The Charlotte News
Monday, March 17, 1941
"Gasoline Alley" Is Something More Than a Comic Strip
It is a pleasure for The News to begin publishing today a comic strip that is bound to appeal to every member of the 44,000 (and going up) News families. "Gasoline Alley" is its name, or rather its misnomer.
A better title would be, "An American Family." A young man named Skeezix is its central character, his life and loves the mainstays of its theme. In the supporting cast are Mr. and Mrs. Wallet, Corky, Judy, Rachel the cook and the American Family's inevitable dog, in this instance yclept Pal.
And the genius of this comic strip, new to The News but classic in its own right, is the fidelity with which it has represented the progressive life stages of the foundling Skeezix, as well as the expert blending of the commonplace with entertainment. Skeezix, Walt, Aunty Blossom, Judy, Corky, Rachel, Pal--these are real people, wholesome yet human. And we are certain that readers of The News will welcome them to the community and take them immediately into the family circle.
Adolf No Longer Seems So Confident of Himself
The President was quite confident and determined. And Adolf Hitler obviously felt it necessary to reply. Said he:
"No power and no support coming from any part of the world can change the outcome of this battle in any respect. England will fall."
About that, only the event can tell. But it is easy to believe that among the 150 generals and admirals who sat before him to be reassured there must have been, even though they were equipped with the curiously square-headed German mind, some uneasy remembering and wonder. It was so, precisely, that the Kaiser and his generals and admirals were speaking right on up until September 1918. And it was America they were speaking to, as now it is America Adolf is speaking to.
It did them no good.
And the signs multiply that Adolf begins at last to stand on the defensive. What he undoubtedly hoped to do in his Balkan move was to bluff Greece and Turkey into submission. So much is clear from the fact that he has delayed until the British have had time to land a sizable army of well-equipped veterans in Greece. Such hesitation is not characteristic of Hitler and is only to be explained by his great reluctance to face the fact that he is no longer omnipotent diplomatically.
There is evidence, too, in his emphasis on the great victory over France in his Memorial Day (Nazi) address. He plainly felt it necessary to bolster his own nerve and that of his captains by remembering when they did truly seem omnipotent.
Straws In Wind
Many Signs Indicate Convoy Question To Be Raised Soon
The Los Angeles Examiner announced Friday that it had authoritative information from harbor circles in that city that the Norwegian freighter, Benjamin Franklin, out of Los Angeles for England with a cargo of food and four $100,000 Douglas bombers, had been sunk by a Nazi submarine.
Friday also landed at New York Milo J. Warner, commander of the American Legion, to say that England has victory in the bag if we get her the promised supplies, but that the only way to make sure of that is by convoying merchant ships, Britain's and our own, with the U.S. Navy.
All of which ties in with the emphasis London placed on her merchant marine needs the same day also.
Undoubtedly, the convoy question is about to be raised. We have committed ourselves to aid Britain as far as possible. And there obviously is no sense in making goods for her only to have the Nazis destroy them before they come to her hands.
The question has been avoided by the Administration as much as possible so far, because of the fear of the bitter fight on the part of the isolationists. But there are plain signs that some of the Republicans at least are beginning to think along the lines advised by William Allen White when he warned them that we are already in the war for all practical purposes and that no party which has sought to oppose the war which had once begun had lived to tell the tale. At least many of the loudest of the opponents of the Lease-Lend Bill have subsided into silence. And if the Republicans don't join the isolationist fight, the real isolationists like Wheeler will be able to do little damage.
Automobile Takes Heavier Toll Than Nazi Bombs
Twice as many victims as bombs claimed in England in January, three times as many as they killed in February--such, roughly, is the highway fatality record for the United States.
In England 1,502 persons were killed by Nazi bombs in the first month of the year, 789 in the second. Traffic "accidents" claimed the lives of 2,760 persons in the United States in January, 2,300 in February.
A certain part of this is undoubtedly inevitable, and our great eminence in traffic deaths proceeds in some measure simply from the fact that we have far more automobiles than any other nation and use them more.
But perhaps the greater part of our "accidents" are not really accidents at all. Familiarity with the automobile has bred a disbelief in its danger. In the face of repeated warnings by traffic safety agencies that speed is the greatest single cause of death on the highway and in the streets, many people go complacently on arguing that 70 miles an hour is a good conservative clip in the modern automobile--and practicing what they preach.
And in the face of simple sense, many race stop lights, whip around corners at high speeds, ignore hand signals, drive with poor brakes, etc.
If the fearful toll was ever to be seriously cut down, a lot of people are going to have somehow to be convinced that the automobile is, in fact, a deadly weapon.
Shaw's Blast Proves Britain Still Has Free Speech
The best answer to Bernard Shaw is Bernard Shaw himself.
In an ill-advised moment, the British Broadcasting Company banned certain radio artists from its program on the ground that they had "leftist" sympathies.
That moved Shaw to blast:
"Daily we throw into the teeth of Germany and Italy reproach that they abolish the rights of public meetings and free speech. And this moment is selected for the BBC to give a world exhibition of British Nazism gone mad..."
Then Duff Cooper, the Minister of Information, announced that BBC had agreed to reconsider.
But that Shaw's innuendo that Britain itself is being Nazified is untrue is clearly proved not only by this backtracking on the part of BBC but also by the very fact that Shaw can say these things.
A comparable blast in Germany against the Nazi masters of the land would probably get him under the headman's axe. And at best would land him in a concentration camp.
Basic free speech obviously will survive in England despite the necessities of the war.
The Season Announces Its Approach in Many Ways
It is in the suddenly gay way the flags fly in the blue sky. And in the way people at once begin to stroll instead of hurrying through the streets.
We even know a man who maintains that it is in the way he saw a shifting engine standing on a track yesterday with a single freight car in front of it, the steam slowly hissing from its valves and the smell of warm metal and oil spreading out from it. Lifted out of habit, it seemed something alive and slowly breathing. There was no apparent reason it should be standing idly there, save that it gave the impression of being beatifically too lazy to move.
It is certainly in the way men in offices begin unaccustomedly to stare at the papers on their desks balefully, and in the heavy way they lounge about, and in the far-off way they look through the windows.
And above all in that strange lassitude, that unused flush, through your own blood.
It is, of course, the beginning of Spring.
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