14 October 2013

Jane Dornacker

Jane Dornacker was born on 1 October 1947 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In 1969, she became the first female postal worker. However, in the 1970s, she toured with a rock group called The Tubes. She later became the lead singer of a band called Leila and the Snakes, where she went by the name Leila.

In 1983, she appeared in the film The Right Stuff as Nurse Murch.

In the early 1980s, Jane began doing stand-up comedy routines, and began doing traffic reports on KFRC in San Francisco. She was well-known in the area for her fast speaking voice. While doing her reports, she would tell her daughter to get up and go to school.

She moved to New York City after awhile, and became known as "trafficologist" and "Jane-in-a-plane.

On 22 October 1986, she was doing a live traffic report from an N-Copter on the Joey Reynolds Show, when millions of listeners were shocked to hear the sound of the helicopter's engines speeding up and Jane screaming in terror, "Hit the water! Hit the water! Hit the water!", followed by a static sound and then silence.

The helicopter had plunged into the Hudson River. Jane Dornacker was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital, her last words still fresh in everyone's ears.

The following day, on the Joey Reynolds Show, they paid tribute to her.

Jane Dornacker

14 July 2013

Thuy Trang

Thuy Trang was born on 14 December 1973 in Saigon, South Vietnam. Her father was in the military tasked with defending Saigon. In 1975, when she was 2 years old, the North Vietnamese army invaded the city, forcing them to flee, and in 1979 secretly boarded a cargo ship heading to Hong Kong. Thuy became sick and came close to dying during the trip.

When they reached Hong Kong, Thuy's father petitioned the US government for political refuge for his family. They lived in a Hong Kong detention camp until they reunited in 1980, in Little Siagon, California.

Thuy earned a scholarship to study civil engineering at the University of California, planning to follow in her father and siblings' footsteps. She also took up learning Kong Fu, based on a suggestion by her father, who unfortunately died of cancer in 1992. While hanging out with friends one day the same year, she happened to run into an agent and she formed an interest in acting.

The first thing she did was appear in a video about the Church of Scientology (she is 9 seconds in, and says "Tin tôi", a Vietnamese word), even though she was Buddhist. This led her to being in a couple other PSAs, until, in 1993, Thuy Trang landed her first major role, and the role which most people know her from; Trini Kwan (A. K. A. "The Yellow Ranger") on the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.

She stayed on the show for a year and a half, appearing in a total of 88 episodes, before leaving during the second season, along with other cast members.

In 1995, she appeared in a documentary called Encyclopedia of Martial Arts: Hollywood Celebrities. The following year, she made a cameo in the Leslie Nielsen film Spy Hard, and was the villain in The Crow: City of Angels, where she added to the movie by doing her own Kung Fu, which wasn't even in the script.

On 3 September 2001, Thuy, along with some of her friends, all of whom were to be bridesmaids in another passenger's wedding, were in a vehicle outside of San Francisco when the driver lost control, swerving violently across the road before hitting the roadside rockface and flipping several times before hitting the safety rail and plunging over the embankment. Upon arrival at the hospital, Thuy Trang was declared dead. She was 27 years old.

20 June 2013

Tokyo Rose

During World War II, Allied forces in the South Pacific would often hear Japanese propaganda over the radio from an English-speaking Japanese woman. It was reported that she would accurately go into detail about the Allies' plans, and would even name individual servicemen. She was nicknamed Tokyo Rose, and most people know her today from the film Flags of Our Fathers. She is said to have playfully tormented the troops.

Following the war, two reporters, Harry T. Brundidge and Clark Lee, searched for Tokyo Rose, who they determined to be American-born Iva Toguri. They offered her $2,000 for an interview, which she agreed to. When she stepped forward, instead of getting paid, she was arrested. End of story, right?

Well, there's only one problem; Tokyo Rose never existed.

Iva Toguri was born on 4 July 1916 in Los Angeles, California. Her parents, Japanese immigrants, had came to America from Japan in 1913. As a child she was a Girl Scout. In 1940, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in Zoology. She was considered by everyone around her to be a loyal American.

