The Charlotte News

Friday, October 13, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the First Army at 9:30 a.m. had moved across 16 rows of railroad tracks into the smoldering ruins of Aachen, narrowing the German escape pathway from the city to a half mile. Fighting was house-to-house and hand-to-hand, but enemy resistance was weak as the doughboys moved to the eastern sector of the city.

It was believed that fewer than 10,000 civilians had remained behind in Aachen. It was difficult to discern between civilians and soldiers now masquerading as civilians, and so all Germans found in the city were being maintained under guard.

Along the Siegfried Line, forty miles south of Aachen, a sergeant from Pete's Knob, N.C., had captured 18 Germans and killed four others in an attack on a German pillbox, after a night during which he had spent maniacally yelling, before picking off the Germans utilizing his squirrel-hunting prowess obtained in the North Carolina mountains. In previous fighting, the 23-year old sergeant had knocked off 46 other German soldiers.

Apparently, he was attempting to make good the brag of four years earlier by Senator Robert Rice Reynolds, that the squirrel hunters of North Carolina could take care of the Germans quite adequately.

About a thousand American bombers out of Italy attacked Vienna, German Silesia, and western Hungary. Bombers from Britain and France hit positions along the Western Front, as the Ninth Air Force alone flew 1,300 sorties, 1,000 of which had been in the Ruhr Valley and against Aachen.

RAF Mosquitos attacked Hamburg and other targets in Western Germany, as well as targets in Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia in support of the Russian offensive.

Russian tanks moved into East Prussia, nine miles northeast of Tilsit. Other forces had entered the eastern half of Riga in Latvia.

In Hungary, Russian troops were but 60 miles from Budapest, moving from the east, and even closer moving from the south. Surrender of Hungary was expected to come soon.

Marshal Tito's Partisans and Russian troops had entered Belgrade in Yugoslavia.

General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson announced that a major Allied landing in Greece was imminent, to complement the landing by a relatively small British force in late September on the Peloponnesus Peninsula permitting the liberation of Patrai, Corinth, and Pyrgos.

Admiral Nimitz confirmed the previous day's Japanese report that American carrier-borne planes had attacked Formosa, destroying 221 Japanese planes, sinking 16 ships, and damaging 19 others. The number of American planes in the raid, said by the Japanese to be a thousand, was not provided by Admiral Nimitz. It was the fourth successive day of raids on islands within 600 miles of the Japanese mainland, after the raids on the Ryukyu Islands and Marcus Island, as well as in the Philippines.

In the Essex village of Great Leighs, England, wherein lay Scrapfaggot Green, queer things had been happening ever since the bulldozer widening the road so that military vehicles could pass had inadvertently knocked aside the boulder on the Green from the grave of a witch.

Church bells chimed at midnight. Sheep wandered from exitless fields. The church clock, never wrong before, was now suddenly two hours slow. Things moved without explanation.

So said town Councillor Arthur Sykes who described himself as a "practical man", but one who could not ignore the evidence of such queer goings on as these he described to correspondent Alex H. Singleton.

The townspeople decided, after consulting an expert on witchcraft, that it was high time to drive a stake through the grave of the witch and roll the displaced boulder back to its original location on the Green. They meticulously measured, inch by inch, the ground of the grave and moved the boulder precisely to where it had been, then drove the stake dead center into the heart of the last resting place of the village witch.

Said Mr. Sykes, since doing so, they had obtained the best night's rest in weeks. No more bells chiming at midnight. No more slow clocks or sheep escaping the fields improvidently.

Ah, 'tis a queer law abounding on Scrapfaggot Green, Charlton Heston. 'Tis a queer law, C. C. H. L.

The witch though may have been nice looking, and so we best not make jest. She may have had nice legs. More's the pity.

Regardless, Time, in its October 23 issue, debunked the whole matter as a hoax on the part of Mr. Sykes to drum up business for his tavern. But, was his name Arthur, as the newspaper account reports, or Alfred, as Time tells? In resolution of that may be the determining fact of whether the case was genuine or poppycock.

Moreover, exists the burning question: was that moved a ponied stone slab or incensed bones' coppied rock?

Incidentally, we came across that anagram just today, erroneously omissive of two letters in plain view though it was. We were not even looking for it, but rather for Mr. Huntley's take on journalism at his retirement from the public eye. Strange, indeed.

