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Iroquois Theater Fire 1903 The deadliest fire in American history occurred on December 30, 1903 at Chicago's sparkling new Iroquois Theater. The death toll was staggering: 602. The theater had only been open for 37 days and was ironically advertised as fireproof. A huge crowd of mostly women and children were present for a Wednesday matinee performance of a gala show starring Eddie Foy and featuring a cast of more than 500 extras. The fire began when a spotlight shorted out and ignited the ceiling decorations. Most of the cast managed to escape through a large rear door. However, when that door opened, the new cold oxygen source created a fireball that ripped through the rest of the theater. Many people died because they were unfamiliar with the newfangled lock mechanisms on the theater's doors. Other escape routes were blocked to prevent patrons from sneaking down to more expensive seats. An investigation later showed that fire officials had been bribed to overlook safety concerns so the theater could open for business in time for the lucrative winter holidays. The only person convicted of a crime was a lone man who was found guilty of stealing posessions from the dead.
Tags: Iroquois  Theater  fire  Chicago 
Added: 29th September 2009
Views: 1761
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Posted By: Lava1964
Traci Lords Scandal 1986 One of the more salacious scandals of the 1980s involved pornographic movie star Nora Louise Kuzma, better known to skin-flick aficionados as Traci Lords. In July 1986, during a comprehensive federal investigation into the pornography industry, authorities received an anonymous tip: Traci Lords, the hugely popular actress, had just turned 18 years old--meaning her meteoric two-year porn career had begun at the illegal and tender age of 16, perhaps even 15. It was true. Her mother's ex-boyfriend had provided Traci with a fake ID that added more than five years to Lords' age, giving her a November 1962 birthdate instead of May 1968. (Her physical attributes so belied her true age that Lords was also able to illegally obtain a California driver's license and a passport.) Mom's ex arranged some nude modelling gigs for Lords, including photos for Penthouse. Within a short time, Lords was Penthouse's Pet of the Month--an issue that outsold all others in the publication's history. She quickly graduated to hard-core films at a time when the home video market was exploding. Lords appeared in about 80 porn flicks and became enormously popular for her enthusiastic performances. 'I get paid for doing things I like,' Lords told an interviewer. Lords claims she only made 21 films (and earned about $35,000 for her services), but dozens of other movies were created from outtakes and reused footage. According to porn industry insiders, however, Lords was making six movies a month, demanding and getting $1,000 per day from producers (about twice the going rate for hard-core porn actresses at the time). Some sources claim Lords made over $1 million from her XXX-rated movies--and even had video companies give her $10,000 a month and provide her with a furnished apartment and a Mercedes. Before the scandal broke, her movies were outselling her nearest rival's by a 10:1 ratio. One film, 'Traci, I Love You,' was made in Europe a few days after her eighteenth birthday by her own newly formed production company, and is thus the only porno movie of hers that can be legally obtained or viewed in North America. Some of her 'banned' films are still available in Europe where laws and the age of sexual consent vary. (In France, for example, it is illegal for someone under the age of 18 to appear in a pornographic movie, but the film itself is not illegal.) The huge scandal resulted in more stringent age verification for porn participants that still exist today. Because of accusations that producers had lured Lords into the business knowing she was a minor, the entire adult film industry verged on collapse. However, Lords had also fooled the federal government with the same fake I.D. to get a U.S. passport, so prosecution efforts were halted. Suspicion lingers that it was Lords herself who tipped off authorities to her true age in order to increase her fame and eliminate her old films from the marketplace once she began her own production company. Lords, shown here in a 2008 photo, has pursued a career as a 'serious actress' since 1986. She has appeared in various films and TV sitcoms, usually typecast as 'the bad girl.'
Tags: Traci  Lords  scandal  underage  pornography 
Added: 30th September 2009
Views: 14244
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Posted By: Lava1964
Willard Hershberger - Baseball Suicide The only active major league baseball player to commit suicide during a season was Cincinnati Reds' catcher Willard Hershberger. The 30-year-old Hershberger was in his third season as a backup catcher for the Reds. Often moody, Hershberger was a loner who was extremely critical of his own play. When regular Reds' catcher Ernie Lombardi was injured during the 1940 season, Hershberger took over, batting a very respectable .309 and playing well defensively. On July 31, though, the Reds blew a late lead against the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds. Hershberger blamed himself for the loss and became sullen. The Reds then travelled to Boston where they lost both games of a doubleheader to a weak Boston Bees team on August 2. Afterwards, Hershberger met with Reds' manager Bill McKechnie to discuss personal problems. The next day, when Hershberger failed to appear at the ballpark, a search of his Boston hotel room found Hershberger dead in a pool of his own blood. He had slit his wrists with a razor. (There was a history of suicide in the family: Hershberger's father had killed himself in 1926.) Manager McKechnie never elaborated on the personal issues he had discussed with his troubled catcher.
