Thursday, July 22, 2010


July 22, 1587 -
Roanoke, the colony founded by Sir Walter Raleigh, is found to be missing.

If found, please contain Queen Elizabeth II.

(sorry but I have an interview today) so it's an abbreviated Today in History
July 22, 1934 -
John Dillinger is shot dead outside Chicago's Biograph Theatre,on this date in history. And one of the most bizarre urban legends is born. According to the rumor, J Egdar Hoover, Pug ugly head of the FBI and notorious transvestite, rushes to Chicago to see the corpse himself. Dillinger, Public Enemy No. 1, was a ladies man and was reported to be very specially endowed.

Hoover, after viewing the nude lifeless body of Dillinger in the morgue, orders Dillinger's member to be removed and preserved as a 'specimen' for his private files.

Rumors of Hoover's trophy dogged him for the rest of his life. He even went to the extraordinary step of stating sometime in the late '60's that he "did not now nor even have Dillinger's privates in a jar". His comments were not taken seriously as he was wearing a size 28 Dior outfit with matching handbag at the time.

The Smithsonian museum is still flooded with requests annually to view this 'special exhibition'.

July 22, 1964 -
Another great underrated (and sexually twisted) Hitchcock film, Marnie premiered on this date.

Alfred Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren had a major falling-out during the filming and there was a rumor that by the end he directed her through intermediaries. Although Hedren admits the she and Hitchcock's friendship ended during shooting, she denies the rumor that he didn't finish directing the film.

At the time of his death in 1982, King Sobhuza II was the longest-reigning monarch in the world. His death established him as the most recently-deceased monarch in the world. Today he is simply dead.

Sobhuza began his career as Paramount Chief of the Swazi in 1921, but was not recognized as king by Great Britain, which ran the nation as a protectorate, until 1967. (The forgetful Brits have a long history of failing to recognize kings, perhaps owing to the difficulty of seeing clearly in the London fog.)

The Brits wrote a Constitution before they left, but Sobhuza did not discover it until 1973, at which point he discarded it on the grounds of its being British. Five years later he implemented a better Constitution that, surprisingly enough, left all political power in his own hands.

He died in 1982. The Constitution declared that he should be succeeded by one of his children, which seemed simple at first but was complicated by the revelation of his having had over 600 children. (Apparently there had been room in his hands for more than political power.) It took four years to find the right son, and King Mswati III has reigned ever since.

And so it goes.

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