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This Day in WWII 6 May 1940 - 1945


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Lockheed-May1942.jpg Lockheed Aircraft Ad - May 1942

1940: Hitler again delays X-Day, this time till the 10th May.

1940: Francis Sayre is sent to Tokyo for talks with Foreign Minister Arita.

PhyllisCoates1.jpg *Phyllis Coates

1941: Bob Hope gives his first USO show at California's March Field.

1941: US Secretary for War advocates US Navy protection for British supply convoys.

PhyllisCoates2.jpg Phyllis Coates

1941: Stalin declares himself 'Chairman of the Council of Peoples Commissars'.

1941: The last Brigade of the British 10th Indian Division arrives at Basra with its commander Major General Bill Slim. Axis aircraft begin to land at the Mosul airfield in northern Iraq.

NorthAmericanAviation-May1944.jpg North American Aviation Ad - May 1944

1942: Corregidor surrenders after five months resistance, with 15,000 prisoners taken by 1,000 Japanese.

1942: B-17's from Australia spot the Port Moresby Invasion Fleet south of Bougainville. They attack the Japanese Carrier Shoho but miss. Admiral Fletcher is now convinced that the main Japanese force would make for the Jomard Passage between Papua and the Louisiade Archipelago and so organizes his forces for the coming battle.

1943: Hitler makes one of his increasingly rare visits to Berlin for Viktor Lutze's funeral.

ChampionSparkPlugs-May1944.jpg Champion Spark Plugs Ad - May 1944

1945: The last U-boats of the war sunk with all hands: U-853 and U-881 in the North Atlantic by US destroyer escorts, and U-3523 in the Baltic by the RAF.

1945: Axis Sally makes her final propaganda broadcast to Allied troops.

PhyllisCoates3.jpg Phyllis Coates

1945: The U.S. Fifth Army enters Austria from Italy.

1945: Breslau surrenders after an 82-day siege, during which the Russians inflicted 29,000 civilian and military casualties and took more than 40,000 prisoners.

PhyllisCoates4.jpg Phyllis Coates

*Born Gypsie Ann Evarts Stell on January 15, 1927 on her family's cattle ranch in Texas, American actress Phyllis Coates left home to attend UCLA. Shortly afterward she secured a dancing job with Ken Murray's Blackouts, a long-running LA-based stage review. She later danced for producer Earl Carroll and in a USO tour of "Anything Goes". Through the auspices of her first husband, director Richard Bare, Phyllis entered films in 1948 as leading lady of Warner Bros.' "Behind the Eight-Ball" short subjects series, playing Mrs. Joe McDoakes (George O'Hanlon). Coates stayed with the Eight-Ball series even after her marriage to Bare ended, and also appeared in supporting parts in such Warners features as "Look for the Silver Lining" (1949). In 1951, Coates was cast as reporter Lois Lane in Lippert Productions' "B"-feature "Superman and the Mole Men", wherein George Reeves played the dual role of Superman and Clark Kent for the first time. This week-long assignment led to both Reeves and Phyllis being cast in the subsequent Superman TV series. Coates played a strong-willed Lois Lane in the first 26 episodes of "Adventures of Superman", where she was given equal billing with George Reeves, even for episodes she did not appear in. Her powerful "damsel in distress" scream was used to good effect in several episodes. After shooting for the first season, the Superman producers suspended production until they found a national sponsor. When it came time to film more Superman episodes, Coates had already committed herself elsewhere. Noel Neill, who had played Lois Lane in the 1948-1950 serials opposite Kirk Alyn's Superman, succeeded her and became far more identified with the role. (George Reeves is said to have requested Coates to return to the role in 1959; his untimely death ended the series permanently.)

PhyllisCoatesGeorgeReeves.jpg Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane with George Reeves as Superman (1951)

Phyllis remained in films until the early 1960s, mostly in westerns "Marshall of Cedar Creek" [1953] and "Blood Arrow" [1958]) and also as the lead in one of the last Republic serials, "Panther Girl of the Kongo" (1953). She appeared in quite a few sci-fi and horror films as well; in "Invasion USA" (1952) one of her fellow cast members was Noel Neill, the actress who'd replaced her as Lois Lane on Superman. Phyllis remained active in television throughout her career, co-starring on the short-lived 1958 sitcom "This is Alice" and playing good guest roles in a multitude of series like "Perry Mason", "The Untouchables" and "The Patty Duke Show". Long in retirement, Phyllis Coates returned to films and TV in the early 1990s; one of her best latter-day roles was on the newest Superman TV incarnation, "Lois and Clark" where she plays Lois Lane's mother.

NorthAmericanAviation-May1945.jpg North American Aviation Ad - May 1945

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