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This Day in WWII 11 December 1940 – 1945


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BellTelephoneAd-Dec1942.jpgBell Telephone Ad - December 1942


1940: Sidi Barrani is captured along with over 20,000 Italians, bringing the total captured to nearly 38,000 in 2 days, along with 237 guns and 73 tanks. At this time, Wavell decides to withdraw the 4th Indian Division and send it to the Sudan. It will be replaced by the 6th Australian Division, although it will take some days for it to be ready.


Barbara%20Nichols1.jpg *Barbara Nichols


1941: In a speech before the Reichstag, Hitler, after denouncing the un-neutral and warlike anti-German policies of President Roosevelt and citing Germany's obligations under the Tri-Partite Pact with Japan and Italy, declares war on the United States. Italy follows suit some hours later.


1941: In response to Germany and Italy's declaration of war, the US reciprocates and declares war on both Germany and Italy. Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua also declare war on Germany and Italy.


Barbara%20Nichols2.jpg Barbara Nichols


1941: The British garrison in Hong Kong begin to withdraw from the mainland to Hong Kong Island itself. As a result of command and control problems, rumors and many desertions, the 11th Indian Division withdraws from Jitra towards Alor Star in northern Malaya, even though the Japanese troops facing them were inferior in numbers. The US garrison in Peking is forced to surrender to the Japanese.


Barbara%20Nichols3.jpg Barbara Nichols


1941: Japanese troops attempt to land on Wake Island, but US Marine gunners and airmen repulse the first landing attempt and sink two Japanese destroyers in the process. Further Japanese landings take place in the Philippines.


RelianceManufacturingAd-Dec1942.jpg Reliance Manufacturing Ad - December 1942


1942: In the last week the Royal Navy has lost the destroyers Pentlan, Porcupine and Blean, off Algeria.


1943: A Heavy USAAF raid on Emden kills 1,000 and makes 12,000 homeless.


Barbara%20Nichols4.jpg Barbara Nichols


1943: U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull demands that Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria withdraw from the war.


1945: A Boeing B-29 Superfortress shatters all records by crossing the United States in five hours and 27 minutes.


Barbara%20Nichols5.jpg Barbara Nichols

*The archetypal brassy, bosomy, Brooklynesque bimbo with the highly distinctive scratchy voice, Barbara Nichols was born Barbara Nickeraeur on December 30, 1929 in Queens, New York. The dame with the shapely frame began as a model and burlesque dancer, providing rather cheesy cheesecake in the late 40s and early 50s before managing to draw some attention in TV drama.


Nichols was a popular model in cheesecake magazines of the era and was considered a minor rival to Marilyn Monroe, along with Jayne Mansfield, Mamie Van Doren, Cleo Moore, Diana Dors and Sheree North. Unlike the rest, Nichols rarely starred in films, but had showy supporting roles in A-films starring such actors as Clark Gable, Susan Hayward, Sophia Loren, and Doris Day.


Hardly leading lady material, she found herself stealing focus anyway in small, wisecracking roles, managing at times to draw both humor and pathos out of her dim characters - sometimes simultaneously. Consigned for the long haul to playing strippers, gold-diggers, barflies, gun molls and other floozy types named Lola, Candy or even Poopsie, Barbara made the best of her stereotype, taking full advantage of the not-so-bad films that came her way. Most of them, of course, emphasized her physical endowments but she could also be very, very funny.


In the mid-1950s, she moved to Hollywood and began regularly appearing in second leads in a number of films including "Miracle in the Rain" (1956), "The King and Four Queens" (1956), "The Naked and the Dead" (1957), "That Kind of Woman" (1958), "Where the Boys Are" (1960).

Barbara%20Nichols6.jpg Barbara Nichols

By far the best of her lot came out in one year: "Pal Joey" (1957), "Sweet Smell of Success" (1957) and "The Pajama Game" (1957). By decade's end, though, her film career had hit the skids and she turned more and more to TV, guesting on "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1962), "Adam-12" (1968), "Twilight Zone" (1959) (2 episodes in 1961; including the genuinely terrifying "Twenty-Two"), "The Untouchables" (1959) and "Batman" (1966), to name a few. She landed only one regular series role, the very short-lived sitcom "Love That Jill" (1958) starring husband-and-wife team Anne Jeffreys and Robert Sterling. Barbara played a model named "Ginger". She also co-starred on Broadway with George Gobel in the musical "Let It Ride" in 1961 and scraped up a few low-budget movies from time to time, including the thoroughly mediocre sci-fi flick "The Human Duplicators" (1965) starring George Nader and Richard Kiel, who played "Jaws" in the James Bond film series. Her last film was "Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood" in 1976.


By the mid-70s, Barbara had developed a life-threatening liver disease. Her health deteriorated rapidly and she died on October 5, 1976 at the age of 46. Looking back, you have to hand it to Barbara. As the song from "Gypsy" emphasizes, "You gotta have a gimmick". Barbara did -- and she worked it. Like such other lurid platinum-blonde bombshells as Jayne Mansfield, Mamie Van Doren, Joi Lansing, Barbara Payton and Diana Dors, she rolled with the punches. Unlike those others, she had genuine talent.



Measurements: 34-25-35 (in 1948), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

Height: 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Was the cover girl for Modern Man Magazine September 1956.

RevereCopperandBrassAd-Dec41942.jpg Revere Copper and Brass Ad - December 1942

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