Nancy Reagan’s Actual Birthday

“I don’t remember the name of the hospital where I was born. It burned down years ago, but there’s no truth to the rumor that I set that fire to destroy any records that might reveal my age. When Ronnie was president, every year on July 6 there would be a story in one of the papers about how Nancy Reagan says she was born in 1923, but we all know she was really born two years earlier.
When, exactly, was I born? I still haven’t made up my mind. Besides, as Mother used to say, ‘A woman who will tell her age will tell anything.'”

My Turn: The Memoirs of Nancy Reagan, Nancy Reagan with William Novak, Random House, 1989.

Bette Davis Divorced: “She Read Too Much” Says Husband

“Husband H. O. Nelson Testifies She Read Books Too Much
LOS ANGELES, Dec 6 (AP)- Harmon O. Nelson obtained an uncontested divorce today from his actress wife Bette Davis.
Home life with Mrs. Nelson contained little of that close communion between husband and wife, Mr. Nelson’s testimony in Superior Court disclosed. He said that he usually just sat while his wife read ‘to an unnecessary degree.’
‘She thought her work was more important than her marriage,’ Mr. Nelson testified. ‘She even insisted on reading books or manuscripts while he had guests. It was all very upsetting.’
The Nelsons were married in 1932 and separated a month ago.”
December 7, 1938.

Howard Hughes’ Memos to Robert Maheu

The investigative journalist James Phelan spent twenty years covering Howard Hughes. Two Hughes aides were the primary sources for Phelan’s book The Hidden Years. Published the same year as Elvis: What Happened?, it confirmed the rumours about Hughes’ agoraphobia, opiate addiction, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Like Presley, Hughes’ compulsions were facilitated by a team of men who arranged his hidden passages between hotels in Las Vegas, Managua, Acapulco, Vancouver, London, and Paradise Island in the Bahamas. 

Robert Maheu served as the CEO of the Nevada operations. He never met Hughes face-to-face, but they were in constant contact through letters and telephone calls. Phelan noted that Hughes’ complete identification with his functionary ran like a leitmotif through the handwritten memos. “The billionaire wrote entire scripts for Maheu-Hughes to play out for him in the exciting but fearsome world. ” Hughes often referred to Maheu as “I” and himself in the third person, like in this memo, which outlined his instructions for Maheu’s negotiation with a man named William Harrah over the purchase of a casino.

“Try something like this. Bill, I have to go to Los Angeles for a very important medical exam. I had postponed it to be free to come to Reno and meet with you. But if you are not ready, I will go on to L.A. and re-establish my plans.

Now look Bill, I don’t mind waiting another week at all and I am sure this is OK with Mr. Hughes. What has him upset is the fact that he is a man, like many you have met, who just cannot stand uncertainty. He has a number of other projects which depend upon this one. So, you see, his upsetment is not because of the delay, only the uncertainty.

Now, you said this afternoon, Bill, that you wanted to present this proposal at a figure that will be immediately acceptable to Howard. Well, I think that is fine, and it occurred to me that you know in a general way what Howard considers fair.  May I say to Howard before I go, that if he will just be patient for another week and quit fretting over this deal I am confident that when I return from L.A. in a week I will make one call and you will invite me to Reno.”

Howard Hughes: The Hidden Years, James Phelan, William Collins Sons & Co Ltd, 1977.

The Martyrdom of St. Ursula at the Banca Commerciale Italiana

CaravaggioUrsula.jpgStory told by a Welsh man who lived in Italy in the 1990s: “I wanted to see Caravaggio’s The Martyrdom of St. Ursula, but it was in the Banca Commerciale Italiana in Naples. So I went in and I asked the bank tellers, and they couldn’t help me. I asked the security guard and he said no.

So I sat in the foyer. I basically said: ‘I want to see it, I’m not leaving. I’ve come all the way from England and I want to see it.’

At the time I though it was completely within my rights, that it was on public display. But it turns out it was hanging in a boardroom.

Eventually the security guard got sick of me. He said, ‘All right then,’ and he took me upstairs and showed it me. He gave me some ridiculous time parameter, he turned on the lights for a very brief time, and shuffled me out of there.

I think they’ve moved it, in recent years. Yeah, I don’t think it’s there anymore.”

The Mattyrdom of St. Ursula (1610) is believed to be Caravaggio’s last painting. It now hangs in the Gallery of Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano in Naples. 

P’Lod’s Valentine’s Day Gift to Hillary Clinton

Image result for P’Lod hillary clintonHillary Clinton’s tempestuous affair with an alien named P’Lod was a popular storyline in the late, great Weekly World News. Memorable covers included “Alien in Slammer After Fistfight with Bill… Over Hillary!”, “Hillary Clinton Adopts Alien Baby: Secret Service building special nursery in the White House!” and “My Steamy Nights with Hillary in UFO Love Nest.” The February 19, 2002 issue described the extraterrestrial’s Valentine’s Day present, “risque lingerie from P’Lod’s homeworld, a super-advanced planet many light years away.”

“Washington- U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton got an out-of-this-world Valentine’s present from her space-alien boyfriend P’Lod–a pair of racy extraterrestrial undies from his home planet.

And while the peculiar cut and purplish color may appear cheap to human eyes, on the alien’s world they are considered both tasteful and sexy.

The former First Lady reportedly blushed beet-red then laughed and hastily stuffed the gift in a drawer saying ‘They’re awesome! I guess I’ll try these on tonight,’ eyewitnesses at her senate office report.

‘Hillary tried to laugh it off as a gag gift, but you could tell the sexy underwear was a big hit with her,’ revealed an aide who took a snapshot of the scene.

‘All day, she kept opening the drawer and caressing the panties with a dreamy, far-away look in her eyes. Her husband Bill never gave her anything that intimate for Valentine’s Day– his idea of a romantic gift is a new set of kitchen knives…’

Weekly World News, February, 2002.

Vance Packard Dissects Liberace’s Fans

Vance Packard’s 1957 monster bestseller The Hidden Persuaders introduced Americans to the Freudian implications behind lipstick and cigarette advertisements. He described how promoters used Oedipus symbolism to sell the pianist Liberace, preying upon the supposed desire of older women to mother someone adorable– a role enjoyed today by the cherubic-faced SoundCloud rapper Lil Pump, who melts aging hearts as he shouts, ‘And your baby momma laying next to me!” with childlike glee. 

Selling love objects. This might seem a weird kind of merchandising but the promoters of Liberace, the TV pianist, have manipulated–with apparent premeditation–the trappings of Oedipus symbolism in selling him to women past the child-bearing age (where much of his following is concentrated). The TV columnist John Crosby alluded to this when he described the reception Liberace was receiving in England, where, according to Mr. Crosby, he was ‘visible in all his redundant dimples’ on British commercial TV. Mr. Crosby quoted the New Statesman and Nation as follows: ‘Every American mom is longing to stroke the greasy, roguish curls. The wide, trustful childlike smile persists, even when the voice is in full song.’ TV viewers who have had an opportunity to sit in Mr. Liberace’s TV presence may recall that in his TV presentations a picture of his real-life mom is frequently flashed on screen, beaming in her rocking chair or divan while her son performs.”

The Hidden Persuaders, Vance Packard, McKay, 1957.