Monday, October 31, 2011

Altered States: Movie Homes and Their Actual Locations-- Part 3

Just in time for Halloween.

In 1969's "Rosemary's Baby" was in an apartment building at West 72nd Street in New York City. But, the building, called the Dakota, is better known for the death of Beatle John Lennon.

The 1978 film "Halloween" was set in the fictional Midwest town of Haddonfield. But, Michael was actually stalking a house in North Orange Grove Avenue in Los Angeles.

Exterior house shots from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" were taken at a home on Cota Avenue in Torrance, California. Buffy's high school, Sunnydale, is just down the street at Torrance High School.

The witch's house in 1957's "The Undead" was actually built in the 1920s in a movie studio, but has since been moved to a lot on Walden Drive in Beverly Hills.

"House on Haunted Hill" (1959) was the 1924 Frank Lloyd Wright Ennis House on a hill in the Los Feliz neighborhood of LA.

The party never ends at the mansion on Bull Street in Savannah, Georgia, in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."

You can find a lot more information in the article.

So Much for the Haunted Homes. --Cooter

Altered States: Scary Movie Homes and Their Actual Locations-- Part 2

In the 2009 movie "Zombieland," Bill Murray's Hollywood mansion was visited. But the 40,000 square foot mansion was actually on Atlanta's West Paces Ferry Road and you can buy it right now for a mere $22.5 million.

The house featured in 1984's "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is not in Springwood, Ohio (which was fictional itself), but was on Genesee Avenue in Los Angeles.

The townhouse featured in 1973's "Exorcist" was at Prospect Street NW in Georgetown (outside Washington, DC). The movie was based on a real exorcism, however, which really took place at the nearby Maryland suburb of Mt. Rainier.

In the "Thriller" music video, Michael and his zombies chase his date into a Victorian house, whose location was never mentioned. But, it is on Carroll Avenue, Los Angeles.

In nearby Pasadena, Ca., the Omega Beta Zeta house, featured in "Scream 2" is on East Crary Street.

More to Come. --DaCoot

Altered States: Scary Movie Homes and Their Actual Locations-- Part 1

Believe it or not, some supposed movie locations aren't really filmed there. Just like "Groundhog Day" was filmed in Punxsutawney, Pa. and "Animal House" wasn't filmed back east.

From the Oct. 30th Chicago Tribune "Altered States" by Lew Sichelman (UPS).


A Nightmare on Elm St.
Thriller (OK, it's really a music video)
Scream 2
The Undead
House on Haunted Hill


Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Rosemary's Baby


The Exorcist


Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil



More Info to Come. --Cooter

Saturday, October 29, 2011

USS North Carolina: A Big Thanks to James S. Craig and Hugh Morton-- Part 3

Cyril Adams surveyed Southport and Morehead City. Both were large enough, but vulnerable to hurricanes. Wilmington would provide a more protected berth for the battleship.

In 1961, North Carolina had a new governor, terry Sanford, a former World War II paratrooper. He appointed Morton the head of a state commission to bring the North Carolina home. This began the Save the Battleship effort which was supported by Admiral Chester Nimitz, wartime commander of the US Pacific Fleet and Admiral Arleigh Burke, current Chief of Naval Operations. Said Nimitz, "her presence in a task force was enough to keep morale at a peak."

The estimate to tow the North Carolina from New York City was $250,000 and the Battleship Commission was to be self-supporting, so funds were needed.

Morton instituted a state-wide group of fleet admirals in each of the state's 100 counties to raise money.

President John F. Kennedy, a Navy man himself, had a commission bought for him and the state archives still has a letter from him thanking Morton for the honor.

More to Come. --DaCoot

USS North Carolina: A Big Thanks to James S. Craig and Hugh Morton-- Part 2

Continued from my Oct. 14th post.

Hugh Morton also helped start the North Carolina Azalea Festival in 1948. This project started as a way to help restore public morale in Wilmington after the "boomtown" years of World War II, when the population ballooned to over 100,000 because of war industry.

Then, in 1960, the city's biggest employer, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad moved its headquarters from the city to Jacksonville, Florida, taking hundreds of jobs.

Wilmington decided the time had come to develop a tourist industry and the USS North Carolina was to be a keystone of the effort.

In 1948, the state of Texas had acquired the USS Texas with similar intentions. Morton's group contacted Cyril Adams, a Houston-based marine engineer who had handled the problems of relocating the Texas.

Four possible state sites for the USS North Carolina: Morehead City, Swansboro, Southport and Carlina Beach (the last two by Wilmington). Swansboro and Carolina Beach quickly fell out of the running.

More to Come. --Cooter

Friday, October 28, 2011

USS Iowa Begins Final Voyage-- Part 2

There was quite a battle to see whether San Francisco or Los Angeles would get the Iowa. Its sisters are already museum ships: the Missouri in Pearl Harbor; New Jersey in Camden, New Jersey; and Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia. It is too bad that Wisconsin and Iowa couldn't have had their namesakes tied up in their states. But the Missouri being at Pearl Harbor is fitting as the wreck of the USS Arizona is also there; the beginning and end of World War II for the United States.

Mow without its own power, the USS Iowa was nudges out of its slip by tugs and then towed the five miles to Richmond very carefully as the ship's 38 foot draft at times was only inches from the bay's floor.

