1926

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Agatha Christie is Missing!

Let's set aside the unsavory subject of eugenics and talk about something more pleasant... like murder! Dame Christie's car has been found abandoned near the edge of a quarry. Clothes are scattered nearby. No body has been found as yet. Her 7-year-old daughter is home asleep. A note lays on the desk saying that she is on her way to Yorkshire, but the car is at Newlands Corner, a good 230 miles away. Her 6th murder mystery has been selling well, so there is no reason to believe she is despondent. The 1st suspect is always the husband. Is there trouble at home? Colonel Christie has been gallivanting around with a young lady named Nancy Neele. In fact, he is with her right now. It is headline news in New York! A massive manhunt is underway for one of the most popular authors of all time! 1,000 policemen are assigned to find Agatha Christie (or her body). Release the hounds! An airplane is used for the first time to conduct a search. Finally, a banjo player at a hotel (it's always the banjo player) spots Lady Mallowan. (Lady Mallowan is Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie. Apparently, in England you are not allowed out in public unless you have four names.) She has lost her memory, so she has no recollection how she got to the hotel, but she still remembers her husband's new friend, Nancy. The Christies are well on their way to a divorce. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Was this a publicity stunt? At this point no one is sure, but if it was, it got out of hand. With so many resources in play, it must have cost the government a fortune. But given the state of the Christie household, it seems more likely that Agatha Christie simply wanted to give her husband a swift kick in the backside for his philandering ways. The police concluded that she had crashed her car, walked to the nearest train station, found a hotel and checked in under the name of Nancy Neele, her husband's latest fling. She never spoke of the incident again and they were divorced a little over a year later. Regarding her popularity as an author, remember that it was the Roaring 20's, but the sound you heard was more like screaming. People were looking for escape and they found it in drink, sex, reading murder mysteries (looking for ideas?) and oddly enough, filling out crossword puzzles. Marathon dancing was also the rage. Despondent people with nothing to do were dancing their lives away. No thanks. I'd rather ride. [5]

This Man of Vision is No Joke

Like the first trickle that precedes an avalanche, a big event often starts small. As a boy, Robert Goddard read H.G. Well's War of the Worlds. Ever since, he has dreamed of spaceflight. Of course, in War of the Worlds, the Martians propelled themselves through the void of space using a giant gun to shoot themselves toward Earth like a bullet. But what would happen if the gun shot itself upward? This is how a rocket works, By forcing material out of the tube at high speed, the tube (and everything attached to it) moves in the opposite direction. If you point the tube down, you are going up. Goddard has already patented the idea of a multi-stage rocket and its liquid fuel engine. Without enough money to build the high pressure fuel pump, he substitutes a tank of inert pressurized gas to push the fuel into the combustion chamber. On this snowy March day, he steps out to test his latest design. It lights.... and thankfully it does not blow up. It reaches the height of 41 feet. It may not seem like much, but the father of modern rocketry measures success in small increments. [6]

Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace.
-- Robert Goddard in response the New York Times' laughing criticism of his work.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Earlier, Goddard had suggested that larger rockets could be used to fly to the Moon. That may have been why he drew ridicule. After all, the only people suggesting that we fly to the moon were novelists like H.G. Wells. The other novelist to inspire innovation was Arthur C. Clarke. He is best known to the technical community for writing articles about satellites that could be used to bounce a TV signal around the world. In 1945, that was like having a computer that filled a room and envisioning a computer in every pocket. I was watching a computer show hosted by two guys I've been following since the 80's. My granddaughter asked, "Gran-pa, why are you watching those old guys talk?" She was tweaking me. I replied, "Those 'old guys' worked their backsides off so that YOU could have that smartphone you love so much you ungrateful little..." She gave me that look that all kids do. She'll learn how it feels soon enough. [7]

Notable Births

  • Elizabeth II (Living): Queen of the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. [8]
  • Fidel Castro: Our man in Cuba. He turned communist, and a lot of people died. [9]
  • Alan Greenspan (Living): Federal Reserve Chairman, married to Andrea Mitchell, NBC News. (Say no more, Alex. Say no more.) [10]
  • Robert Schuller: TV evangelist and founder of the Crystal Cathedral. (FYI, in his earlier work he saved my friend's life. In his later work, your mileage may vary.) [11] [12]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Hugh Hefner (Living): Founder of Playboy Enterprises. [13]
  • -- Marilyn Monroe: Playboy model and actress who perfected the 'dumb blonde' character. [14]
  • -- Don Rickles (Living): Insult comic, best known as "Mr. Potato Head" in the Toy Story series. [15]
  • -- Jerry Lewis (Living): Slapstick comedian and host of the Muscular Dystrophy Telethons. [16]
  • -- Andy Griffith: Actor in No Time for Sergeants, The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock. [17] [18]
  • -- Leslie Nielsen: Actor in Forbidden Planet, and the Naked Gun series. [19]
  • -- Mel Brooks (Living): Comedian, and creator of Space Balls, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and on and on.[20]

