Category Archives: 1950’s

The Implosion Conspiracy – Louis Nizer – How the USSR got the Atomic Bomb

Old Jules:

I noticed someone found the blog about the conspiracy to sell the atomic bomb to the Rooskies by Louis Nizer. Caused me to read it over again, then to decide I’d enjoy actually checking it out of a library for another time through it. What I said about it in the February 2012 blog entry surprised me. I remember almost none of it. Jack

Originally posted on So Far From Heaven:

When Louis Nizer penned The Implosion Conspiracyit might be said enough time had passed to provide perspective.  Two decades had passed since the trial and execution of the Rosenbergs rocked the nation.  Nizer disliked Communists, asserted he’d refuse to defend one in his profession as a defense attorney.  However, he wrote a lengthy analysis of the trial, the transcripts, testimonies, the individuals involved in an even-handed manner that wouldn’t have been possible during the Commie craze days of the events.

Basic events leading to the trial:  The US was developing the atomic bomb at Los Alamos, New Mexico during the late stages of WWII.  The information was being shared with the US Ally, Britain, but kept secret from the US Ally, the USSR.  Elaborate security measures were in place to assure the developments remained the exclusive property of the US and British governments.  Elaborate almost beyond description, devised by the US military…

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Hitler’s car, Dillinger’s car and The Last Supper

Hi readers.  When Keith Kelt and I were kids in Portales there wasn’t a heluva lot to do.  But occasionally a sideshow in a tractor-trailer would show up and park on the city square.  Word spread quickly and lines of Portales adults and kids who could afford, what?  A nickle?  Must have been because I wouldn’t have been able to afford much more.

Anyway, one of those transit shows was Hitler’s car:

http://www.sideshowworld.com/a/at/atshitler.html

 

Hitler’s Car or should I say will the real Hitler’s Car please stand up!

I am looking for a photograph of Pete Sevich’s Hitler’s Armor-Plated Limousine display. I would also be interested in any other Hitler Car sideshows photos.Rick West, Nacogdoches Texas
Rick, as I was researching to answer your question I found that at the end of World War II, Many Mercedes Cars were imported from Europe and put on display on midways as Hitler’s personal limousine. I was unable to find a picture of Pete Sevich Armor Plated Limousine display but I have included three photographs. One of a Hitler Car on display in France and two others of Hitler in his personal limousine. In 1948 Christopher Janus first exhibited a Hitler car which drew large crowds while on display at the New York Museum of Science and Industry. The Amusement Corporation of America started their summer fairs in Springfield, III with his attraction. The car was supervised by Cliff Wilson and was driven to the Springfield fairgrounds. A newspaper reporter from Chicago rode along and it was reported that there were crowds of 5,000 people daily at 50 cents for Adults and 25 cents for children. There was also a photograph of Hitler in Berlin in 1941 riding in his car.

The description on display with the car stated, “All the glass on the vehicle is an inch and a half thick, right side front door is a built in case that holds a Luger pistol. Behind the rear seat is a leather covered sheet of armor that cranks up manually. The car has a 153 inch wheel base making it a long car. It is also heavy, weighing 9,500 pounds. It has an eight cylinder overhead valve motor capable of developing 230 horsepower. The transmission consists of five speeds forward and one reverse plus an overdrive that can be used at speeds up to 125 miles per hour. The large gas tank holds 60 gallons.”

The Hennies Brothers Shows exhibited the car in April of 1949 when they opened their tour in Little Rock Ark.

In 1972 the Miami Herald reported that a 770 K Mercedes was to be auctioned in Scottsdale Az. It was a car that Hitler, Mussolini and Mannerheim had ridden in on state occasions. The car was later shipped from Finland to Sweden so it wouldn’t be captured by the Russians. It was later traded to an American firm by the Swedish government.

