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This Day in WWII 11 June 1940 - 1945

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UnitedAircraftCorp-June1942.jpgUnited Aircraft Corporation Ad - June 1942

 

1940: Householders in possession of Anderson shelters must by law have them up and earthed by today.

 

1940: The French government of Premier Reynaud leaves Paris for Tours. German forces capture Rheims.

 

AudreyTotter1.jpg *Audrey Totter

 

1940: Italian aircraft bomb Malta.

 

1940: Paris prepares for siege as the Luftwaffe pounds the city. The RAF attacks Turin and Genoa with 36 Whitley bombers.

 

1940: RAF attack German ships in Trondheim harbour, Norway.

 

AudreyTotter2.jpg Audrey Totter

 

1940: Australia and New Zealand declare war on Italy.

 

1940: South Africa declares war on Italy. RAF bomb airfields and petrol dumps in Italian East Africa and Libya. British armoured cars cross into Libya from Egypt and ambush a number of Italian trucks near Fort Capuzzo. Italian aircraft bomb Aden and Port Sudan.

 

AudreyTotter3.jpg Audrey Totter

 

1942: U-boats begin laying mines off Boston, Delaware and Chesapeake Bay.

 

1942: The court-martial of a German army captain Michael Kitzelmann ends in Orel. Kitzelmann, who won an Iron Cross Second Class for bravery, has spoken out against atrocities being committed on the eastern front. "If these criminals should win," he has told his fellow officers, "I would have no wish to live any longer." Kitzelmann's wish is granted. He is shot by a firing squad that day.

 

990611_big.gif(READ NY TIMES ARTICLE)

 

1942: The United States and the Soviet Union signed a lend lease agreement to aid the Soviet war effort.

 

1942: Simultaneous British convoys set sail for Malta from Gibraltar and Alexandria. The Gibraltar convoy (codenamed ' Harpoon'), consisted of 5 freighters and a US tanker. It was initially escorted by a battleship, 2 aircraft carrier, 3 cruisers and 8 destroyers and was later reinforced by an anti-aircraft cruiser and 9 destroyers. The Alexandria convoy (codenamed 'Vigorous'), had eleven freighters and was escorted by 7 light cruisers and 26 destroyers.

 

AudreyTotter4.jpg Audrey Totter

 

1943: Operation 'Corkscrew', the invasion of Pantelleria meets little resistance after a 20-day aerial bombardment of the island.

 

1943: The US 8th Air Force raids the German naval base at Wilhelmshaven (200 B-17s), while the RAF attacks Münster and Düsseldorf.

 

1945: SEAC estimate that 108,240 Japanese have been killed in Burma since February 1944.

 

AudreyTotter5.jpg Audrey Totter

 

*One is certainly hard-pressed to think of another true "bad girl" representative so closely identifiable with film noir than hard-looking blonde actress Audrey Totter. While she remained a "B"-tier actress for most her career, she was a "A" quality actress and one of filmdom's most intriguing ladies. She always managed to set her self apart even in the most standard of programming.

 

Born Audrey Mary Totter to an Austrian father and Swedish mother on December 20, 1918, in Joliet, Illinois, she treaded lightly on stage ("The Copperhead," "My Sister Eileen") and initially earned notice on the Chicago and New York radio airwaves in the late 1930s before "going Hollywood." MGM developed an interest in her and put her on its payroll in 1944. Still appearing on radio (including the sitcom "Meet Millie"), she made her film bow as, of course, a "bad girl" in "Main Street After Dark" (1945). That same year the studio usurped her vocal talents to torment poor Phyllis Thaxter in "Bewitched" (1945). Her voice was prominent again as an unseen phone operator in "Ziegfeld Follies" (1945). Audrey played one of her rare pure-heart roles in "The Cockeyed Miracle" (1946). At this point she began to establish herself in the exciting "film noir" market.

 

AudreyTotter6.jpg Audrey Totter

 

Among the certified classics she participated in were "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1946) in which she had a small role as John Garfield's blonde floozie pick-up. Things brightened up considerably with "Lady in the Lake" (1947) co-starring Robert Montgomery as detective Philip Marlowe. The film was not well received and is now better remembered for its interesting subjective camera technique. Audrey's first hit as a femme fatale co-star came on loanout to Warner Bros. In "The Unsuspected" (1947), she cemented her dubious reputation in "B" noir as a trampy, gold-digging niece married to alcoholic Hurd Hatfield. She then went on a truly enviable roll with "High Wall" (1947), as a psychiatrist to patient Robert Taylor, "The Saxon Charm" (1948) with Montgomery (again) and Susan Hayward, "Alias Nick Beal" (1949) as a loosely-moraled "Girl Friday" to Ray Milland, the boxing film "The Set-Up" (1949) as the beleaguered wife of washed-up boxer Robert Ryan, "Any Number Can Play" (1949) with Clark Gable and as a two-timing spouse in "Tension" (1949) with Richard Basehart.

 

Although the studio groomed Audrey to become a top star, it was not to be. Perhaps because she was too good at being bad. The 1950s film scene softened considerably and MGM began focusing on family-styled comedy and drama. Audrey's tough-talking dames were no longer a commodity and MGM soon dropped her in 1951. She signed for a time with Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox as well but her era had come and gone. Film offers began to evaporate. At around this time she married Leo Fred, a doctor, and instead began focusing on marriage and family. Leo Fred, would go on to become the Assistant Dean of Medicine at UCLA.

 

AudreyTotter7.jpg Audrey Totter

 

TV gave her career a slight boost in the 1960s and 1970s, including regular roles in "Cimarron City" (1958) and "Our Man Higgins" (1962) as a suburban mom opposite Stanley Holloway's British butler. After a period of semi-retirement, she came back to TV to replace Jayne Meadows in the popular television series "Medical Center" (1969) starring Chad Everett and James Daly. She played Nurse Wilcox, a recurring role, for four seasons (1972-1976). The 70-year-old Totter retired after a 1987 guest role on "Murder, She Wrote." Her husband died in 1995. Totter died of a stroke on December 12, 2013, eight days before her 96th birthday.

 

ConsolidatedVulteeAircraftAd-June1944.jpConsolidated Vultee Aircraft Ad - June 1944

 

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