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Harry Spear - The Lost Rascal Harry Spear was one of the leading men in the Our Gang/Little Rascals comedies in the late silent period of 1927 to 1929. Before joining the popular Our Gang series, Spear appeared in several Buck Jones westerns. Spear's first appearance in an Our Gang comedy was in Chicken Feed when he was five. He became a popular member of the gang, notable for often donning an oversized bowler hat. At the dawn of the sound era, newcomer Jackie Cooper took over the role as the leader/tough guy in the gang, replacing Spear. Spear's final Our Gang film was Bouncing Babies. After departing the series, Spear briefly entered vaudeville, entertaining audiences with a dancing and monologue routine. By the mid-1940s, though, he had left the entertainment industry and had severed all ties with his former Our Gang alumni. Spear's whereabouts after the 1940s remained a mystery for over half a century. However, several diligent Our Gang fans tracked Spear down in 1995. Residing in San Diego, California at the time, Spear (who went by his legal name of Harry Bonner) continually denied being the 'Harry Spear' of Our Gang fame for unknown reasons, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. From military service records, it was found that Harry Spear served as a Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Spear died of kidney cancer on September 22, 2006 in San Diego at age 85.
Tags: Harry  lost  Spear  Our  Gang  Little  Rascals 
Added: 30th October 2010
Views: 2125
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Posted By: Lava1964
Daddy Cool Boney M Passes At Age 61 Bobby Farrell, whose group Boney M topped the 1970s European charts with its glittering showmanship and blend of disco and Calypso music, was found dead in his hotel bed Thursday while on tour in Russia, his agent said. He was 61. The frontman appeared as scheduled in St. Petersburg Wednesday night, but complained of breathing problems before and after his show, said the agent, John Seine. The group had 38 top 10 hits, including 15 number ones in Germany. They included "Brown Girl in the Ring" and "Mary's Boychild." Their version of "By the Rivers of Babylon" sold nearly 2 million records in Britain alone, keeping it No. 1 for five weeks in 1978.
Tags: Daddy  Cool  Boney  M  Passes  At  Age  61 
Added: 31st December 2010
Views: 1067
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Posted By: Old Fart
Knute Rockne Plane Crash Famed Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne and seven other men perished in an airplane crash on March 31, 1931. Rockne, 43, was travelling on business from Kansas City to Los Angeles on TWA Flight 599. The plane had only been airborne a short time when it lost a wing. It crashed on a farm near Bazaar, KS. Apparently the passengers were aware of their fate: It was reported that when Rockne's body was found, he was clutching a rosary. This memorial, erected on the crash site, was maintained for years by the 13-year-old boy who arrived first on the scene. Rockne's funeral cortege was witnessed by an estimated 300,000 people. It is often claimed that Flight 599 went down in or shortly after a thunderstorm. However, meteorological records show that there was no significant convective activity at the time. The accident was actually caused by the composition of the aircraft. Fokker Trimotor aircrafts were manufactured out of wood laminate; in this instance, moisture had leaked into the interior of one wing over a period of time and had weakened the glue bonding the structural members (called struts or spars) that prevented the wing from fluttering in flight. One spar finally failed; the wing developed an uncontrolled flutter and separated from the aircraft. The accident caused numerous changes in the operations of both TWA and the Aeronautics Branch of the US Department of Commerce, forerunner of today's FAA. All US airlines operating at that time were forced to remove Fokker Trimotors from service. The expense of this compounded with the bad publicity associated with Rockne's death almost sank TWA. The intense public interest in the cause of the accident also forced the Department of Commerce to abandon its policy of keeping the results of aircraft accident investigations secret.
Tags: Knute  Rockne  memorial  airplane  crash  football 
Added: 24th February 2011
Views: 7854
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Posted By: Lava1964
Rare 1913 Liberty Head Nickel In 1913, the Indian Head nickel (commonly known as the buffalo nickel) was introduced, replacing the Liberty Head design that had been used since 1883. These were the first official strikings of nickels in 1913; the United States Mint's official records show no Liberty Head nickels were produced that year. Yet five Liberty Head nickels dated 1913 came to the attention of the numismatic community in 1920. All five were in the possession of Samuel Brown, a coin collector who attended the American Numismatic Association's annual convention and displayed the coins there. Brown had previously placed an advertisement in The Numismatist in December 1919 seeking information on these coins and offering to pay $500 for each. Ostensibly, the coins had been purchased as a result of this offer. However, Brown had been a Mint employee in 1913, so many numismatic historians have concluded that he illegally struck the coins himself and then removed them from the Mint. Other numismatic authorities, however, note there are several methods by which the coins could have been legitimately produced. For instance, they may have been lawfully issued by the Mint's Medal Department 'for cabinet purposes,' or they could be trial pieces struck in late 1912 to test the following year's new coinage dies. In January 1924 Brown sold all five 1913 Liberty Head nickels. The intact lot passed through the hands of several other coin dealers before finally being purchased by Colonel E.H.R. Green. Green kept them in his collection until his death in 1936. When his estate was auctioned, all five of the 1913 Liberty Head nickels were purchased by two dealers, Eric P. Newman and B.G. Johnson. The dealers broke up the set for the first time. The fictional theft of one of the 1913 Liberty Head nickels (known as the Olsen specimen) was the focal point of a December 1973 episode of the popular police drama Hawaii Five-0. It was titled 'The $100,000 Nickel' (which indeed was the value of the coin at the time). Rumors of the existence of a sixth 1913 Liberty Head nickel occasionaly circulate. If one did surface in perfect condition, numismatic experts estimate it could command $20 million at auction. You might want to check your piggy bank...
