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Joseph Conrad as Interviewed by Hugh Walpole (Vanity Fair, 1919)
Hugh Walpole (1884-1941) interviewed his much admired friend, Joseph Conrad (1884-1941) for the pages of a fashionable American magazine and came away this very intimate and warm column:
"There is a mystery first of the man himself-- the mystery that the son of a Polish nobleman should run away to sea, learn English from old files of the 'Standard' newspapers when he was thirty, toss about the world as an English seaman, finally share with Thomas Hardy the title of the greatest living English novelist--- what kind of man can this be?"
Rudyard Kipling Condemned (Current Opinion, 1919)
The author of "The White Man's Burden" gets the back-hand for all of his narrow-minded jingoism by Robert Wilson Lynd (1879 - 1949), who penned this angry review of Rudyard Kipling's (1865 - 1936) body of work, finding the author to be too much the Victorian imperialist.
An article about the Muslim opinion concerning colonialism can be read here...
Hollywood Star Condemns the Draft (Photoplay Magazine, 1917)
The silent film actor J. Warren Kerrigan (1882 - 1947; played in such films as "Captain Blood", "Samson and Delilah" and "The Covered Wagon") was singled out for ridicule following a poorly conceived remark that all artists should be exempted from military service. The editors of PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE counter-attacked with a short list of the creative souls who have served regardless of their talents to entertain or provoke thought.
Apparently getting skewered in the press had no effect on him; he still wouldn't register for the draft for another thirteen months.
A Study of the Japanese Soldier (Yank Magazine, 1945)
Printed weeks before the close of the war, the carefully controlled presses at YANK printed this two page article explaining how the Japanese army worked and who exactly was "the Japanese soldier".
Click here to read a similar study of the Japanese soldier from 1933.
Read an article about who was tougher, German soldiers or Japanese soldiers?
''The Marvelous Boy of the Movies'' (Vanity Fair Magazine, 1922)
Shortly before his movie "The Kid" was released, Charlie Chaplin (1889 - 1977) wrote a few "remarks on the discovery of Jack Coogan, and the picture built around him" in the attached VANITY FAIR article, "The Marvelous Boy of the Movies".
Shirley Temple Sheds a Baby Tooth! (Stage Magazine, 1935)
Child movie star Shirley Temple (1928 - 2014) was by no means at her box-office peak when this article was penned (her most popular period would span the years 1936 through 1938), but the institution that she had become by 1935 had already built many second homes and an assorted number of mansions for more than a few well-placed studio executives and mogul types. When the news hit the palmy, sun-soaked boulevards of Hollywood that she had lost her first baby tooth, there was panic!
"That the end now shows unmistakable signs of beginning. That first baby tooth fell to the studio floor with a crash heard 'round the world....Yet, even as as the nabobs of Fox stood about applauding and cooing, the cold hand of fear must have gripped their kindly hearts."
Click here to read a 1939 profile of Shirley Temple.
Albert Einstein Magazine Interview (Literary Digest, 1935)
A year and a half after departing Germany, Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) vogued it up for the cameras at a meeting for the scientific community in Pennsylvania where he answered three very basic questions concerning his research.
"A small, sensitive, and slightly naive refugee from Germany stole the show at the winter meeting of the American Association for Advancement of Science, which closed at Pittsburgh last week. Not only the general public and newspapermen, but even the staid scientists forgot their dignity in a scramble to see and hear the little man, Albert Einstein, whose ideas have worked the greatest revolution in modern scientific thought."
Washington, D.C. During Wartime (Yank Magazine, 1944)
Washington, D.C. has always been described as a pretty dull place and the only ones who ever seem to feel differently must have had a good deal of experiences in far worse locations. In this case, I am referring to Iowa and the war-torn portions of the South Pacific, which are the only two locations this YANK journalist had ever called home; so he liked Washington just fine. The author in question, Sergeant Merle Miller (1919 - 1986), does not ramble on about historic bone-yards or any other pedantic clap-trap, but rather presents useful information that a G.I. can apply to his life:
"Of course, getting a fair date while you're in town is no problem. A Canadian newspaperman recently discovered that, judging from ration-book requests, there are 82,000 single girls of what he called the "right marrying age" of 20 to 24 in town, and only 26,000 men of the same age Therefore, he concluded, a girl has only about a 30-percent chance of getting a husband -- or, for that matter, a date"
The missing period at the close of the article, I assume, is due entirely to war-time shortages.
To read about the VJ-Day celebrations in Washington, click here.
Teen Slang of the 1940s (Yank Magazine, 1945)
A 1945 Yank Magazine article concerning American teen culture on the W.W. II home front in which the journalist/anthropologist paid particular attention to the teen-age slang of the day.
"Some of today's teenagers ---pleasantly not many --- talk the strange new language of "sling swing." In this bright lexicon of the good citizens of tomorrow, a girl with sex appeal is an "able Grable" or a "ready Hedy." A pretty girl is "whistle bait." A boy whose mug and muscles appeal to the girls is a "mellow man," a "hunk of heart break" or a "glad lad."
Click here to learn how the Beatniks spoke.
Click here if you would like to read a glossary of WAC slang terms.
•Suggested Reading• Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang
Home Front Culture and Men Without Uniforms (Yank Magazine, 1945)
"...you think it's easy for a guy my age not to be in the Army? You think I'm having a good time? Every place I go people spit on me..."
So spake one of the 4-F men interviewed for this magazine article when asked what it was like to be a twenty-year-old excused from military service during World War Two. This article makes clear the resentment experienced at the deepest levels by all other manner of men forced to soldier-on in uniform; and so Yank had one of their writers stand on a street corner to ask the "slackers" what it was like to wear "civies" during wartime.
Read about the 4-F guy who creamed three obnoxious GIs.
Click here to read an article about a World War Two draft board.
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