Robert Kent of the Pacific Battleship Center said, "This is the world's last battleship," as his group took possession of the vessel. His group has raised about $5 million (with $3 million coming from the state of Iowa) and hope to raise another $5 million.

The ship's main armament was nine 16-inch guns (so-named for the diameter of the shells they fired) which were able to fire a one-ton shell more than 20 miles and you wouldn't want to be on the receiving end when it exploded. The Iowa was among the largest warships ever built, weighing in at 45,000 tons, 887 feet long, 108 feet wide and capable of cruising at 35 miles per hour.

Sure Glad It Was Saved. --DaCoot

USS Iowa Begins Final Voyage-- Part 1

From the October 27th USA Today "USS Iowa begins final mission as museum," AP.

As a battleship guy, I've keep up with what is happening to them. I never served on one, but would have liked tohave, especially on the World War II generation of battleships starting with he North Carolina and leading through the four final ones: Iowa, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Missouri.

The USS Iowa departed the US Navy's mothball fleet (Reserve Fleet) in Suisun Bay, California, (by San Francisco) and is heading for a final destination as a museum ship in Los Angeles after a stop in Richmond, California, where the ship will have a hull and exterior scraping and painting which should take until January.

Retired from service since 1990, commissioned in February 1943, "The Big Stick" as its crew called it, served presidents from FDR to George H.W. Bush. When launched, it and its sisters were the very epitomy of battleship power, although already eclipsed in fleet superiority by the aircraft carrier.

With its turn over to the Pacific Battleship Center group in Los Angeles, the US Navy no longer has a battleship in its fleet.

It's Great That the Last Four Battleships Were Kept Instead of Scrapped. --Cooter

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Dutch Navy in World War II

Since I really didn't even know there was a Dutch Navy in the war, I went to good old Wikipedia and did some more research.

After the fall of the Netherlands to German forces, the Royal Netherlands Navy had headquarters in London. Their duties consisted primarily of escorting troop transports at Dunkirk and D-Day as well as convoy duty in the North Atlantic.

During the war, the Dutch navy suffered heavy losses, especially in operations against the Japanese in the colony of the Dutch East Indies and the Battle of Java Sea.

Dutch Naval forces in Asia were virtually annihilated during Japanese operations against the Dutch East Indies in February and March 1942. During that time, the Dutch lost twenty ships (including their only two light cruisers) and 2500 killed.

The submarine K XVI which was just found, was sunk near Borneo on Christmas Day 1941.

During the early days of World War II, Dutch submarines sank more Japanese ships than the entire British and US navies together, earning Dutch Admiral Conrad Helfrich the nickname "Ship-A-Day Helfrich."

So, There Was a Dutch Navy in World War II. --Cooter

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chicago Sports Relics-- Part 3

5. 1945 NL PENNANT

The 1946 Chicago Cubs had such players as Phil Cavarretta and Stan Hack and won the National league with a 98-56 record, three games ahead of the Cardinals. The Detroit Tigers defeated them in the World Series 4-3. (The 4th game was where Billy Sianis and his goat were ejected from the game, leading to the legendary curse).

The pennant is now at the United Club in Wrigley Field.


It was Northwestern's only college bowl game victory after a stunning 20-14 victory over California viewed by 92,000 fans Jan. 1, 1949, in Pasadena. Northwestern had finished second behind Michigan, but the Big Ten had a no-repeat policy at the time.

Down 14-13 late in the fourth quarter, Northwestern marched 88 yards and scored on a trick play.

Northwestern has the trophy on display.

Cubs, In the World Series? Who'd Have Figured? --DaCoot

Dutch World War II Submarine Found Off Borneo

From the October 26th Borneo Post.

And, I didn't even know the Netherlands had submarines during the war.

Sports divers found the wreck of the HR. MS. KXVI, missing since Christmas Day 1941 with a crew of 36, after receiving a tip from a local fisherman.

The 1,000 ton submarine was part of an Allied fleet tasked with stopping the Japanese invasion of what was then called the Dutch East Indies. It had torpedoes the Japanese submarine hunter Sagiri the day before and sunk itself Dec. 25th by a Japanese submarine.

That brings to six the number of Dutch subs sunk during the war that have now been found. Only one, the HR. MS. 0 13, remains, sunk somewhere in the North Sea.

A Little Known Aspect of the War. --Cooter

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fate of Two German U-boats

The two German submarines that were so successful in the fall of 1942 in Canadian waters, did not survive the war, however.


The U-518 was sunk by the destroyer escorts USS Carter and USS Neal A. Scott 22 April1945, after sinking a total of nine ships and damaging three others. The St. Lawrence sinkings came on its first war patrol where it sank four and damaged two ships.

There were no survivors.


This submarine was sunk off the coast of Brazil 19 July 1943, by depth charges dropped from a US plane. It was found this past summer, July 14, 2011. there are still the wrecks of ten other U-boats located in the waters off Brazil.

During its career, it sank six ships and damaged two others. There were seven survivors of its crew of 53.

A Hard Service. --Cooter

World War II's Battle of St. Lawrence-- Part 2

According to Wikipedia, the Battle of St. Lawrence took place over a longer period of time than just the sinking of the four ships mentioned in the previous diving article. It lasted from May 1942 to November 1944, No German U-boats were reported sunk, but Allies lost 23 ships sunk and 3 damaged and 340 killed in the various actions.

