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This Day in WWII 8 August 1940 - 1945


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Buick Ad - August 1944


1940: The Luftwaffe renews its attacks against Channel convoys and its escorts, with heavy air battles occurring over the Channel. The Germans lose 31 aircraft against the RAF's 16. The Home Secretary announces July civilian air raid casualty figures as 258 killed and 320 seriously injured.


1940: British forces pay increased by 6d per day; privates' pay up to 17s 6d a week.


Joan%20Blondell1.jpg *Joan Blondell


1940: Romania introduces anti-Jewish measures restricting education and employment, then later begins "Romanianization" of Jewish businesses.


1941: Uman pocket eliminated. 103,000 Russian prisoners taken by the Germans.


Joan%20Blondell2.jpg Joan Blondell


1942: Six convicted Nazi saboteurs who had landed in the United States were executed in Washington, D.C.


1942: The commander of US ground forces, Eisenhower establishes a HQ in the UK.


Joan%20Blondell3.jpg Joan Blondell


1942: U.S. Marines take the unfinished airfield on Guadalcanal and name it Henderson Field after Maj. Lofton Henderson, a hero of Midway.


1942: Japanese naval counter-attack beaten off in Solomon Islands.


FisherBodyAd-August1944.jpg Fisher Body Ad - August 1944


1943: A Royal decree places Italy under a state of siege.


1944: 3,462 tons of bombs are dropped on the German lines South of Caen by 1,020 RAF planes.


1944: Patton's Third Army takes Le Mans.


Joan%20Blondell4.jpg Joan Blondell


1944: The Canadians launch Operation 'Totalize' South of Caen, with 600 tanks and 720 guns. Canadians take the Falaise Road.


1944: American troops complete the capture of the Mariana Islands.



Featured in the "HUMP EXPRESS", the official weekly newspaper of the India-China Division (ICD) of the Air Transport Command (ATC) of the U.S. Army Air Force in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater of World War II - March 15, 1945


1945: President Harry S. Truman signed the United Nations Charter.


1945: Soviets declares war on Japan.


Joan%20Blondell5.jpg Joan Blondell

*Joan was born Rose Joan Blondell on August 30, 1906 in New York City, New York. With blonde hair, big blue eyes and a big smile, Joan was usually cast as the wisecracking working girl who was the lead's best friend. Born into vaudeville to a comic named Eddie, Joan was on the stage when she was three years old. For years, she toured the circuit with her parents and joined a stock company when she was 17. She made her New York debut with the Ziegfeld Follies and appeared in several Broadway productions. She was starring with James Cagney on Broadway in "Penny Arcade" (1929) when Warner Brothers decided to film the play as "Sinners' Holiday" (1930). Both Cagney and Joan were given the leads, and the film was a success. She would be teamed with Cagney again in "The Public Enemy" (1931) and "Blonde Crazy" (1931) among others. In "The Office Wife" (1930), she stole the scene when she was dressing for work. While Warner Brothers made Cagney a star, Joan never rose to that level. In gangster movies or musicals, her performances were good enough for second leads, but not first lead. In the 1930s, she made a career playing gold-diggers and happy-go-lucky girlfriends. She would be paired with Dick Powell in ten musicals during these years, and they were married for ten years. By 1939, Joan had left Warner Brothers to become an independent actress, but by then, the blonde role was being defined by actresses like Veronica Lake. Her work slowed greatly as she went into straight comedy or dramatic roles. Three of her better roles were in "Topper Returns" (1941), "Cry 'Havoc'" (1943), and "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" (1945). By the 50s, Joan would garner an Academy Award nomination for "The Blue Veil" (1951), but her biggest career successes would be on the stage, including a musical version of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." In 1957, Joan would again appear on the screen as a drunk in "Lizzie" (1957) and as mature companion to Jayne Mansfield in "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" (1957). While she would appear in a number of television shows during the 50s and 60s, she had the regular role of Winifred on "The Real McCoys" (1957) during the 1963 season. Her role in the drama "The Cincinnati Kid" (1965) was well received, but most of her remaining films would be comedies such as "Waterhole #3" (1967) and "Support Your Local Gunfighter" (1971). Still in demand for TV, she was cast as Lottie on "Here Come the Brides" (1968) and as Peggy on "Banyon" (1972). Blondell was seen in featured roles in two films released shortly before her death, "Grease" (1978) and the remake of "The Champ" (1979).

Joan%20Blondell6.jpg Joan Blondell

Blondell was married three times, first to cinematographer George Barnes in a private wedding ceremony on 4 January 1933 at the First Presbyterian Church in Phoenix, Arizona. They had one child Norman S. Powell, who became an accomplished producer, director, and television executive and divorced in 1936. On 19 September 1936, she married her second husband, actor, director, and singer Dick Powell. They had a daughter, Ellen Powell, who became a studio hair stylist, and Powell adopted her son by her previous marriage. Blondell and Powell were divorced on 14 July 1944.

On 5 July 1947, Blondell married her third husband, producer Mike Todd, whom she divorced in 1950. Her marriage to Todd was an emotional and a financial disaster. She once accused him of holding her outside a hotel window by her ankles. He was also a heavy spender who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars gambling (high-stakes bridge was one of his weaknesses) and went through a controversial bankruptcy during their marriage. An often-repeated myth is that Mike Todd "dumped" Joan Blondell for Elizabeth Taylor. In actuality, Blondell left Todd of her own accord two years before he met Taylor.

She died of leukemia in Santa Monica, California, on Christmas Day 1979 at the age of 73 with her children and her sister at her bedside.

BuickAd-August1945.jpgBuick Ad - August 1945

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