Monday, April 30, 2018

International Jazz Day, 2018 -- April 30, 2018

Today is International Jazz Day. In honor of International Jazz Day, here is a photo of famed New Orleans reed player, band leader and composer, Sidney Bechet, playing his famed alto saxophone. Bechet led a troubled life. He was deported from France after a women was shot during a gun battle between Bechet and a fellow musician. He went to the UK, where he picked up the soprano sax and got deported after an assault. Back in the US, he played and recorded regularly. He returned to France in 1950 and spent the rest of his life there. I always enjoy listening to his music.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

American Birdmen Down German Plane -- April 29, 2018

Evening Missourian, 01-May-1918
One hundred years ago today, on 29-April-1918, Eddie Rickenbacker, an auto racer who became America's ace of aces in World War One, scored his first victory.  Captain James Norman Hall, who had been a member of the Lafayette Escadrille, later wrote Mutiny on the Bounty with his partner, Charles Nordhoff.  

From the Columbia, Missouri Evening Missourian, 01-May-1918.  

U S Machine Is Driven by Capt. Norman Hall and Lieut. Rickenbacker
Enemy Machine Is Wrecked and Falls Behind Own Lines

By Associated Press

WITH THE AMERICAN ARMY IN FRANCE, May 1 -- A German airplane was brought down in enemy territory last night by Captain Norman Hall of Colfax, Iowa and Lieutenant Edward V. Rickenbacker of Columbus, Ohio after a duel over the American lines on the Toul sector.

The American birdmen first engaged the enemy machine over the American lines. Lieutenant Rickenbacker swept over the German and opened fire with his machine gun. Captain Hall opened fire from behind the plane. The German made a desperate attempt to escape, returning the fire of the Americans but finally fell behind the German trenches. Captain Hall and Lieutenant Rickenbacker returned from the fight unscathed.

Captain Hall served as a private in the British army at the outbreak of the war. Later he joined the French aerial forces. He is the author of "Kitchener's Mob."

Resigned as Pershing's Chauffeur to Enter Aviation Service

By Associated Press

NEW YORK, May 1 -- Lieutenant "Eddie" Rickenbacker resigned as chauffeur of General Pershing's automobile because he wanted more speed according to his friends here. He obtained a commission in the aviation service within three months after he left America.

Rickenbacker first came into prominence as a speed driver in 1911 when he appeared at Indianapolis, Providence and Sheepshead Bay, New York.

From the South Bend, Indiana News-Times, 01-May-1918.  

Rickenbacker in First Air Fight
Helps to Win Victory Over Boche

International News Service

WITH THE AMERICAN ARMY IN FRANCE, April 30 -- (6 p.m.) -- Lieut. "Eddie" Rickenbacker, of Columbus. O., an automobile racer, has engaged in his first air fight on the Toul front, and helped to win a victory.

Lieut. Rickenbacker, and Capt. Norman Hall, of Colfax. Ia., gave combat to a boche airman, downing him in enemy territory after a spectacular fight.

"Capt. Hall did the most fighting and deserves all the praise." said Lieut. Rickenbacker afterward.

"We got the 'alert' shortly after 6 o'clock on Monday evening. There had been rain clouds, but they were driven away by the sun about an hour before and the light was good as we went up.

"We picked up the German on our side of the lines and pursued him into the enemy zone. While flying at a height of about 1,800 yards, a duel began. I flew above the German and opened up on him with my machine gun. In the meantime, Capt. Hall had come up behind and was firing briskly into the boche machine.

Tried All Tricks.

"Our opponent tried every possible trick to dodge us, but we kept pecking at him with our machine guns. Finally smoke began to pour out of his machine. It nay have been due to fire started from our bullets, hut I am not certain on that point. At any rate the machine started to descend rapidly.

'We kept after the Hun machine until it got too close to the ground, Capt. Hall sending in a few final shots. Hall fired 250 rounds in all while I fired about 200.

"It was a pretty fight, hut it was over in a few moments. Some of the bullets fired by the German pierced the wings of Hall's machine."

Capt. Hall served as a private in the British army. He returned to America and wrote a book called "Kitchener's Mob." He is now writing a serial about his air adventures.

Rickenbacker drove cars in many of the biggest automobile races in America and is proving himself a very daring aviator.

The machine shot down by Capt. Hall and Lieut. Rickenbacker was the third officially reported in the past three weeks. Several others were unofficially said to have been brought down.