The Royal Canadian Navy had been allowed to shrink after World War I, but was rebuilt to the point where at the end of World War II, it was the third-biggest Allied Navy with 400 mostly small ships and 100,000 men and women in service.

The four Allied ships were sunk on two different nights within a month of each other.

On September 5, 1942, the U-513 sank the SS Sacanaga and the SS Lord Strathcone.

On November 2, 1942, the U-518 sank the PLM 27 and the SS Rosecastle.

These four ships collectively today are called the Bell Island Wrecks and can be seen at low tide.

Before sinking the two ships, the U-518 had fired a torpedo at the loading pier on Bell Island, the only location in North America to be subject to enemy attack by German forces during World War II.

Again, Never Heard of It. --DaCoot

World War II's Battle of the St. Lawrence-- Part 1

Definitely a little-known battle between the Allies and Germany during the war, and one that occurred in North America. It was a series of confrontations between German U-boats and anti-submarine units on the lower St. Lawrence River in Canada.

From the September 21st Huffington Post Travel Blog "Diving Newfoundland's World War II Shipwrecks" by Margie Goldsmith.

She had the U-513 sinking the four ships featured, although I found that elsewhere, there were two U-boats involved.

All fours sunken ships are in just 60 feet of water and sitting upright.

The SS Sayanaga wreck has a torpedo hole you can swim into. At 11:07 am, Sept. 5, 1942, the U-513 slipped into the bay and found the Sayanaga on its way out headed for North Sydney with a load of iron ore. It fired two torpedoes, but a battery switch on each was not set and the torpedoes sank to the bottom. Two more were fired and struck, sinking the vessel in less than 30 seconds.

of the 48 crewmembers (including three naval gunners), 30 were reported missing.

The four sunked ships today are considered to be some of the best cold water diving in the world.

Newfoundland has at least 10,000 shipwrecks.

I Had No idea Newfoundland Had That Many Shipwrecks. --Cooter

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chicago Sports Relics-- Part 2


Northwestern's 20-0 victory over Notre Dame on Nov. 23, 1940, was such a big deal that classes were cancelled the following Monday "to relieve emotional strain." To commemorate it, Northwestern Athletic Director Kenneth "Tug" Wilson received a belt buckle with Dyche Stadium (what it was called back then) and a shillelagh below it.

Wilson was AD for twenty years and served as Big Ten Commissioner from 1945-1961.

It is on display at Northwestern.


On December 8, 1940, the Bears and the Redskins met for the NFL championship at Griffith Stadium in DC. Three weeks earlier, the Redskin owner had called the Bears "quitters" and "crybabies" after defeating them 7-3.

Led by qb Sid Luckman, the Bears were out for revenge and using the "T" Formation scored on a 68-yard run 55 seconds into the game. Then, the rout began. In the 4th quarter, officials asked Coach George Halas not to kick any more points after because they were running out of footballs.

The final score is the largest margin ever in NFL history. Now, an autographed ball from the game is owned by the Chicago History Museum, but is not on display.

Stuff I Didn't Know. --DaCoot

Chicago Sports Relics-- Part 1

From the July 17th Chicago Tribune "Artifact Checking" by Tim Bannon, photos by Chris Walker.

OK, so no one "knows" what happened to the puck that scored the winning goal for the BlackHawks in the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship. But, Chicago does have a lot of other items that are still with us.


In 2007, the Chicago History Museum bought at auction a collection of legal documents related to the Chicago Black Sox Scandal of 1919. In it was a transcript of pitcher Ed Cicotte where he says the idea of fixing the series started in a train where the players discussed rumors of how the Chicago Cubs had thrown the 1918 series to the Red Sox. In later small meetings "...we all agreed that for a piece of money we would throw the World Series."


In November 1935, Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago was named the winner of the first sports award known as the Downtown Athletic Club (DAC) Trophy for "the most valuable football player east of the Mississippi."

Playing several different positions in 23 games over three seasons he scored 22 touchdowns and licked 22 extra points and gained 1839 yards on 439 rushes. he won many awards for his career and didn't think much of this one, giving it to his Aunt Gussie because he didn't have room in his dorm room. She in turn, used it as a doorstop for many years.

In 1936, the DAC's director, John heisman, died and it was renamed for him. Eligibility was also extended to the Pacific coast. In the NFL's first draft pick, Berwanger was number one, but turned down a career for a more lucrative job as a foam rubber salesman.

The first Heisman is now in the lobby of the University of Chicago sports hall.

This Is Some Interesting History. --Cooter

Friday, October 21, 2011

NS Savannah Still Afloat

That's NS as in "Nuclear Ship."

From the August 11th Chicago Tribune "Idled nuclear cruise ship once a star" by Michael Dressler.

I'd heard about the ship, but thought it was no longer in existence. Well, it is, and in Baltimore. It still looks good as well.

For a few years back in the 1960s it was "a nautical superstar" for peaceful use of nuclear energy. In May 1864, 13,000 boarded the vessel to tour.

It is still owned and operated by the federal Maritime Administrated and regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The vessel was conceived by President Eisenhower in 1955 in a program called Atoms for Peace. It was taken out of service in 1971. The ship was 595.6 feet long, 78 feet wide and cosy $47 million. Completed in 1961 and in 1962 made maiden voyage from Savannah, Ga. to Norfolk, Va. with 60 passengers, all it could carry.

It carried a total of 842 passengers from 1962 to 1965, but at a capacity of 60, there were not enough to turn a profit.

