Bruce Lee

I don’t think there is anyone on the planet who hasn’t heard of Bruce Lee. There probably isn’t that much I can say about the man that is not know yet. But on the 48th anniversary of his death it might be a good starting point to look at the lesser known facts of Bruce Lee.

Lee was born Lee Jun Fan on November 27, 1940, in San Francisco, California, in both the hour and year of the Dragon. His father, Lee Hoi Chuen, a Hong Kong opera singer, moved with his wife, Grace Ho, and three children to the United States in 1939; Hoi Chuen’s fourth child, a son, was born while he was on tour in San Francisco.

Lee received the name “Bruce” from a nurse at his birthing hospital, and his family never used the name during his preschool years. He only started to use the name Bruce when he entered secondary school and began his study of the English language The future star appeared in his first film at the age of 3 months, when he served as the stand-in for an American baby in Golden Gate Girl (1941).

At the age of three months, Lee Hoi Chuen, his wife Grace and baby Bruce returned to Hong Kong where Bruce would be raised until the age of 18. Bruce’s most prominent memory of his early years was the occupation of Hong Kong by the Japanese during World War II (1941-1945). At the age of 13, Bruce was introduced to Master Yip Man, a teacher of the Wing Chun style of gung fu. For five years Bruce studied diligently and became very proficient. He greatly revered Yip Man as a master teacher and wise man and frequently visited with him in later years.

As a nine-year-old, he would co-star with his father in The Kid, also known as Kid Cheung and My Son A-Chang, is a 1950 Hong Kong drama film starring the then 9-year-old Bruce Lee in his first leading role in the title role of “Kid Cheung”, based on a comic book character written by Yuen Bou-wan, who also has a role in the film. Co-starring Lee’s father, Lee Hoi-chuen.

In high school, one of Bruce’s accomplishments was winning an interschool Boxing Championship against an English student in which the Marquis of Queensbury rules were followed and no kicking was allowed.

-As a side note- John Sholto Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry , was a Scottish nobleman, remembered for his atheism, his outspoken views, his brutish manner, for lending his name to the “Queensberry Rules” that form the basis of modern boxing, and for his role in the downfall of the Irish author and playwright Oscar Wilde. Lord Queensberry’s son Alfred had a relationship with Oscar Wilde-

Bruce was also a terrific dancer, and in 1958 he won the Hong Kong Cha Cha Championship. He studied dancing as assiduously as he did gung fu, keeping a notebook in which he had noted 108 different cha cha steps. In addition to his studies, gung fu and dancing, Bruce was also a child actor under the tutelage of his father who must have known from an early age that Bruce had a streak of showmanship. By the time he was 18, he had appeared in 20 films.

Lee finished high school in Edison, Washington, and subsequently enrolled as a philosophy major at the University of Washington. He also got a job teaching the Wing Chun style of martial arts that he had learned in Hong Kong to his fellow students and others. Through his teaching, Lee met Linda Emery, whom he married in 1964. By that time, Lee had opened his own martial arts school in Seattle.

Just as Bruce was cementing his plans to expand his martial arts schools, fate stepped in to move his life in another direction. In August of 1964, Ed Parker, widely regarded as the father of American Kenpo, invited Bruce to Long Beach, CA to give a demonstration at his First International Karate Tournament. A member of the audience was Jay Sebring, a well-known hair stylist to the stars. Jay told his producer client, William Dozier, about having seen this spectacular young Chinese man giving a gung fu demonstration just a few nights before. Mr. Dozier obtained a copy of the film that was taken at Ed Parker’s tournament. The next week he called Bruce at home in Oakland and invited him to come to Los Angeles for a screen test.

The rest of course is Hollywood history.