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Handsome Ford Couplet -- April 27, 2018

Ogden Standard, 06-January-1917
An ad for the Model T Ford.  I don't remember seeing the name "Couplet" before.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Bob Dorough, RIP -- April 24, 2018

I was sad to learn that Bob Dorough has passed on.  Most people remember him for Schoolhouse Rock, but I like his other work, too.

"When it was hip to be hep, I was hep." -- Bob Dorough and Dave Frishberg

He even got to sing with Miles Davis.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Lieut. Paul Baer Newest U.S. 'Ace;' Downed 7 Planes -- April 23, 2018

Washington Times, 26-April-1918
100 years ago today, on 23-April-1918, Paul Baer became the first person to become an ace while flying for the US military.  After the war he continued in aviation.  He died in an accident on 09-December-1930.

Raoul Lufbery was born in France, but his father was American. He had 16 confirmed victories while flying for the French and one more for the Americans. He died in battle on 19-May-1918.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Richtofen, Foe's Best Flier, Killed; Rival Pays Him Tribute -- April 21, 2018

New York Tribune, 24-April-1918
100 years ago today, on 21-April-1918, Manfred von Richtofen, called the Red Baron, regarded by most as the greatest pursuit pilot in the war, was killed.  There is controversy about how he died.  He was credited with 80 victories.  Flying his triplane near the Somme River, Richtofen was chasing a junior Australian pilot who had shot at Richtofen's cousin Wolfram. Canadian Captain Roy Brown dove into their midst to protect the junior pilot.  Australian anti-aircraft gunners also shot at Richtofen.  A bullet passed through his heart and lungs and killed him.  It probably came from the ground, but the RAF credited Brown with the victory.  Richtofen remained alive long enough to land his triplane.  The British buried him with military honors.  

Oswald Boelcke created many of the tactics used by German fighter pilots.  Max immelmann was a brilliant flier.  

Richthofen, Foe's Best Flier, Killed; Rival Pays Him Tribute
(Copyright by International Film Service.)

By One Who Fought Him
(Tribune Cable Service)

LONDON, April 22. -- Captain Baron von Richtofen, who was killed on the Somme battlefield yesterday, was the finest airman the world had ever seen. I fought several battles with him and I have reason to know that he was not only a good fighter but that he was the best sportsman on the German side. He had the reputation of never killing an enemy when he had him cold.

From a military point of view, I am glad he is gone, but he was a good sportsman. After driving his opponent down, he often landed beside him, helped him from his machine, and saw that he was comfortably treated.

Richtofen'a shooting was not as good as might have been expected from a man of his reputation at least I thought his shooting was not very good but what he lacked in shooting, he made up in judgment. His judgment was amazing. He seemed to divine the enemy's next move.

Richthofen was such a big man that his death is bound to make an enormous difference in the German air service. He was far above the other German airmen, whom he inspired and held together. They are bound to hold back a bit now that he is gone.

To my mind, by killing Richthofen, it is not too much to say that we have blotted out the greatest obstacle to Allied supremacy in the air. It has been said that he was credited with all the victories of his circus, but I think he personally accounted for the total number of opponents to his credit.

Richthofen Buried by British With High Military Honors
Germany's Greatest Aviator, Shot Down Behind the Somme,
Was Credited With 80 Aerial Victories

OTTAWA, April 22. -- The funeral of Baron von Richthofen, the famous German aviator, who was brought down last night by the British, was held this afternoon, according to a cable dispatch received here to-night from Reuter's correspondent at the British headquarters in France.

"The funeral was a most impressive spectacle," says the dispatch. "The airman was buried in a cemetery not far from the spot where he was brought down. Members of the air service attended."

(By The Associated Press)
WITH THE BRITISH ARMY IN   FRANCE, April 22. -- Baron Manfried (sic - JT) von Richthofen, the famous German aviator, was shot down and killed last night back of the British lines along the Somme front. Details of the death of the airman are lacking, but, as showing the temper of British officers, it may be said the correspondent heard the ardent hope expressed that Richthofen died fighting in an air battle with a worthy opponent rather than by being shot down by anti-aircraft guns.

LONDON, April 22.-- An official statement reporting aerial operations issued yesterday at Berlin said: "Baron Richthofen, at the head of his trusty chasing squadron (on Saturday) gained his seventy-ninth and eightieth victories."

Eighty Victories for Baron

Baron von Richthofen was credited with eighty aerial Victories, compared with forty for Boelke, the next most famous German flier, who was shot down in October, 1916. Immelmann, the third renowned enemy airman, is also dead.