It is not known what will become of it.

The first steamship to cross the Atlantic was the SS Savannah in 1819..

It's Nuclear for Me. --Cooter

Dead Page: Tuskegee Airman


Mr. Wheeler was a student at Howard University in 1943 and "swallowed his bitterness, boarded a segregated train in Washington, DC, and headed south" to become part of a landmark in aviation program that trained nearly 1,000 black pilots who became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

Wheeler said, "I hated the country at the time and wasn't sure I wanted to fight for it. But I realized that despite our nation's injustices, even slaves had fought for this country and black people had fought in every US war since. I felt I couldn't let the tradition down..

In recent years Mr. Wheeler has been very active in keeping the Airmen's legacy alive.

While at Howard, President Roosevelt ended the Army's refusal to train black pilots and set up the school at Tuskegee, Alabama. In 2007, he was in attendance when President Bush collectively presented the Congressional Gold Medal to the Tuskegee Airmen.

To stand up against the segregation and attitudes of the time was a remarkable story. And then to serve and continue being treated badly. Congratulations Mr. Wheeler, one of the Greatest Generation.

From the July 21st Chicago Tribune.

Dead Page: Mr. Bob, Leader of Bozo's Band

BOB TRENDLER (1912-2011)

OK, so he wasn't a noted person on the national scene, but to us young folks growing up in Chicago, he was a big name because of his association with WGN's "Bozo's Circus." He died at age 99 on July 18th.

He started working with WGN in 1935 as a freelance arranger and musician, becoming music director of the station's orchestra. "Bozo's Circus" debuted in 1961 with his 13-piece Bozo's Big Top Band. Starring such characters as Bob bell as Bozo, Roy Brown as Cooky, Ray Raynor as Oliver O. Oliver and Ned Lock as ringmaster Ned.

The show's mix of circus acts, slapstick comedy and games featuring kids from the audience had most everyone in my age group watching. At its peak, there was a years-ling waiting list to get on the show. I've heard rumors of parents with new-borns getting on the list at their birth.

Loved that band.

From the July 21st Chicago Tribune.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Japanese "Hell Ships"

While doing the research on the USS Grouper, I came across mention that the Lisbon Maru, which was carrying 1800 British POWs from Hong Kong was called a "Hell Ship."

I had never heard that specific term before, so looked it up in Wikipedia.

It turns out that a "Hell Ship" was given that name because of particularly horrible conditions and crew cruelty.

They had a list of "Hell Ships"

Junye Maru
Tango Maru
Perrello Maru
Arese Anson Maru
Koshu Maru
Montevideo Maru
Lisbon Maru
Shinyo Maru
SS Rakuyo Maru
Suez Maru
Shinyu Maru
SS Kachidoke Maru
SS Oryoku Maru

No Pleasant Cruising on These. --Cooter

US Submarine Grouper-- Part 2

THIRD PATROL 12 Nov to 31 Dec.. Sank the Bandoeny Maru, a troopship.

FOURTH TO EIGHTH PATROLS-- Rescued an aviator and landed 50 men and supplies on New Britain for guerrilla warfare. At the end of the 8th, went back to US for overhaul.

NINTH PATROL 24June1944 sank Kumanoyama Maru. The final three patrols could find no targets and the Grouper returned to pearl harbor where it was on VJ Day.

From 1950-1957, the Grouper served as the Navy's "first hunter-killer" submarine for sub vs. sub warfare. From 1958 to 1962, it became a research vessel. Further service was from 1964 to 1968 and the ship was sold for scrap in 1970.

Quite an Interesting Story. --DaCoot

US Submarine Grouper-- Part 1

Back on September 23rd, I wrote about Californian Bill Prigmore's World War II service aboard the submarine Grouper.

i did a little Wikipedia on the subject.


Gato-class submarine launched by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut, 27October 1941 and commissioned 12Feb42.

Sailed to Pearl harbor and was on the submarine screen at the Battle of Midway in 1942 where it was strafed by fighters and driven deep by a series of aircraft and destroyer attacks. It is estimated that over 170 depth charges dropped on the ship.

On June 5th, the ship was forced to crash dive to avoid heavy bombers.

Afterwards, the Grouper put into Midway for three days.

On June 12th, went on FIRST WAR PATROL and torpedoed two Japanese marus (civilian ships)

The SECONF PATROL began 28 Augues and lasted until 9October. Sank two freighters, the Tone Maru September 21st and the Lisbon Maru Oct. 1st. The latter vessel was the one carrying Allied prisoners where more than 800 died.

More to Come. --Cooter

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Auburn's Toomer's Corner Trees Poisoned

We sure heard a lot about this because we were down along the Gulf Coast back in February when the tragedy occurred.

From the Feb. 20th Panama City (Fl) News Herald.

Located in Auburn, Alabama, Toomer's Corner has two 130-year-old oak trees where Auburn fans have long celebrated victories with a "Toomer's tree Hug." A steady stream of people arrived the day before to mourn the poisoning of the trees.

An Alabama fan, Harvey Updyke, Jr., has been charged with first-degree criminal mischief for allegedly using a tree-destroying herbicide after Auburn eat Alabama last November in the annual Iron Bowl showdown.

Toomer's Corner is just a small patch of land where College and Magnolia streets intersect. The tradition dates to 1972 when Auburn beat #2 Alabama. Joyous students went to the corner and rolled it in toilet paper.


