6 Things You Didn't Know About Tanks

6 Things You Didn't Know About Tanks

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6 things you didn’t know about the Six Day War

JTA — The three paratroopers casting eyes upward at the Western Wall. The troops reveling in the waters of the Suez Canal.

The sweeping views of a Galilee no longer vulnerable to shelling from atop the Golan Heights.

Not to mention Naomi Shemer’s anthem “Jerusalem of Gold,” reissued after the Six-Day War with a new verse celebrating access to the Old City. Or the settlements, the Palestinians, the tensions, the violence.

These – and many others – are the images, memories and challenges that persist after 50 years of triumph, soul searching and grief.

But there are anomalies – small, telling wrinkles in what the war wrought – that, if not quite forgotten, have faded into the recesses of memory.

They are worth reviving to deepen our understanding of an event that changed Jewish history.

For 20 years, Jews paid fees to a symbol of Palestinian pride

In the wake of Jerusalem’s reunification, its mayor, Teddy Kollek, was faced with a dilemma: Jewish neighborhoods were sprouting up in the eastern part of the city. Any attempt to extend electricity to them from the electricity provider in Israel would likely elicit local and international protest because the world did not recognize Israel’s claims to the city.

Kollek’s solution: Allow the Palestinian-run Jerusalem District Electric Company, or JDEC, predating Israel’s establishment, to continue providing power in and around the Old City, including the new Jewish neighborhoods.

So until 1987, Jews living in the Old City and the new neighborhoods received electric bills that seemed a mirror image of their other utility bills: First the text was in Arabic, then in Hebrew.

The JDEC held exclusive rights to a radius of 50 kilometers, or 31 miles, around the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Old City site believed to be the site of Jesus’ burial.

After 1948, Israel assumed responsibility for providing electricity to western Jerusalem.

The JDEC, which had become a symbol of Palestinian aspirations for independence, was helmed by Anwar Nusseibeh, the scion of an ancient Palestinian family.

According to the 1999 book “Separate and Unequal,” about relations between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem, even after the JDEC’s limited capacities were exhausted by the rapidly expanding demand, Israeli authorities balked at extending the Israel Electric Corp.’s reach into eastern Jerusalem. Instead, the Israeli company sold capacity to the JDEC.

In December 1987, the government finally – quietly – shifted total responsibility for the Jewish neighborhoods to the Israeli company.

“Separate and Unequal,” penned by three Israelis – Amir Cheshin and Avi Melamed, two former municipality liaisons to the city’s Palestinian population, and journalist Bill Hutman – cited the conundrum as an example of the balancing act that Israeli officials had to perform: Maintaining a Jewish claim to the entire city, while at times deferring to Palestinian nationalism, in order to keep the peace.

“Israel could not expect to wipe out an important Palestinian national symbol without a reaction, possibly a severe reaction, from the Palestinian public,” they wrote.

The JDEC still exists, albeit providing electricity only to Palestinian residents.

King Hussein longed for peace — and liked his Israeli hardware

During most of his reign, King Hussein of Jordan sought a peaceful arrangement with Israel, taking a cue from his beloved grandfather, King Abdullah I, whom he saw assassinated in Jerusalem in 1951 because he was seeking peace with Israel.

Like his grandfather, he sought peace in secret but did not escape opprobrium – and was wary of meeting Abdullah’s fate. Hussein felt he had little choice but to join President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt in saber rattling against Israel in 1967 – Nasser, wildly popular in the Arab world, had already taunted the king as being subservient to Israel.

Moreover, Israel had humiliated Hussein a year earlier with a massive daylight raid into his territory to exact revenge for an attack carried out by Palestinian Fatah troops, who then operated with relative impunity from Jordanian soil.

According to historian Martin Gilbert’s “Jerusalem Illustrated History Atlas,” on June 4, 1967, Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol relayed a message to Hussein: “We shall not initiate any action whatsoever against Jordan. However, should Jordan open hostilities, we shall react with all our might and (Hussein) will have to bear the full responsibility for all the consequences.”

At 8:30 a.m. the following day, Jordan started shelling western Jerusalem, and at 9:30 a.m., Hussein broadcast, “The hour of revenge has come.”

That kind of talk and the ensuing bloody battles — plus prior years that witnessed the destruction of Jewish properties in eastern Jerusalem and Hussein’s refusal for 19 years to allow Jewish access to the Western Wall — left some Israelis wondering whether Hussein truly sought peace.

The answers came over time – King Hussein drove Fatah out of Jordan in 1970 and in 1973 waited out the Yom Kippur War. In 1986, he came close to signing a peace deal with Israel.

In 1994, symbols bold and subtle made evident that Hussein had earned the trust of leading Israelis. The king was present at Israel’s Arava terminal when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed a peace treaty with his Jordanian counterpart, Abdelsalam al-Majali.

