1939

Snapshots Sunday: Land of Oz

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We're Off...Image One
Flag at the Entrance
Image is from the early 1970s
09-08-2017

In September of 2017, I paid a visit to a place I had not seen since I was about six years old…the Land of Oz. I remember bits and pieces of the trip. My parents took me in 1972 and two of my strongest memories are of riding on the balloon ride (a converted ski-lift) in a blinding mountain rainstorm and the wet ride in a bus, with no windows, down the mountain, leaving. For years, I wondered what had become of that park.

Originally opening on June 15, 1970, it was a grand place to visit and managed to stay open for a decade, even after a fire in 1975, before falling into disrepair and abandonment. Many things were stolen, vandalized or left to nature.

Appalachian State University had a cultural museum, at one time, that showcased saved pieces from the park including the yellow bricks, some munchkin houses, costumes, parts of the witch’s castle and other assorted props. All artifacts were eventually returned to the park.

In 1991, the park was included in a celebration for Independence Day for Beech Mountain. Watauga High School students dressed in costume. Emerald Mountain, Inc., purchased the property in 1994 and a slow restoration began. An “Autumn at Oz” was started as a reunion for former employees and became a yearly event. By 2010, the park drew 8,000 people.

By the 80th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz movie, 12,000 guests had come through in June of 2019. I have tons of pictures of this place, old and new and, I will be posting them over time. ~Vic

Oz Sign Image Two
Picture snapped in the 90s
Photo Credit: Emerald Mountain Realty

Land of Oz (Official Website)

Military Monday: USS Harmon DE-678 1943

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USS Harmon DE-678 Image One
Destroyer Escort USS Harmon
Circa August 1943
Image was censored and retouched.
Radar antennas removed.
Pennant added in its place.
Released for publication March 1944
Photo Credit: Naval History & Heritage Command
Wikipedia & Wikimedia

The USS Harmon was a U.S. Navy Buckley class destroyer escort named after Leonard Roy Harmon, a Mess Attendant (Messman) First Class that served aboard the USS San Francisco. It was the first U.S. warship to be named after a Black American. It was launched July 25, 1943, by Bethlehem Steel Company in Quincy, MA, sponsored by Harmon’s mother and, seventy-seven years ago, today, it was commissioned. She spent nearly a year serving as an escort ship near New Caledonia. After a short period at Pearl Harbor, she joined the Luzon Reinforcement Group. By March 1945, she was an escort and an anti-submarine screen off Iwo Jima. She returned to Pearl Harbor for training, then to Mare Island for a weapons upgrade and, when the war was over, she conducted training operations with submarines.

Leonard Roy Harmon Image Two
Commemoration Poster
Source: Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
Photo Credit: Wikipedia & Wikimedia

Decommissioned March 25, 1947, she joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She was stricken August 1, 1965 and sold for scrap January 30, 1967. She received three battle stars for her World War II service.

*************

Leonard Roy Harmon, born in Cuero, Texas, on January 21, 1917, enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 10, 1939, as a Mess Attendant Third Class. He trained at the Naval Training Station, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia and reported to [the] San Francisco (CA-38) on October 28, 1939. On November 12, 1942, [the] San Francisco was covering a force of transports disembarking reinforcements off Guadalcanal when Japanese land attack planes, carrying torpedoes, attacked. [The] enemy aircraft crashed into the ship causing “considerable damage and intense fires” that put the after anti-aircraft director and radar out of commission. One officer and 15 men were either killed outright or died of their injuries. Harmon rushed in to evacuate the wounded. He was then assigned to assist Pharmacist’s Mate Lynford Bondsteel in evacuating and caring for the wounded. While the ship was being raked by enemy gunfire, Harmon deliberately shielded Bondsteel in order to protect his wounded shipmate. Although Bondsteel managed to get his courageous shipmate below, Harmon died of his wounds soon afterward.

Democracy In Action Poster Image Three
Artist: Charles Henry Alston
Collection: National Archives at College Park
Office of War Information poster from 1943
Photo Credit: Wikipedia & Wikimedia

Harmon was awarded a Purple Heart and, in March 1943, the Navy Cross.