I just read that yesterday, Updyke's lawyers wanted the value of the two oak trees set at $20 each so that the felony charges can be reduced to misdemeanor.

The wood alone has to be worth more than that. Plus, how do you attach a value on something with that much tradition and age?

Traditon, tradition. --Cooter

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eating a Hot Dog in Chicago

From the August 4th Chicago Tribune Main Event: the Rule Book.


The well-dressed Chicago Dog with pickle, tomatoes, relish, onions, tomato and celery salt.


Chicken, turkey or even tofu dogs as long as the condiments are correct.


Naked dog in a bun with just ketchup, or do you say catsup.

Personally, I'm not against ketchup and if I didn't have anything else to put on a Chicago dog, I would use it. But, why would you want to use it with all the other good stuff?

Liz eats her hot dogs plain, with nothing on it and says she doesn't really like hot dogs. No wonder she doesn't. I like my meals on a bun.

When In Chicago, Be Careful What You Put On Your Hot Dog. --DaCoot

In Honor of the Titanic's 100th

From the July 17th Chicago Tribune.

Two ships next year will embark on itineraries to mark the 100th anniversary of the RMS Titanic's maiden voyage in April 1912, ending in the tragedy with the iceberg. Plans are to feature the same menu as in 1912 and to have passengers dress in period attire.

The 1,309 tickets sold out quickly on the first 12-night Titanic Memorial cruise on the Balmoral.

And, it isn't cheap with prices starting at nearly $6,000 a person. there is a waiting list.

The Azamara Journey has sold out its cheapest interior rooms. The remaining ones start at $4,850 a person.

More information at

That would be some cruise, especially if the intention is to be at the very same spots at the very same times as the Titanic was, including when it hit the iceberg.

If I Just Had Some More Dough. --Cooter

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dead Page: Ratings and Civil Rights

ARTHUR C. NIELSEN, JR. (1919-2011)

Died Oct. 3rd at age 92. Made his father's obscure market research firm into a measurement giant. He joined his father's firm after service in the Army Corps of Engineers in World War II. Television was gaining popularity. he came up with a system of measuring how many people were watching using a system that sampled a small number of viewers.

Sometimes I have to wonder how some shows get their ratings as I sure don't watch them. And, I watch a lot more than I should.


Died Oct. 5th at age 89. A major leader in the Civil Rights Movement, was beaten, bombed and blasted by fire hoses for his stand against segregation in 1950s and 1960s Birmingham, Alabama.

The airport in Birmingham named after him.

To stand up for what was right despite risking his life makes him one brave soul.

From the Oct. 6th Chicago Tribune.

Dead Page: Mr. Apple

STEVE JOBS (1855-2011)

Plenty written about him after his recent death.

I don't know whether to like him or hate him.

No doubt the man was a visionary and had one of the biggest impacts on American life, ranking right up there with Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.

However, he instituted that come out with something new every year so the techies have to have the latest thing. This has left us old farts in the dust, or at least myself.

I don't like learning new stuff, especially when in a short time, you're just going to have to learn something new.

What we need now is a technology breather.

Friday, October 14, 2011

USS North Carolina: A Big Thanks to James Craig and Hugh Morton

From the October 1st Wilmington (NC) Star-News.

The Battleship North Carolina might never have come to Wilmington had it not been for the untiring efforts of these two men.

In 1958, the US Navy proposed to dispose of the USS NC and USS Washington along with other World War II era ships. The North Carolina had been decommissioned in 1947 and had been at Bayonne, New Jersey in the Atlantic Reserve fleet ever since. Battleships had been made obsolete in the age of nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines.

Jimmy Craig, an advertising executive at Wilmington's WECT-TV, had been a World War II veteran and decided he wanted the ship to "retire" to Wilmington. He was also a member of the Wilmington American Legion Post 10, and on Jan. 9, 1959, they set up a battleship committee and began lobbying Governor Luther H. Hodges to appoint a state battleship committee, what eventually became the Battleship North Carolina Commission, which still runs the ship.

Fellow World War II veteran Hugh Morton, who later became famous as the owner and developer of North Carolina's Grandfather Mountain and the first president of the NC Azalea Festival in Wilmington. Morton was a man who really knew the tourism industry.

And, this battleship was to be a key part of getting people to come to the Wilmington area.

"Show Boat's" Coming Home. --DaCoot

Now, That's Deep: Deadly Public Works Efforts-- Part 1

From the June 15th Chicago Tribune.

June 14th, there was an explosion at the Chicago Deep Tunnel, but no deaths reported, although at least 15 workers have met their deaths on the project since it began in 1975.

The Tribune did a comparison of it and four other well-known projects: Panama Canal, Interstate Highway System, The Big Dig and the Great Wall of China.


PURPOSE: Divert storm water and sewage, reducing flooding and health risks.

BUILT: 1975 to an estimated completion in 2029. (Yeah, right!)

WORKER DEATHS: At least 15.

TOTAL COST: $3.3 billion.

LENGTH: When finished, 110 miles.

MYTH: Some 90,000 Chicagoans died of cholera in 1885. The Chicago Sanitation District created in 1889 to manage water and waste water issues. They even reversed the flow of the Chicago River.

Next, the Panama Canal. --Cooter

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Schlitz Tavern in Chicago May Become a Landmark

From the September 29th Chicago Tribune by Alejandro Cancino.

