Wednesday, March 10, 1943

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, March 10, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that as the Donets River was thawing and spring approached in the south of Russia, the Russian Army was suddenly hurled backward in retreat a hundred miles east of Kharkov, losing several railroad junctions along the way to a Nazi force supported by twelve panzer divisions. The Russians had taken up positions on the east bank of the Donets, a safe boundary for the nonce as it was once again flowing. Meanwhile, however, in the still frozen central and northern sectors, progress of the Russian armies to the west continued unabated.

In Tunisia, while Rommel regrouped from the crippling blow suffered before the Eighth Army at the Mareth Line on Saturday, costing him a total of 52 tanks, the British were pushing onward into the Mareth Line as the Nazis were in full retreat.

General Montgomery declared that Rommel was "caught like a rat in a trap".

Elsewhere in Tunisia, bad weather produced a halt in fighting.

During hearings on the Austin-Wadsworth bill to reclassify men in the draft needed in industrial and farm labor positions, Senator Downey of California stated that, instead of the previous figure from Selective Service that the Army and Navy combined would require eleven million men by year's end, the figure would be fifteen million, over one-tenth of the total 132 million population of the United States, over 22% of the male population which at the end of 1940 was over 66 million, fully three-quarters of the twenty million males from 20 to 39 years of age.

And, it was finally reported that Prime Minister Churchill was nearly fully recovered from his three-week bout with pneumonia, which had first been reported as acute catarrh on February 19.

Locally, after two months in session, the North Carolina General Assembly concluded its first post-bellum biennial session during wartime. A Legislature which met for two months every two years and a governor with no veto power who was limited to one term in his lifetime comprised the face of North Carolina government in 1943. Since 1972, the governor may succeed himself once in succession, for an unlimited number of terms not in succession. Since 1996, the governor has had the veto power. The Legislature is still constitutionally biennial, but typically now meets each year, on special call by 60% of the Assembly, usually meeting in long sessions of each odd-numbered year, lasting typically about six months, and in short sessions of each even numbered year, lasting about six weeks.

Last night, by sheer happenstance, before reading today's page, reporting of Montgomery's comment that Rommel was in a "rat trap" and, immediately above that story, of the man who sought to earn $100 by reporting an interstate fugitive to the FBI, only to be fingerprinted and found, himself, to be a wanted man, we watched another episode of our favorite 1960's tv series, this one from February 18, 1964, guest starring Warren Oates, titled "Rat in a Corner".

The good doctor, now a liquor store clerk, is robbed at gunpoint by Warren at the start of the episode, Warren then being shot by the store owner as he tries to exit the store, empty-handed, calling the good doctor a "fink" for not giving him any money from the register. He crawls into the back of a car which happens to be the liquor store delivery car, a shiny, nearly new 1963 Fordor Galaxie 500, in which the good doctor directly has been ordered by the store owner to make a delivery. Finding Warren in the backseat with his gun, the good doctor tidies up his flesh wound and sends him on his way. He drops his hotel key, however, and Warren, finding it, astutely makes his way to the good doctor's room. The police, driving a new '64 Ford, believe Warren is a serial hold-up man who has been responsible for two murders, eventually discover, on a cleaning woman's tip, that he is staying in the good doctor's room, proceed to arrest him at the hotel, as the good doctor escapes in the nick of time. But Warren, despite the good doctor's aid, believing him to have ratted out Warren to the police, and having discovered through his sister, who happened to work in a post office and recognized the doctor from his wanted poster when she happens to bump into him at the police station to which both had been summoned to provide information on Warren, proceeds to rat out to the police the good doctor's true identity in retaliation. The doctor, meanwhile, is being secreted away, unknown to Warren, by Warren's sister, driving a '57 Ford Custom missing its left front hubcap, who has taken a liking to him for helping her ratso brother. Promised by the police homicide inspector a "possible" $5,000 reward for information on the good doctor, Warren is sorely tempted, but can't help on the good doctor's whereabouts--until, after the real serial hold-up man is caught and Warren is released on bail posted by his sister for being held "only for armed robbery", he finds out. Will he rat out the doctor for the unconfirmed potential reward money? The doctor, after all, had called him a rat for being so impertinent as to insist that the good doctor must have some angle for helping him with his injured leg. A man can go a long way in 1964 on $5,000. Well, we shall let you watch it on your own to find out the answer and whether the good doctor was caught, executed, and the series abruptly ended.