Pete Sevich had his Hitler car on the World of Mirth shows in Pennsylvania. It was not the only Hitler car touring at the time. “Adolph Hitler’s Genuine Personal Armored Limousine” and, in parentheses, “Not One That He Just Rode In.” The Prospect Association which was the owner of this Hitler car mounted it in a semi trailer and sold 229,000 paid admissions at one exhibition. In 1957 the car was touring in Texas its owner put it up for sale advertising to the best offer over $3,500.

Pete Sevich on the 1957 World of Mirth Shows midways billed his exhibit as “Hitler’s $35,000 Armored Limousine.” Pete was still booking his car as late as 1966. The trailer it was exhibited on had a 28 foot display area for the car with an eight foot living area over the fifth wheel. Bill Hall bought the trailer so he could display his model of the World of Mirth Shows. Bill was a carnival showman, collector and did band organ restoration. He said the car later was proved to be a fraud and was taken off exhibition and sold for $30,000.
The War Museum in Canada which reported to have one of two real Hitler cars in North America. Their car was first exhibited to raise money to help pay off the war debt. The car was sold in 1956 and 14 years later it was acquired by the museum after it was shown at the Montreal exhibition Man and His World.
There was only one other authentic Hitler car and it had been on display at a Las Vegas casino called the Imperial Palace in there Auto Collection, which included rare models and dozens of vehicles once owned by the rich and infamous. There’s Czar Nicholas II’s 1914 Rolls Royce, Japanese Emperor Hirohito’s 1935 Packard and Adolf Hitler’s 1939 Mercedes. You can also see the cars of several US presidents, and Howard Hughes’ 1954 Chrysler (the air purifier cost more than the car). About 200 vehicles are on display. The museum is located in the Imperial Palace casino, on The Strip.
The owner of the Imperial Palace Ralph Engelstad who started the Auto Collection was a big fan of Nazi memorabilia and had a private “War Room” full of the Nazi Collectibles. He got in big trouble with the Nevada Gaming Control Board for having private parties celebrating Hitler’s birthday that included swastika cakes. He was investigated by the FBI for connections to Neo-Nazi groups. He died in 1993 and since then the Auto Collection has sold off some of there coolest cars, including the Hitler and Mussolini cars. I contacted The Auto Collection at the Imperial Palace which now only sales cars. I was told that 4 years ago the museum closed and they didn’t know where the Hitler Car or what the owner did with it.
There is also a car that might have been owned by Hitler on display at the roadside attraction “The Thing” in Arizona. “The Thing is … we can’t prove it”. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/AZCOCthing.htmlJohn Robinson Sideshow World

Some information derived from AL Stencell Seeing is Believing

Another I recall was John Dillinger’s Terraplane.  In those days it was black, though as I remember it.  Interesting thing about it was the ash tray in the back seat opened to a tube he could pour roofing nails into.  They’d exit from an exhaust-like pipe in back to give flats to pursuers.

 The getaway car used by gangster John Dillinger in 1934 is on the move during this 77th anniversary of the infamous outlaw’s death.

Dillinger’s 1933 Essex Terraplane now is at the Richmond, Va., convention center, where it’ll stay until late next year. It had been on display 18 months at the Baltimore airport,

The car, valued at about $150,000, is on loan from the National Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington, D.C. It was displayed there from 2008 until early 2010.

Dillinger escaped from the law several times before he was tracked to a Chicago theater and shot to death by police as he went for his gun when leaving the theater July 22, 1934.

Dillinger bought the Terraplane in March 1934 from the Potthoff Bros. Motor Co. in St. Paul, according to a history compiled by Brotman Winter Fried Communications, promoting the car’s exhibition. Dillinger and his brother, Hubert, crashed it into a farm field April 7, 1934, according to the history.

The dashing red Terraplane was more flamboyant than the infamous gray 1934 Ford V-8 used by robber Clyde Barrow and girlfriend Bonnie Parker at about the same time:

Barrow stole his ride, though, rather than buying it, and ran up some 2,500 miles before the end.