Tags: numismatics  1913  nickel  rare 
Added: 20th May 2011
Views: 1682
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Posted By: Lava1964
Beatles Fan Club Dissolves - 1971 In January 1971, Apple Records sent this notice to the members of its Beatles Fan Club. It informed them that since the Beatles were no longer recording as a group, the club would be dissolving.
Tags: Beatles  fan  club 
Added: 31st May 2011
Views: 1147
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Posted By: Lava1964
Albertine Lapensee Mystery During the First world War, most of Canada's young able-bodied males enlisted in the military. As a result the quality of men's hockey dropped dramatically. For a short time, women's pro hockey took center stage--and Albertine Lapensee briefly and mysteriously became a superstar. Nicknamed 'the Miracle Maid,' the 26-year-old Lapensee played for her hometown Cornwall (Ontario) Victorias. Her hockey debut came in January 1916 against Ottawa; she scored five of the six goals in Cornwall's victory. Immediately after her debut game, Ottawa players complained that she was really a man. Suspicions and accusations dogged her the rest of her brief career. A week after her debut, Lapensee scored four goals in an 8-0 shutout against the Montreal Westerns before a crowd of about 3,000 fans. At one point the Montreal players yanked off Lapensee's toque to see how long her hair was. (She had braids that fell past her shoulders.) The continuous rumors about Lapensee's gender prompted her hometown newspaper, the Cornwall Standard, to vouch for her. Miss Lapensee, it said, '...played more with her brothers and other boys than with her girlfriends, and this accounts for the masculine style of play she has developed.' Furthermore, 'Scores of people in East Cornwall have known her since her infancy.' Albertine played on, indifferent to the rumours, and the fans didn't seem to mind too much either, as large crowds came to watch her play. In one game she scored 15 goals. When the Victorias agreed to play against the Ottawa Alerts, the Vics' manager had to guarantee Lapensee's appearance by contract. She even behaved like her male counterparts off the ice. She once refused to play until she had been paid, which nearly caused a riot. Although scoring records for the time are incomplete, they indicate Albertine scored about 80 percent of Cornwall's goals in the 1916-1917 season. The next season, Lapensee led her team to an undefeated season. Then, after two spectacular seasons, Albertine Lapensee vanished. There is no record of her playing hockey again--at least as Albertine Lapensee. Family legend says she went to New York in 1918 and had a sex change operation. She/he supposedly married and settled down to run a gas station near Cornwall under the name of Albert Smyth. There are no known photos of Lapensee. Her story is not widely known--not even in Canada.
Tags: hockey  Albertine  Lapensee  controversy  gender 
Added: 24th June 2011
Views: 2465
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Posted By: Lava1964
1960 World Series Kinescope Found In September 2010, baseball fans were thrilled by a remarkable dicovery: A complete kinescope copy of the seventh game of the 1960 World Series was found in Bing Crosby's wine cellar! How a near pristine black-and-white reel of the entire television broadcast of the deciding game of the 1960 World Series — long believed to be lost forever — came to rest in the wine cellar of Bing Crosby’s home near San Francisco is not a mystery to those who knew him. Crosby loved baseball, but as a part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates he was too nervous to watch the World Series against the New York Yankees, so he and his wife went to Paris, where they listened by radio. “He said, ‘I can’t stay in the country,’ ” his widow, Kathryn Crosby, recalled. “ ‘I’ll jinx everybody.’ ” He knew he would want to watch the game later — if his Pirates won — so he hired a company to record Game Seven by kinescope, an early relative of the DVR, filming off a television monitor. The five-reel set is the only known complete copy of the game, in which Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski famously hit a game-ending home run to beat the Yankees 10-9 at Forbes Field. It is considered one of the greatest and most memorable ballgames ever played. Crosby apparently had more foresight than the television networks and stations, which sadly erased or discarded nearly all the Major League Baseball games they carried until the 1970s. A canny preservationist of all things, Crosby, who died in 1977, kept a half-century’s worth of records, tapes and films in the wine cellar-turned-vault in his Hillsborough, California home. “Bing Crosby was way ahead of his time,” said Nick Trotta, senior library and licensing manager for Major League Baseball Productions, the sport’s archivist. The kinescope was found quite by accident. A producer searching through Crosby's estate for material for a TV documentary on the late singer's career accidentally came upon five film cannisters marked '1960 World Series.' The 50-year-old game was first shown to a private audience in Pittsburgh that included surviving members of both teams. It was broadcast on the MLB Network in December 2010 and has since been made available to the general public on DVD.