On 5 July 1941, Iva sailed to Japan to visit a sick relative and to perhaps study medicine. She did not have a passport, so in September, when she decided to return to America, she filed a request for a passport so she could return home. Unfortunately, on 7 December 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbour, and her request for a passport was denied, leaving her stranded in Japan. 

As the war in the Pacific between Japan and the Allied Forces began, Iva was pressured into revoking her American citizenship by the Japanese government. She refused. Because of this, she was declared and "enemy alien" and denied a war ration card.

To help support herself, she found a job as a typist at a Japanese news agency, and eventually ended up at Radio Tokyo. In November 1943, Allied prisoners were forced to air Japanese propaganda, and Iva was chosen to host parts of it, called The Zero Hour. The producer was an Australian Army officer, Major Charles Cousens, who had pre-war broadcast experience, and had been captured at the fall of Singapore. He had been tortured and forced to work on the radio show, along with his assistants, U.S. Army Captain Wallace Ince and Philippine Army Lieutenant Normando Ildefonso "Norman" Reyes".  Iva had risked her life to deliver food to the POW camp they had been held captive, therefore gaining their trust, which is why they chose her to host the program. She was assured by them that they would not have her say anything against the United States, and they didn't.

Iva took the stage name "Orphan Annie". Although she never took part in actual news broadcasts, she mostly acted in radio comedy skits, and announcing songs. She only made $7 a month (or ¥150), which she mostly used to buy food for POW camps, sneaking it in as she had done before.

Not one time did she ever refer to herself as "Tokyo Rose".

After the war, Iva heard about Harry T. Brundidge and Clark Lee's $2,000 offer for an interview with Tokyo Rose, and decided to take the offer. She needed the money to return home. She did not know that it was a trick, and she was arrested after being forced to sign a document "confessing" she was Tokyo Rose on 5 September 1945.

The reports used her arrest to attempt to further their career, and even tried to sell transcripts of their "interview" with Iva, where she "confessed". However, a year after she was arrested, she was released due to lack of evidence. The POWs who wrote her scripts backed her up and defended her, showing that she couldn't have been Tokyo Rose.

However, in 1945, she was brought to trial for treason. Even though she was defended by the POWs at the radio station, she was found guilty of treason do to the fact that she announced a loss of American ships in 1944. This was the "evidence" the court brought against her. She was fined $10,000 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

In 1976, it was uncovered that several of her accusers' testimonies had been falsified, and had been coached on what to say on the stand. Due to this, then-President Gerald Ford granted a full and unconditional pardon to Iva Toguri D'Aquino on January 19, 1977, his last full day in office.

On 15 April 1945, Iva married Felipe D'Aquino, a Portuguese citizen of Japanese-Portuguese descent. During the trial, he was arrested. When he was released, he was exiled to Japan. Iva returned to the United States and lived in Chicago, where her father had opened the J. Toguri Mercantile Company Japanese-import retail store during the war, following the release of the Toguri family from internment at the Gila River War Relocation Center in September 1943. Due to Iva and Felipe's forced separation for thirty years with no chance of seeing each other, they officially divorced in 1980 so that they could go on with their lives.

Felipe D'Aquino passed away in 1996.

On January 15, 2006, the World War II Veterans Committee awarded Iva its annual Edward J. Herlihy Citizenship Award, citing "her indomitable spirit, love of country, and the example of courage she has given her fellow Americans". According to one biographer, she found it the most memorable day of her life.

Iva Toguri passed away on 26 September 2006 in a Chicago hospital of natural causes. She was 90 years old.

24 April 2013

Song Reader

Singer-songwriter Beck has been sharing his musical genius with the world for the past 25 years, when he recorded a cassette called Banjo Story back in 1988, and releasing his first studio album, Golden Feelings, in 1993. Even if you've never heard his name, you have heard his music, especially Loser.

Beck Hanson was born 8 July 1970 in LA. His grandfather was artist Al Hanson, his parents are Canadian composer David Campbell and musician Bibbe Hanson, and his brother is artist Channing Hanson. As you can see, he comes from a very talented family, so it's no surprising that he is so full talent.

