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This Day in WWII 10 July 1940 - 1945

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CadillacAd-July1943.jpgCadillac Ad - July 1943

 

1940: Birthday Honours list includes only service recipients. British Union Party (Fascists) banned.

 

1940: Preliminary phase of Battle of Britain begins with German air attacks on Channel convoys with the aim of tempting the RAF in to battle. The Luftwaffe launches its first large scale attack on Britain as 70 aircraft attack the dock facilities at Swansea and the Royal Ordnance Factory at Pembrey in Wales.

 

Penny%20Singleton1.jpg *Penny Singleton

 

1941: Panzer Group 1 repulses a violent Soviet counter-attack in the area of Korosten to the west of Kiev.

 

1941: The Finnish Karelian Army begins an offensive toward Lake Ladoga to the Northeast of Leningrad.

 

1941: Germans urge Japan to enter war.

 

Penny%20Singleton2.jpg Penny Singleton

 

1942: General Carl Spaatz becomes the head of the U.S. Air Force in Europe.

 

1942: The first two ships of the ill-fated Arctic convoy PQI7, arrive at Archangel.

 

Penny%20Singleton3.jpg Penny Singleton

 

1942: Germans admit substantial Russian forces are east of the Don. Panzer units of 4th Panzer Army and 6th Army of Army Group B join up just North of Kalach on the Don, while 17th Army and 1st Panzer Army of Army Group A continue their advance toward Rostov.

 

1942: Admiral Chester Nimitz is awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for meritorious service, with special attention focused on the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway.

 

CadillacAd-July1944.jpg Cadillac Ad - July 1944

 

1943: Operation 'Husky', the Allied invasion of Sicily, is now fully underway with 12 divisions (160,000 men and 600 tanks) of the British Eighth and U.S. Seventh Armies being brought ashore by 3,000 landing craft (200 sunk by rough seas) on the south-east coast of Sicily. While the British approaching Syracuse meet with little German resistance, the U.S. forces are held back by strong counter-attacks of the Hermann Goring and the Italian Livorno Divisions.

 

1945: The USSR, U.K. and U.S. agree on the administration of greater Berlin and decide that France is to be included.

 

Penny%20Singleton4.jpg Penny Singleton (Front & Center)

 

1945: U.S. carrier-based aircraft begin airstrikes against Japan in preparation for invasion.

 

1945: 1000 bomber raids against Japan begin.

 

Penny%20Singleton5.jpg Penny Singleton

*Born Marianna Dorothy Agnes Letitia McNulty on September 15, 1908 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and known as Dorothy McNulty, she was the daughter of an Irish-American newspaperman, Benny McNulty - from whom she received the nickname 'Penny' (because she was "as bright as a penny"). She began her show business career as a child by singing at a silent movie theater, and toured in vaudeville as part of an act called "The Kiddie Kabaret". She sang and danced with Milton Berle, whom she had known since childhood, and actor Gene Raymond, and appeared on Broadway in Jack Benny's Great Temptations.

Singleton appeared as a nightclub singer in "After the Thin Man" (1936), and was credited at this time as Dorothy McNulty. She was cast opposite Arthur Lake (as Dagwood) in the feature film "Blondie" in 1938, based on the comic strip by Chic Young. They repeated their roles on a radio comedy beginning in 1939, and in guest appearances on other radio shows. As Dagwood and Blondie Bumstead, they proved so popular that a succession of 27 sequels were made from 1938 until 1950. The radio show ended the same year. Singleton's husband Robert Sparks produced 12 of these sequels. Singleton dyed her brunette hair blonde for the rest of her life.

 

During the 12-year run of the Blondie series, Penny Singleton had little success in being hired for other roles because producers, directors and even audiences saw her as Blondie and nothing else. Penny, however, was a shrewd businesswoman. She created the concept of residuals the practice of paying actors for repeat broadcasts of their shows or movies and had a residuals clause written into her Blondie contract. Penny even coined the term residuals.

 

Penny%20Singleton6.jpg Penny Singleton

 

Once the Blondie craze reached the end of its run in the early 50's, she found herself out of work. She was known as an All-American housewife popular comic strip character and had received thousands of letters a year from women asking her advice on everything from budgeting to cooking. She had liked this aspect of being Blondie, but clearly she was anxious to broaden her horizons as an entertainer. Rather than becoming bitter and retreating as many other typecast actors have done, she got more energetic, saying: "When the show closes, get a new act" and went on tour with her own night club show. This eventually led to USO tours in Korea military bases.

 

Penny Singleton took on an entirely new role in the 1960s when she was elected vice president of the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA), a performers' union. Entertainment workers in those days of daily live performances were exploited by the theaters, and often put in seven-day weeks with no allowed sick days. Performers' pay was docked if they missed a performance, no matter what the reason. Penny Singleton was adamant that producers and club owners making a profit from variety artists' work be classified as employers, and pay social security and unemployment compensation, as well as contribute to pension plans -- something they had never done before. In New York, the union had been controlled by members of the organized crime families who stole the union's money and did nothing for the workers' welfare. Penny was determined to drive out the Mafia and she succeeded, but not without some personal danger. In the late 60's, after an intense two-month strike led by Ms. Singleton against the famous New York Latin Quarter nightclub, rather than agree to these terms, it closed down altogether. In 1967, she led the Rockettes in a successful strike against Radio City Music Hall and 1969, she was instrumental in starting the first AGVA branch office in Las Vegas. In the summer of 1970, she led the first ever strike against Disneyland. At that time, Disney was recruiting college students to do the work, giving college credit and housing for the summer in lieu of higher wages. When Penny Singleton was elected president of AGVA in 1969, she became the first woman to be president of an AFL-CIO union. She also toured in nightclubs and roadshows of plays and musicals.

 

She became familiar to television audiences as the voice of Jane Jetson in the animated series "The Jetsons", which originally aired from 1962 until 1963, reprising the role for a syndicated revival from 1985 through 1988 and for assorted specials, records, and "Jetsons: The Movie" (1990).

Singleton died on November 12, 2003 (aged 95) in Sherman Oaks, California following a stroke.

 

TRIVIA:

She was married to Dr. Laurence Scogga Singleton, a dentist, from 1937 until their divorce in 1939. She was married to Robert Sparks from 1941 until his death on July 22, 1963. Singleton had a daughter with each of her husbands.

She was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6811 Hollywood Boulevard and for Motion Pictures at 6547 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

 

Anheuser-Busch-July1945.jpg Anheuser-Busch Ad - July 1945

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