On July 20, 1973, Lee was in Hong Kong to have dinner with actor George Lazenby, known for his roles as James Bond in “Her Majesty’s Secret Service” with whom he intended to make a film. According to Lee’s wife Linda, Lee met producer Raymond Chow at 2 p.m. at home to discuss the making of the film Game of Death. They worked until 4 p.m. and then drove together to the home of Lee’s colleague Betty Ting Pei, a Taiwanese actress. The three went over the script at Ting’s home, and then Chow left to attend a dinner meeting.

Later, Lee complained of a headache, and Ting gave him the painkiller Equagesic, which contained both aspirin and the tranquilizer meprobamate. Around 7:30 p.m., he went to lie down for a nap. When Lee did not come for dinner, Chow came to the apartment, but he was unable to wake Lee up. A doctor was summoned, and spent ten minutes attempting to revive Lee before sending him by ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Lee was declared dead on arrival at the age of 32.

The untimely death of Bruce was not the only tragedy to fall on the Lee family.

On March 31, 1993, Bruce Lee’s son Brandon Lee was filming a scene in The Crow where his character is shot and killed by thugs. In the scene, Lee’s character walks into his apartment and discovers his fiancée being beaten and raped. Actor Michael Massee’s character fires a Smith & Wesson Model 629 .44 Magnum revolver at Lee as he walks into the room.

In the scene preceding the fatal scene, a gun was loaded with cartridges from which the crew had removed the powder charge, so in close-ups the revolver would show normal-looking bullets. The crew had neglected, however, to remove the primer from the cartridges. This caused one of the rounds to fire and lodge a bullet inside the barrel. For the fatal scene, which called for the revolver to be fired at Lee from a distance of 3.6–4.5 meters (12–15 ft), the emptied cartridges were replaced with blank rounds, which feature a live powder charge and primer, but no bullet, thus allowing the gun to be fired without the risk of an actual projectile. When the blank round was fired, the bullet lodged in the barrel was propelled forward with almost the same force as if the round were live, and it struck Lee in the abdomen.

Brandon Lee was rushed to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina. Attempts to save him were unsuccessful and after six hours of surgery, Lee was pronounced dead on March 31, 1993 at 1:03 pm, aged 28

sources

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033669/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

https://brucelee.com/bruce-lee

https://www.biography.com/actor/bruce-lee

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Happy Birthday Stan Laurel

Stan Laurel was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson on the 16th of June in Ulverston, Lancashire in England, 1890. His father was a vaudeville performer and this led Stan to being a stage performer too. He didn’t get much schooling and this resulted to the joining of Fred Karno’s Troupe where Stan understudied the future star, Charles Chaplin. In 1912 they went on a tour to America where Chaplin remained, but Stan went straight back to England. In 1916 he returned to the States and did an impersonation of Charlie Chaplin and the act was called “The Keystone Trio” and it was quite successful. What I find ironic is that although there is no doubt that Charlie Chaplin was a genius, his comedy dated badly. Whereas Stan Laurel’s comedy, and especially as part of the comedic duo Laurel and Hardy, it still is fresh today. It was actually quite progressive. The movie ‘Brats’ is about 2 dads staying at home, minding the children, while the wives are out for the night, this was in 1930.

He appeared with his comedy partner Oliver Hardy in 107 short films, feature films, and cameo roles. However what most people don’t realize is hat he appeared in 67 movies without Oliver Hardy, albeit it mostly short movies.

‘The Lucky Dog’ (1921) was the first film to include Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy together in a film: prior to them becoming the famous comedy duo of Laurel and Hardy. Although they appear in scenes together they play independently of each other. Stan is the star of the film and Ollie is only in a side role.

It was in 1925 that Hardy and Laurel had met again at the Hal Roach studios and at that point in time Laurel was directing movies at the studio with Hardy in the cast for a couple of years. Among these films were Yes, Yes, Nanette (1925) and Wandering Papas (1926) written & directed by Stan Laurel and starring Babe who now acted under his real name, Oliver Hardy. In 1926 they began appearing together but not yet as a team. One of the directors at the Hal Roach studio known around the world as director of such great movies The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945) and Going My Way (1944), Leo McCarey joined these comic geniuses and an immediate partnership unfolded. Laurel & Hardy had appeared as funny as they could be in Putting Pants on Philip (1927) which led them to stardom. They made films for another 20 years. Laurel & Hardy are now known as one of the best comedy teams. They retired from films in 1950. In 1953 they went on tour to England and Ireland for a farewell tour. where they performed in variety halls.