The last of eight taverns asking for landmark designation, the former Schlitz Brewery tavern in Bucktown, did so September 29th. Such status would put restrictions on future changes on the architecture. It also enables owners to seek local and federal tax breaks if they seek renovation.

Now home to Floyd's Pub, the former Schlitz tavern at 1844 N. Oakley Avenue is one of at least 41 remaining buildings across the city, built from the late 1800s to early 1900s, by brewing companies selling their product. Such taverns were called tied houses. A Schlitz belted globe remains on the building.

Most of the bars were built by Schlitz and other Milwaukee-based breweries in the German Renaissance revival style. A smaller number of local brewers like Atlas, Birk Brothers and Fortune Brothers also built their own taverns. These places would only sell their owners' product.

Other taverns receiving landmark status:

** 958 W. 69th Street
** 2159 W. Belmont Ave., now a Starbucks.
** 3159 N. Southport Ave., now Schuba's Tavern
** 11499 S. Front Ave.
** 2456 S. Western Ave.
** 5129 N. Broadway, now home of the South-East Asian Center.
1801 W. Division St., now Mac's American Pub

A former Schlitz stable building at 11314 Front Ave., also received Landmark status.

More taverns are expected to request the status as well.

With Drink in Hand. --Cooter

Dead Page: Medal of Honor Winner


Awarded the Medal of Honor for his action in World War II in France, he never boasted of his exploits. Died August 12th. he single-handedly stopped an attack on his troops by 200 German soldiers.

Buried with full military honors with soldiers from his former units" 3rd Infantry Division and the Old Guard in attendance.

In a 1944 battle in France, Lt. Murray led his outnumbered platoon against German forces and fired nearly every rifle grenade his unit had.

During his career he also received three Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars and the French legion of Honor for valor. He went on to also serve in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Born in Baltimore, but raised in Wilmington, NC where he graduated high school. Attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill until he enlisted in 1942.

The Greatest Generation.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Some More USS North Carolina Information

From the Oct. 1st Wilmington (NC) Star-News.

** Participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific Theater.

** Most decorated US battleship in the war.

** Struck by a Japanese torpedo September 15, 1942, killing 5.

** Purchased from the Navy by the State of North Carolina for $330,000 in 1961.

** Reached final mooring berth in Wilmington on Oct. 2, 1961.

** Dedication ceremony April 29, 1962, as a memorial to North Carolinians of all services killed in World War II.

** Became National Historic Landmark in 1986.

The "Show Boat!!" --DaCoot

Dead Page: Developed Radar in World War II


Physicist who developed radar that helped the United States and Allies win key battles during World War II.

Mr. Davenport was among hundreds of scientists working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Radiation Laboratory, even before the entrance of the country into the war.

developed the SCR-584 system, letters standing for Signal Corps Radio, a microwave radar built into a semitrailer with a parabola on top that tracked enemy planes and helped direct anti-aircraft batteries.

Used with great effectiveness against the German Air Force and at Anzio, Italy in 1944.

In 1944, Mr. Davenport went to England to waterproof the trailers which were floated ashore at Normandy during the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion. Later, he was sent to France to continue developing applications for the radar. He was classified as a captain in the Signal Corps, otherwise, had he been captured by the Germans as a civilian, he would have been considered a spy.

Born in 1915.

One of the Greatest Generation.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

USS Texas Reunion-- Part 2

Julio Zaccagni, 89, served on the ship in 1940 at age 18. He says that everyone knew the war was on its way, "We were at Casco Bay, Maine, when they announced Pearl Harbor. We were already set up for action we might encounter. The USS Texas had already been on "Neutrality Patrol" and monitoring the Atlantic half way to Great Britain.

Don Cade, 91m spent his time in the ship's office, "I was the only one who knew how to type."

Former crew members Lewis Morgan and Howard Mills also attended the event which was organized by the Texas Veterans Association and hosted by the Battleship Texas. It has taken place since the late 1980s.

Sadly, it won't be continuing with the veterans for much longer. The US Department of Veteran Affairs estimates that 850 of the two million World War II survivors die each day.

In May 2012, a celebration is planned for the 100th anniversary of the Texas' launch.

A Hundred Years Old is Mighty Long in Ship years. --Cooter

Monday, October 10, 2011

USS Texas Reunion-- Part 1

From the Oct. 9th Houston Chronicle "Crew walks USS Texas deck again" by Taylor McGilvray.

Five former Texas crew members attended a reunion held aboard the battleship memorial near Houston this past weekend. The Texas is one of just six US Navy ships still around that served in both World Wars. (Unfortunately, the article did not say what the other five were.)

During its service, however, the ship only was hit twice. John Eddleman, 89, remembers the second hit on the navigation deck which killed the navigator and injured Emil Saul, "I was standing about four feet away from (Saul)." he and others gave Saul morphine and bandaged him up. He was later transported back to the US and 52 operations later, is still alive.

Five World War II crew members returned October 8th for a ceremony. A short speech was given on the life of the ship's captain, Charles Baker.

More to Come. --DaCoot

HMAS Sydney II Conspiracy

From the Oct. 7th West Australian.

These conspiracy theories just won't go away and probably never will. Last week, a series of e-mails were sent to the German embassy in Canberra saying that the photos of the ship and its adversary, the German raider Kormoran were faked by the expedition that found them of Australia's west coast.