Barrow loved the car and wrote a letter to Henry Ford on April 10, 1934, to “tell you what a dandy car you make.

“I have driven Fords exclusively when I could get away with one. For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got ever other car skinned, and even if my business hasn’t been strictly legal, it don’t hurt anything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V-8.”

Parker and Barrow were gunned down by police in a Louisiana ambush May 23, 1934. Their bullet-riddled Ford sedan has been a prized collector’s item and display piece.

The third one I remember was a lifesize rendition of The Last Supper.  Hell, there might have been a lot more I didn’t get to see, or might have forgotten.

Jeanne remembers seeing one when she was a kid in Overland Park, Kansaas, that had props from popular movies.  She only remembers the shoes Dorothy wore in Wizard of Oz.

If those were going around today they’d have to charge $25 per head to pay for the fuel and the local cops just to set up shop anywhere.

Old Jules

 

 

 

 

 

Flashback: ‘Squirrelly’ Armijo Survives his own Funeral

Hi readers. I saw on Yahoo News that someone faked his own funeral. Got me remembering Squirrelly Armijo. So I searched for a post I was fairly certain I made in the deep history of this blog: Squirrelly didn’t fake his, except by accident.

A legendary man in the Quemado/Reserve area nicknamed ‘Squirrelly’ Armijo had a good working claim down near Queen’s Head in the Gallos near Apache Creek in the 1940s through the 1960s. Maybe that’s where he came across a skeleton, and probably just figured he might as well take it home, so he put it in his truck.
Driving up those winding mountain roads he lost control of the truck and rolled it. Squirrelly was thrown clear and the truck caught fire. He must have been out of his head, maybe with a concussion, because he evidently wandered into the mountains in a daze.

The police arrived and found the burned out truck with a skeleton inside and assumed because the truck belonged to him the remains were Squirrelly’s. He was pronounced dead, an expensive funeral held, and he was buried.

Twelve days later Squirrelly wandered out of the woods several miles away, which was a source of, first joy and awe, then suspicion. Initially it was thought he’d killed the person the skeleton belonged to. Then the lawsuits began, the Armijo family and the Funeral home arguing heatedly about who owed money to whom for burying some anonymous skeleton.

The story is so well-known it was used in a book about forensic pathology in New Mexico during the 1990s, the forensic pathologist explaining such a thing could never happen these more enlightened times. Journey in Forensic Anthropology, Stanley Rhine, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1998. Author Rhine elected to change Squirrelly’s surname to Aramando to avoid any sort of civil action. The Armijo family’s been herding sheep in that country since the time there was nobody out there but them and Mimbres Apaches. A lot of them are still there.

“A Premature Funeral

“Bones and Fire
“On June 4, 1959, Forest Service lookouts reported smoke rising from what was assumed to be a small forest fire just east of the Arizona state line, among the 8,000-feet peaks of the San Francisco Mountains of southwestern New Mexico. A firefighting crew dispatched to the scene discovered no forest fire, but an automobile burning furiously on the side of a gravel forest road. Dousing the flames, they found a mass of burned flesh, a skull, some other bones, and some teeth resting inside the burned-out hulk.

“The car was found to belong to a Mr. Armando, well known in the
lightly populated region. His fiery demise prompted the organization of a six-person coroner’s inquest in Catron County. According to former Catron County Sheriff and now Washoe County ( Nevada) Coroner Vernon McCarty, the “six responsible citizens” required by 1950s New Mexico law were most easily found by the justices of the peace at a local bar.

“McCarty observed that an insufficiency of able-bodied citizens could be remedied either by visiting several such spots or by prolonging the official quest at one of them for as long as it took to empanel the necessary six people.