Tags: 1960  World  Series  baseball  Bing  Crosby 
Added: 13th August 2011
Views: 1949
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Posted By: Lava1964
Michel Lotito - Mr Eats-All One day in 1965, a 15-year-old French youth named Michel Lotito was drinking mint tea in a cafe with friends when his cup unexpectedly shattered. In an act of teenage bravado, Lotito swallowed the glass fragments with no ill effects whatsoever. Thus the odd career of Monsieur Mangetout (Mr. Eats-All) began. Within a short time, much to the amusement of his Grenoble neighbors--and the chagrin of his parents--Lotito began giving bizarre public eating exhibitions in which he would consume a variety of seemingly indigestible objects: coins, beer cans, knitting needles, crockery, and razor blades, to name but a few. He later advanced to devouring more challenging fare such as a television set, a bicycle, and a waterbed. Lotito managed his gastric accomplishments by cutting each object into fingernail-sized portions and washing them down with some sort of liquid--usually mineral water. (A true professional, Lotito always travelled with his cutting instruments nearby.) When nature called, Mr. Mangetout had no trouble "passing" the odd viands. While not performing, Lotito had a fondness for steak dinners. At the height of his career, Lotito was earning $2,000 per public appearance in venues as far away as Hong Kong. The apex of Lotito's gastronomic achievements was eating a Cessna two-seat airplane! After swallowing the last morsel in 1980, Lotito declared the propeller to be "delicious." To honor his achievement as the world's foremost omnivore, the impressed folks at the Guinness Book of World Records presented Lotito with a handsome brass plaque. Lotito ate it, of course. In 2007 Lotito died shortly after his 57th birthday of natural causes.
Tags: Michel  Lotito  omnivore  Mr  Mangetout 
Added: 2nd March 2018
Views: 842
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Posted By: Lava1964
Maudie Hopkins - Last Civil War Widow Maudie Hopkins (December 7, 1914 – August 17, 2008) was an American woman believed to be the last known surviving widow of a Civil War veteran. Born Maudie Cecilia Acklin in Baxter County, Arkansas, she married William M. Cantrell (aged 86) on February 2, 1934, when she was 19. Cantrell had enlisted in the Confederate States Army at age 16 in Pikeville, Kentucky, and served in General Samuel G. French's Battalion of the Virginia Infantry. He was captured in 1863 and was later part of a prisoner exchange. He had had a previous wife, who died in 1929. Cantrell supported Maudie with a Confederate pension of $25 every two or three months. She inherited his home upon his death in 1937 but received no further pension benefits. She remarried later in 1937, and twice thereafter, and had three children. It was not especially uncommon for young women in Arkansas to marry Confederate pensioners for purely financial reasons. In fact, it became something akin to a career choice. To curtail these sham marriages, in 1937 the state passed a law stating that women who married Civil War veterans would not be eligible for widows' pensions. (The law was later amended in 1939 to state that only widows born after 1870 were ineligible for pensions.) Hopkins generally kept her first marriage a secret, fearing the resulting gossip from marrying a much older man would damage her reputation. After researching records from Arkansas and United States Census Bureau data, Hopkins was certified as the last Civil War widow by various historical organizations, most notably the United Daughters of the Confederacy. A spokeswoman for the UDC, Martha Boltz, said at the time that there may be two other unverified widows, one in Tennessee and another in North Carolina, but if they were still alive, they had chosen to remain in anonymity. Hopkins, show here in a photo from 2004, died on August 17, 2008 in a nursing home in Lexa, Arkansas, aged 93.
Tags: widow  Civil  War  Maudie  Hopkins 
Added: 23rd November 2011
Views: 3073
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Posted By: Lava1964
Weightlifter Vasili Alexeyev 1942-2011 It has been reported that Vasili Alexeyev, the Soviet weightlifter who utterly dominated the super-heavyweight division of the sport during most of the 1970s, died in Germany on November 25, 2011 at the age of 69. He was at a clinic seeking treatment for a serious heart ailment. Alexeyev easily won gold medals at both the 1972 and 1976 Olympics and won eight straight world championships from 1970 to 1977. (The Olympics doubled as weightlifting's world championships in 1972 and 1976.) Alexeyev, who set 80 world records in his career, was listed as a "mining engineer" by Soviet sports authorities. Alexeyev was the first man to lift 500 pounds in competition. But his fans were fickle: When the 38-year-old Alexeyev failed to make any of his three lifts at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, he was jeered off the stage. In a 1971 interview, the affable Alexeyev said he liked to spend his spare time reading Agatha Christie mystery novels.
Tags: weightlifting  Vasili  Alexeyev 
Added: 28th November 2011
Views: 4685
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Posted By: Lava1964

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