Saturday, May 2, 2020

We Didn't Start the Fire, continued

Continuing a look at the stories behind the lyrics of We Dididn't Start the Fire:

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray 
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio. 
Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television 
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe 
Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom 
Brando, "The King and I" and "The Catcher in the Rye" 
Eisenhower, vaccine, England's got a new queen 
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye 





Dwight David Eisenhower (1890 – 1969): 

- American army general, five-star general in the Army in WW2. 

- Served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe. 

- Responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful invasion of Normandy in 1944–45 from the Western Front. 

- First Supreme Commander of NATO, 1951. 

- 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. 

Relevance to 1952: 

Eisenhower was elected President in 1952 under the slogan “I Like Ike” with Richard Nixon as his VP running mate. He defeated Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson II in a landslide, with an electoral margin of 442 to 89, marking the first Republican return to the White House in 20 years. 

1952 campaign button 

1956 campaign button 

By the way: 

Some months after the end of his term as President, Eisenhower was asked if leaving the White House had affected his golf game. "Yes," he replied, "a lot more people beat me now." 



Jonas Salk (1914 – 1995) was an American physician, medical researcher and virologist who developed one of the first successful polio vaccines. 

Polio was considered one of the most frightening public health problems in the world until 1955 when the Salk vaccine was introduced, and epidemics were increasingly devastating in the post-war United States. 

Relevance to 1952: 

The 1952 U.S. epidemic was the worst outbreak in the nation's history, as 3,145 people died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis, most of its victims being children. The "public reaction was to a plague", said historian William L. O'Neill. According to a 2009 PBS documentary, "Apart from the atomic bomb, America's greatest fear was polio 

Also in 1952 Jonas Salk began testing a vaccine for polio consisting of injections of dead polio virus. Later Sabin began trials of a cheaper and more effective oral vaccine. The use of the two vaccines has eliminated polio in most countries. 

Dear Dr Salk 
Where are you now that we need you? 


England’s got a new Queen: 

Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, came to the throne in 1952 on the death of her father, King George VI. She was in Kenya at the time and became the first Sovereign in over 200 years to accede while abroad. She was crowned on 2 June, 1953 in Westminster Abbey. Her Maj was the thirty-ninth Sovereign to be crowned at Westminster Abbey. 

The new Queen Elizabeth II returning from Kenya to take up her duties following the death of the king, her father. 

By the way: 

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh were driven from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey in the Gold State Coach pulled by eight grey gelding horses: Cunningham, Tovey, Noah, Tedder, Snow White, Tipperary. McCreery and . . . Eisenhower. 

The State coach at the coronation 1953. 
(I don't know which horse is the one named Eisenhower.)



Rocky Marciano (1924-1969): 

- the only heavyweight world champion to retire undefeated 

- world heavyweight titleholder from 1952 to 1956 

- six title defences 

- known for his relentless fighting style, formidable punching power, stamina, and exceptionally durable chin 

- included by boxing historians in lists of the greatest boxers of all time 

- his knockout-to-win percentage of 87.76% remains one of the highest in heavyweight boxing history – 49 fights/wins, 43 by ko 

Relevance to 1952: 

Maciano became world heavyweight champ in 1952 when he defeated Jersey Joe Walcott with a knockout in the 13th round. 

By the way: 

Marciano retired at age 32. In 1969, the day before his 46rh birthday, he was killed when a light plane in which he was a passenger crashed on landing, 



Wladziu Valentine Liberace (919-1987): 

- American pianist, singer and actor 

- a child prodigy born in Wisconsin to parents of Italian and Polish origin 

- in childhood, Liberace suffered from a speech impediment, and as a teen, from the taunts of neighborhood children, who mocked him for his effeminate personality, his avoidance of sports, and his fondness for cooking, and the piano 

- enjoyed a career spanning four decades of concerts, recordings, television, motion pictures, and endorsements 

- at the height of his fame, from the 1950s to the 1970s, Liberace was the highest-paid entertainer in the world, with established concert residencies in Las Vegas, and an international touring schedule 

- embraced a lifestyle of flamboyant excess both on and off stage, acquiring the nickname "Mr. Showmanship". 

Relevance to 1952: 

Liberace was given a Los Angeles TV show in 1952 that became so successful it went national in 1953. 

By the way: 

Commenting on criticism, he once famously said that he cried all the way to the bank. He later revised this to being so successful that he had bought the bank he used to cry all the way to. 

Liberace Museum, Las Vegas 


Santayana goodbye: 

George Santayana (1863-1952): 

- philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. 

- wrote 18 books on philosophy 

- known for aphorisms such as: 

“Love makes us poets and the approach of death makes us philosophers.” 

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it".” 

"Only the dead have seen the end of war." 

- held racial superiority and eugenic views, believed superior races should be discouraged from "intermarriage with inferior stock" 

Relevance to 1952: 

Santayana died in 1952, aged 88, of stomach cancer.

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