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Marion Parker Murder - 1927 Fair warning: This story is unsettling. One of the most brutal crimes in American history was the kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old schoolgirl Marion Parker. On Thursday, December 15, 1927 a young man appeared at Mount Vernon Junior High School in Los Angeles claiming to be an associate of Perry Parker, a prominent local banker. The man coolly told the school's registrar that the banker had been seriously injured in a car accident and had requested to speak to his daughter. There were actually twin Parker sisters enrolled in the school--Marion and Marjorie. By chance the registrar fetched Marion who rode off with the man. He was later identified as 19-year-old William Edward Hickman. The Parker family became alarmed when Marion did not return from school. Shortly thereafter they received a ransom note and phone calls from the kidnapper asking for $1500 in gold certificates in exchange for Marion's safe return. One attempt by Marion's father to pay the ransom was thwarted when Hickman spotted police detectives lurking nearby. Another meeting time was secretly arranged by Hickman and Marion's father on December 17 where the money was given to a man in a parked car. Perry Parker saw his daughter wrapped in a blanket slumped in the back seat with her eyes open. At gunpoint the ransom was paid and the driver pushed the girl onto the street and drove away. Marion's father was horrified to find that his daughter was dead. Her eyelids had been sewn open to give the illusion that she was alive. Worse, her head had been severed, her arms and legs had been cut off and she had been disemboweled. (The missing limbs were found the next day in a city park.) The ghastly crime spawned the largest manhunt in southern California's history, one that included 20,000 volunteers. A reward of $100,000 was offered for the capture of the culprit. Several clues, including the discovery of the stolen car used on the night of the money exchange, led to Hickman being named as the key suspect. He was eventually arrested in Echo, OR after spending some of the gold certificates there. Hickman had been a former employee at Parker's bank and had been fired for embezzlement in a forged check scam. He served prison time for the crime. The fingerprint records from the embezzlement charge were used to match those found on the stolen car from the kidnapping. Hickman willingly told police in graphic detail that he had decided to kill Marion because she had discovered his name. She had only been dead about 12 hours before the money exchange. Hickman said he had choked her with a towel to make her unconscious and then began his dismemberment while she was still alive. Hickman--who said he intended to use the $1500 to pay his tuition to attend a bible college!--hoped to avoid the gallows by claiming insanity. He was one of the first defendants in California to try that ploy after it had become an acceptable legal defense. It failed when a fellow prisoner claimed Hickman had asked his advice on how to appear crazy. A jury rejected Hickman's insanity defense in February 1928. Hickman was executed at San Quentin Prison eight months later on October 19. His hand-written confession is on display at the Los Angeles Police Museum. Marion Parker's ghost is said to occupy her former house.
Tags: Marion  Parker  murder  kidnapping  1927 
Added: 13th April 2015
Views: 1221
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Posted By: Lava1964
Melba - Forgotten 1986 Sitcom Flop Singer Melba Moore was the star of a barely remembered 1986 CBS sitcom aptly tiled Melba. Moore played Melba Patterson, a recently divorced black mother. Along with running the Visitors' Center in Manhattan, Patterson was trying to raise a spunky nine-year-old daughter (Tracy) with the help of her mother (Rose) and her white "sister" (Susan Slater)--a childhood pal who had been raised by Melba's mom. Before it had even aired once, critics who had seen sneak previews of Melba strongly took a dislike to the show. Nevertheless, Melba's debut occurred at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 28, 1986: the same day of the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster. Apparently few people were in the mood to watch a new sitcom later that night: Melba's ratings were the worst in CBS' prime-time history. It got a 13% viewer share--an awful number in the days of just three networks and limited competition from cable stations. Despite the Challenger tragedy, The A-Team (NBC) and Who's The Boss? (ABC) still managed to pull in respectable ratings opposite Melba. Panicky network executives swiftly yanked Melba from CBS' lineup. However, five other Melba episodes aired in August and September on Saturday nights when ABC and NBC were showing reruns. The ratings for Melba were still unacceptably low, so CBS killed it for a second and final time. Here's what the show's opening montage looked like.
Tags: Melba  CBS  sitcom  flop 
Added: 21st March 2014
Views: 1019
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Turn of the Century Fun this roller coaster photograph was taken in Atlantic City in 1902 . . faded, but still fun!
Tags: vintage    photo      rollter    coaster    atlantic    city 
Added: 5th September 2009
Views: 1379
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Posted By: Teresa
Judge Crater Disappearance 1930 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.
Tags: Judge  Crater  disappearance 
Added: 16th September 2009
Views: 1957
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Posted By: Lava1964
Paper Reinforcements I used these things all the time in the late 1970s with my school binders. Are they even still on the market?