In the 2018 film Stan & Ollie, Steve Coogan portrayed Laurel.

There are very few people who can make you laugh just by looking at their face, but such was the genius of Stan Laurel, his expressions were enough to get you in a burst of laughter.

Of course there was much more to his comic genius than just his face. One of my all time favourite quotes comes from the aforementioned Laurel & Hardy movie Brats. ” You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead”

A few moments before he died , on February 23,1965, he told his nurse ” I would like to go skiing” The nurse said “I didn’t know you were a skier” . he replied ” I am not, but I’d rather to that than this”.

He also had said ” If anyone cries at my funeral, I will never speak to them again” Until his last breath he remained a funny man.

At his funeral service at Church of the Hills, Buster Keaton said, “Chaplin wasn’t the funniest. I wasn’t the funniest; this man was the funniest.” He was interred in Forest Lawn–Hollywood Hills Cemetery.

Dear Sir. thank you so much for making me laugh and making me realize how important humour is, to get through life.

I wish you a very Happy Birthday

sources

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0491048/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm

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Edda van Heemstra aka Audrey Hepburn

Audrey

There is one myth about Audrey Hepburn I have to dispel, she was not British-Belgian. In Belgium as in many other European countries you don’t automatically obtain citizenship just because you’re born there. You get the nationality of your parents, usually the nationality of the Father or sometimes the Mother.

Audrey was born on May 4,1929 in Brussels to a British father and Dutch mother.Therefore she was half British and half Dutch.

She was born  Audrey Kathleen Ruston or Edda Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston.Her father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston , was a British subject born in Auschitz, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary. Her Mother was Baroness Ella van Heemstra, a Dutch noblewoman. Her parents got married in Indonesia which was a Dutch colony at the time.Shortly after they married they moved to Europe, initially London but then later to Brussels.

Audrey’s grandfather Aarnoud van Heemstra, was the governor of the Dutch colony of Suriname.

audrey's gran

She had 2 half siblings from an earlier marriage of her Mother.

The WWII years of Audrey Hepburn do proof that it didn’t matter how well connected you were, survival was not a certainty for anyone.

In the mid-1930s, Hepburn’s parents recruited and collected donations for the British Union of Fascists, and allegedly were great admirers of Adolf Hitler. In 1935 Audrey’s Father abandoned the family. Following that mother moved with Hepburn to her family’s estate in Arnhem. Audrey and her mother did briefly live in Kent in 1937 but moved back to the Netherlands after Britain had declared war to Germany, The Netherlands were a neutral country and had remained neutral during WWI. Audrey’ mother hoped this would be the case again this time.

After the Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940, Audrey changed her name to Edda van Heemstra, because an “English-sounding” name could be potentially dangerous.

invasion

Her mother  had already introduced Audrey to ballet lessons while they were still in England. The German occupation took a hard toll on the young Audrey Hepburn, who used ballet as a form of  escapism from the harsh reality of war. She trained at the Arnhem conservatory with ballet professor Winja Marova and became her star pupil.

The reality of war hit even harder when her uncle, Otto van Limburg Stirum(the husband of her Mother’s sister Miesje) was killed by the Nazis as reprisal for an act of sabotage by the resistance movement;on August 15 1942, while he had not been involved in the act, he was targeted due to his family’s prominence in Dutch society.

otto

Stirum’s murder turned Audrey’s Mother away from Nazi ideology, to become an avid member of the Dutch Resistance.

Audrey once said in an interview after the war.