“The resulting coroner’s jury in this case was made up of ranchers, Forest Service firefighters, two bartenders, and a service station attendant. It concluded that the remains were “badly burned and charred beyond positive identification,” according to the Albuquerque Journal for June 17, 1960. Nonetheless, an identification was made by Armando’s two brothers-in-law and the district attorney, apparently functioning in his multiple roles of death investigator and skeletal “expert.” That it was Armando was attested to the by the fact that the human skull was accompanied by some impressively large upper incisors. These prominent choppers had . . .”

Probably Squirrelly never paused to wonder about any moral or ethical issues when he put that skeleton into his truck. He just did it absent-mindedly the way any of us might. Probably somewhat as Mel did on Gobblers Knob:

Exploring Alley Oop’s Home Circa 1947.

I suppose the Squirrelly story came to mind because it’s a synopsis of the possibilities carried to the ultimate extreme, accompanied by the fact I recently had an email from his great-nephew wanting to ask some questions about my mention of his Queenshead claim in my lost gold mine book.

Old Jules

Previous posts: Skulls, skeletons and homicides:

The Ruin Skull – A Long Day Ago

Cold Mystery, Fevered Romance and Lost Gold

The Strangeness – Background Context of Unsolved Homicides

Flea circus, Portales, New Mexico circa 1955

Flea Circus. Torps Flea Circus Tivoli Copenhagen 1956

Hi readers.  I’d just about decided my memory played tricks.  Two years in a row I remember  the carnival at the Roosevelt County Fair having a flea circus a kid could see for a dime.  Vivid memory because I somehow accidently went into the tent next door where a woman in a bathing suit who had no arms was typing on a typewriter with her toes.

But I’ve told a lot of people who grew up in Portales at that time about the flea circus and none remember it.  Most think I just dreamed it up, or remembered wrongly, which can happen.

Only the reason they thought so, and the reason I’d begun to thnk so, was that I came to believe no such thing as a flea circus ever existed outside imaginations.

The magic of YouTube doesn’t prove a flea market came to town with the carnival in Portales, New Mexico circa 1956, but it proves beyond doubt it might have.

Secrets of the Flea Circus

Secrets of the Real Flea Circus Revealed! National Geographic (Professor Oddnaught)

Genuine Flea Circus

No shortage of flea circuses were making the rounds those days.

So all you people who went to school beside me and don’t remember attending the flea circus I, think there wasn’t one, I say, “Horsefeathers!”  If you hadn’t been spending all your money on the steam shovels and cotton candy you’d have seen it too.  Playing bingo with pieces of corn on a checkerboard never got anyone into a tent where a woman with no arms in a bathing suit typed with her toes.

Old Jules

 

Winkie Hodges – They still called him Winkie

Hi readers.  When Keith and I were kids in Portales in 1954,  a boy named Harold Hodges ran around with us a little.  For some reason we called him Winkie.  Keith and I discussed him sometime a while back and he knew Winkie a long while after I lost track.  Winkie was one of the really honest-to-goodness poor kids we knew.  Hardscrabble farm kid out in the sand hills off the Clovis highway.

I knew his dad died in the mountains deer hunting in 1955, I remembered that.  And I remembered his mom became a bootlegger to make a living in alcohol-dry Roosevelt County.

Anyway, I was remembering an incident on the school grounds involving Winkie, Keith and I getting into one hell of a lot of trouble with a teacher named Mrs. Tate.  The meanest teacher I ever had, maybe the meanest woman I ever encountered this lifetime, though she had stiff competition on both avenues.

But Winkie, Keith and I made her cry.  On the other hand, thanks to her I didn’t learn long division until a quarter-century later.  It wasn’t an even trade, but it was the best three 4th graders could do given the resources available.

Anyway, I did a websearch for Harold Hodges, then Winkie Hodges.  Just curious.  All I came up with was an obit for a name I’d encountered several years later when I lived in Borger, Texas.  Small world.  Winkie was still alive in 1998, still in Portales, and they were still calling him Winkie.

