Joseph Force Crater was an associate judge of the New York Supreme Court. On August 6, 1930, the 41-year-old Crater was in New York City, ostensibly on business, while his wife vacationed without him in Maine. While in New York, Crater spent time with his young showgirl mistress, Sally Lou Ritz. Crater dined with Ritz and a lawyer friend, then they attended a play. When the show ended, Crater's companions got into a taxi and watched Crater walk away...never to be seen again. After several days it was obvious to the judge's wife and colleagues that something was terribly amiss--especially when court reconvened on August 25 with Crater still absent. An investigation was launched. When the story hit the newspapers, a nationwide manhunt began. Naturally, foul play was suspected. On the morning of his disappearance, Crater's assistant had helped the judge cash two checks totaling more than $5,100. The money was put into two locked briefcases and taken to the judge's apartment. Speculation ran along the lines of Crater paying blackmail money. A grand jury trial followed, yielding 975 pages of testimony. It implicated Crater in shady real estate and financial deals, but the authorities had no success in finding any trace of the judge. (Sally Lou Ritz escaped much of the publicity--but not the gossip--when she herself vanished, never to be seen again.) Crater's wife did not return to her New York City apartment until January 31, 1931--where she found a manila envelope addressed to her in the judge's handwriting. It contained his will, $6,619 in cash, several checks, stocks, bonds, life insurance policies, and a hurriedly penned three-page personal note. The envelope had apparently been placed there after the police had searched the apartment. (Three checks were dated August 30--more than three weeks after the judge had vanished!) For several decades the term 'pulling a Judge Crater' was slang for vanishing or leaving an awkward situation discreetly. On August 19, 2005, authorities announced they had obtained a letter written by Stella Ferrucci-Good, who had recently died at age 91. The missive indicated that Judge Crater had been murdered by her late husband, a policeman, and a cab driver friend. Supposedly a skeleton found under the boardwalk at Coney Island in the 1950s was Crater's. An aquarium now occupies the site. The unidentified bones were interred in a mass grave on Hart Island, the usual spot where unclaimed corpses were commonly buried in unmarked plots. However, Ferrucci-Good's story has a major hole: no record exists of a body ever being found under the Coney Island boardwalk.
Added: 16th September 2009
Posted By: Lava1964
A hunchback or dwarf was once considered by sports teams to bring good luck. Many professional baseball teams had such a mascot. Hunchbacks were considered particularly lucky. Many players rubbed the mascot's back before batting, believing a hit was sure to follow. Eddie Bennett was such an object of luck, but he also became much more to the teams he worked for.
From the beginning of his life, Eddie Bennett seemed to catch bad breaks. A childhood accident left Eddie with a crippling back injury stunting his growth and leaving him hunchbacked and permanently child-sized. His life was further disadvantaged when both his parents perished in the 1918 influenza epidemic. Crippled and orphaned, things looked bleak for the young kid from Flatbush. Eddie was a big baseball fan and frequently hung around the Polo Grounds. Happy Felsch of the Chicago White Sox took notice of the boy. Impressed by his cheery demeanor, the Sox adopted Eddie as their good luck charm. Eddie travelled with the team and they won the 1919 AL pennant. Eddie returned to Brooklyn for the 1920 season--and Brooklyn won the NL pennant that year. During the 1920 World Series, after winning two out of three games at home, the team left Eddie behind when they went on the road to play Cleveland. Without their lucky charm they promptly lost four straight games and the best-of-nine series. Eddie, dejected and offended, left the team in disgust.
In 1921 Eddie latched onto the New York Yankees. Although still a good luck charm, Eddie established himself as a true professional batboy. He not only performed the typical duties of batboy, he also handled other tasks, enabling the players to focus on the game. He was a paid employee of the Yankees and took his job very seriously. Eddie ran errands for the players, procured their favorite foods, and became their confidant. Eddie was privy to every rumor and scandal regarding the Yankees during the Roaring Twenties but he kept his mouth shut. When Urban Shocker was suffering from serious heart problems late in his career, he roomed with Eddie. He honored the pitcher's wishes and kept Shocker's health issues from his teammates.
Babe Ruth in particular became close to Eddie. Ruth and Bennett would enter the field early in batting practice and perform a comical warmup show. The much larger Ruth would continually throw the ball out of Eddie's reach, eventually backing him up to the backstop. Not one Ruthian homerun went by without Eddie being the first to shake his hand upon touching home plate. If you look at any team picture from 1921 to 1932, there is Eddie, front and center with a big wide grin on his face, the envy of every boy in America.
In the 12 seasons Eddie was with the Yankees, they won seven AL pennants and four World Series. All this changed early in 1932 when Ediie was hit by a taxicab, breaking his leg. Due to his other health problems the injury healed slowly. By the end of the year it was clear that Eddie's fragile health was failing. Unable to perform his duties with the Yankees, he was nevertheless financially supported by team owner Jacob Ruppert for his past services to his club. But not being around the team anymore and the severe pain he suffered daily because of the accident took its toll on Eddie. He began drinking heavily. He passed away in 1935 after a three-week bender, surrounded in his room by mounds of priceless memorabilia from his years as baseball's most famous batboy.
Added: 22nd February 2011
Posted By: Lava1964
Week of August 5, 2012 in Philadelphia, Marc Summers: Car Accident 'Wiped Out' Half My Face
Marc Summers is grateful to be alive after sustaining serious facial injuries during a car accident last week.
The 60-year-old star, who currently hosts The Food Network's "Unwrapped," was a passenger in a taxi cab in Philadelphia when the vehicle hydroplaned during a "torrential downpour," Summers told People.
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"I knew when [the driver] lost control that I was in trouble. I was on the phone with my supervising producer and I said, 'Oh my God, we're going to crash!'" he told the mag, recalling the harrowing moments right before the wreck. "Next thing I knew, I woke up and had blood all over me."
Summers' head slammed against the plastic partition between the cab's front and backseats upon impact, badly damaging his face.
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"Everything on the left side from my eye socket down was just wiped out," he told the mag. "My eye socket got all swollen. I'm having trouble seeing completely out of the left eye... There's lots of titanium and screws in my face."
Adding, "I was pretty lucky that I didn't have brain damage."
Summers, a longtime TV producer and former host of Nickelodeon's "Double Dare," underwent a four-hour operation at the hand of a plastic surgeon following the accident.
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While the star is still in tremendous pain, he said his doctor is confident the lengthy operation was successful.
"Everything went back into place," he told the mag. "In a few weeks, the swelling will go down and no one will ever know ... I'll be a new guy."
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Though he faces an arduous recuperation and is still having difficulty chewing solid foods, Summers is already on a mission to prevent this type of accident from happening to anyone else.
"Appreciate all the good wishes from everyone. Pain a little less each day. Will you help me in a campaign to rid cabs of plastic partitions?" he Tweeted on Saturday, later adding that the blockades "serve no purpose other than hurting people" and are "way [too] close to backseat despite seat belts."
-- Erin O'Sullivan
Copyright 2012 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved.
Added: 19th August 2012
Posted By: masonx31
One of the best written sitcoms ever was Taxi. In the show's first season, Christopher Lloyd appeared in one episode as "Reverend Jim," a burnt-out relic from the 1960s who was hastily procured to officiate at Latka's sham wedding. In the third episode of the second season Jim was brought back and made a regular character. In this famous scene, Jim applies for his driver's license so he can become a cabbie. The episode is titled "Reverend Jim: A Space Odyssey."
Added: 7th November 2012
Posted By: Lava1964
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