“We saw young men put against the wall and shot, and they’d close the street and then open it and you could pass by again… Don’t discount anything awful you hear or read about the Nazis. It’s worse than you could ever imagine”

In 1944, Hepburn met with Dr. Hendrik Visser ’t Hooft, a local physician, and Dutch Resistance leader. She became a volunteer for the Dutch Resistance, using her passion for dancing and talents for ballet by having secret shows to fund resistance groups.

She also worked as a courier.Many Dutch children were couriers because they were less likely to raise the suspicions of the Nazis.

Hepburn also witnessed the transportation of Dutch Jews to concentration camps, of which she later said:

“More than once I was at the station seeing trainloads of Jews being transported, seeing all these faces over the top of the wagon. I remember, very sharply, one little boy standing with his parents on the platform, very pale, very blond, wearing a coat that was much too big for him, and he stepped on the train. I was a child observing a child”

TRANSPORT

The situation turned dire for Audrey Hepburn. Living conditions grew very bad and Arnhem was subsequently heavily damaged during Operation Market Garden. During the Dutch famine that followed in the winter of 1944, the Germans blocked the resupply routes of the Dutch people’s already-limited food and fuel supplies as retaliation for railway strikes that were held to hinder.

Hepburn’s family had to do with flour out of tulip bulbs to bake cakes and biscuit as food. Audrey developed acute anæmia, respiratory problems and œdema due to malnutrition.This would affect her for the remainder of her life.

After the war, she read Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and felt greatly impacted by the book. Luca Dotti, Audrey Hepburn’s son, talked about his memories of her in an interview with People Magazine.

“My mother never accepted the simple fact that she got luckier than Anne, She possibly hated herself for that twist of fate.”

Maybe that’s why she turned down the chance to play the part of Anne Frank.

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Sources

Vintage News

IMDb

http://resources.huygens.knaw.nl/bwn1880-2000/lemmata/bwn5/heemstra

 

 

 

The special effects in Laurel & Hardy movies.

Brats L & H

Ever since I was a kid I loved watching Laurel & Hardy movies and I believe I have them all in my collection.

The humour in their films has remained fresh till today and they never dated. But it is only since recently I started to appreciate that some of their movies had very advanced special effects for their time, and those effect have also stood the test of time for more then 80 years.

Below are just a few examples.

Brats

In the movie Brat Stan and Ollie play themselves but also their sons and in several scenes the four are seen together.

Brats 2

Babes in Toyland aka March of the Wooden Soldiers

That whole movie is filled with special effects. Recently it has become a bit controversial because some people had called some scenes and especially the march of the wooden soldiers anti-Semitic, I have watched this movie hundreds of times and I could not see it, if at all it is more of a warning of things to come.

march

The Flying Deuces

Nowadays having it seem like an animal is talking is not anyone gets excited about, it is even used in TV ads. However in 1939 having a horse mimicking Ollie and telling Stan “That’s another fine pickle you got me in” was a technical masterpiece.

Flying Deuces

Ending with one of my favourite scenes from ‘Way out West’

 

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I pronounce you Mr and Mrs Dougherty-a slightly different WWII story.

Monroe_and_James_Dougherty (4)

A young couple in love,neighborhood sweethearts getting married. It was just like a fairy tale, what could possibly go wrong.

Well WWII for one, but not in the usual World War 2 drama sense, but  there were more reasons. one being fame.

They began dating in January 1942 and were married in June of that year, just 18 days after she  celebrated her 16th birthday.The she was Norma Jeane Baker.On June 19, 1942, she got married to James Dougherty, a 20 year old Los Angeles police officer .The wedding was officiated by a minister, Norma Jean wore an embroidered lace wedding dress with long sleeves and veil.

Monroe_and_James_Dougherty (3)

James’ family lived next door to Grace Goddard, a friend of Norma Jean’s mother, Gladys, who was frequently in psychiatric hospitals. After living in a handful of foster homes, Norma Jeane was taken in by Grace and her husband, who wanted to move across the country and couldn’t take her with them. To prevent Norma Jean from having to go back into the foster care system, Grace suggested that James marry the teenager.

