Sunday, March 9, 2014


For more information on any of these names and events, start at the Wikipedia page for 1918.

In January, President Woodrow Wilson delivered a speech outlining his "Fourteen Points." While the Allies were fighting Germany out of age-old animosity, Wilson tried to take the war to a higher moral plane, outlining a sort of "Why We're in This War, and What We Expect Out of It."
The Red Baron's Plane

April brought the death of the German ace called "The Red Baron," though he was to fly again years later against his arch-enemy Snoopy. In late August, a skirmish between Mexicans and Americans at Nogales on the Arizona/Sonora border is sometimes called "the only battle of WWI fought on United States soil"--provided one accepts the shaky claims that the Germans were behind it. More likely it was the result of long-simmering cross-border tensions.
Quanah Parker

(Earlier, in January, the Battle of Bear Valley along the same border had been the site of the last battle between the U.S. Army and Indians--in this case, Yaquis--marking the end of the long series of so-called American Indian Wars dating back to the Jamestown Massacre in 1622. Coincidentally, some time that year the Native American Church was formally founded in Oklahoma by Comanche leader Quanah Parker to provide solace to his people through prayer with peyote.) And on the 11th day of the 11th month (November), at 11 a.m., the Armistice with Germany became official, ending the first of the century's two World Wars.
Nipsey Russell

Among the many notable births this year was a man who was always a favorite of mine. Comedian and "poet" Julius "Nipsey" Russell may never have won a Pulitzer, but his doggerel rhymes were always an inspiration. Here are three, from Wikipedia:

What is the secret of eternal youth?
The answer is easily told;
All you gotta do if you wanna look young
Is hang out with people who are old.
If you ever go out with a schoolteacher,
You're in for a sensational night;
She'll make you do it over and over again
Until you do it right.
The young people are very different today;
And there's one sure way to know;
Kids used to ask where they came from;
Now they'll tell you where you can go!
Incidentally, around 25 winners of the Nobel Prize were born in 1918. But I'll bet none of them could write like Nipsey.

--In the States--
  • January: The so-called "Spanish flu" was first observed in the U.S. in Haskell County, Kansas. By summer it was a pandemic, and an estimated 50-100 million people died worldwide--perhaps over 500,000 in the U.S.--probably spread by troop movements related to the war.
  • February: The last captive Carolina Parakeet (the only surviving breed of parrot native to the eastern United States) died at the Cincinnati Zoo.
  • March: The U. S. Congress standardized American time zones and approved the first daylight saving time, which has been repealed and re-enacted several times since.
  • May: General Motors acquired the Chevrolet Motor Company of Delaware.
  • June: Alfred Stieglitz began his nude studies of his future wife Georgia O'Keeffe in New York. Some of these now rank as some of the most expensive collectible art photographs in the world.
  • November: The Malbone Street Wreck occurred under an intersection in Brooklyn, New York; with at least 93 dead it stands as the worst rapid transit accident in world history.
  • December: President Woodrow Wilson went to the Paris Peace Conference, the first U. S. President to travel abroad while in office.

  • February: Most women over 30 were permitted to vote for the first time in the U.K.
  • February: Russia and nearby countries switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, losing two weeks.
  • March: Moscow became the capital of Soviet Russia.
  • March: American stage magician William Ellsworth Robinson--in his stage persona Chung Ling Soo, a parody of a real Chinese stage magician of the day--while performing in a London theater was struck in the chest by a live round that he was supposed to "catch"; he died the next day.
"Chung Ling Soo"
Salote, Queen of Tonga
  • April: Sālote became Queen of Tonga, a position she held until her death in 1965.
  • July: The entire Romanov family--Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra Feodorovna, and all their children and retainers--were executed in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
The ill-fated Romanovs
  • November: The German army withdrew its support of the Kaiser, who then abdicated; the German Republic was declared.

--Quick Facts--

Music: Songs Published: The World War was still having a big influence on pop music. Note the catch-phrases "over there" (in Europe), "no-man's land" (the disputed area between the trenches), and "over the top" (going out of the trenches to cross no-man's land). And of course, Paris, French, officers…
  • "Hinky Dinky Parlay Voo (Mademoiselle from Armentieres)" by Edward Rowland
A vintage recording of "Hinky Dinky Parlay Voo"
  • "If He Can Fight Like He Can Love, Good Night Germany" words by Grant Clarke and Howard Johnson, music by George W. Meyer
  • "How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree)" words by Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young music by Walter Donaldson
  • "Hello Central, Give Me No-Man's Land" performed by Al Jolson
  • "The Rose of No Man's Land" words by Jack Caddigan, music by James A. Brennan
  • "We'll Do Our Share while You're Over There" words by Lew Brown and Al Herriman, music by Jack Egan
  • "When Tony Goes Over the Top" words by Billy Frisch and Archie Fletcher, music by Alex Marr
  • "Would You Rather be a Colonel with an Eagle on Your Shoulder or a Private with a Chicken on Your Knee?" words by Sidney D. Mitchell, music by Archie Gottler
The always-popular novelty songs (read "corny"):
  • "Ev'rybody's Crazy 'bout the Doggone Blues, But I'm Happy" by Henry Creamer and Turner Layton
  • "I'll Say She Does" words and music by B. G. DeSylva, Gus Kahn and Al Jolson
  • "Ja-Da" words and music by Bob Carleton
  • "K-K-K-Katy" words and music by Geoffrey O'Hara
  • "Rock-A-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody" performed by Al Jolson
And another sentimental song about a soldier parting with his sweetheart:
  • "Till We Meet Again" words by Raymond B. Egan, music by Richard A. Whiting