On 11 December 2012, Beck released his latest album, Song Reader, which he had been working on since 2004, Unlike a traditional album, where the artist writes then records the album, Song Reader is a book of sheet music. If you want to hear the songs, you have to perform them yourself. Or go on YouTube and see other people performing their takes on the songs.

Beck has set up a website for artists to upload their versions of the songs on the album.

Here is pianist Hanna Silver performing The Last Polka from the album. In the video, she discusses the album and even holds up her copy.


13 April 2013

The Legend of Zelda

Zelda Sayre was born on 24 July 1900 in Montgomery, Alabama, and was the youngest of six children. Her mother, Minerva Machen named all her children after two children's stories; "Zelda: A Tale of the Massachusetts Colony" by Jane Howard (1866) and "Zelda's Fortune" Robert Edward Francillon (1874).She was very smart, but was uninterested in school, continuing to learn ballet. Zelda would often smoke and drink, and would deliberately do things to cause rumours about herself, such as dancing in a skin-tight flesh coloured bathing suit to make people believe she danced nude. Her father, Anthony Sayre, was a judge, so she was able to get away with just about anything.

In 1917, she began to take ballet lessons, and dreamed of being a performer. But the dances she performed were not the type a proper girl of her age would perform in those days. She would perform for soldiers at a local military base. She had so many admirers that pilots would fly over her house, to the point where it became a no fly zone.

Zelda loved the attention she received, but was never really in love until April 1918, when she met Francis Scott Fitzgerald at a dance at Camp Sheridan. He was so taken with her that he rewrote tone of the characters of his first book, This Side of Paradise, to be a reflection of her. Despite the fact that she flirted around, she was in love with Scott, and reassured him of this in a letter, where she wrote,
“Don’t you think I was made for you? I feel like you had me ordered—and I was delivered to you—to be worn—I want you to wear me like a watch-chain or button-hole bouquet—to the world."

On 3 April 1920, shortly after the release of This Side of Paradise,  the who of them were married.

The novel was a hit, causing Zelda Fitzgerald and her new husband to become instant celebrities. But before long, she became to grow tired of being idolized for simply being the wife of a famous writer. In an effort to express herself and show the world she was her own person, she began writing herself. She'd always kept a diary, and her writing was so good that Scott even used some of her writing word for word in Paradise and The Beautiful and Damned.

The Fitzgeralds often collaborated together on short stories and articles, but Zelda soon started writing shirt stories of her own, such as Eulogy of the Flapper. Zelda often would use her husband's name when publishing a short story so that it would sell more. Scott approved of her writing and loved the way she expressed herself, in an age when women rarely were allowed to do so.

In 1925, Zelda took up dancing once more. Not only was it it her passion, but it was something that she and Scott were unable to compete with each other over. While her instructor felt she started taking lessons too late in life to be a world-class star, she believed that Zelda had potential to star in several important roles 

 Zelda soon became obsessed with her goal of being a performer. She felt it was what was driving her. Scott approved of her dream at first, but soon after became impatient and tried to crush her spirit by belittling her. He was sinking into drunkenness, and the couple fought constantly. In 1930, she had her first breakdown, and she was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Due to her breakdown and and diagnosis, Zelda was forbidden from dancing. She returned to writing as a way to express herself. In 1932, she write her autobiography, Save Me The Waltz, which was primarily based on her marriage with Scott, her obsession with ballet, and the breakdown. Scott became furious with her about her book, because he was working on a novel based on the same things, titled Tender Is The Night.

Save Me The Waltz caused a rift between the couple.  It was published in October 1932, but it was a rushed publication, and sold poorly. The book is her side of the story, and it's a haunting look into the lives of the Fitzgeralds. Over the years, she added bits and pieces to the story, finding news ways of expression that wouldn't be governed by Scott.

In 1934, she began painting, using dancers as inspiration.

The couple never fully recovered after Zelda's 1932 breakdown. Even though they were still in love with each other, and Scott provided care for Zelda, there was a distinct bitterness between the two that never went away. In 1940, F. Scott Fitzgerald died. Either years later, Zelda Fitzgerald followed him, perishing in a fire.