Citation Excerpt:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Mess Attendant First Class Leonard Roy Harmon (NSN: 3600418), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty in action against the enemy while serving on board the Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. San Francisco (CA-38) […]. With persistent disregard of his own personal safety, […] Harmon rendered invaluable assistance in caring for the wounded and assisting them to a dressing station. In addition to displaying unusual loyalty [on] behalf of the injured Executive Officer, he deliberately exposed himself to hostile gunfire in order to protect a shipmate and, as a result of this courageous deed, was killed in action. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Addition Reading & Sources:
First US Ship Named For An African-American (History & Headlines August 31, 2016)
USN Ships: USS Harmon (DE-678) (Ibiblio Database)
Citation: Leonard Roy Harmon (Military Times)
Modern Ships: USS Harmon DE-678 (Naval History & Heritage Command)
Ship Histories: Harmon (DE-678) (Naval History & Heritage Command)
USS Harmon (DE-678) (Naval Warfare Blogspot)
World War Two: Told In A Museum (New Caledonia Site)
Leonard Harmon (Smithsonian)
Leonard Harmon, USN (USS San Francisco Site)
Leonard Roy Harmon (Wikipedia)
Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (Wikipedia)
USS San Francisco (Wikipedia)

Movie Monday: Dick Tracy’s G-Men 1939

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Dick Tracy Image One
Image Credit: imdb.com

Eighty years ago, today, the crimemystery Dick Tracy’s G-Men was released. A serial film with fifteen chapters, it was co-directed by John English and William Witney and, is over four and a half hours long in total. Produced by Robert Beche, it starred Ralph Byrd, Irving Pichel, Ted Pearson, Phyllis Isley (also known as Jennifer Jones) and Walter Miller (his last film). Based on Chester Gould‘s Dick Tracy comic strip, this serial had Tracy working for the FBI. As a sequel to the original serial, Gould’s contract barred him from production and payment. It was re-released on September 19, 1955.

From IMDB:

A mad doctor named Zanoff uses a drug to bring himself back from the dead after his execution in prison. Dick Tracy sets out to capture Zanoff before he can put his criminal gang back together again.

Dick Tracy Image Two
Photo Credit: imdb.com

From Wikipedia:

International spy, Zarnoff, in the employ of “The Three Powers” (presumably a fictionalized reference to the Axis) is captured by Dick Tracy at the start of the serial, [then] tried and sentenced to death. However, through the use of a rare drug embedded by his agents in[to] the evening newspaper, he escapes from the gas chamber. His men pick up his “corpse” by ambushing the hearse and, administering another counter-drug. He continues his espionage plans, while taking the opportunity of revenge on Tracy.

From historian William Cline:

[Dick Tracy serials were] “unexcelled in the action field” [and] “in any listing of serials released after 1930, the four Dick Tracy adventures from Republic must stand out as classics of the suspense detective thrillers and the models for many others to follow.”

Dick Tracy Depot (Watch all 15 chapters)

Chapter One

Flashback Friday: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 1900

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The Wizard of Oz Image One
Image Credit: wikipedia.org

One-hundred, nineteen years ago, today, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz children’s novel was published. It was written by L. Frank Baum, illustrated by W. W. Denslow and published by the George M. Hill company in Chicago, IL. The title was shortened to The Wizard of Oz for the Broadway Musical adaptation in 1902 and the Musical Film adaptation in 1939.

From Wikipedia:

The story chronicles the adventures of a young farm girl named Dorothy in the magical Land of Oz after she and her pet dog Toto are swept away from their Kansas home by a cyclone.

The book is one of the best-known stories in American literature and has been widely translated. The Library of Congress has declared it “America’s greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale.” Its groundbreaking success and the success of the Broadway musical adapted from the novel led Baum to write thirteen additional Oz books that serve as official sequels to the first story.

Baum dedicated the book “to my good friend & comrade, My Wife,” Maud Gage Baum. In January 1901, George M. Hill Company completed printing the first edition, a total of 10,000 copies, which quickly sold out. It sold three million copies by the time it entered the public domain in 1956.

The Wizard of Oz Image Two
Image Credit: wikipedia.org

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is considered the first American fairy tale because of its references to clear American locations such as Kansas and Omaha. Baum agreed with authors such as Carroll that fantasy literature was important for children, along with numerous illustrations but, he also wanted to create a story that had recognizable American elements in it such as farming and industrialization. Baum did not offer any conclusive proof that he intended his novel to be a political allegory.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has become an established part of multiple cultures, spreading from its early young American readership to becoming known throughout the world. It has been translated or adapted into well over fifty languages, at times being modified in local variations. For instance, in some abridged Indian editions, the Tin Woodman was replaced with a horse. In Russia, a translation by Alexander Melentyevich Volkov produced six books, The Wizard of the Emerald City series, which became progressively distanced from the Baum version, as Ellie and her dog Totoshka travel throughout the Magic Land. More recently, the story has become an American stage production (The Wiz) with an all-black cast, set in the context of modern African-American culture.

