Sunday, December 20, 2015

Today -100: December 20, 1915: Of peace ships, grafters in collusion with crooks, and cudgeling and falling down stairs

Henry Ford’s Peace Ship arrives at Christiana (Oslo), in some turmoil. The hastily assembled bunch have been squabbling for most of the voyage, with bitter fights over whether to issue a statement opposing the military increases called for by Pres. Wilson in his State of the Union address and over details of how peace is going to be achieved, and some plain-old power struggles, from which Ford himself is largely absent, having retreated to his stateroom for most of the journey. They’ve also debated whether to expel several reporters.

Chicago Mayor “Big Bill” Thompson begins a campaign against corruption in the Chicago Police Department, which he says is “rotten and honeycombed with grafters in collusion with crooks.” He says some cops have been murdered by other cops. “Ish the Chicago way,” he adds, confusing onlookers with his impression of Sean Connery, who wouldn’t be born for another 15 years.

The NYT reviewer of the new film Don Quixote, played by DeWolf Hopper (husband of Hedda and father of William Hopper, who played Paul Drake in Perry Mason), finds the movie faithful to the original but a failure because “the nature of cinema precludes the transmission of anything so subtle as satire, which is the essence of the book.” Still, for better or worse, “There is much cudgeling and falling down stairs and rubbing of injured parts, after the familiar movie manner.”

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