**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked on 2017-Jan-6.

In Other News

  • Father Coughlin begins his radio broadcasts. They are religious and anti-KKK, later becoming political in support of FDR's New Deal, and antisemitic in support Hitler. [24]
  • Emperor Hirohito ascends the throne. He will be Emperor when Japan attacks Pearl Harbor on that day that "will live in infamy". [25]
  • Winnie-the-Pooh is published. The author named the characters after his kid's toys. Who is his kid? Christopher Robin, of course. [26]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1926, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

  1. Newlands Corner to North Yorkshire, United Kingdom - Google Maps (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017.
  2. 11 missing days: Agatha Christie’s greatest mystery - History Extra. historyextra.com (2014 October 22). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “It was the perfect tabloid story, with all the elements of an Agatha Christie whodunnit. Close to the scene of the car accident was a natural spring known as the Silent Pool, where two young children were reputed to have died. Some journalists ventured to suggest that the novelist had deliberately drowned herself. Yet her body was nowhere to be found and suicide seemed unlikely, for her professional life had never looked so optimistic. Her sixth novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, was selling well and she was already a household name.”
  3. Agatha Christie - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “In late 1926, Archie asked Agatha for a divorce. He was in love with Nancy Neele, who had been a friend of Major Belcher, director of the British Empire Mission, on the promotional tour a few years earlier. On 3 December 1926, the Christies quarrelled, and Archie left their house, Styles, in Sunningdale, Berkshire, to spend the weekend with his mistress at Godalming, Surrey. That same evening, around 9:45 pm, Christie disappeared from her home, leaving behind a letter for her secretary saying that she was going to Yorkshire. Her car, a Morris Cowley, was later found at Newlands Corner, perched above a chalk quarry, with an expired driving licence and clothes.”
  4. Agatha's Disappearance. poirot.us (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “Archie had announced to Agatha that he was in love with another woman, a Nancy Neele, former secretary of Major Belcher's (from the world tour days of the Christies'). He then proceeded to demand a divorce right away. They had separated, but Archie returned to Styles for a 'trial reconciliation', of which Agatha described as a 'mistake . . . a period of sorrow, misery, heartbreak.' In the late summer through the fall of 1926, Agatha wasn't in the proper shape to write a new book. Her brother-in-law Campbell Christie suggested that she take the short stories printed in the Sketch magazine and fill in the gaps between each story with narration. This produced the Captain Hastings-narrated novel 'The Big Four', later released in 1927.”
  5. Poison Pen Letters - Sexual Fables. sexualfables.com (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “It wasn’t long before the police and press knew that Christie had suffered setbacks during the past year. Her mother, to whom she had been very attached, had died a few months earlier and Christie had gone to live in the old family house in Torquay while it fell apart around her. You could almost say that the house stood in as a metaphor for her own life; perhaps she suffered a partial breakdown? This was seen as nothing unusual for a woman of 36; most people experienced it at some stage of their lives.”
  6. (1898) War of the Worlds, The. Retrieved on 3 November 2016. “During the opposition of 1894 a great light was seen on the illuminated part of the disk, first at the Lick Observatory, then by Perrotin of Nice, and then by other observers. English readers heard of it first in the issue of Nature dated August 2. I am inclined to think that this blaze may have been the casting of the huge gun, in the vast pit sunk into their planet, from which their shots were fired at us. Peculiar markings, as yet unexplained, were seen near the site of that outbreak during the next two oppositions.” 
  7. May 25, 1945: Sci-Fi Author Predicts Future by Inventing It - WIRED. wired.com (May 25, 2011). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “Clarke followed up on this private paper with an article published in October 1945 in Wireless World titled, 'Extra-Terrestrial Relays: Can Rocket Stations Give World-wide Radio Coverage?' The paper discusses how rocket technology, such as that used in German V-2s during the war, could be turned to peaceful ends by launching artificial satellites into orbit. All you needed, Clarke argued, was a rocket capable of pushing a payload past an orbital-insertion velocity of 8 km/second [5 miles/second].”
  8. Elizabeth II - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand since 6 February 1952. She is also Head of the Commonwealth and the queen of 12 countries that have become independent since her accession: Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.”
  9. Fidel Castro - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (August 13, 1926 – November 25, 2016) was a Cuban revolutionary and politician who governed the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2008. Politically a Marxist–Leninist and Cuban nationalist, he also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011. Under his administration, Cuba became a one-party socialist state; industry and business were nationalized, and state socialist reforms were implemented throughout society.”