The next day Maariv, a newspaper then owned by the Nimrodi family, published a full-page photo captioned “1965, collection of Yaakov Nimrodi,” with no other comment. Nimrodi, the clan patriarch, was Israel’s leading private arms dealer.

In the photo, a smiling King Hussein is cradling an Israeli-manufactured Uzi submachine gun.

When did Israel unite Jerusalem? Did it unite Jerusalem?

“The future belongs to the complete Jerusalem that shall never again be divided,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said two years ago on Jerusalem Day, which marks the Hebrew calendar anniversary of Israel’s capture of eastern Jerusalem during the Six-Day War.

The adjectives vary – “complete,” “united,” “indivisible” — but the meaning is clear enough: Israel will never cede an inch of the Jerusalem it reunited.

Except when it formally reunited Jerusalem is not so clear: 1967? 1980? 2000? Ever?

On June 27, 1967, less than three weeks after the war’s end, Israel’s Knesset passed ordinances that allowed Israeli officials to extend Israeli law into areas of their designations. The next day, the Interior Ministry acted on those new ordinances, extending Israeli law into the areas that now constitute the Jerusalem municipality. They included 28 Palestinian villages, the Old City and what had been defined by Jordan as municipal Jerusalem.

So, June 28, 1967, apparently is when Israel “united” Jerusalem. Except Ian Lustick, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, published a widely cited paper in 1997 that showed unification was not necessarily the intention of the 1967 ordinances.

An Interior Ministry news release on June 28, 1967, said the “basic purpose” of its order was “to provide full municipal and social services to all inhabitants of the city.” Absent was any expression of political purpose.

Not long after, Abba Eban, then Israel’s foreign minister, told the United Nations that the ordinances had a practical, not a national consequence.

“The term ‘annexation’ is out of place,” he said. “The measures adopted related to the integration of Jerusalem in the administrative and municipal spheres and furnish a legal basis for the protection of the Holy Places.”

As Lustick noted, even within these parameters, anomalies persisted: For decades, Jordanian curricula prevailed in Palestinian schools in eastern Jerusalem.

In 1980, the Knesset passed a Basic Law – what passes in Israel for a constitution – declaring united Jerusalem to be Israeli. “The complete and united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” it said.

But left out of the law was a definition of what constituted the “complete and united” Jerusalem. It took until 2000 for the Knesset to pass an amendment to the 1980 Basic Law specifying that Jerusalem was defined by the Interior Ministry order of June 28, 1967.

So was 2000 when Israel formally set down in law what constituted the united, indivisible, complete Jerusalem?

Not exactly, according to a Haaretz analysis in 2015, which said the 1980 law is essentially declarative: Nowhere does it include the words “annexation” or “sovereignty.”

Marshall Breger and Thomas Idinopulos, in a 1998 Washington Institute for Near East Policy tract, “Jerusalem’s Holy Places and the Peace Process,” suggest that these are distinctions without a difference and say that Israeli court decisions that treat eastern Jerusalem as essentially annexed should be determinative.

The first Jewish settlement in the captured territories

There are plenty of dramatic markers in the history of the return of Jews to the areas Israel captured in the Six-Day War:

The first homes reoccupied by Jews in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, in 1969 the Jews, led by Rabbi Moshe Levinger, who moved into a Hebron hotel to mark Passover 1968 and would not leave until the government allowed them to establish the settlement that would become Kiryat Arba the settlers who would not leave the area of Sebastia in the northern West Bank until the government in 1975 allowed them to establish Elon Moreh.

But the first settlement? That would be Merom Golan, a kibbutz originally named Kibbutz Golan, when Israelis quietly moved in on July 14, 1967, just over a month after the war.

Why the urgency? A clue is in who founded the kibbutz: Israelis from the eastern Galilee, who had suffered potshots and shelling from Syrian troops for years.

The Israeli attachment to the West Bank and to Jerusalem has been from the outset one defined by emotion, history and identity. Occupying and settling the Golan Heights — an area traditionally not defined as within the boundaries of the biblical Land of Israel — was seen as a matter of security and practical necessity: Israel, atop the Golan, was less vulnerable.

These days, Merom Golan is a resort.

That ancient church in Gaza? It was a synagogue

The Western Wall, Qumran, Shiloh, King Herod’s tomb – the Six-Day War was a boon for historians seeking evidence of ancient Jewish settlement in the Holy Land.

Most of these sites are in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. But a team of archaeologists rushed to the Gaza Strip within weeks of its capture.

Why? In 1966, Egypt’s Department of Antiquities announced the discovery of what it said was an ancient church on Gaza’s coast. Examining the pictures in the Italian antiquities journal Orientala, Israeli archaeologists immediately understood it was no church – it was a synagogue.

Visible in one photograph was a Hebrew inscription, “David,” alongside a harpist – King David.

