The Year was 1939

Why would all these people be coming to this obscure graveyard? The caretaker could not understand the sudden interest in the nondescript grave of a teenage soldier who had died during a skirmish in the British Mandate of Palestine more than 60 years earlier, in 1939. The teenager, named Harry, had lied about his age…

The Year was 1955

Esther really wanted to win the contest and get the prize. But she had absolutely no credentials. She was sure that everyone else who was entering the contest did. She was right – big name newspaper people submitted entries. What was the prize? It was to take over the advice column that Ruth Crowley wrote…

The Year was 1978

The 1978 Belmont – the third leg of the Triple Crown – saw two great horses fighting it out. Affirmed had just barely beaten Alydar in the Kentucky Derby and then again in the Preakness. Affirmed won – becoming the Triple Crown winner. But it was Alydar, the fabulous horse from Lexington Kentucky’s fabled Calumet…

The Year was 1972

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. It was being argued by no less than former Supreme Court justice Arthur Goldberg. What was at stake was Major League Baseball’s 1897 reserve clause: after a player played all the years of his original contract, a team owner could reserve that player for each new…

The Year was 1922

Lee Duncan and his dog were watching a movie crew shoot a scene with a wolf for a movie called Man from Hell’s River. The wolf could not get it. Duncan called to the crew, “Hey guys, my dog could do that on the first take.” “Oh, sure!” they said. “Get lost!” But after more…

The Year was 1956

Called by many one of the worst films ever made, The Conqueror, a movie about Genghis Khan, packed a secret, lethal punch. It was an RKO movie, made when the studio system was king. Dick Powell, an actor turned director, was given the script. He thought it was horrible. But while he took a break,…

The Year was 1953

Five days after her father died, Antha Belle was born on Jan. 6, 1953. Her mother had signed away her parental rights to the dad. And he had arranged to have his own mother be legal guardian for the unborn baby. Which she did, then she adopted Antha Belle, giving her a new name: Catherine…

The Year was 2017

Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, is a cinematic success. But there have been real life wonder women throughout our history. Some were samurai. Tomoe Gozen (c.1157-1247) became an excellent archer and sword handler. In one battle, she threw herself upon an enemy leader and decapitated him. “Whenever a battle was imminent, Yoshinaka [Minamoto] sent…

The year was 1955

James Dean, 24, was a box office gold. He was also a race car driver. He had to sign a clause in his contract that that he would not enter any races during the filming of Giant, the movie he was starring in with Elizabeth Taylor. Dean had entered UCLA as a pre-law student, joined…

The year was 1844

Alexandre Dumas had so many ideas! But he didn’t have time to do all that bothersome research, all that cumbersome writing. So he set up a kind of factory system to get it all done in one lifetime. His grandmother had been a slave in Haiti.  That meant her children with the French nobleman who…