Friday, February 5, 1943

The Charlotte News

Friday, February 5, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page tells of the replacement by General Frank Andrews of General Eisenhower as commander-in-chief of all American European forces. General Eisenhower had assumed command of all U. S. forces in North Africa. It was rumored that General Eisenhower would shortly be named commander of all Allied forces in North Africa.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Joseph E. Davies, startled readers with his belief that, because of days of mourning in Germany and the failure of Hitler to appear at the Sports Palast for the tenth anniversary celebration of the beginning of the Third Reich, the Fuehrer might be dead.

Mr. Davies was right, of course; Hitler had been dead for at least twenty years. He just hadn’t realized it yet. Only Blondi knew for sure.

Actor Erroll Flynn's case, charging three counts of statutory rape against two teenage girls, one 17 and one 16 at the time of the alleged dalliances, had been submitted to the jury in Los Angeles. No doubt, the nation stood spellbound and breathless, awaiting the verdict of the twelve good and true, comprised of nine women and three men in this instance. Would Mr. Flynn's dashing good looks overcome justice and set him free of scurrilous charges? Or, would he be consigned to do time, either a year in county jail or one to fifty on an indeterminate sentence in state prison, based on whether a finding of guilt also recommended prison? Would Betty's and Peggy La Rue's charges of impropriety stick? Or would they stick in the craw of some or all of the jury impressed instead with the facts and the law?

Stay tuned. A nation anxiously awaits, spellbound and breathless, despite war, pestilence and famine. The public needs to know.

Whatever the truth might have been, keep it hush-hush, and on the Q.T.

Associated Press reporter Harold Boyle, so close to the action that his Jeep was within eyeshot of the German lines--albeit cajoled from concern by an Army lieutenant who told him that the Germans wouldn’t waste ammunition on a Jeep--describes, first-hand, battle action on the Tunisian front at Faid Pass. "After several hours," he says, "the flame and flashes grew weaker until they were no more than glow-worm gleams on the horizon, and the noise of exploding Axis ammunition died away like the mutter of retreating thunder."

With such an intriguing allusion, we cannot help it calling to mind these verses:

A various scene the clansmen made:
Some sat, some stood, some slowly strayed:
But most, with mantles folded round,
Were couched to rest upon the ground,
Scarce to be known by curious eye
From the deep heather where they lie,
So well was matched the tartan screen
With heath-bell dark and brackens green;
Unless where, here and there, a blade
Or lance's point a glimmer made,
Like glow-worm twinkling through the shade.
But when, advancing through the gloom,
They saw the Chieftain's eagle plume,
Their shout of welcome, shrill and wide,
Shook the steep mountain's steady side.
Thrice it arose, and lake and fell
Three times returned the martial yell;
It died upon Bochastle's plain,
And Silence claimed her evening reign.


Harp of the North, farewell!
The hills grow dark,
On purple peaks a deeper shade descending;
In twilight copse the glow-worm lights her spark,
The deer, half seen, are to the covert wending.
Resume thy wizard elm! the fountain lending,
And the wild breeze, thy wilder minstrelsy;
Thy numbers sweet with nature's vespers blending,
With distant echo from the fold and lea,
And herd-boy's evening pipe, and hum of housing bee.
Yet, once again, farewell, thou Minstrel Harp!
Yet, once again, forgive my feeble sway,
And little reck I of the censure sharp
May idly cavil at an idle lay.
Much have I owed thy strains on life's long way,
Through secret woes the world has never known,
When on the weary night dawned wearier day,
And bitterer was the grief devoured alone.--
That I o'erlive such woes, Enchantress! is thine own.
Hark! as my lingering footsteps slow retire,
Some Spirit of the Air has waked thy string!
'Tis now a seraph bold, with touch of fire,
'Tis now the brush of Fairy's frolic wing.
Receding now, the dying numbers ring
Fainter and fainter down the rugged dell;
And now the mountain breezes scarcely bring
A wandering witch-note of the distant spell--
And now, 'tis silent all! --Enchantress, fare thee well!

--from The Lady of the Lake, concluding verses of Canto Third and Canto Sixth, respectively, by Sir Walter Scott

On the editorial page, Dorothy Thompson compares the artistry of Giuseppe Verdi, as presented by Arturo Toscanini on NBC radio, calling to his native Italians to arise in the same democratic spirit which his teacher and mentor, Verdi, had accomplished in the premiere of the opera Nabucco in 1842 in Milan. Based on the Biblical account of Nebuchadnezzar, the opera and its "Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves", of which Ms. Thompson makes note, had aired January 31, 1943.

She offers analogy between the ardor and judgmental fire of the poet, as defined in the preface of the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman--a preface which foresees the natural, hard-pressed cider outpourings to the American landscape of Gene Gant and others of his stripe--and that of the composition by Verdi.

