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This Day in WWII 25 March 1940 - 1945


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1024.jpg?md=1332663279000 Buick Ad - March 1943

1940: The United States agrees to give Britain and France access to all American warplanes.

1941: Under heavy pressure Yugoslavia finally signs the Tripartite pact.

1024.jpg?md=1332663290000 *Janet Blair

1941: The Japanese foreign minister, on a visit to Berlin, announces, "The Japanese nation is with you in joy or sorrow...to arrange the world on the basis of the new order."

1942: US troops occupy the Society Islands.

1024.jpg?md=1332663295000 Janet Blair

1943: Greek partisans temporarily take over Samos Island from the Italian garrison.

1944: Manstein persuades Hitler to allow the First Panzer Army to break out to the west of Lvov, not south.

1024.jpg?md=1332663300000 Janet Blair

1945: The U.S. First Army breaks out of the Remagen bridgehead. The British Second Army captures Wesel which has been nearly 100% destroyed by Allied bombing.

1945: The U.S. pre-invasion bombardment of Okinawa begins as half a million shells and rockets are fired in a week.

1024.jpg?md=1332663304000 Janet Blair

*When it came to bright and polished, they didn't get much spiffier than singer/actress Janet Blair -- perhaps to her detriment in the long haul. At Columbia, she was usually overlooked for the roles that might have tested her dramatic mettle. Nevertheless, she pleased audiences as a pert and perky co-star to a number of bigger stars ranging from George Raft and Cary Grant to Red Skelton and 'The Dorsey Brothers'.

Born as Martha Jane Lafferty on April 23, 1921 (she took her acting surname from Blair County, Pennsylvania) in Altoona, Pennsylvania, she began her acting career on film in 1942, being placed under contract to Columbia Pictures. During World War II, she made a string of successful pictures, although she is today best remembered for playing Rosalind Russell's sister in "My Sister Eileen" (1942) and Rita Hayworth's best friend in "Tonight and Every Night" (1945). In the late 1940s, she was dropped by Columbia and did not return to pictures for several years.

Instead, she took the lead role of Nellie Forbush in a production of the stage musical "South Pacific", making more than 1,200 performances in three years. "I never missed a performance", she noted proudly.

1024.jpg?md=1332663309000 Janet Blair

Her career, however, took second place after marrying second husband, producer/director Nick Mayo in 1953, and raising their two children Amanda and Andrew. The couple met when he stage managed "South Pacific" and went on to co-own and operate Valley Music Theatre in Woodland Hills, California during the mid-1960s. There she played Maria in "The Sound of Music" and "Peter Pan" opposite Vincent Price's Dr. Hook, among others. Her second marriage lasted until the late 60s

She appeared on television on various variety shows and was also a summer replacement for Dinah Shore. She recorded an album entitled "Flame Out" for the Dico label. It was a collection of ballads like "Don't Explain" and "Then You've Never Been Blue".

She made a rare dramatic appearance in the 1962 British horror film "Night of the Eagle". Her last performance was on television in a 1991 episode of "Murder, She Wrote", starring Angela Lansbury.

She died of complications from pneumonia on February 19, 2007, aged 85, at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California.

1024.jpg?md=1332663285000 Coca-Cola Ad - March 1944

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