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This Day in WWII 19 December 1939 - 1945


Donster
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WillysJeepAd-Dec1943.jpg Willys Jeep Ad - December 1943

1939: The Russians lose 20 tanks out of 100 as they continue to attack at Summa.

1940: Mussolini requests German assistance for his hard-pressed troops in Cyrenaica, asking for a Panzer Division, Luftwaffe units and various logistical support.

Barbara%20Lang1.jpg *Barbara Lang

1941: Hitler orders that there should be 'No withdrawal' by the German Army and that it should stand and fight where it is.

1941: British retake the Libyan city of Derna from axis forces.

1941: Frogmen of the Italian Navy penetrate the port of Alexandria in Egypt and cripple the British battleships HMS Valiant and Queen Elizabeth, along with a destroyer and a tanker. This means that Cunningham had lost all his battleships and could no longer muster a force strong enough to take on the Italian fleet.

Barbara%20Lang2.jpg Barbara Lang

1941: British troops evacuate Penang in Malaya.

1941: Colombia severs diplomatic relations with Germany and Italy.

Barbara%20Lang3.jpg Barbara Lang

1942: Manstein's tanks are only 30 miles South of Stalingrad.

1942: The British advance 40 miles into Burma in a drive to oust the Japanese from the colony.

Barbara%20Lang4.jpg Barbara Lang

1943: A pitched battle is reported between the resistance and Germans troops in Bernex, eastern France.

1943: 50,000 people turn out to watch the hanging of the "Kharkov Four" in Kharkov city square.

RCAVictorAd-Dec1944.jpg RCA Victor Ad - December 1944

1944: Nearly 9,000 surrounded Americans surrender in the Schnee Eifel, the most serious U.S. reverse in Europe. SHAEF orders the 101st Airborne Division as well as the 10th Armoured Division to be detached from 3rd Army and moved North to aid the 28th Infantry Division in its defense of the vital road junction of Bastogne.

1944: During the Battle of the Bulge, American troops begin pulling back from the twin Belgian cities of Krinkelt and Rocherath in front of the advancing German Army.

1945: Eleanor Roosevelt, the widow of the late President is appointed as one of first U.S. delegates to the UN.

Barbara%20Lang5.jpg Barbara Lang

*Actress Barbara Lang was a beautiful, brassy "B"-level blonde of the 50s in the Barbara Payton mold. Lang's life was certainly not as reckless as that of Payton, who also flourished during the 1950s, but it did have its share of roller coaster rides. She also did not make as many films as Payton -- three to be exact.

Born Barbara Jean Bly on March 2, 1928, Barbara was the daughter of a silent movie dancer, Esther Kaufman, who went by the name Maureen Knight, and a non-professional father, Leonidis Bly. Born in Pasadena, California, she was raised in the Los Angeles area and started out her teen years toiling as a jewelry sales girl and used her nubile features and curvy figure to her advantage as a part-time model. She also earned tips as a cocktail lounge singer and piano player but avoided nightclubs per se because of the propositioning male clientèle that frequented them.

Lang suffered an attack of poliomyelitis in late 1953. She spent three weeks in the polio ward of Los Angeles General Hospital. Another eight months were required to convalesce. Lang was told that she might never walk again. She turned to the Bible during this time and reportedly credited faith for performing a miracle. Shortly after being stricken, her legs and facial muscles were paralyzed, and she had difficulty speaking. The lingering effect she experienced most was tiring easily.

After her recovery she pursued an acting career, and one of Barbara's earliest acting jobs was on a few episodes of "Death Valley Days" in 1955 and 1956. Barbara met her first husband, actor and co-star Alan Wells, on one of those episodes. The couple married in 1956. A talent scout happened to catch Barbara's appearance on the show and MGM took an interest. As a result, she signed with the studio and began taking dramatic lessons. The starlet's first role was a bit part in "Hot Summer Night" (1957). She then progressed to the lead role in the prison noir "House of Numbers" (1957) as the wife of jailbird Jack Palance, which was actually filmed inside the walls of Folsom Prison. It seemed Barbara was on her way.

Barbara%20Lang6.jpg Barbara Lang

A huge disappointment then for Barbara was when she lost out on the co-starring role opposite Elvis Presley in "Jailhouse Rock" (1957). After being initially named by the studio for the part, Judy Tyler was given the coveted role instead. Tragically, Ms. Tyler was killed in a car crash shortly after the filming. Instead Barbara went on to play the supporting role of Ginger D'Amour, a 30's gangster-styled showgirl in the film noir "Party Girl" (1958) starring veteran MGM stars 'Robert Taylor' and Cyd Charisse.

In the meantime Barbara tried to keep on track with TV guest roles playing sexy foils in both crime drama ("Maverick," "77 Sunset Strip") and comedy ("The Bob Cummings Show," "Car 54, Where Are You?") but things soon slowed down to a halt. With her annulment from Wells finalized in 1958 and a career going into an abrupt tailspin, Barbara attempted suicide in 1959 with an overdose of sleeping pills.

She recovered but her career did not. She later married and divorced a second time. Little was heard from Barbara until her reported death from pneumonia at the relatively young age of 54 on July 22, 1982 in Los Angeles.

TRIVIA:

Spouse:

John George (18 March 1967 - March 1972) (divorced)

Alan Webb (1956 - 1958) (annulled)

William McCorkle (1946 - 1952) (divorced) 2 children

Is listed among 15 other young actresses predicted for stardom and presented at the Deb Star Ball in Hollywood in 1957 by the Hollywood Make-Up and Hair Stylists.

Two daughters are Pam and Chreryl, both live in Oregon.

UnitedStatesRubberAd-Dec1944.jpg United States Rubber Ad - December 1944

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