"He is no arguer...he is judgment. He judges not as the judge judges but as the sun falling around a helpless thing."

And so it would be by Verdi, by Whitman, by Gene Gant.

Against them, the Big Lie of Hitler, of Mussolini, of Tojo had not whit of a chance.

Samuel Grafton again writes of the need for clearing of fascists from the French government of North Africa, replacing them with democrats, of the need for sweeping out all discriminatory laws against Jews, not merely with all deliberate speed, as favored by Giraud, of placing De Gaulle in charge, not leaving empty seats of power for the likes of the new Governor of Algiers, M. Peyrouton, Vichy step-child, to fill.

But now, Mr. Grafton cynically resigns the issue, that the Allies, having given the hand to Giraud to play, could scarcely interfere to seek the release of democrats jailed at the end of December, as that would be to interfere with Henri Giraud's power given him by the Allies.

Raymond Clapper writes of a changing world in the face of air travel, as he had on several occasions in the past. This time, he stresses the President's trip to Casablanca, the first time a sitting American president had ever gone to a foreign war zone, as being a significant harbinger of the coming of age of international air travel, completely reversing an age wherein travel by the president even by train or car so far as across the Mexican border was deemed inhospitable to American values.

A mere 16 years earlier, man had not yet even so far, so far crossed as one of the oceans by airplane. It was perhaps no accident that the flier who finally did it set out on the journey from Roosevelt Field on Long Island.

"26 Miles" is not about Santa Catalina, but rather the bombing by accurate radar readings from ship to shore by an American battleship, the U.S.S. Massachusetts, across a 26 mile expanse of sea, as directed by American airmen, to hit the French ship Jean Bart, standing with its guns guarding Casablanca against the Allied landing by General Patton on November 8.

The first salvo from the Massachusetts had been aimed too high, but the second, with an adjustment in elevation, struck the Jean Bart and disabled the ship.

Even so, it opened fire again on November 10 against the Augusta, prompting a subsequent air raid which knocked down Jean Bart's remaining guns and forced it aground--where it sat out the war.

After the war, the ship was repaired and refitted to see further service in the French navy through 1961.

"Final Step" demands that, to cleanse the mental institution at Morganton of its unseemly past, present administrators had to be replaced, not yet accomplished, even a year after Tom Jimison's incriminating report on the institution and the resulting outcry, hearings, official recommendations, and implementation of most of them by the previous August.

And, returning a moment to "Tocsin!" by Struthers Burt, off the previous day's page, we ran across this little song which we haven't heard in a long, long trail a-winding, not since elementary school in fact. You may have heard it then, too. We rather like this gentleman's version. There are other lyrics and melodies accompanying them, as written up by Robert Burns over 200 years ago, and played by contemporaries of our own. Whether Mr. Burt had this or that version in mind, we couldn't say. It's all about the same anyway, though, being, as it is, round.

Oh, by the way, we should indicate that the reference to the doctor a couple of days ago was not intended to besmirch his otherwise pristine reputation. We were rather partial to the program ourselves at the time. And so, upon its soon to be aired two-part conclusion, we were reading of it in TV Guide, though a periodical we then, and still do not read very much. The article quoted Mr. Janssen as saying, acerbically, that had he been permitted his way to end the program, the good doctor would have walked out to the sea, after being cleared of his wife's murder, removed his prosthetic right arm and tossed it into the ocean. No double jeopardy, Don Pardo or no, being permitted, he would have been scot-at-liberty to roam the land with one arm free.

We read that article, incidentally, off a drizzling cloud on a murky afternoon, mid-August of that year, in the backseat of an automobile, studying alternately the pages and the raindrops beading placidly on the FOMOCO plate glass, shot through with the prismic bluegrass, cut afar by the white-board fences, awaiting our chauffeur to take us across the road a little way to Calumet Farm outside Lexington, Ky.--that is if you were wondering why, and how it all fit together that way. Whirlaway said, "Hi," then inquired, "how are you?" The next day, we visited Churchill Downs. It was sunny and blue.

It's just another true story from our files.

"August 29, 1967: The day the running stopped."

We refer you to the second installment of the series, airing September 24, 1963, titled "The Witch"--which we had occasion just last week to see, and we think for the first time, as we don't remember seeing it during its first couple of months or so, it being then past our bedtime. The episode concludes with the subject of the melodrama, a compulsively lying little girl, turned alas good by the good doctor's stewardly and patiently prudent guidance--not like that of Mr. Flynn--, turning in three long overdue library books which she hands, in open arms, to her teacher whom she also had tried to ensnare in her witchy ways, as with the good doctor. The books are titled "Mythology", "Witchcraft", and "A Collection of Poems by Sir Walter Scott".

"And the leaves that are green turn to brown..."

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