History for November 22-28

By Tom Sito | November 22, 2001

November 22, 1963– At 12:30 Central time President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Whether you believe the assassin was Lee Harvey Oswald, The Military Industrial Complex,, the Mafia, The C.I.A., Fidel Castro, space aliens or all of the above, it remains one of the traumatic moments in American History. According to a 1993 poll, only 15% of Americans believe there was no conspiracy. One Mafia don said in his memoirs:" If you believe Oswald, a rather lackluster Marine, could get off three carefully aimed shots from an old bolt action rifle in just four seconds, you have a vivid imagination." After taking the oath of office as President on Air Force One Lyndon Johnson locked himself in the bathroom crying hysterically "They’re out to kill us all!" In 1966 evidence from the Kennedy assassination disappeared and for years personages claiming to have knowledge of a conspiracy died in strange ways: mysterious karate chops and boating accidents. Jackie Kennedy, flew to Washington, D.C.from Dallas wearing the blood-soaked pink dress. "Let the people see what they’ve done!" , she said, and immediately started working on the funeral arrangements. Before sleeping that day she had her staff comb the National Archives for the details of the Lincoln Funeral. Cub reporter Robert MacNeil remembers that after the shots were fired in Dallas, he ran into the nearest building to phone in the story. He ran into the Texas Book Depository and asked a skinny t-shirted man who was just leaving where the nearest phone was. Two days later when watching the footage of the assassin being arrested he realized he had been talking to Lee Harvey Oswald.

November 23, 1499– Perkin Warbeck hanged for trying to overthrow King Henry VII Tudor. Warbeck maintained to the end that he was one of the murdered young "Princes in the Tower", allegedly done in by Richard III in 1485. 1936– The first florescent lighting tubes are installed in the U.S. Patent office.

November 24, 1859– Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species . 1947– 50 Hollywood moguls, including Harry Cohn, Jack Warner and Dori Charey meet at the Waldorf Astoria in New York to formulate a group response to Judge J. Parnel Thomas’ HUAC anti-commie crusade that had begun October 20th. Nothing from this meeting was ever offically written or published, but if you were blacklisted you suddenly were unable to find any work. Eric Johnston, spokesman for the Motion Pictures Association said on this day: "As long as I live, I will never be party to anything as unAmerican as a blacklist." Two days later on Nov. 26th he said: " We will forthwith discharge and never again knowingly employ a Communist. Loyalty oaths in the industry are now compulsory." Many Hollywood artists signed Communist Party cards in the 1930’s when it was chic to be leftist and the Communists were the only open opponents of racial segregation and Adolf Hitler—and as one screenwriter put it, CP parties had the prettiest girls. Famous blacklist victims included Zero Mostel, Lillian Hellman, Lloyd Bridges, Dashell Hammett, Gale Sondergaard, Edward G. Robinson, Dalton Trumbo. Sidney Poitier was blacklisted for no other reason than he was friends with black activist-actor Canada Lee; ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ composer Yip Harburg was blacklisted for writing a song: ‘Ya gotta Friend Named Joe" which the Committee took to mean Russian dictator Josef Stalin.

November 25, 1915– In a rally at Stone Mountain outside of Atlanta a group of white southerners inspired by D.W. Griffith’s film "Birth of a Nation" dedicated the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan. The original Klan had been formed in 1865 by disaffected Confederate veterans as a terrorist force to combat Yankee occupation. But by 1867 they had been mostly rounded up by the authorities and died out because all their goals of denying black Americans their civil rights were been achieved by legal means anyway. This new Klan in 1915 broadened their appeal to hatred of not only black Americans but also immigrants, Jews and Catholics. Instead of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy the modern Klan appealed to strict U.S. patriotism and the Protestant faith. Many areas other than the Old South invited in the Klan. In 1921, the governor and most of the state legislature of Indiana were Klansmen.

November 26, 1945– Charlie Parker and Miles Davis recorded Coco, the first BeeBop Jazz single. The pianist at the session didn’t have his New York union card so after his riff Miles Davis dropped his trumpet and did the piano backup to Bird’s solo.

November, 27, 1921– English writer Alastair Crowley proclaimed himself Outer Head of the Order Templeis Orientalis- or Order of the Temple of the East. Crowley had spent years studying various occult devotions: Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, Gnosticism, The Iluminati. He wanted to fuse them into his own form of black magick devotion, which he called Thelema, after the sires of the 1500th Century French poet and playwright Rabelais. He boasted often that he wanted Crowleyism to eventually replace Christianity, and sold virility pills to men that contained a drop of his own semen in the formula. His own mother called him "The Wickedest Man in the World".

November 28, 1895 Date of the first American auto race. Two electric and four gas powered cars raced from Chicago to Evanston, Ill. and back despite several inches of snow on the ground. The winner, Charles Duryea, reached a top speed of 7 mph. Only one other car finished the race. The rest broke down. 1981 Movie star Natalie Wood drunkenly toppled from her yacht near Catalina Island and drowned while husband Robert Wagner and friend Christopher Walken were having an argument. Wood once said she had a horror of dying by drowning.


  • Tom Sito

    A twenty six year veteran of animated film production, Tom Sito's screen credits include most of the respected feature-length animated films you can think of, including Who Framed Roger Rabbitt? Dinosaur, Antz, Shrek and Fantasia 2000.

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