Tags: Willard  Hershberger  baseball  suicide 
Added: 1st October 2009
Views: 3533
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Posted By: Lava1964
Wooden Tennis Rackets - 1925 This is a collection of the most popular styles of wooden tennis rackets that graced sporting goods stores circa 1925. They certainly have more 'character' than their modern-day counterparts.
Tags: wooden  tennis  rackets 
Added: 2nd October 2009
Views: 1247
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Posted By: Lava1964
Don Rickles at Bob Hopes 85th Birthday Party  May 1988 From May 15, 1988, here is Don Rickles saluting (and insulting) Bob Hope, on Bob Hope's 85th Birthday Party, and his 50th year at NBC!
Tags: Don  Rickles  Bob  Hope  85th  Birthday  Party  Ray  Glasser  1988 
Added: 10th October 2009
Views: 1971
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Posted By: videoholic
Vintage Valerie Bertinelli Since Taxman is a big fan of Valerie Bertinelli, here's an appealing photo of her in her heyday.
Tags: Valerie  Bertinelli 
Added: 10th October 2009
Views: 6286
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Posted By: Lava1964
Death of Carl Alfalfa Switzer This is the grave marker of Carl Switzer, better known to fans of the Our Gang comedies as Alfalfa. Switzer died on January 21, 1959 under strange circumstances. After his acting career wound down, Switzer became a professional dog breeder who had many clients in Hollywood. (Jimmy Stewart, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were among them.) The 31-year-old Switzer was shot in the groin when an argument over an alleged $50 debt with acquaintance Moses Stiltz turned violent. He bled to death. The official police account of the incident claims that Stiltz shot a drunken Switzer in an act of self-defense. Switzer had supposedly threatened the gunman's life while brandishing a knife. Latter day researchers have cast doubts on the accuracy of the official police report. Nevertheless, a coroner ruled Switzer's death to be justifiable homicide and the case was quickly closed. Switzer's passing received little publicity in the newspapers because famed movie director Cecil B. De Mille died that very same day.
Tags: death  Carl  Alfalfa  Switzer 
Added: 10th October 2009
Views: 2951
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Posted By: Lava1964
Gig Young Murder-Suicide 1978 Actor Gig Young was outwardly debonair but he led a troubled life. Alcoholism curtailed his promising acting career and ruined more than one marriage, including a turbulent wedlock with Elizabeth Montgomery. Although he won an Oscar for his 1969 portrayal of a dance marathon emcee in They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, Young's acting jobs became increasingly scarce during the 1970s. He was fired after just one day on the set of Blazing Saddles for alcohol-related problems. His last film appearance was in The Death Game where the 64-year-old Young met 21-year-old script supervisor Kim Schmidt. Schmidt became Young's fifth wife on September 27, 1978. Twenty-two days later they were both found shot to death in their Manhattan apartment. The case was ruled a murder-suicide, with Young the perpetrator. No note was found to explain the motive. Although Young's estate was valued at about $200,000, in his will he left just $10 to his only child, a 14-year-old daughter, whom Young claimed was not actually his.
Tags: Gig  Young  murder-suicide 
Added: 10th October 2009
Views: 10262
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Posted By: Lava1964
1964 Surgeon General Report on Smoking One of the most impactful press conferences ever held occurred on Saturday, January 11, 1964. On that date Luther L. Terry, the Surgeon General of the United States, announced conclusive medical proof that smoking was undeniably a public health hazard. The report was based on more than 7,000 scientific studies. One set of statistics quoted in Terry's report stated that smokers were 10 times more likely to be afflicted with lung cancer than non-smokers. (Heavy smokers were 20 times more likely.) The report also linked heart disease and emphysema to smoking. The historic press conference was deliberately held on a Saturday to minimize the effect on the stock market and to get maximum exposure in the major Sunday newspapers.
Tags: smoking  cancer  surgeon  general  report 
Added: 10th October 2009
Views: 1764
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Posted By: Lava1964
FDR Memorial Controversy 1996 In 1996, when plans were announced to erect a memorial to the late Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Washington, D.C., an emotionally charged controversy erupted: Should America's only four-term president be shown in a wheelchair? FDR had been crippled by polio as a 39-year-old in 1921--and he went to great lengths to conceal his condition for the rest of his life. Because of the stigma attached to disabilities at the time, the accommodating media of the day kept FDR's secret from the public. Most photos and newsreels of FDR show him seated behind a desk or in an automobile; FDR was seldom photgraphed in a wheelchair or standing with the help of leg braces. Thus, a passionate dispute arose about how to memorialize FDR. Should he be shown as he truly was or as the public remembered him? This photograph shows the result: In his statue, FDR is draped in a cloak, which presumably hides the wheelchair. This compromise did not suit many advocates for the disabled. A smaller statue of FDR, clearly in a wheelchair, was erected near the main memorial in 2001.
Tags: FDR  memorial  controversy  wheelchair 
Added: 11th October 2009
Views: 7303
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Posted By: Lava1964

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