The Germans have a system of calculating their fliers' records, which seems to give them about twice the number of victories they would have under the French system. For instance, Berlin credits an airman with a victory whenever an antagonist is driven down. The French rule is to count only cases where the adversary is brought down within, or in immediate proximity to the French line and where the enemy aviator is either killed or captured. There must be at least three witnesses for each French victory.

The most famous French flier, Guynemer, had destroyed fifty machines before he was killed last September. He was generally considered the most brilliant airman of the war. In a single day Guynemer shot down four machines, two of them in a single engagement and within one minute of each other.

Great Britain has produced some splendid aviators, especially Major Bishop, a Canadian, but their records are not made public.

Led the "Flying Circus"

Captain von Richthofen first attracted attention as the leader of his "Flying Circus," a squadron of gaudily painted German machines which flew in a circle when fighting, so that, when one was engaged, the next flier could sweep the antagonist from the rear.

In October last Baron von Richtofen married Fraulein von Minkwitz, daughter of the very wealthy Master of the Horse of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg. On that occasion the Kaiser appointed him his "equerry airman," and it was stated that he would henceforth devote his time entirely to the training of new fighting squadrons. Apparently, however, the lure of the front was too great, and this spring the baron won a brilliant string of aerial duels before he finally met the fate of practically all the airmen who have become celebrated in the war.

As a reward for his work in the early days of this year's offensive, the Kaiser conferred on the baron the Order of the Red Eagle, with crown and swords.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Favorite Albums -- April 19, 2018

Last month on Facebook, I was nominated by a friend to list my ten all-time favorite albums. "What really made an impact and is still on your rotation list. Post the cover, no need to explain." I enjoyed the exercise, although it was tough to narrow it down to ten and not make any explanations. I thought I would use my blog to share the albums and perhaps make some comments.

My first choice, because the file name was first in the directory, was Elvis Costello's third album, Armed Forces.  This was the first Elvis Costello album that I purchased.  I love the music on the LP and the EP.  Once I saved up enough money, I went back to Tower Records and bought his first two albums.

Some don't like modal jazz; they think the musicians are just playing scales.  Miles Davis and his sextette are not just playing scales on Kind of Blue.

Last year my daughter and I were sitting in the car waiting for my wife.  I put this CD in the player.  My daughter was quiet until she heard "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?"  She said "That is warped."  Yes it is.

I had trouble deciding which Duke Ellington album to select, but "Ellington at Newport" has the 27 chorus saxophone solo by Juan Gonsalves on "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue."

I bought my fiancée all of Ella Fitzgerald's songbooks, but the Gershwin was our favorite.   We used two songs from it for our wedding reception.

I read in Newsweek that Glenn Gould had recorded a new version of The Goldberg Variations.  I saved enough money, which took a while because classical albums cost more than pop or rock'n'roll albums.

I found Harriet Janis and Rudi Blesh's They All Played Ragtime at the Anza Branch Library and enjoyed it, but I hadn't heard most of the music.  The Anza and Richmond branches did not have any ragtime records, but I found Joshua Rifkin's album at the Main Library.  I later bought my own copy.

I don't own this actual album, but this image allowed me to represent Louis Armstrong and the Hot Five and Hot Seven with one entry.  I love all the recordings.  "West End Blues," "Weather Bird," "Potato Head Blues," all of them.

I didn't know about Louis Jordan until someone played "Saturday Night Fish Fry" on KJAZ.  I went looking for him at Tower Records.

What can I say about Sun Ra?  Space IS the place.  Some don't believe he visited Saturn in 1936 or 1937.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sells Brotherrs' Circus -- April 17, 2018

Daily Alta California, 25-September-1886
The Sells Brothers Circus appeared at San Francisco's Central Park, near 8th and Market Streets. The Sells Brothers Circus was based in Columbus. Ohio.  I like the part about Mrs Sells taking care of the kindergarten kids.

Harry Anderson, RIP -- April 17, 2018
I remember Harry Anderson from Night Court.  I also remember him as a magician.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

San Francisco Giants 60 -- April 15, 2018

Sixty years ago today the San Francisco Giants played their first game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Seals Stadium.  The Giants moved from Manhattan and the Dodgers from Brooklyn during the offseason.  Rubén Gómez started and beat Don Drysdale 8-0.  The Giants are celebrating the anniversary this season.

Friday, April 13, 2018

For Liberty's Sake -- April 13, 2018
A World War One Navy recruiting poster features the Statue of Liberty.