Norma Jeane and her Jimmie had a near idyllic first one or two years as a married couple and seemed destined to spend their lives together in marital bliss.

But after Jimmie enlisted in the Merchant Marines in 1943, things were to change.Monroe_and_James_Dougherty (6)

He was soon called up for overseas duty. Norma Jeane would dutifully write her husband letters several times a week, but soon she became bored without him. She got a job at the Radioplane factory, inspecting parachutes and preparing planes for flight. Photos of the pretty brunette taken at work landed her modeling gigs around LA, and it wasn’t long before she caught the fame bug.Norma Jeane

While James was still stationed overseas in September 1946, Norma Jean filed for divorce.“I was on a ship in the Yangtze River getting ready to go into Shanghai when I was served with divorce papers,” James said in a 2002 interview. They divorced in 1946.

Norma Jeane Baker of course went on to become Marilyn Monroe, one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century.

How things could have been for these tow if it hadn’t been for WWII, we will never know.

Monroe_and_James_Dougherty (5)

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Source

Rare historical photos

 

 

 

Kelsey Grammer- The story of a Hero.

Frasier-Frasier-Crane

The man who made so many of us laughs(and still does) had so little to laugh about himself, but yet he remained positive. In my books that makes him a Hero.

Mostly known as Dr Frasier Crane in the sitcoms Cheers and Frasier, but he also appeared in “the X Men” “Star Trek-the next Generation” and produced the hit show “Medium”

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Most people are lucky enough to never experience having a loved one taken from them as a result of violence. Kelsey Grammer is not one of those people- his father was shot and killed and his sister was raped and brutally murdered.

Kelsey Grammer’s parents were divorced when he was 2 years old and his  father, Frank Grammer, owned a coffee shop and a bar-and-grill called Greer’s Place. His mother brought Kelsey and Karen back to her parents’ house in New Jersey where they were raised by their mother and grandfather. Unfortunately, his grandfather died when Kelsey was 11.

On April 25, 1968, a man named Arthur B. Niles set fire to Frank Grammer’s car outside the St. Thomas home he shared with his second wife, Elizabeth, and their four children (Betty, John, Billy and Stephen). When Frank Grammer went outside, Niles shot him twice. During the trial, Elizabeth Grammer testified that she pulled her husband’s body from in front of Niles’ car because he had threatened to run over him as well. Kelsey Grammer was only 13 years old at the time of his father’s murder.

N2ChVDD

Niles was found not guilty of the murder by reason of insanity and spent several decades in a psychiatric ward. In 1994, he was assessed to no longer be a threat to society and was released. In November of 2002, a judge issued a restraining order against Niles which prevented him from seeing his son. In March 2003, Niles went back to prison after pleading guilty to threatening to kill that same judge.

Seven years later, when Kelsey was 20 years old, his younger sister, 18 year old Karen Grammer, was raped by four men and murdered by Freddie Lee Glenn.

freddie glen

On July 1, 1975. Glenn, Corbett, and two other men decided to rob the Red Lobster restaurant on South Academy Boulevard. They left without any money, but on their way out they grabbed Karen Grammer,  who worked there and was waiting for her boyfriend to get off work, because they feared she could identify them.karen_grammerAfter robbing a convenience store, the men took Grammer to the apartment they shared, where they raped her repeatedly. They promised to take her home, then sat her in the car, put a cloth over her head and let her out in a mobile home park on South Wahsatch Avenue. Then Glenn, who, according to court testimony, had taken LSD, stabbed her in the throat, back and hand, and left her to die. In a desperate attempt to save herself, she ran toward the back porch of a nearby home where there was a light, but the homeowners were out. She died there, leaving bloody hand prints and fingerprints where she tried to reach the doorbell for help. Police photographs show a bloody hand print on the wall, inches from the doorbell. Police did not know her name for a week, until her brother Kelsey Grammer arrived to identify the body.

