the 5 June 2004 Epsom Derby, Horan was spotted by police and shoved to the ground moments before they believed he was about to run in…

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The tragic life of John Paul Getty III

History of Sorts

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Most people will be aware of the name Getty be it from Getty Oil or Getty Images

Getty Oil was founded by J.Paul Getty sr. in 1957 Fortune magazine named him the richest living American,while the 1966 Guinness Book of Records named him as the world’s richest private citizen, worth an estimated $1.2 billion (approximately $8.8 billion in 2016).At his death, he was worth more than $2 billion (approximately $8.3 billion in 2016). A book published in 1996 ranked him as the 67th richest American who ever lived, based on his wealth as a percentage of the gross national product.

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Despite his wealth, Getty was notably frugal.Getty famously had a pay phone installed at Sutton Place, helping to seal his reputation as a miser. Getty placed dial-locks on all the regular telephones, limiting their use to authorized staff, and the coin-box telephone was installed for others.

He famously negotiated his grandson’s, John Paul Getty…

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Kurt Heissmeyer-“For me there was no basic difference between human beings and guinea pigs.”

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One of the more disturbing aspects of the Holocaust is that so many perpetrators got way with murder, even after admitting to it.

Kurt Heissmeyer was a SS physician and the nephew of the senior SS officer August Heissmeyer.

In order for Kurt to receive a professorship he requires to present original research.

Even though  previously proof was dismissed , his hypothesis was that  injecting of live tuberculosis bacilli into subjects , the bacilli would function as a vaccine. Another aspect of his experiment was based on the Nazi racial theory that race played a factor in developing tuberculosis.

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By proving his theory he injected live tuberculosis bacilli into the lungs and bloodstream of 20  Jewish children, at the Neuengamme concentration camp.

On April 20,1945 on the birthday of Hitler and just a few weeks before the war ended, the children were sent to Bullenhuser Damm School, which had been used as a satellite camp. This was done in order to destroy evidence of the experiments. The 20 children and 4 carers were hanged.

Kurt escaped detection after the war and returned home to Maggdeburg in East Germany where he resumed his medical career, it was only in 1959 when he was discovered . He was sentenced to a life sentence in 1966, a year before he died age 61.

When asked why he didn’t use guinea pigs he responded, “For me there was no basic difference between human beings and guinea pigs.” He then corrected himself: “Jews and guinea pigs”. Heissmeyer died on 29 August 1967.

His uncle August was even luckier, Although he had been a senior SS officer who at one stage was in charge of the SS Leadership Main Office ,who were responsible of the supervision of the concentration camps,He only spent 4 years in  total in prison. After release he became the director of the West German Coca-Cola bottling plant.

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Metropolis

metropolis

It was on this day 92 years ago  the classic Science Fiction movie was released. I recently watched it again and was amazed by how fresh the movie still looked,

But more then just a Sci-Fi flick it is also a snapshot of the political situation of the time and the years that followed, not so much in the film as such but in the lives of those who were involved in making the movie.

1927 Germany was at the advent of massive  social and political changes. The popularity of the Nazi part was gaining momentum, although they were still a small party they were making significant gains.

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UFA GmbH, the distributing studio of Metropolis had been in financial difficulties and was bought in 1927 by politician and media tycoon Alfred Hugenberg. He was also the chairman of the German National People’s Party, a conservative nationalist party.As leader of the German National People’s Party he played a pivotal role  in helping Adolf Hitler become Chancellor of Germany and served in his first cabinet in 1933,

The director of the movie Fritz Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou, who wrote the novel and the screenplay for Metropolis, had initially also flirted with the Nazi party.

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The couple produced a number of movies together. Aside from Metropolis the also made the classic thriller “M” in 1931. which starred a young Austro-Hungarian Jewish actor László Löwenstein better known as Peter Lorre.

When Hitler came to power Peter Lorre left Germany because of the Antisemitic laws which were introduced.

The actress Brigitte Helm who played Maria and also the Tin Machine in Metropolis ,felt the wrath of the Nazi party  for “race defilement” in marrying her second husband Dr. Hugo Kunheim, an industrialist of Jewish background. The couple left for Switzerland in 1935 and never returned to Germany.

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Joseph Goebbels had been impressed by Fritz Lang’s work and although he banned Lang’s 1933 film”The Testament of Dr. Mabuse” because it “showed that an extremely dedicated group of people are perfectly capable of overthrowing any state with violence” He still offered a position as the head of German film studio UFA.

However Lang did not accept the offer and left Berlin on 31 July 1933, He had also been worried about the increasing power of the Nazi party and the Antisemitic laws ,known as the Nuremberg Laws, imposed in Germany, even though Fritz Lang’s mother  had converted from Judaism to Catholic, and Fritz Lang had been raised as a Catholic, according to the Nüremberg Laws his mother and therefor Fritz too were stlll considered Jewish.

And although he had initially sympathized with the Nazi party he had soon changed his mind, But his wife Thea von Harbou remained a Nazi supporter. The couple divorced on April 26, 1933.

Fritz Lang emigrated to the USA and worked on many successful Hollywood movies like “the Return of Frank James” starring Henry Fonda.

Thea von Harbou stayed involved in the German film industry with  some movies with an indisputable National Socialist worldview.

Many people nowadays will probably only know Metropolis from the Queen video “Radio Ga Ga” and are probably blissfully unaware of the historical significance of the movie.

 

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

IMDb

YouTube

 

Who needs the Moon anyway- when the US wanted to nuke the Moon.

History of Sorts

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Project A119 was the designated name by the US Air Force to detonate a nuclear bomb on the moon.

The project was called “A Study of Lunar Research Flights” aka ” Project A119 and was developed by the U.S. Air Force in the late 1950s.

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The aim was to intimidate the Soviet Union, who at that time were winning the space race, by seeing the nuclear flash from Earth.

The explosion would of course be best on the dark side of the moon for the best possible effect.

One of the leaders of the project, physicist Leonard Reiffel, figured  hitting the moon with an intercontinental ballistic missile would have been relatively easy to accomplish, including hitting the target with an accuracy of approximately two miles.  The accuracy would have been particularly important as the Air Force wanted the resulting explosion to be clearly visible from Earth.

The Soviet Union had successfully…

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Karl Gebhardt torturing to prove a point.

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When Reinhard Heydrich was severely injured after the assassination attempt on him,Operation Anthropoid, Himmler ordered his personal physician,Karl Gebhardt, to attend to Heydrich’s injuries.

Initially the recovery appeared to go well. Theodor Morell, Hitler’s personal physician, suggested the use of sulfonamides ,which was a new antibacterial drug,, but Gebhardt, assuming that  Heydrich would recover, declined the suggestion.

But a few days later Heydrich died. Hitler blamed Gebhardt for Heydrich’s death, claiming he died of gangrene.

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Gebhardt constructed  experiments in conjunction with  with Himmler to prove to Hitler that the decision not to use sulfonamides had been the  correct one.

In Ravensbrück concentration camp,Heydrich’s injuries were  re-created in detail on some female inmates of the camp. To find out  just what had gone wrong, camp  doctors would purposely maximize the potential for infections by inserting glass shards and by injecting various virulent bacteria, in the open wounds  before stitching them up.

The experiments were very painful and often resulted in the death of the victim or permanent disability.

This all just to prove a point.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

USHMM

Individualutoronto.ca