Some people seem to feel that images of Lady Liberty are insulting to our so-called president.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Secret of Any Trick or Sleight -- April 11, 2018

Magic, Ellis Stanyon, Ed.
British magician Ellis Stanyon published the magazine Magic from 1900 to 1920.  Here is a 1908 ad for previous volumes.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Weird War Tales -- April 9, 2018

I did not own this issue of DC's Weird War Tales, but it sure looks interesting.  Dead German aviators from World War One appear to be fighting with a P-51 Mustang from World War Two.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Pulp -- Dare-Devil Aces -- April 7, 2016

Dare-Devil Aces always had colorful covers that apparently had little to do with the stories in the magazine. I think that is a SPAD dogfighting with an unlikely-looking flying wing.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Cecil Taylor, RIP -- April 6, 2018
I was sad to learn that poet, pianist and composer Cecil Taylor has died.  He played free jazz before Ornette Coleman.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Soldiers and Sailors Off for Seat of War in China -- April 5, 2018

San Francisco Call, 29-July-1900

The drawing is from the 29-July-1900 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. The Boxer Rebellion was a nationalist, anti-colonialist uprising in China.  Many European countries and the US sent troops to relieve the siege of the diplomatic quarter in Beijing. The US Army transport Hancock was assigned to the Navy in 1902 and served as a transport and then a receiving ship at Pear Harbor until 1925.  I don't know why an army transport was carrying both Army soldiers and Marines, except that the Marines were ready to make a rapid deployment.  

The not-very-historical movie 55 Days at Peking told the story of the siege and the relief.  

East Street is now called The Embarcadero.  Ocean Wave was a ferry operated by the Santa Fe Railroad between Point Richmond and San Francisco.  Ocean Wave had just gone into service at the beginning of July.  


THE transport wharf is once more re-echoing to the martial tread of troops. Soldiers are being hurried to China and a subdued air of excitement once more permeates the waterfront. Yesterday soldiers and marines were coming and going all day long between the ferries and the troopship Hancock, while the wharf and its vicinity was crowded from early morning until nightfall.

The transport Hancock was to have got away at 2 p. m., but owing to the non-arrival of the soldiers' baggage it was after midnight before she got out into the stream, where she anchored. Early this morning she will get away for Taku, stopping at Nagasaki en route.

It is many a long day since San Francisco saw such a gathering of marines as paraded along East street yesterday. They came 500 strong from the recruiting stations at New York, Annapolis, Washington and Boston and are a very fine body of men. It required two trips of the Ocean Wave to bring them from Point Richmond to San Francisco. Companies A and C came over on the 8 a. m. trip, while Companies B and D reached this side at 11:20 a. m.

When the marines reached the transport wharf they were greeted with ringing cheers by the men o£ Batteries A. D, I and O of the Third Artillery, which preceded them an the Hancock. The Third Artillery band was also there and played familiar airs throughout the day. The favorite with all hands was "There'll Be a Hot Time." The band does not accompany the regiment, but the men went to the wharf in a body to bid their comrades good-by.

Off for the Front.

The complete list of those who will sail on the Hancock is as follows: Batteries A, D, I and O of the Third Artillery; Companies A, B, C and D of marines; Major Hugh Gallagher and four clerks; eighteen officers of the Marine Corps; seventeen privates of the Hospital Corps; nine men of the Signal Corps; ten recruits for Light Battery F, Fifth Artillery; seven recruits for the Ninth Infantry and ten nurses.

When the Navy Department determined to enlist a battalion of marines the command was given to Major Randolph Dickins. The major is well known in San Francisco and a host of friends were down to wish him godspeed yesterday. He was here for some time as captain of marines on the Philadelphia, but shortly before the war was transferred to the Oregon and accompanied that vessel on her famous run around the Horn to Cuba. He served throughout the Spanish war on the battleship and at its conclusion was promoted to be a major and placed in command of the barracks at the Washington Navy-yard.

Company A of the battalion is officered by Captain McKelvey and Lieutenants Mathews and Baxtrom. It was recruited in New York. Captain Dutton is in command of Company B. He is the son of W. J. Dutton of this city and has served in Manila. Company C was recruited at Charleston navy yard, Boston. Its officers are Captain Moses and Lieutenants McDougald and Taylor. Lieutenant Hirshinger of Mare Island accompanies the battalion as adjutant.

Lieutenant Colonel John H. Calef was to have gone out in command of the four batteries of the Third Artillery, but he did not get here in time, so Captain Charles Humphreys went out in command of the battalion.