Glenn was convicted in 1976 for the murders of Van Lone, Profitt and Grammer. Judge Hunter Hardeman, noting “there was no rhyme or reason for what happened,” sentenced Glenn to the gas chamber for Grammer’s murder. Two years later, the Colorado Supreme Court overturned the state’s death penalty. When Glenn was sentenced, the law allowed parole after a convict served 10 years, so he became eligible. Because two of his sentences were to be served consecutively, Corbett became eligible in 1996. All his parole appeals have been denied to date

Alas the tragedies didn’t stop after the murder of Karen.Five years after Karen’s murder, on June 1, 1980, both of Kelsey Grammer’s half brothers died unexpectedly. Stephen and Billy were scuba diving off of St. Thomas at the time. When Billy failed to resurface, Stephen went back in after him but died of a fatal embolism during an improper ascent that followed. Billy’s body was never recovered.

Kelsey did also suffered  alcohol and cocaine addictions.He credits his religion and Alcoholics Anonymous for helping him through with his struggles with alcohol and drug abuse, as well as his personal tragedies.

The most amazing thing to come out of all these deaths is not the unreal amount of tragedy, but Kelsey’s ability to cope and prosper. He’s admitted to how painful these harsh realities felt, especially at such a young age, but he has refused to let bitterness consume him.

And even more astounding he has forgiven the killer of his sister. In a BBC 4 interview a few days ago he said “I have learnt to forgive. I have even told the guy I forgive him, although I don’t advocate his freedom. I don’t think that is reasonable.”

 

Kelsey on Radio

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Frankly my dear I DO give a damn-Clark Gable in WWII.

Clark_Gable_8th-AF-Britain1943

Clark Gable was a Hollywood star and among the most famous figures in the world when two events altered his life. First, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, hurtling the United States into World War II. Then, the following month, Gable’s beloved wife Carole Lombard was killed in the crash of a DC-3 airliner returning from a war bonds tour.

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Devastated, patriotic, and at age 40 a bit old for military service, Gable didn’t feel that the work he and Lombard had been doing to raise money through war bonds was enough of a contribution. He sent a telegram to President Franklin D. Roosevelt asking for a role in the war effort. The president replied, “STAY WHERE YOU ARE.”

In 1942, following Lombard’s death, Gable joined the U.S. Army Air Forces. Lombard had suggested that Gable enlist as part of the war effort, but MGM was reluctant to let him go, and he resisted the suggestion. Gable made a public statement after Lombard’s death that prompted the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Forces Henry H. “Hap” Arnold to offer Gable a “special assignment” in aerial gunnery.

General_of_the_Air_Force_Hap_Arnold

The Washington Evening Star reported that Gable took a physical examination at Bolling Field on June 19, preliminary to joining the service.

“Mr. Gable, it was learned from a source outside the war department, conferred with Lieutenant General H. H. Arnold, head of the air forces yesterday.” the Star continued. “It was understood that Mr. Gable, if he is commissioned, will make movies for the air forces. Lieutenant Jimmy Stewart, another actor in uniform, has been doing this.”
Plb-stewart-gable

Gable had earlier expressed an interest in officer candidate school, but he enlisted on August 12, 1942, with the intention of becoming an enlisted aerial gunner on a bomber. MGM arranged for his studio friend, the cinematographer Andrew McIntyre, to enlist with him and accompany him through training.

However, shortly after his enlistment, McIntyre and he were sent to Miami Beach, Florida, where they entered USAAF OCS Class 42-E on August 17, 1942. Both completed training on October 28, 1942, commissioned as second lieutenants. His class of about 2,600 fellow students (of which he ranked about 700th in class standing) selected Gable as its graduation speaker, at which General Arnold presented the cadets with their commissions. Arnold then informed Gable of his special assignment: to make a recruiting film in combat with the Eighth Air Force to recruit aerial gunners. Gable and McIntyre were immediately sent to Flexible Gunnery School at Tyndall Field, Florida, followed by a photography course at Fort George Wright, Washington State and promoted to first lieutenants upon its completion.