In 1986, a video game designer named Shigeru Miyamoto created an adventure game that would change video games forever. When hearing of Zelda Fitzgerald, he thought the name sounded "pleasant and significant", so named the princess you have to rescue Princess Zelda, and called the game The Legend of Zelda, which is one of the most beloved franchises in history.

As Zelda said to Scott in 1919, before the couple were married, “Why should graves make people feel in vain? Somehow I can’t find anything hopeless in having lived.”

Zelda Fitzgerald

The Fitzgeralds

31 January 2013

The Page

This isn't a regular post. I just thought I would take a moment to let anyone reading this blog know that there is a Facebook page and a G+ page.

I initially made "The Page" on Facebook as a joke, but then decided to use it to post random facts about stuff. I am constantly reading about all sorts of things online, and I decided to start sharing some of it. But my post so on there were, in my opinion, too long to be statuses. So I created this blog. At first I was trying to post every night, but that became too much, and the posts ended up not being very good because I would force topics. So now I just post when I can. I don't know if anyone reads this blog, but I do know that I have gotten several comments on some of these posts, while The Page has received zero activity since I created it. So this is me adverting the Facebook page of this blog. I sometimes do shorter posts on The Page of things that I don't think are long enough to go into a blog post. Feel free to Like the Facebook page. Also, feel free to leave suggestions for future blog posts on the Timeline. If anyone does read this, I just want to say thank you. I have alot of fun doing this, and if even one person enjoys reading these posts of mine, then that's just awesome.

30 January 2013

LZ 129 Hindenburg

On 5 October 1930, British rigid airship R101 crashed, killing 48 people. The German airship company, Zeppelin Company, purchased 5 tons of the wreckage, which they used to build their Hindenburg class airships, LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin and LZ 129 Hindenburg.

LZ 129 was initially supposed to use helium, as it's not flammable. However, it's more expensive as it's only available through the United States. So hydrogen, which is cheap and easy to produce, was used instead.

On 4 March 1936, LZ 129 made it's first test flight. Even though the name was already selected for the airship, only it's formal registration number (D-LZ129) and the five Olympic rings (in support of the 1936 Olympics being held that August) were painted on it's hull for the first six flights. When he heard that the name of the airship was Hindenburg (named after former German president Paul von Hindenburg), Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbelswas angry, and demanded that the airship be renamed Adolf Hitler, but was refused. Three weeks later, the name Hindenburg was painted onto the side of the airship in six foot high letters.

On 26-29 March 1936, Hindenburg made it's public debut with a propaganda flight over Germany. After this, it made it's first transatlantic flight on 31 March. In 1936, Hindenburg made ten round trip flights to North America. Although designed to be a passenger airship, Hindenburg was first used for Nazi propaganda by the Air Ministry.

The following year, in late March 1937, the airship made it's first round trip to South America of the season. After it's return, Hindenburg left Frankfurt for Lakehurst, New Jersey. On board were 36 passengers and 61 crew members. It was the first flight to North America of the season.

Because of strong headwinds, the trip was slowed down. The crew knew they had to be on time, as the return trip was already booked solid and the passengers were going to the coronation of King George VI, which was to take place on 12 May 1937.

On 6 May 1937, the airship reached Lakehurst, but was delayed due to a line of thunderstorms in the area. Around 7pm, they were given clearance to land. Landing an airship is a precise procedure, and the captain noticed that the rear of the airship was drooping. He had the crew drain water from the back to level out the ship. But the ship was still leaning slightly, so he had several crew members come from the back to the front to shift some of the weight around.

After a couple of sharp turns, the captain ordered the landing lines to be dropped. After t he handlers on the ground had grabbed the lines and was starting to lower the ship, the tail end burst into flames. In 37 seconds, the entire ship was engulfed in flames and came crashed down, most of the passengers and crew jumped out as the ship was coming down. 13 passengers and 32 crew, as well as one person on the ground, were killed.

Because of the publicity surrounding the arrival of the airship, the incident was well documented. The image of the ship exploding is perhaps one of the most famous images in history.