Queensland resident James Eagles, who has claimed different conspiracy theories all along, now claims that the photos of the HMAS Sydney are actually of the German battleship Bismarck.

Eagle also points out that the characters "08 KO" painted on the Kormoran's bilge keel is false because the ship was launched in 1938 as the merchant vessel Steirmark.

The images of the Sydney's shattered lifeboats, identified by the ship's crest badge on their sides, is also incorrect. Eagle says these are just a compilation of various wrecks Mearms' group have discovered.

Finding Sydney Foundation member Bob Trotter dismisses the claims. Archival footage of the Sydney show the same badges on the life boats. As far as the "08 KO", the Steirmark would have had to have been dry docked for its conversion to a raider.

They examined photographs of the Bismarck and there is now way they resemble the Sydney.

Mr. Eagles also had extensive conspiracy theories in the Cole Commission Report.

Who Is Right? --Cooter

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Are Westerns Back in the Saddle?

From the Feb. 17, 2011, USA Today "Back in the Saddle" by Marco R.della Cava.

With the recent releases of three western-themed movies, is it possible that this long-time standard is on its way back. "True Grit" was first, followed by two westerns that pushed the limits, "Rango" and "Cowboys & Aliens."

See, you don't need modern weapons to fight those mean old westerns.

It's a good guys versus the bad guys thing.

Here Are AFI's Top five Westerns.


2. HIGH NOON (1952)

3. SHANE (1953)

4. UNFORGIVEN (1992)

5. RED RIVER (1948)

OK, Pilgrim. --DaCoot

"Moon Trees" Followup

It turns out that we did have one "Moon Tree" here in Illinois. One was planted at the Siskiyou Smoke Jumpers Base near Illinois Valley in Oregon. We go through there every so often so planned to take a look at it. Unfortunately, it is no more. When the base closed, it and one of its offspring were destroyed accidentally.

Being somewhat of a Route 66 fan, I also found one was planted at Flagstaff Junior High School in Arizona on April 30, 1976. It is still living the last I read about it.

It is a Douglas fir and because of the high altitude has been stunted to only about six feet tall. It overlooks water and has a sign by it.

Also, there are 8 living ones in California, a dead one in New Mexico and live ones in Kansas and Missouri (of the 79 located).

Moon River, Wider Than a Mile. No, Moon Tree, Higher Than Five Feet. --Cooter

Friday, October 7, 2011

Where Are Our "Moon Trees"? Third Graders Want to Know

From the Feb. 17, 2011, USA Today "NASA launches search for 'moon trees' by Elizabeth Weise.

Forty years ago, several hundred tree seeds made a trip to the moon on the Apollo 14 module in 1971 in a part experiment and part public relations campaign to see what effect a space flight had upon their ability to sprout.

Astronaut Stuart Roosa had a soda can-size kit with 500 seeds from different trees. When the 14 returned, the Forest Service oversaw the planting of the seeds along with ones that hadn't gone up. About 450 of the space seeds sprouted.

By 1975, they were large enough to transplant and over the next several years, they were shipped out to be planted in parks, on state capitol grounds, schools, government buildings and especially in honor of the nation's bicentennial.

NASA has begun tracking them down because of the Apollo 14's anniversary and the fact that many of the trees have lived their normal lifespan of roughly 40 years.

They might have been forgotten entirely had it not been for Joan Gobel's third grade class at Cannelton Elementary School in Cannelton, Indiana, back in 1996. While doing a tree project, one of her students remembered that at a local Girl Scout camp there was a "Moon Tree." They contacted NASA and at first were told "Never heard of them." But then NASA did some research and "remembered."

Since 1996, 79 of the "Moon Trees" have been found, most living, but some dead. None are in Illinois. Eight are living in California and six in Florida.

The Cannelton tree was heavily damaged in a 2008 wind storm, but survived, just not as tall.

Do You Have a "Moon Tree" Growing in Your Yard? --Cooter

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The USS North Carolina Comes Home

From the Oct. 1st Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Fifty years ago, entire state rallied to bring battleship home" by Ben Steelman.

"It was the largest man made object ever to fit into the Cape Fear River--and, it almost didn't make it."

On October 2, 1961, prodded on by a flotilla of tug boats, the mighty warship, still in her postwar mothballs, was guided into its permanent berth opposite downtown Wilmington. It did not complete the journey that day, however.

Over 125,000 watched from the shore on a day featuring cold and miserable weather, including a large number of school children, despite it being a school day with no organized field trips (though there should have been for an event like this).

Since then, the ship has been a floating museum and World War II memorial. Admission back then was 50 cents for adults and 25 cents children.

The Showboat at Home Again. --DaCoot

USS North Carolina Sets All-Time Attendance Record

As might be expected, with a drop in ticket prices to their 1961 amounts, fifty cents adult and 25 cents child (from $12 and $6) and with all the hoopla about the 50th anniversary of the ship arriving in Wilmington, the USS North Carolina set an- all-time attendance record when 5,232 paid to board the ship Sunday.

Some more items of interest about the ship:

** Its sister ship, the USS Washington was the only US battleship ever to engage an enemy battleship in battle and sink it.