Clark-Gable1

Gable reported to Biggs Army Air Base, Texas, on January 27, 1943, to train with and accompany the 351st Bomb Group to England as head of a six-man motion picture unit. In addition to McIntyre, he recruited the screenwriter John Lee Mahin, camera operators Sgts. Mario Toti and Robert Boles, and the sound man Lt. Howard Voss to complete his crew. Gable was promoted to captain while he was with the 351st Bomb Group at Pueblo Army Air Base, Colorado, a rank commensurate with his position as a unit commander. (As first lieutenants, McIntyre and he had equal seniority.)

Gable spent most of 1943 in England at RAF Polebrook with the 351st Bomb Group. Gable flew five combat missions, including one to Germany, as an observer-gunner in B-17 Flying Fortresses between May 4 and September 23, 1943, earning the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his efforts.

(This portrait of a B-17G Flying Fortress of the 351st Bombardment Group was taken by Capt. Clark Gable. Photo courtesy of the Robert F. Dorr Collection)

B-17-Flying-Fortress1

During one of the missions, Gable’s aircraft was damaged by flak and attacked by fighters, which knocked out one of the engines and shot up the stabilizer. In the raid on Germany, one crewman was killed and two others were wounded, and flak went through Gable’s boot and narrowly missed his head. When word of this reached MGM, studio executives began to badger the Army Air Forces to reassign its most valuable screen actor to noncombat duty. In November 1943, Gable returned to the United States to edit his film, only to find that the personnel shortage of aerial gunners had already been rectified. He was allowed to complete the film anyway, joining the First Motion Picture Unit in Hollywood.

Clark-Gable

In May 1944, Gable was promoted to major. He hoped for another combat assignment, but when the invasion of Normandy came and went in June without any further orders, Gable was relieved from active duty as a major on June 12, 1944, at his request, since he was over-age for combat. His discharge papers were signed by Captain (later U.S. President) Ronald Reagan. Gable completed editing of the film Combat America in September 1944, giving the narration himself and making use of numerous interviews with enlisted gunners as focus of the film. Because his motion picture production schedule made it impossible for him to fulfill reserve officer duties, he resigned his commission on September 26, 1947, a week after the Air Force became an independent service branch.

Adolf Hitler favored Gable above all other actors. During World War II, Hitler offered a sizable reward to anyone who could capture and bring Gable to him unscathed.

Clark-Gable3

So despite what he said in “Gone with the wind” he did actually give a damn.

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Twilight Zone fatal accident

 

 

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On this day in 1982, Vic Morrow and two child actors, Renee Shinn Chen and Myca Dinh Le, are killed in an accident involving a helicopter during filming on the California set of Twilight Zone: The Movie. Morrow, age 53, and the children, ages six and seven, were shooting a Vietnam War battle scene in which they were supposed to be running from a pursuing helicopter.

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The film featured four sequences, one of which was based on a 1961 Twilight Zone episode, “A Quality of Mercy.” In the script, character Bill Connor (Morrow) is a bigot who travels back in time to suffer through various eras of persecution, such as Nazi-occupied Europe and the racial segregation of the American South during the mid-20th century. He then finds himself in the midst of the Vietnam War, where he decides to protect some Vietnamese children from American troops.

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Special-effects explosions on the set caused the pilot of the low-flying craft to lose control and crash into the three victims.

 

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The accident took place on the film’s last scheduled day of shooting.