According to an article published in 1994 in Biblical Archaeology Review, by the time the Israelis reached it a year later, the David mosaic had been damaged – evidence perhaps that the Egyptians understood that the biblical king’s depiction validated claims of ancient Jewish settlement and sought to erase it.

They set about excavating the site, which turned out to be one of the largest Byzantine-era synagogues in the region.

At the foot of one mosaic they found the following inscription: “(We) Menahem and Yeshua, sons of the late Isai (Jesse), wood traders, as a sign of respect for a most holy place, donated this mosaic in the month of Louos (the year of) 569.”

The quiet reunifications

This was the myth: Between 1949 and 1967, the heart of a city identified since the beginnings of history with the Jews had been made Judenrein.

The myth was largely based in fact, but there were exceptions: Every two weeks, a convoy of Israeli troops would travel through Jordanian Jerusalem to Mount Scopus, the Hebrew University campus that remained Israel’s as part of the 1949 armistice. Intrepid non-Israeli Jews occasionally passed through the Mandelbaum Gate, the gateway between Jordanian and Israeli Jerusalem. Muriel Spark, the Scottish novelist, captured the danger in such a crossing in her 1961 novel “The Mandelbaum Gate.”

And then there were stories like this one: In 1991, the building where I owned an apartment obtained permission from the municipality to add rooms and balconies. The contractor subcontracted some of the work. One day, a gregarious Palestinian subcontractor came by to measure my balcony for the railing he would build.

But the contractor disappeared just before completing the job. I paid others to complete the work and asked around for the number of the subcontractor.

He lived in Silwan, the ancient neighborhood abutting the Old City. I called.

A woman speaking fluent Hebrew answered this in itself was striking. It was not unusual for Palestinian men, who worked throughout Israel, to speak Hebrew, but it was a rarity at the time to encounter a Hebrew-speaking Palestinian woman. Moreover, her Hebrew was unaccented and flawless.

She was the subcontractor’s mother. Of course he would come and install the railing, it was gathering dust in their yard, and he had forgotten my exact address, she said not only that, but I wasn’t to pay him a shekel extra, he had been paid for his work and wouldn’t hear of it.

I couldn’t resist asking her to explain her Hebrew.

She was Jewish, born and raised in Jerusalem. She had married a Palestinian Muslim before independence. And she remained in Silwan after the war. Did she reunite with family? Yes, she said, immediately after the Six-Day War, but would not elaborate.

The subcontractor came by.

“I spoke to your mother,” I said.

I asked the neighbors who had used the same contractor, I asked other Jerusalemites, and no one expressed surprise.

They had heard similar stories of excommunication and then tentative reunification. How many were there? No one knew. No one compiled these stories. There was no shame to the phenomenon, but neither was there a celebration of it.

It seemed unresolved, like so much else about the Six-Day War.

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6 things you didn’t know about Union Station

Ever since its founding in 1858, Denver has served as a hub for people passing from one destination to another. Because Denver has no navigable rivers, its destiny was instead carved out by the evolution of the railroad.

Although the work involved in constructing a mountain passage initially made railroad builders wary, by 1870 both the Denver Pacific and Kansas Pacific Railways ran through town. We can experience this nexus of traffic today by visiting Union Station in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood. However, with many new buildings in this area of the city, it may take some imagination to recall what transportation looked like in this warehouse district once lined with buildings made from brick and timber.

Here are some things you might not know about Union Station that are sure to help spark your curiosity.

​Picture of Union Station circa 1881 Scan #10049343

1. When it was completed in 1881, Denver’s Union Station was the largest structure in the West and included a 128-foot tower. Its grandeur was perhaps paralleled only by the rapid development of the state’s rail system, which grew from 328 miles of track in 1870 to half a million miles by 1900.

2. A chandelier in the ladies’ room caused a devastating fire in 1894. The fire led to a redesign in 1914 that included a central area with wrought iron and glass. The restoration of this distinct canopy was part of the work funded by History Colorado’s State Historical Fund before the renovated station reopened in 2014.

3. Union Station got its name from efforts to consolidate transportation. By the turn of the century the city saw eighty to one hundred trains a day passing through. Not unlike today, Denver needed the infrastructure to handle the influx of arrivals. Before Union Station was built, several different railroad stations had operated in the area now home to LoDo, whose unpaved streets made transfers particularly unpleasant. Union Station’s opening was the culmination of efforts to “unionize all the trains coming to Denver.”

4. Passengers used to board trains underground. Within the first twenty years of the station’s operations, trains went from hauling four to six cars to fourteen or fifteen cars. Passengers sometimes had to wait for other cars to unload or board before exiting or entering a car themselves. In 1912 an underground boarding area was constructed. This change better served Union Station’s patrons—especially during World War II, when the station accommodated twenty-four thousand people a day, mostly soldiers. There remain some unused underground passageways today.