  10. Alan Greenspan - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “an American economist who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006. He currently works as a private adviser and provides consulting for firms through his company, Greenspan Associates LLC.”
  11. Robert H. Schuller - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “In his five decades of television, Schuller was principally known for the weekly Hour of Power television program, which he began hosting in 1970 until his retirement in 2010. Schuller began broadcasting the program from the Neutra Sanctuary, with the encouragement of longtime friend Billy Graham after Schuller visited him in 1969. He was also the founder of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, where the Hour of Power program was later broadcast.”
  12. Robert Schuller. nndb.com (2015). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “In 2011 he was voted off Crystal Cathedral Ministries' board of directors, and in 2012 the Crystal Cathedral downsized by swapping facilities with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, moving to what had been St. Callistus Catholic Church in Garden Grove, as the Catholic Church took over the former Crystal Cathedral. Schuller died in 2015.”
  13. Hugh Hefner - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “He is best known for being the founder and chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises. A self-made multi-millionaire, his net worth is over $43 million due to his success as the founder of Playboy magazine.”
  14. Marilyn Monroe - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “Famous for playing comic 'dumb blonde' characters, she became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s, emblematic of the era's attitudes towards sexuality. Although she was a top-billed actress for only a decade, her films grossed $200 million by the time of her unexpected death in 1962.”
  15. Don Rickles - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “Best known as an insult comic, he is also an actor, playing both comedic and dramatic roles on film. He received widespread exposure as a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Show with David Letterman.”
  16. Jerry Lewis - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “He and Dean Martin were partners as the hit popular comedy duo of Martin and Lewis. Following that success, he was a solo star in film, nightclubs, television, concert stages and musicals. Lewis served as national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and host of the live Labor Day broadcast of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon for 40 years.”
  17. Andy Griffith - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “The Andy Griffith Show (1960–1968), and in the legal drama, Matlock (1986–1995).”
  18. No Time for Sergeants (1958 film) - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “No Time for Sergeants is a 1958 American comedy film directed by Mervyn LeRoy starring Andy Griffith and featuring Myron McCormick, Don Knotts and most of the original Broadway cast. Warner Brothers contract player Nick Adams joined the cast as Stockdale's fellow military draftee Benjamin B. Whitledge, as did Murray Hamilton as Irving S. Blanchard. The film is based on a play inspired by the original novel.”
  19. Leslie Nielsen - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “He appeared in more than 100 films and 150 television programs, portraying more than 220 characters.”
  20. Mel Brooks - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “He became well known as part of the comedy duo with Carl Reiner in the comedy skit The 2000 Year Old Man. He also created, with Buck Henry, the hit television comedy series Get Smart, which ran from 1965 to 1970.”
  21. Chuck Berry - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “Charles Edward Anderson 'Chuck' Berry (born October 18, 1926) is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter and is one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as 'Maybellene' (1955), 'Roll Over Beethoven' (1956), 'Rock and Roll Music' (1957) and 'Johnny B. Goode' (1958), Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, with lyrics focusing on teen life and consumerism and music featuring guitar solos and showmanship that were a major influence on subsequent rock music.”
  22. Johnny B. Goode - Back to the Future (9/10) Movie CLIP (1985) HD - YouTube (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017.
  23. Chuck Berry - Johnny B Goode - YouTube. youtube.com (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017.
  24. Charles Coughlin - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 1 November 2016. “Coughlin began his radio broadcasts in 1926 on station WJR, in response to cross burnings by the Ku Klux Klan on the grounds of his church, giving a weekly hour-long radio program. His program was picked up by CBS four years later for national broadcast.”
  25. Hirohito - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “On December 25, 1926, Hirohito assumed the throne upon his father, Yoshihito's, death.”
  26. Winnie-the-Pooh - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 January 2017. “A. A. Milne named the character Winnie-the-Pooh for a teddy bear owned by his son, Christopher Robin Milne, who was the basis for the character Christopher Robin. The rest of Christopher Robin Milne's toys, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Tigger, were incorporated into Milne's stories. Two more characters, Owl and Rabbit, were created by Milne's imagination, while Gopher was added to the Disney version.”

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