Here in North Carolina, we have the Land of Oz at Beech Mountain. I went there in 1973 with my parents and, again, in 2017. ~Vic

Tune Tuesday: Eddie Fisher 1954

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Eddie Fisher Image One
Image Credit: 7digital.com

Sixty-five years ago, today, the #1 song on Billboard (pre-hot 100 era) was Oh! My Pa-Pa (O Mein Papa) performed by Eddie Fisher. A lamentation, sung by a young woman grieving the loss of her clown-father, the song was written by Swiss composer Paul Burkhard in 1939 for the musical Der schwarze Hecht (The Black Pike). Reproduced and re-issued in 1950 as Das Feuerwerk (The Firework), the musical was made into a German film, Fireworks, in 1954 starring Lilli Palmer.

Translated, and adapted, into English by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons, Fisher and Hugo Winterhalter’s orchestra recorded the song in December 1953 at Webster Hall in New York City.

Eddie Fisher Image Two
Image Credit: 45cat.com

Trumpeter Eddie Calvert had a #1 with an instrumental version of the song in the UK at the very same time Fisher’s version was the #1 in the US.

On March 8, 1967, television audiences were treated to a version of the song by Jim Nabors, in character as Gomer Pyle, in the Season 3 episode (#85) “Sing a Song of Papa”. On October 24, 1991, Krusty the Clown sang the song as O mein Papa on The Simpsons in the Season 3 episode Like Father, Like Clown, a twist on the young woman’s sorrow over her father.

This song has been covered by many other artists, including The Everly Brothers, Connie Francis, Ray Anthony (last surviving member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra), The Bobbettes, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Björk (as “Pabbi minn”).

Calvert’s Version

Nabor’s Version

Krusty’s Version

Shutterbug Saturday: Tribute Pictures 7.0

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Texas & American Flag Image One
Photo Credit: Matthew T. Rader on Unsplash

I have reached the end of my tribute. I have showcased all that he sent me. Previous posts:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI

I have missed my life in Texas and I still miss him. He was such an interesting man. He wasn’t perfect but, he was himself and he charmed. Thank you for sharing your life with me, Sir.

RIP W. H. Patton (July 16, 1939 – July 21, 2012)

Patton Image Two
Shot of him at about ten years old.
He wanted to drive the 1938 Ford in the background.
I think his cousin took this.
Patton Image Three
He loved this 1934 Oldsmobile.
Patton Image Four
His journalism years.
Patton Image Five
He always had a guitar or two on stands ready to play.
Patton Image Six
He disliked this photo.
1970s perms were not his friend.
Discussing business.
Patton Image Seven
Cattle show in 1978.
Wife Glenda, son Sean & daughter Shari.
Patton Image Eight
Young Glenda.
Love of his life.

Patton Image Nine
Texas Tech University graduation picture.
1961

 

One last bonus photo…

Patton Image Eleven
Taking pictures at my wedding.
Always the photographer.
September 2004

Movie Monday: Kentucky 1939

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Kentucky 1938 Image
Image Credit: imdb.com

Eighty years ago, today, the #1 film at the box office was Kentucky, a Romeo & Juliet type film with elements of the Hatfields & McCoys thrown in. Starring Loretta Young, Richard Greene and Walter Brennan, the backdrop of the story is horseracing.

IMDB Summary:

During the Civil War, two of the oldest families in Kentucky, the Dillons and the Goodwins, begin a long and bitter feud that has lasted into 1938. When Jack Dillon refuses to enter his father’s banking business he, under an assumed name, gets a job as a trainer in Sally Goodwin’s stables. A romance develops between them. When Sally’s father dies, the entire estate, including the horses, has to be sold at auction to pay his debts. A note turns up left by Sally’s father that, according to a wager made between him and the elder Dillon, any one horse in the Dillon stable can be claimed by the Goodwins. Complications arise when Sally finds out that Jack is a Dillon.

Trivia Bits:
♦ A number of famous Kentucky-bred champion racehorses are presented including Gallant Fox, Omaha, Hard Tack, Chance Play and Man of War, who is called the greatest racehorse.
♦ Two Kentucky Derby winners, Willie “Smokey” Saunders and Charlie Burrell, were employed for the film.
Don Ameche was originally cast for the male lead but, was replaced by Richard Greene after undergoing a tonsillectomy.
Arleen Whelan was originally scheduled for the female lead.

Award:
Best Supporting Actor (Walter Brennan/1939 Academy Awards)

There’s not really a trailer for this movie but, I did find this: