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This Day in WWII 26 February 1941 - 1945 *1936


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1024.jpg?md=1330252940000 Pontiac Ad - February 1943

1941: British take the Somali capital in East Africa.

1941: Franco, in response to Hitler's appeal to enter the war, says 'I stand today already at your side, entirely and decidedly at your disposal,' but refuses to enter the war.

vivianblaine.jpg **Vivian Blaine

1942: The RAF launch an attack against the battleship Gneisenau, which is being repaired at Kiel's floating dock. The damage caused is severe and the battleship is never again put to sea under her own power.

1942: Churchill exhorts General Auchinleck to launch an offensive against the German and Italian forces that are gathering in front of the Gazala line. He reminds Auchinleck that the longer he waits, the more time Rommel will have to rebuild his strength. To this General Auchinleck reply's that his intention is to first build up an armoured striking force as quickly as possible and strengthen the defenses of the Gazala line. Only then would he mount a major offensive, which he advised Churchill would be in early June.

1942: While carrying Army fighters to the Netherlands East Indies, the first U.S. carrier, the USS Langley, is sunk by Japanese bombers.

vivblaine.jpg Vivian Blaine

1943: U.S. Flying Fortresses and Liberators pound German docks and U-boat lairs at Wilhelmshaven.

1943: Von Arnim launches a five-day counter attack in northern Tunisia, gaining some ground. Montgomery issues the plan Operation 'Pugilist', which is to smash the Mareth defensive Line in southern Tunisia.

1944: Bad weather ends 'Big Week', during which 26 German aircraft production related factories are hit putting German monthly production down by 20%.

texacoadfeb1943.jpg Texaco Ad - February 1943

1945: The attacks by the US Ninth Army into the Hürtgen Forest make little progress.

1945: Army Group Courland repulses heavy Red Army attacks in the area of Prekuln.

vivianblaine4.jpg Vivian Blaine

1945: Syria declares war on Germany and Japan.

1945: U.S. Marines land on Verde Island, to the Southeast of Manila.

*1936: Japanese military troops march into Tokyo to conduct a coup and assassinate political leaders.

vivianblaine1.jpg Vivian Blaine

**Born Vivian Stapleton on November 21, 1921 in Newark, New Jersey, the cherry-blonde-haired Blaine appeared on local stages as early as 1934 and was a touring singer with dance bands starting in 1937. In 1942, her agent and soon-to-be husband Manny Franks signed her to a contract with Twentieth Century-Fox, and she relocated to Hollywood, sharing top billing with Laurel and Hardy in "Jitterbugs" (1943) and starring in "Greenwich Village" (1944), "Something for the Boys" (1944), "Nob Hill" (1945), and "State Fair" (1945), among other films.

vivianblaine2.jpg Vivian Blaine with Michael O'Shea in "Something for the Boys" (1944)

Following her Fox years, Blaine returned to the stage, making her Broadway debut in the Frank Loesser musical "Guys and Dolls" in 1950. Her character Adelaide has been engaged to inveterate gambler Nathan Detroit for 14 years, a condition which, according to her song "Adelaide's Lament", can foster physical illness as well as chronic heartbreak. After the show's 1200-performance run on Broadway, in which she starred opposite Sam Levene as Nathan Detroit and Robert Alda as fellow gambler Sky Masterson, she reprised the role in London's West End in 1953, and then on film in 1955, with Frank Sinatra playing Nathan and Marlon Brando in Sky's role.

Blaine also appeared on the Broadway stage in "A Hatful of Rain", "Say, Darling", "Enter Laughing", "Company", and "Zorba", as well as participating in the touring companies of such musicals as "Gypsy". As she reached age 50, her television career took off, with guest roles on shows like "Fantasy Island" and "The Love Boat". On the 25th annual Tony Awards in 1971, she appeared as a guest performer and sang "Adelaide's Lament" from "Guys and Dolls", providing a visual recording of the performance for posterity.

Blaine's first marriage, to Franks, lasted from 1945 to 1956. She then married Milton Rackmil, president of Universal Studios and Decca Records, in 1959, and recorded several albums prior to their 1961 divorce. In 1973, Blaine married Stuart Clark. In 1983 she became the first celebrity to make public service announcements for AIDS-related causes. She made numerous appearances in support of the then fledgling AIDS-Project Los Angeles (APLA) and recorded her cabaret act which donated its royalties to the new group; this included the last recordings of her songs from "Guys and Dolls".

She died of congestive heart failure on December 9, 1995 at age 74 in New York City.


Measurements: 34 1/2-24-35 (source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine).

Height: 5' 2" (1.57 m)


Stuart Clark (21 December 1973 - 9 December 1995) (her death)

Milton Rackmil (9 May 1959 - 25 July 1961) (divorced)

Manny Franks (10 January 1945 - 10 December 1956) (divorced)

1024.jpg?md=1330252948000 Pontiac Ad - February 1944

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Yes, Pontiac, it's all very well showing your engineering prowess by removing the extra weight from that cannon, but it's a pity you didn't do the same for your cars.

Years ago, a friend of mine imported a TransAm (mid 70's model I guess) which looked great parked. In motion however, despite its huge engine (~7litre), it would be completely blown away by any british,european or jap car with >2litre engine size...and even 1 litre cars if there were corners involved.

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American muscle cars were never lightweights. Even the Mustang, which started out as a lightweight, gained weight with each new model year, culminating in the massive Mustangs of 1971-1973. Handling has never been a strong point for them either, built to accelerate and go in a straight line, but not not built to take curves. The top ad highlights the engineering prowess of U.S. manufacturing at the time, sadly, I think nearly all of that has now been out-sourced. :(

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