Tags: reinforcements 
Added: 5th July 2014
Views: 615
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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: 11258
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Martian Invasion Panic - 1938 On Sunday, October 30, 1938, a young Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre On The Air presented their version of H.G. Wells' 1895 science fiction novel 'War of the Worlds' as a radio drama on CBS. About two-thirds of the 55-minute broadcast comprised of faux news bulletins. They began with accounts of a supposed meteorite landing in a New Jersey township which turned out to be a Martian spacecraft. The aliens then began a reign of terror across New Jersey and into New York City, killing everyone with heat rays and poison gas. The show was given an air of authenticity by using interviews with various fictitious officials and a bogus Princeton astronomy professor who speculated on the Martians' strength and motives for invasion. Although the broadcast featured no fewer than four instances when it was declared to be a radio drama, many people did not hear these disclaimers. Civil authorities were inundated by telephone calls. Panic was especially high in some parts of Washington state where a power outage coincidentally occurred just after the part of the broadcast where the Martians began their destructive rampage. It is estimated that six million Americans heard at least a portion of the broadcast, and about 1.7 million of them thought it was real. Still, most radio listeners that night were oblivious to the so-called 'panic.' Welles' broadcast ran opposite the hugely popular Edgar Bergen program on NBC.
Tags: Martians  radio  Orson  Welles 
Added: 22nd October 2009
Views: 1673
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Posted By: Lava1964
The Crucified Soldier One enduring controversy about the First World War is a grisly tale of a Canadian soldier who was allegedly found crucified to a wall of a barn in Belgium. The unsettling incident is said to have happened following the terrible Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915 where the Germans first used poison gas. Rumors abounded that the enraged Canadians were not too interested in capturing German prisoners. According to the story, the Germans retaliated by crucifying a random Canadian prisoner. According to reports form three Canadian soldiers, they witnessed a comrade, Sgt. Harry Band, impaled on a wall by five German bayonets. The tale, which spread quickly around the world through newspaper stories, was dismissed by many people as wartime propaganda. Depicting this event is this 32-inch bronze scultpure titled Canada's Golgotha. It was removed from a post-war art exhibit after formal complaints by the Germans who insisted the story was bogus. As late as 1989 the sculpture was hidden from public view. In 2002, a war researcher uncovered letters from supposed witnesses to the event that were written to Band's sister. These letters attest that the awful story was true. Band's body was never recovered. He is still listed among the missing in action.
Tags: First  World  War  crucified  soldier 
Added: 25th October 2009
Views: 2556
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Posted By: Lava1964
Eddie Waitkus Shooting 1949 Ballplayer Eddie Waitkus was the shooting victim of an obsessed female fan. Waitkus had broken into the National League with the Chicago Cubs in 1941 but was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1949. Nineteen-year-old Ruth Ann Steinhagen of Chicago had become obsessed with Waitkus as a 14-year-old. When he was traded to the Phillies, she snapped. During a Phillies' road trip to Chicago on June 14, 1949, Steinhagen checked into the Edgewater Beach Hotel where the Phillies were staying. She left a note for Waitkus to come to her hotel room to discuss urgent business. Believing the note to be from a friend of a friend, Waitkus arrived at Steinhagen's room and was invited in. Steinhagen briefly excused herself and returned with a rifle. Steinhagen blurted, 'You're not going to bother me anymore!' Then she shot Waitkus in the chest and calmly phoned the hotel's front desk to report the shooting. Waitkus nearly died on the operating table several times, but pulled through. He continued his major league career until 1955. Steinhagen was never charged with a crime. Instead she was committed to a mental institution. After three years she was deemed sane and released. Waitkus' shooting inspired Bernard Malamud's story 'The Natural.' Waitkus died in 1972, at age 53, of esophogeal cancer. Steinhagen is said to still live on Chicago's north side.
Tags: Eddie  Waitkus  shooting  Ruth  Ann  Steinhagen 
Added: 26th October 2009
Views: 2823
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Checking In - Sitcom Flop 1981 The Jeffersons was a hugely successful spinoff from All in the Family, running for 10 seasons from 1975 to 1985. It also inspired a not-so-successful spinoff: Checking In. On The Jeffersons, Marla Gibbs played Florence Johnston, the sassy, wisecracking maid who regularly exchanged insults with George Jefferson. Her character was so well liked by viewers that CBS figured it would be a smart move to give Gibbs her own series. Accordingly, in episode #154 and #155 of The Jeffersons, a hotel manager was so impressed by Florence that he offered her the job as supervisor of maids at his St. Frederick Hotel. Florence accepted and Checking In was born. It premiered on Thursday, April 9, 1981. Larry Linville (Major Frank Burns from MASH fame) played Lyle Block, the hotel's weasly manager and, naturally, Florence's nemesis. After four weeks, though, Checking In was floundering in the ratings and CBS pulled the plug after the April 30 episode. Smartly, the network had Gibbs return to the Jeffersons' household as their maid. In her return episode, #161, Florence arrives at the Jeffersons' door explaining that the hotel burned down! (Her clothing and hair had traces of soot and fire damage to add credibility to the plot twist!) She had to compete with new maid Carmen to get her old job back. After missing just five shows, Gibbs' Florence character remained on The Jeffersons until the series ended in 1985. Marla Gibbs was nominated for an Emmy as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy in for five stright years (1981 through 1985) for her role as Florence Johnston. Gibbs' career accomplishments are even more impressive when one considers she was married at age 13 and had three children by age 20! She still managed to graduate from Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago. A performer in amateur theatricals, Gibbs was working as a customer service agent for United Airlines when she got her role on The Jeffersons. Cautiously, she waited until The Jeffersons was a bonafide hit show before quitting her job at United!
Tags: Marla  Gibbs  checking  In  Jeffersons  sitcom 
Added: 28th August 2011
Views: 2045
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Posted By: Lava1964

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