** The USS Washington was not saved by its state and ended up scrapped. Bet they wish they'd saved it now.

** The North Carolina was the first newly designed US battleship constructed in twenty years. (Washington Naval Treaty)

** First new construction US battleship to enter service during World War II.

More to Come. --Cooter

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

USS North Carolina Facts-- Part 2

CLASS: North Carolina Class along with the USS Washington
DISPLACEMENT: 38,086 tons

LENGTH: 728.8 feet
BEAM: 108.3 feet
DRAFT: 33 feet

SPEED: 30 knots
COMPLEMENT: 2,339 (144 officers, 2,195 enlisted)

One Big Boat, Er, Ship. --DaCoot

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

USS North Carolina Facts-- Part 1

From the October 1st Wilmington (NC) Star-News.

BB55 Battleship #55, 55th made.

ORDERED: Aug. 1, 1937
BUILDER: New York Naval Shipyard
COST: $78,885,750
LAID DOWN: Oct. 27, 1937
LAUNCHED: June 13, 1940
SPONSORED BY: Isabel Hoey, daughter of NC Governor Clyde R. Hoey
COMMISSIONED: April 9, 1941

How's That for Bang for Your Buck? --Cooter

Monday, October 3, 2011

Looking for Oil Leaking from World War II Shipwreck

From the Sept. 29th KCOY, Santa Maria, California.

A contract has been awarded to Global Diving and Salvage by the US Coast Guard to see if there is oil in the wreck of the SS Montebello, 900 feet deep and 6.5 miles off Cambria, California.

It was sunk be a Japanese submarine December 23, 1941 and broke apart.

Between 1996 and 2010, multiple dives were made to see if the hull is still intact.

From the California State Military Museum and Wikipedia sites.

The Japanese submarine I-21, which participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor, fired two torpedoes at the 440 foot long SS Montebello loaded with 4.1 million gallons of oil. One was a dud, but the other exploded, fortunately, not by a filled oil tank. The 39 men on the ship abandoned it and the submarine surfaces and opened fire on the burning vessel to speed up its sinking.

Later that same day, the I-21 shelled and damaged the tanker SS Idaho. The I-21 went on to have a very successful career sinking allied ships until it was lost at sea sometime in 1943.

The Montebello was found November 29, 1996.

Still having Problems with World War II. --Cooter

Jimmy Craig and the USS North Carolina

In an earlier post, it was mentioned that WECT TV Account Executive Jimmy Craig was the man who initially got the ball rolling to save the battleship.

Just one week before the North Carolina arrived in Wilmington, Craig boarded a plane along with photographer John MacNeill during the WECT Civil Air Patrol air show at the New Hanover County Airport. The plane crashed.

Both men were severely burned and transferred to the Army;s burn center in San Antonio, Texas. Three others on the plane died immediately.

Jimmy Craig died October 14, 1961, the same day the North Carolina welcomed its first visitors MacNeill died a month later.

Mr. Craig was buried with full military honors in Wilmington's Oakdale Cemetery. He never lived to see his dream come true.

MacNeill was laid to rest in his hometown of Red Springs, North Carolina.

Sure Glad We Had Mr. Craig. --DaCoot

The "Showboat" Arrives 50 Years Ago-- Part 3

There was also a 30 minute video of the USS North Carolina attached to the article. Everything you ever wanted to know about the ship.

On October 2, 1961, Captain B.M. Burns of Southport brought the North Carolina up the Cape Fear River. A floating restaurant called The Ark was supposed to have been moved, but hadn't. Despite the many tugs trying to push the ship, the North carolina became stuck in the mud. The outgoing tide swung the stern into the side of the Ark, but, it didn't sink.

Night came and work was called off until the next day. Two weeks later, the North Carolina welcomed the first visitors.

The following year, the ship was dedicated to the 10,000 North Carolinians killed in the war.

Where It Belongs. --Cooter

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The "Showboat" Arrives Fifty Years Ago-- Part 2

Wilmingtonian Hugh Morton got involved and the goal was to raise the $250,000 it would cost to acquire the ship. In 1961, new Governor Terry Sanford and Hugh Morton came up with a plan to raise the funds. The North Carolina Navy was formed and a campaign devised to have school children donate their nickels and dimes for the effort.

An ad from the time showed a boy holding a model of the Nor tn Carolina saying "Let's Bring the Real USS North Carolina home."

Enough money was raised and in September 1961, the Navy turned the ship over to the state. The plan was to have the battleship off the mouth of the Cape Fear River in October 1st and then tow it to the newly-dredged out berth opposite downtown Wilmington, but bad weather forced a one day delay.

More to Come. --DaCoot

The "Showboat" Arrives Fifty years Ago-- Part 1

From the September 29th Channel 6 WECT, Wilmington, NC, "Happy 50th Birthday Battleship North Carolina" by Bob Townsend.

The USS North Carolina arrived in Wilmington fifty years ago tomorrow, October 2, 1961. This weekend, you can tour the ship at the 1961 prices which were 50 cents adult, 25 cents child.

Congress authorized the funds to build the battleship in 1937 and it was commissioned April 9, 1941, shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Fortunately, it was not there when the attack came.

The North Carolina participated in every major Pacific offensive, earning fifteen battle stars in the process. At the end of the war, it was decommissioned and for 14 years remained in the US Navy mothball fleet in New Jersey.

When it was announced that the Navy was going to sell the state's namesake for scrap, WECT Account executive Jimmy Craig found out and immediately began a campaign to raise the money to buy the ship. Wilmington's American Legion Post 10 formed a committee with Craig as chairman.

More to Come. --Cooter