Twilight Zone co-director John Landis (Blues Brothers, Trading Places, National Lampoon’s Animal House) and four other men working on the film, including the special-effects coordinator and the helicopter pilot, were charged with involuntary manslaughter. According to a 1987 New York Times report, it was the first time a film director faced criminal charges for events that occurred while making a movie. During the subsequent trial, the defense maintained the crash was an accident that could not have been predicted while the prosecution claimed Landis and his crew had been reckless and violated laws regarding child actors, including regulations about their working conditions and hours. Following the emotional 10-month trial, a jury acquitted all five defendants in 1987. The familes of the three victims filed lawsuits against Landis, Warner Brothers and Twilight Zone co-director and producer Steven Spielberg that were settled for undisclosed amounts.

 

Landis’s career was not significantly affected by the incident, although he said in 1996: “There was absolutely no good aspect about this whole story. The tragedy, which I think about every day, had an enormous impact on my career, from which it may possibly never recover.”

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Film director Steven Spielberg, who co-produced the film with Landis, broke off their friendship following the accident.Spielberg said that the crash had “made me grow up a little more” and had left everyone who worked on the movie “sick to the center of our souls.” With regard to how the crash had influenced people’s attitudes towards safety, he said: “No movie is worth dying for. I think people are standing up much more now than ever before to producers and directors who ask too much. If something isn’t safe, it’s the right and responsibility of every actor or crew member to yell, ‘Cut!’

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Twilight Zone: The Movie opened on June 24, 1983 and received mixed reviews.

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Hedy Lamarr- WiFi during WWII

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For most of the late 1930s and ’40s, Hedy Lamarr was just your average world-famous actress who appeared in countless films alongside the likes of Charles Boyer, Spencer Tracy, and Clark Gable — and also invented a critically important military technology in her spare time.

She had a room in her house that was dedicated to tinkering, inventing, and just figuring out whatever she wanted!

Unbeknownst to many who saw her on screen, Lamarr was a passionate inventor — and, as an Austrian immigrant, an ardent Nazi despiser. Working with composer George Antheil, Lamarr discovered an ingenious method of preventing enemy ships from jamming American torpedoes by making radio signals jump between frequencies, rather than stay on a single channel.

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As a foreigner, a non-member of the military, and a woman, Lamarr’s invention went largely ignored until the 1960s, when some dude scientists unearthed it and put it to use during the Cuban Missile Crisis (and probably took all the credit for it at parties). It’s also basically the reason we have things like GPS, Bluetooth, and advanced guided missile technology.

Before Hedy became a famous movie star, she was married to an Austrian military arms merchant. And while her arms-dealing husband was chatting about weapons . Hedy was listening. So when she got fed up with hearing about all the crappy news of the war, she called upon her own talents to make a difference.

So she teamed up with George Antheil, a pianist and composer, and they came up with a solution.

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If it looks a bit like piano music, you’d be on track. Using a player-piano mechanism, they created a radio system that could jump frequencies, making it essentially jam-proof.

Lamarr and Antheil got a patent for their idea in 1942, in the middle of Hedy’s career as a Hollywood star!

And even though the U.S. military didn’t use the technology until the ’60s, the work they did laid the foundation for the complex radio communications that are behind cellphones, Wi-Fi, satellite tech, and more.

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Marlene Dietrich was here…

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This guest book belonged to the parents of sixteen-year-old Carla Hustinx from the city of Maastricht. Their home was a regular place to stay for singers, movie stars, athletes and comedians that came to entertain American soldiers after the south of the Netherlands was liberated in September 1944.

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A relaxing evening helped the soldiers forget about the war for a moment. Big celebrities were happy to perform for the troops and swapped the glamour of Hollywood for a jeep and military rations.

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Also the famous actress and singer Marlene Dietrich spent a night at Hustinx’s home in January 1945: she left an autographed five franc bill behind. Carla Hustinx glued it into this guest book.

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The artists usually returned from an appearance around midnight, dove into bed, and continued on their way the next day around noon. The nuns at Carla’s Catholic School felt this environment was decadent and immoral, hardly suitable for a girl her age. But Carla saw it for what it was: ‘They behave like ordinary people and don’t put on stuck-up airs. They’re here for the troops.’

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