Abbie G. Friend
  BORGER – Abbie G. Friend, 85, died Monday, Nov. 2, 1998.

She married Deane Friend in 1975 at Borger. She was preceded in death
by a son.

Survivors include her husband; three sons, Wayne Vaughan of Mission,
Jack Vaughan of Pryor, Okla., and Gerald Vaughan of Long Beach,
Calif.; three brothers, Volly Hodges of Friona, Teet Hodges of
Roswell, N.M., and Winkie Hodges of Portales, N.M.; seven sisters,
Lorene Cunningham of Lubbock, Lois Hill of Odessa, Bernice Alexander
and Natoma Reigle, both of San Antonio, Geraldine Farmer of Ozark,
Ark., Maggie Rae Gibbs of Silver City, N.M., and Lena May Gibbs of
Portales, N.M.; seven grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

The family suggests memorials be to the Women’s Abuse Center.

Sooooo.  Bound to be a story worth knowing why the family wanted memorials sent to the Women’s Abuse Center, but it didn’t have anything I could discern to do with Winkie Hodges.  Just Coincideneces trekking around roping and branding everything in sight.

Anyway, Winkie’s dad died of a heart attack early in life, but I think he might still be alive.  I didn’t find an obit on him, anyway.  If I ever figure out I’ve got enough heart left to travel I think I might try to look him up or find his gravestone.

Old Jules

The Korean Korean War to protect Japan

  [The Front Line is available on Netflix]

Hi readers.  Although the Korean War wouldn’t have happened if General Douglas MacArthur hadn’t been so preoccupied about protecting Japan, the Japanese film makers have never said thank you by making a movie about it.  Although MacArthur’s, “Korea is a dagger pointed at the heart of Japan” assertion got a lot of US, British, Chinese and other soldiers killed, no Japanese died in it.  And no Japanese money, troops, anything, has supported then non-war existing during the half-century since.

Thanks to the Korean film industry and the Chinese film industry a whole new perspective on the Korean War is being handed out to anyone interested enough to watch some movies.  I’ll throw one in from the British film industry just to spread the wealth around.  A Hill in Korea was Michael Caine’s first movie role, and as it happens he was a British Army Korean War Vet.

GIs and Korean women:

A Chinese movie about a hard fought battle against US troops during the Korean War:

Two brothers are drafted into the South Korean Army during the war.  Excellent film.

Here’s one about British troops fighting in Korea to protect Japan:

But it’s just movies.  Fact is, once Japan quit slaughtering troops from all over the planet, other troops from all over the planet began dying to protect the Japanese.  And 20-30 thousand US troops are still in Korea prepared to die to protect Japan.

Thank you for your service.

Old Jules

 

Photos VA Chapel and Weston, MO house courtesy of Jeanne

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Possumly Jesse James, or a Younger or Dalton or someone else lived here, or visited here, or rode a horse by the place and gazed at it as he/she went by.

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!895 Chapel for VA Center at Fort Leavenworth in seriously bad repair. Protestant downstairs, Catholic further downstairs though the signs are somewhat misleading. No harm in a protestant attending Mass or a Catholic racking up some fire and brimstone occasionally, I reckons.

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Interesting stained glass work. Dunno whether it’s Catholic or the other one.

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Gargoyles are shared equally by Catholics and Protestants.

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The VA hospital environment surrounding this seems obliquely appropriate.

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The metalwork on those doors is probably symbolic of something, but everyone who once knew what it was is dead.

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This end of the building is in bad repair threatening collapse in places, but ain’t likely to get any better.

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Directly across the street from the chapel. It’s been through a long series of declines and repairs but we need another World War of considerable duration to bring it back to full bloom. Need to conscript all these young houdilums and get them on track to need a place such as this.

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The sign above the door reads, THE DUGOUT and can still be made out with a bit of squinting. I’m thinking it was a club for the people going through treatment, might have been used as recently as the Vietnam War.

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The Dugout

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