Femmes Fatales Oct 21 2023
GREAT BIG PUMPKIN
You don't know jack-o'-lantern.


How many people have made jack-o'-lanterns without knowing anything about them? Plenty, we bet. The term comes from an Irish myth about a man named Stingy Jack (sometimes Jack the Smith, Drunk Jack, or Flaky Jack), a folkloric deceiver whose lies and tricks resulted in him having to wander the world after his death, admitted to neither Heaven nor Hell, lighting his way with an ember inside a hollowed out rutabaga. We don't know if rutabagas were ever used for jack-o'-lanterns, but if they were the switch to pumpkins was a good one. Rutabagas aren't scary. Unless you have to eat them.

Posing with en enormous plaster jack-o'-lantern is U.S. actress Anne Nagel, whose Hollywood career spanned about twenty-five years. She acted in (including uncredited appearances) about a hundred films, among them the crime dramas Bungalow 13, Escape by Night, Armed Car Robbery, and The Trap. Nagel is a good femme fatale choice for this time of year because her personal life was even scarier than these photos. Her first husband committed suicide, she allegedly had problems with alcohol, she never accumulated much money despite her many screen performances, and she died of cancer at age fifty.

Here's the most frightening story of all. In 1947 she filed a $350,000 lawsuit against a surgeon who she claimed removed some of her reproductive organs in 1936 without consent when he performed an appendectomy on her. Could you even imagine? Nagel said she had no idea until shortly before filing suit more than a decade later, but the surgeon countered that Nagel knew exactly what he was going to do. We don't know how the case turned out, but given the era we bet she didn't win. These photos, no longer very scary after hearing that story, are from 1940.
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
June 22
1944—G.I. Bill Goes into Effect
U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Servicemen's Readjustment Act into law. Commonly known as the G.I. Bill of Rights, or simply G.I. Bill, the grants toward college and vocational education, generous unemployment benefits, and low interest home and business loans the Bill provided to nearly ten million military veterans was one of the largest factors involved in building the vast American middle class of the 1950s and 1960s.
June 21
1940—Smedley Butler Dies
American general Smedley Butler dies. Butler had served in the Philippines, China, Central America, the Caribbean and France, and earned sixteen medals, five of which were for heroism. In 1934 he was approached by a group of wealthy industrialists wanting his help with a coup against President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and in 1935 he wrote the book War Is a Racket, explaining that, based upon his many firsthand observations, warfare is always wholly about greed and profit, and all other ascribed motives are simply fiction designed to deceive the public.
June 20
1967—Muhammad Ali Sentenced for Draft Evasion
Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, who was known as Cassius Clay before his conversion to Islam, is sentenced to five years in prison for refusing to serve in the military during the Vietnam War. In elucidating his opposition to serving, he uttered the now-famous phrase, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.”
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