Major Hugh J. Gallagher goes to China to be chief commissary on General Chaffee's staff. He takes his own clerks along and expects to have plenty of hard work keeping the army supplied during the march to Peking.

There were many bitter partings when the hour for sailing came along and then as the minutes passed and there was no sign of the big transport getting away the women took heart of grace and began to smile again.

Some wily waterfront rats hit on a great scheme to make money and did a land office business in flasks of whisky until the police found them out. They secured a Whitehall, loaded her with the whisky, and getting under the wharf passed up twenty-five cent flasks, charging fifty cents for them, as fast as they could be handled.

Police Stop the Game.

Soon a number of the soldiers and marines began to get hilarious and then the police "smelt a rat." They secured one of Henry Peterson's boats and made a search under the wharf, but the whisky traders saw them getting into the boat and easily made their escape. No more liquor got on the wharf by that route.

Many of the men attempted to take large bottles of whisky aboard the transport, but in every instance it was taken from them by the officer on watch and smashed against the. side of the ship.

The next transports to get away for China will be the Meade from this port and the Garonne from Seattle. Both vessels leave on Wednesday, August 1. The Meade is to take away one battalion of the Fifteenth Infantry, one squadron at the Third Cavalry and one company of engineers; in all sixty officers and 1071 men. The Garonne takes away two squadrons of the First Cavalry and 100 recruits; in all thirty-five officers and 950 men.

Loving Cup for Bradley.

Prior to the sailing of the Hancock a very pleasing Incident took place. Captain Bradley, quartermaster captain of the transport, was presented with a magnificent loving cup. It came from the members of the Philippine Commission that was sent to Manila on the Hancock by the Government. Captain Bradley was of great service to these gentlemen and they wished to remember his kindness and courtesy.

When the members of the Commission got back to New York they sent the silver out of which the cup is made to Shreve & Co. of this city. A design accompanied the silver. Shreve &. Co. made the loving cup and yesterday it was presented to Captain Bradley. It is a massive affair of chaste design and Captain Bradley is justly proud of it.

More Soldiers Coming.

Word was received at army headquarters yesterday that Lieutenant Colonel Williams, with companies A, I, K and L of the Fifteenth United States Infantry, would arrive in this city this evening. Company E of the battalion of engineers is expected to arrive here this morning. The home battalion of the Twenty-third Infantry, which came from Manila on the transport Warren, reached the Presidio late yesterday afternoon on the McDowell. They were met at the wharf by the band of the Third Artillery and a detachment of the Eighteenth Infantry, commanded by Captain P. D. Evans, who escorted it to the camp vacated by the Third Artillery, which they will occupy until ordered East.

Four troops of the Third Cavalry are due here Monday night.

The general hospital received forty-six patients from the Warren. Seventeen patients -were discharged yesterday and assigned to duty with the convalescents.

Thirteen insane soldiers now at the Presidio are booked for transportation to Washington, to be confined in the Government hospital for the insane.

First Lieutenant Leigh A. Fuller, assistant surgeon. U. S. A., is in this city waiting the arrival of the Third Battalion of the Fifteenth Infantry, to the commanding officer of which he will report for assignment to duty.

Captain Charles Wilcox is assigned to duty with the Ninth Cavalry on its arrival in this city.

Acting Assistant Surgeons H. C. Many and W. W. Reno are assigned to duty at the general hospital, Presidio, awaiting transportation abroad.

San Francisco Call, 29-July-1900

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Dr King 50 Years -- April 4, 2018
50 years ago today, on 04-April-1968 Dr Martin Luther King, Jr was murdered in Memphis.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Great Curtiss Flying Boat -- April 3, 2018

Washington DC Evening Star, 29-December-1918
Lieutenant David McCullough flew this Curtiss flying boat with fifty people aboard.  It is a precursor of the Navy Curtiss airplanes which made the first flight across the Atlantic. 

McCullough later piloted the NC-3, one of the airplanes which tried to make the flight, but did not reach Europe.  Forced down by bad weather, she taxied and sailed backwards 250 miles to reach the Azores.  Of the three airplanes in the attempt, only the NC-4 made the complete flight.  

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter, 2018 -- April 1, 2018
Happy Easter, everyone. Here is the cover of the 04-April-1953 New Yorker.  The Easter Bunny is having trouble crossing the road.

Royal Air Force 100 -- April 1, 2018

Happy 100th birthday to the Royal Air Force, which was formed on 01-April-1918, by the merger of the British Army's Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Navy's Royal Naval Air Service.  The RAF is the world's oldest independent air force.