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This Day in WWII 23 June 1940 - 1945


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SperryCorpAd-June1943.jpgSperry Corporation Ad - June 1943



1940: The German advance continues down west coast of France. Pierre Laval is appointed as Vice-Premier, while de Gaulle is cashiered by Weygand for announcing the formation of French National Committee in London. First British commando raid on France is made at Le Touquet. Hitler makes a brief sightseeing visit to Paris. Driving through nearly empty streets, he makes a special point of viewing Napoleon's tomb, ending his tour at the Eiffel tower.


1941: US Under-Secretary of State, backs Churchill's aid-for-Russia policy.


1941: The Red Army launches an armored counter-attack near Tilsit in Lithuania, but this is repulsed with heavy losses. German forces cross the River Bug, bypassing Brest-Litovsk from the North and South and penetrating 50 miles into Russian occupied Poland. Slovakia declares war on the Soviet Union.


LubaMalina1.jpg*Luba Malina



1942: The Russians withdraw to the South side of Sevastopol's bay, preserving their front, as the bombardment and German attacks increase.


1942: German advanced elements reach the Egyptian border. Rommel signals Kesselring for permission to continue the advance in to Egypt, pointing out that at Tobruk his forces has captured large quantities of fuel and supplies.


LubaMalina2.jpgLuba Malina



1943: A coal strike is Appalachia is finally settled. President Roosevelt warns the miners that if they strike again, he will draft them into the army so that they will be forced to work.


1944: Eden tells the Commons ' the facts' about the killing of 50 'escaping' RAF officers at Stalag Luft III, saying 'These prisoners of war were murdered'.


LubaMalina3.jpgLuba Malina



1944: Generaloberst Dietl, C-in-C of 20th Gebirgs Army on the Arctic front in northern Finland, is killed in an air crash.


1944: In one of the largest air strikes of the war, the U.S. Fifteenth Air Force sends 761 bombers against the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania.


LubaMalina4.jpgLuba Malina


1945: The San Francisco Conference Co-ordination Committee, completes the text of the UN Charter.


LubaMalina5.jpgLuba Malina



*Luba Malina was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, the daughter of Vatali Malina, a member of the Moscow Art Theater. She started her career on-stage at the age of five, as a member of Anna Pavlova's children's ballet. The family fled the hardship of post-revolutionary Russia when she was seven and came to America after seven years in Shanghai and three years in London and Paris. Malina studied in Greenwich Village, and her good looks opened lots of doors for her as a performer, although she was initially looked upon as a very serious singer, rather than a comedienne. She appeared in musicals produced by the Shuberts and sang in clubs such as the Copacabana and the Versailles in New York, and the Chez Paree in Chicago. Malina also showed up in a handful of "soundies" (Soundies were an early version of the music video: three-minute musical films, produced in New York, Chicago, and Hollywood between 1940 and 1946, often including short dance sequences.) during the early '40s, including "Cuban Pete", "Minnie From Trinidad", and "A Gay Ranchero", playing Latina roles of the Carmen Miranda type, although, with her physique, she more resembled Charo crossed with Katy Jurado. In fairness, those appearances, for which she was billed as Luba "Molina," and the fact that she was also apparently billed at one point as Raquel Malina, and some inconsistencies in the dates and accounts of her family's Russian and Shanghai travels, raise some questions about her background. Regardless of the details, however, she made her Broadway debut in Mike Todd's production of "Priorities of 1942", in which she first showed off her comedic, tempestuous side. Her subsequent credits, in addition to "Mexican Hayride", included "Marinka", "Festival", "Roberta" (as Scharwenka), and Noel Coward's "Nude With Violin".


When Universal Pictures brought the Broadway musical "Mexican Hayride" to the screen in 1948, they threw away a big chunk of Herbert and Dorothy Fields' book -- and all of Cole Porter's score -- and they rebuilt it all around the talents of rotund, roly-poly movie comic Lou Costello in place of Bobby Clark, who'd done it on Broadway. The only thing they kept from the play, apart from its title and a few character names, was Luba Malina. In the play, she was Dagmar Marshak, the overeager phrenologist who torments Bobby Clark, and in the movie she was the gorgeous, tempestuous confidence woman Dagmar, who torments Lou Costello. It was Malina's only feature-film role, but it was enough to leave generations of young male Abbott & Costello fans totally enamored with the fiery actress.


Malina worked steadily through the 1940s and '50s, juggling her career -- which included engagements in Las Vegas alongside veteran comic Bert Wheeler -- and a marriage to prominent New York attorney (and one-time Congressional candidate) Myron Sulzberger Jr. Among her later credits was the topical comedy "Julia, Jake and Uncle Joe", with Claudette Colbert. She was a guest on Ed Sullivan's "Toast of the Town" early in its run, and her last small-screen appearance was a role in an episode of "Diagnosis: Unknown" in 1960. Whatever her origins, Malina proved in "Mexican Hayride" that she could mangle the English language as comically as Carmen Miranda, declaring to the hapless Lou Costello, "I will work my bones to the finger." She died in July 1982 in New York, New York, USA.


SperryCorpAd-June1944.jpgSperry Corporation Ad - June 1944


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