An anagram for "newt" is "went".

On the editorial page, "Logical John", commenting that Governor Dewey had gone so far in claiming Republican progressivism that he would likely soon contend that the Republicans saved the gold standard and rejuvenated the Supreme Court, finds the logic lesson imparted by vice-presidential candidate John Bricker to be questionable if not altogether specious. He contended that the President was to blame for the failure to fortify Guam.

There was a grain of truth in the charge, the 1938 Naval Appropriations bill which had sought a million dollars for the purpose having been defeated by a coalition of Democrats and Republicans, the 1939 bill, increasing the proposed outlay to five million, also failing for the fact in part that the President had vacillated on the matter and left it unclear whether he supported fortification of Guam. The President had indicated that the situation with Japan might change so rapidly as to make unnecessary the fortifications, that having it as a threat, however, could be utilized in negotiations with the Japanese.

But Governor Bricker had charged that the President had quaked at offending Japan, had sought only five million for harbor improvements, not the amount necessary to render it impregnable, and so the failure could be laid at his doorstep.

The editorial begs to differ for the fact that, of the 205 House votes defeating the 1939 bill, only 64 were from Democrats. Only 15 Republicans had voted for the bill.

So, Governor Bricker was complaining that the President had not sought more for which he could be turned down by the Republicans.

"Boss Man" finds Musicians Union head James Petrillo to have the country, including the President, where he wanted it, in his hip pocket. He had refused to lift the ban on recordings, extant since August, 1942, unless RCA and Columbia signed the same contract with the union which had been signed by 105 other record companies. The contract provided for a nickel to a quarter royalties to be paid to the American Federation of Musicians for each record. The sum of the royalties was a half million dollars per year, expected to reach three million after the war.

Economic Stabilizer, Judge Fred Vinson, had determined that the War Labor Board could not order Mr. Petrillo to end the ban because his stock in trade was not an essential war commodity.

Caesar continued to reign supreme.

"Pal Joey" tells of Josef Stalin having twice toasted during the week at the Moscow conference with Prime Minister Churchill the friendly Anglo-American-Soviet relations and the Russians' undying gratitude for Lend-Lease. The editorial finds the gesture sincere and instilling of hope for an amicable future.

"The Sitter" finds the premature death at age 30 of Avon O. Foreman to be lamentable. Mr. Foreman, who had died while loading a coal truck in his native Baltimore, had been the champion flagpole sitter at age 15, had been responsible for the craze in 1929, which extended through the Crash on Black Tuesday in October and into 1930. He had sat for ten days, then thirty, and before it was over, thousands of others had likewise climbed flagpoles across the country.

The tradition had grown from earlier times. In 420, in Syria and Palestine, the Pillar Saints took to such perches to atone for the sins of the multitude. Simon Stylite lived for 37 years on his 60-foot pillar and had founded an hermitage which survived to the 13th century.

Drew Pearson comments on the President having confided to advisers that he would expect no speeches in his behalf to come from Secretary of State Hull, who disliked speeches and wished to remain aloof from politics, from Republican War Secretary Henry Stimson, and from new Navy Secretary James Forrestal, the latter wishing to keep the Navy out of politics.

The President realized that he had a fight on his hands for re-election, had begun writing letters furiously to shore up support.

Mr. Pearson next tells of the reconvening of the Supreme Court in the new term, with Justice Felix Frankfurter at odds with Justice Frank Murphy. The Court would decide during this term the important and notorious case of Korematsu v. U.S., upholding the Administration's order of internment of Japanese citizens on the basis of the exigencies of war. A scathing dissent would be authored by Justice Murphy, with another provided by Justice Robert Jackson. But that will come in December.

Henry Wallace, says Mr. Pearson, was going home after his term expired as Vice-President, unless he was tapped for a Cabinet post.

The Congressmen who had visited England had done their own laundry for want of available services, had taken chow with American servicemen for want of available food within the civilian sector.

Television was on the horizon. CBS wanted to keep it off the market until color sets became available. NBC, the future home of the Peacock, wanted it on the market as soon as the war concluded, regardless of it being only in black and white. CBS countered that the public would then be stuck with black and white sets until color came to fruition. The FCC would decide who had the better of the argument.