But, we do have to ponder now whether they got the idea for this episode from reading the front page of an A.P. member newspaper in March, 1943. Or, is it just a coincidence?

Study the vanishing point in any painting with perspective for the answer.

And, remember always, for Warren's sake, to check your oil only with your dipstick--even if your viscosity may be checked with your wristwatch.

A picture of actor Tim Holt, whom you will recall from "The Treasure of Sierra Madre" post-war, and "The Magnificent Ambersons" in 1942, appears showing him now cast in his new role as a bombardier, while his father, Western star Jack Holt, is shown in his uniform as a captain in the Army Quartermaster Corps.

"Up there, up there 's where we got to go. Up there."

"Climb Mt. Niitaka."

On the editorial page, Samuel Grafton points up the absurdity of Republican Representative Taber of New York objecting to the Office of War Information distributing abroad a biographical pamphlet on President Roosevelt, posited by the Congressman on the notion that the bit of foreign education on the man occupying the White House for a decade could also be used as fourth term propaganda. Never minding that Franco and M. Peyrouton, both Fascists, received, contends Mr. Grafton, plentiful helpings in Congress of verbal support.

C'est la guerre.

"Red Baiters" examines the flak hurled during the previous several days at Admiral William H. Standley, Ambassador to the Soviet Union, by Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles regarding the Ambassador's statement that Russians were being kept in the dark by the Stalinist government on the amount of American Lend-Lease aid being provided Russia.

Indeed, Stalin had omitted any mention of it in his recent speech celebrating the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Red Army, heard to complain only of the urgent need for the opening of a second front by the Western allies.

The piece does not mention the story on the front page quoting Republican Senator Wiley of Wisconsin that the State Department's criticism of Ambassador Standley's remarks formed but a "tempest in a teapot" or the other story concerning Reverend Bernard R. Hubbard, speaking in Chicago, anent the potentially Japanese leaning Soviet soldier and leadership seeking, presumptively, thereby to preserve the fragile peace existing between Japan and the Soviet Union. But the editorial does predict, with fair accuracy, that a third war appeared to most Americans to be a fait accompli on the horizon, either with the Russians or some major power in the world, relations with whom would be inevitably left unresolved by the end of World War II.

"Shhh, She Says" criticizes Mrs. Roosevelt for putting the quietus on talk of a fourth term for its being injurious to the war effort.

We say, let her fingers do the talking through the yellowed pages.

And Dorothy Thompson juxtaposes and contrasts the qualities she imputes to her "Common Man" of the world with those of the planners of his regimen, both the manipulative and the creative, who, collectively, she groups under the rubric, "Uncommon Men".

As to that, we offer this Fanfare, which we once saw performed live under the baton of its Uncommon composer, January 27, 1976, in San Jose. By happenstance--whether understood by Ms. Thompson, an aficionado of orchestral music, not being revealed in the editorial--the piece would have its premiere with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on March 12, 1943, two days hence. Composed in 1942, Mr. Copland wanted the premiere to occur around tax time, set for Monday.

So, play it as you fill out your many happy returns next month, along with "Rodeo" and "Appalachian Spring".

"Rodeo", we can attest, is especially effective on the tape cassette as one comes down through the Badlands of South Dakota under a purple-orange sky on a cold mid-November afternoon and crosses into Wyoming for the first time going West, somewhere in between the music of Mr. Dylan and the Trio.

Unwitting though it was to us at the time, perhaps the spirit of old Tom Jimison, offering another piece on the page today from Richmond County, sailed along with us, hanging somewhere in the breeze outside our passenger side window, preaching his defrocked Methodist sermons, seeking politely of thems of the wisdoms conventionals to be less so.

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