Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Today -100: August 27, 1919: Of borders, draftees, strikes, listening lesters, and Houdini

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes on party lines to strip the peace treaty of US obligations to participate in European matters such as the commissions drawing up the German-Belgian and other borders.

Last week Pres. Wilson met a delegation of parents of US soldiers currently stationed in Siberia, who demanded that draftees be brought home since they had been drafted for a war against Germany not Russia. Wilson now orders the return of draftees. He will send new recruits to replace them, so no easing off of the undeclared war against Bolshevik Russia.

The railway unions reject Wilson’s request not to go on strike and will poll their memberships.

The Justice Dept claims that “Russian Soviet interests” are funding newspapers for negroes in order to stir up racial antagonism.

Theater is still iffy. The stage hands at the Atlantic City production of “Listen, Lester” ignore that injunction and go on strike – after the first act.

So why not go to the movies?

Harry Houdini’s second movie, this one features thrills, escapes (naturally), and that mid-air collision, which was... not intentional. But they caught it on film so rewrote the script to include it. Excerpts are on YouTube, including the dramatic scene below where Houdini – actually a stunt double, which is rather disappointing – lowers himself from one plane to another. The collision between the planes was... not intended, but they rewrote the script to include it. No one died or anything. This movie was believed lost for 96 years.

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