Black and white won. It was not until 1965 that everything was in color, only a handful of programs being so in 1958-59. Most of us, in the meantime, had to use our imaginations or visit our more advanced friends' homes on the Ponderosa and in Disneyland.

Children and those under age 45 or so today do not realize it, but prior to 1965, the world itself was mostly black and white. Few discernible colors existed outside the Crayola boxes. That's when we discovered rods and cones and attached them to our eyes.

That's okay, because some of that stuff in the fifties would have been too shocking to the public if it had been broadcast in color. Besides, black and white was and still is the preferred medium for scary stuff. Show a witch in color, so what? You see them everyday. Show one in black and white and your skin begins to crawl.

Vampires could only be seen in black and white in the old days.

Samuel Grafton, still in Los Angeles, says that he had been checking into the turnout of the Dewey crowd at the Coliseum, had found that a fifth to a fourth of them had been bobby-socksers who turned out to see the movie stars in attendance.

At the end of the speech, rather than the spontaneous celebration planned, there was a smattering of applause whereupon someone had to cue them, "That's all," and everyone dutifully and orderly filed out.

From all accounts, Mr. Dewey had been better received in the Midwest.

As California was appearing secure in the Roosevelt column, Governor Warren, while campaigning for Governor Dewey, did so with reserve to avoid offending the electorate he would have to face two years hence.

The conservatives of California seemed more bewildered than elsewhere. An example of the attitude could be seen with respect to the "right to work" initiative on the ballot, a proposed law which would eliminate the closed union shop and permit non-union workers to be employed. Since the proposed law would harm the viability of labor unions, one would have guessed that conservatives would favor the initiative. Not so, says Mr. Grafton. The California Chamber of Commerce opposed it. The reason asserted was that the law would crush unions, and production, as a consequence, would be severely affected.

Yet, in the Midwest and in Texas, there were conservatives who favored just such a showdown with labor. The Californians had approached the matter with practicality, realizing that destroying the labor movement meant also limiting production.

Marquis Childs, also still in Los Angeles, laments the passing of Wendell Willkie on Sunday. Though as a candidate in 1940, he had made his share of mistakes, afterward he had renounced partisanship, visited Britain, campaigned for Lend-Lease, adhered generally to principle, not party lines.

In 1944, in the spring, he had likewise continued his adherence to principle, despite heavy carping against his internationalism from isolationist quarters.

Whether he would have renounced party ties and endorsed President Roosevelt for a fourth term, as was his friend Bartley Crum of San Francisco and his 1940 campaign manager Russell Davenport, no one would ever know.

"A strong, proud, impetuous, lovable American is gone."

Mrs. Beatty writes again a letter, responding to some of the criticism hurled her way by Dewey devotees, indicating that the New Deal had provided her husband with the ability to start a business after they had lost everything during the Depression. They didn't bellyache, however, when, because of war restrictions on production of new cars, her husband lost his automobile dealership. They still stood firmly with President Roosevelt.

She also indicates that she had received letters informing her that she lacked a basic elementary school education for having misspelled Mein Kampf as "Mien Kampf". She admits her error but wonders whether Mein Kampf was being taught in elementary schools of the time.

One could say in her defense that, perhaps, she had hit upon a Freudian notion, in that the Struggle of the Fuehrer may well have germinated from his Mien.

Hal Boyle, reporting from Belgium on October 7, states that the greatest "booby traps" in Belgium were not those left behind by the Germans. Rather, they were those created by the Dutch and Belgian children to elicit the dispensation of chewing gum, cigarettes, and candy from the American troops.

If a jeep was driving along a road, there would inevitably be a little girl with a basket of tomatoes, shouting "Vive les Americains." No one stopped for tomatoes, but simply returned the greeting. Then, in order, there would be a small boy with free apples. Still, they would drive on.

Next, however, would be a little girl with a bottle of wine and a glass. Not able to pass up the latter offering, the jeep would stop. The little girl would pour the wine.

And as soon as a sip passed the lips of the G. I., the call would go forth to the fields, and out would swarm all the children of the department, yelling the familiar refrain, "Bonbon! Chocolate! Shooing gwum! Cigarette pour papa!"

The hapless target would then dig into his pockets and fling the goods as far as he could, enabling him, as the children scrambled for the loot, to make good his escape on down the road.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.