On the Screen:
  • Warner Bros. Pictures was established
  • birth of original canine actor Rin Tin Tin
  • Tarzan of the Apes, the first-ever Tarzan movie, starring Elmo Lincoln and Enid Markey

This film is in the public domain. Enjoy!

Books Published This Year:
  • My Antonia (Willa Cather), one of her greatest works and the final book of her "Prairie Trilogy"
  • The Magnificent Ambersons (Booth Tarkington), wins a Pulitzer next year
  • The Education of Henry Adams (Henry Adams), wins a Pulitzer next year
  • The Decline of the West (Oswald Spengler), an early work chronicling a paradigm shift, nothing less than the overturning of the Eurocentric view of history

Pulitzer Prizes:
  • Novel (later called "Fiction"): His Family (Ernest Poole)
  • Drama: Why Marry? (Jesse Lynch Williams)
  • History: A History of the Civil War, 1861-1865 (James Ford Rhodes)
  • Biography: Benjamin Franklin, Self-Revealed (William Cabell Bruce)
  • Special Citations: (poetry) Love Songs (Sara Teasdale), made possible by a special grant from the Poetry Society of America
The other three categories had not been established.

President: Woodrow Wilson

  • Spiro Agnew, Vice President under Richard Nixon
  • Patty Andrews, member of the singing The Andrews Sisters
  • Pearl Bailey, singer and entertainer
  • Leonard Bernstein, conductor; composer of West Side Story
  • Joey Bishop, entertainer and member of the original "Rat Pack"
  • "Classy Freddy" Blassie, wrestling villain in the days of the WWA, before the WWF and the WWE
  • Sebastian Cabot, who played "Mr. French" on Family Affair
  • Art Carney, who played "Ed Norton" on The Honeymooners
  • Howard Cosell, "blustery, cocksure" sports announcer
  • Jack Elam, him of the crooked eye
Jack Elam
  • Philip José Farmer, sci-fi author
  • Richard Feynman, physicist and Nobel Prize winner
  • Betty Ford, First Lady of the U. S. (husband Gerald Ford)
  • John Forsythe, who played Bachelor Father, the voice of "Charlie" on Charlie's Angels, and patriarch "Blake Carrington" on Dynasty
  • Billy Graham, evangelist
  • Paul Harvey, radio broadcaster known for "The Rest of the Story"
  • Eppie Lederer and Pauline Phillips (better known as Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren, or "Dear Abby"), twins and friendly competitors in the advice column racket
Eppie Lederer ("Ann Landers")
Pauline Phillips ("Abigail Van Buren")
  • Madeleine L'Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time
  • Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize Winner
  • Jack Paar, host of The Tonight Show before Johnny Carson
  • Don Pardo, TV announcer and the voice of Saturday Night Live
  • Robert Preston, who played Harold Hill in The Music Man
  • Oral Roberts, evangelist
  • George Lincoln Rockwell, American Nazi leader
  • Nipsey Russell, comedian called "the poet laureate of television" (see above)
Nelson Mandela (Nobel site photo)
Anwar Sadat (Nobel site photo)
  • Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt and Nobel Peace Prize Winner
  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russian novelist who wrote The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich; awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970
  • Mickey Spillane, creator of "Mike Hammer"
  • Theodore Sturgeon, sci-fi and horror writer
  • Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart
  • Efrem Zimbalist, star of 77 Sunset Strip and The F.B.I.
  • Henry Adams, author and historian whose The Education of Henry Adams (published posthumously) won a Pulitzer for Biography or Autobiography in 1919. He was the grandson of John Quincy Adams, and thus the great-grandson John Adams, the 6th and 2nd presidents of the U.S., respectively.
  • Claude Debussy, French Impressionist composer of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
  • Sai Baba of Shirdi, Indian saint revered by both Muslim and Hindu devotees. He said, "One God governs all."
Shirdi Sai Baba
  • John L. Sullivan, first modern heavyweight boxing champ, and the first American athlete to earn over one million dollars
  • Gustav Klimt, Austrian painter

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