After the destruction of Hindenburg, airships lost their appeal, and they were discontinued. It's sister ship, Graf Zeppelin was dismantled in 1940, never to be used as a passenger airship.

Below is a news reel of the disaster.

27 January 2013

Christine Chubbuck

Christine Chubbuck was born on 24 August 1944 in Hudson, Ohio. In 1965, she earned a degree in broadcasting at Boston University, and worked at WVIZ in Cleveland for a year in 1966 till 1967. She attended a workshop in the summer of 1967, and worked at various tv and radio stations until 1971 when she joined WXLT-TV.

Christine started at WXLT as a reporter, but was later asked to do a morning community affairs show called Suncoast Digest,  which ran at 9:00 in the morning. It was described in the local paper as "It will feature local people and local activities. It will give attention, for instance, to the storefront organizations that are concerned with alcoholics, drug users, and other 'lost' segments of the community."

In 1970, Christine attempted to kill herself by overdosing on medications, but failed. She suffered from depression and suicidal tendencies, and often talked to a psychiatrist , but her mother chose not to inform the station, as she thought it would cause Christine to be fired.

Her brother, Greg, later said that he believed the driving force behind her depression was her lack of relationships. Her 30th birthday was fast approaching, yet she had only been on two dates in her life, neither of which she was able to connect with. It is believed that she had a crush on a co-worker, George Peter Ryan, and sought his affection. However, she was hurt when she learned that he was already involved with sports reporter Andrea Kirby.

In late June, 1974, Christine asked the station's news director if she could do a news piece on suicide, which she was permitted to do. She visited the local sheriff's department and asked an officer about different methods of committing suicide, and the officer answered all her questions, even telling her the best type of gun to do it with.

A couple weeks later, in early July, she brought a gun into the studio and joked about killing herself. A co-worker scolded her for the comment, but she wasn't taken seriously. On 12 July 1974, a few days after the incident, one of her stories was replaced with one about a shooting. The news director told the staff to put more of a focus on "blood and guts" stories

On the morning of 15 July 1974, Christine confused co-workers by claiming she had to read a newscast to open her program which she had never done before. She sat in the anchor's chair and read of a few stories about shootings. Then, looking directly into the on-air camera, on live tv, she said, "In keeping with Channel 40's policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, you are going to see another first—attempted suicide."

She drew the revolver and shot herself behind her right ear. The on-set crew thought it was a sick joke, Then the camera operator notice the blood on the desk, and that Christine's body was twitching, and faded to black.

The station quickly ran a standard public service announcement and then a movie. Some viewers called the police, while others called the station, believing that the shooting had been staged.

Christine Chubbuck was pronounced dead 14 hours later at a local hospital. It was later found out that her last line, as well as her suicide, was in her script, given to her by the studio.

Her family brought an injunction against WXLT to prevent the release of the video of her suicide, and a copy of the video was released to her family. The whereabouts of the original remain unknown. For the first time since 1974, Greg Chubbuck spoke publicly about his sister in a 2007 E! Entertainment Television special titled "Boulevard of Broken Dreams".

Christine Chubbruck

13 January 2013

The Life and Near Death of Nosferatu

 26 May 1897, a book was published by the name of Dracula by Irish author, Bram Stoker. Almost immediately, people started adapting the horror story into plays. Shortly after the novel was published, motion pictures started to catch on, and one of the first books to be adapted into film was Dracula.

In 1922, German silent film director F. W. Murnau made a film titled Nosferatu: eine Symphonie des Grauens ("Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror"). By then, Bram Stoker had been dead ten years, but his widow, Florence Stoker, was still alive, and hadn't given permission to make the film.

The screenwriter, Henrik Galeen, had changed the names and places of the story, and even some key plot points, but the story was unmistakeably based on Bram Stoker's novel. So Florence Stoker sued for copyright infringement, and won. The makers of Nosferatu were ordered to burn every negative and copy of the film, which they did.

However, piracy was a big thing back thing, just as it is now, and bootlegged copied of the film were hidden away. It's because of these bootleggers that the film remains to this day, and is perhaps one of the most terrifying films of all time. It is now in the public domain, so the entire film is on youTube. Enjoy.