5. A bilingual “Welcome” sign once greeted travelers. As a tribute to Denver citizens, in 1906 the city erected what became known as the “Mizpah Arch” over the Seventeenth Street entrance to the station. When Mayor Robert Speer first dedicated the arch, it said “Welcome” on both sides, but later the sign said “Mizpah” as visitors entered the station. Mizpah is Hebrew for "watchtower" and signifies an emotional bond between people who are separated. The metal arch shone with 2,200 electric bulbs that gave visitors a warm welcome, not unlike the lights that now set the station aglow at night. The arch was torn down in 1933, but you can still find the two benches that mark where it once rose.

Denver's Union Station is an example of the Beaux Arts style.

6. The “Travel by Train” sign references an era that had already passed. As the use of automobiles rose, Denver’s focus shifted away from rail. By the 1950s the trolleys that had traveled up Seventeenth and Wynkoop since the 1880s stopped running, and passenger air travel started taking off as well. In 1953 Union Station installed the sign “Travel by Train” almost as an homage. Even the beloved Ski Train went in and out of service over the decades that followed. In 1974, the station was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

6 Things You Didn't Know About The History Behind Thanksgiving

If you grew up in the United States, at some point in your elementary education you were probably asked to craft, color, read about or dress up like pilgrims and Indians around this time of year. I distinctly remember standing with the rest of my classmates, donning a paper bonnet and apron, as we performed a skit about sailing on the Mayflower and landing at Plymouth Rock. It wasn’t until I was 20 years old that I actually learned some of the real history behind Thanksgiving—like that the settlers plagued Native Americans with all kinds of devastation. Along with Thanksgiving’s origin story, it is a holiday with a rich history worth exploring. So in case you’ were duped by the U.S. school system too, or you just want some interesting convo starters to ease the awkward chit chat with Aunt Betty, here are six truths behind the history of Turkey Day. Warning: It might make you think differently about stuffing your gullet with pumpkin pie.

1. Settlers did share a meal with the indigenous American people, but then they slaughtered them.

Accounts in the writings from different early settlers like William Bradford document the successful first harvest of the Mayflower's travelers in 1621, and also describes Massasoit, leader of the Wampanoag tribe at the time, with about 90 men joining in on the three day festivities. Not too long after, the Pequot Massacre happened in 1637, where more than 700 Native American Indians were killed by colonists. Colonists lit the homes of the Native Americans on fire, and killed anybody who tried to escape. Bradford's writings also confirm that they considered the people they were killing to be enemies. So much for the mythical idea that the Pilgrims and Indians lived happily ever after that so many schoolchildren across the nation have in their head.

2. Every year the United American Indians of New England gather for a National Day of Mourning in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

The United American Indians of New England organize a gathering every year in Plymouth on the American Thanksgiving holiday to honor the indigenous ancestors who suffered at the hands of the European settlers. A National Day of Mourning takes place on the fourth Thursday of every November where Native Americans mourn the genocide of their people, and the land that was stripped from them. Participants often fast from sundown the night before through the afternoon of the demonstration as a way to recognize the importance of the day. The day involves a march through historic Plymouth, and speakers discuss history and current issues for native people in the Americas.

3. Abe Lincoln declared a national Thanksgiving holiday after a Union victory during the Civil War.

One thing that gets lost amidst the pilgrims and Indians décor is that President Abraham Lincoln officially declared Thanksgiving in 1863 during the war-torn United States’ Civil War. The declaration came after the Union Army won a battle, leading the president to announce a national day of thanks.

4. Turkeys first became the center of the T-Gives meal a little more than 150 years ago.

Andrew Smith, author of The Turkey: An American Story, said in an interview with Southern California Public Radio, that the pilgrims didn’t actually eat turkey at that very first famous meal in 1621. Smith said that turkeys were common at that time, but it wasn’t until the late 1800s that the bird became the center of the Thanksgiving feast.

5. FDR tried to move Thanksgiving to help the Great Depression.

In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt shifted Thanksgiving up a week in an attempt to get stores more cash. Since holiday shopping officially commences after Thanksgiving, FDR thought that moving Turkey Day would help stores get more sales since an extra week would be wedged in before Christmas. In 1941, however, Congress said, "Uh-uh, not cool," to the prez, and it was changed back to the fourth week in November–just like honest Abe wanted.

6. Before Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, there were Ragamuffin parades—say what?

Last year NPR’s Linton Weeks reported a story titled, “When Thanksgiving Was Weird.” The story explains that Thanksgiving in the United States once upon a time involved kiddos dressing up like beggars and ragamuffins and asking, “Anything for Thanksgiving?” Reminds you a bit of Halloween costumes and, “Trick-or-Treat!” doesn’t it? Apparently this very popular tradition of Ragamuffin parades got washed away by another tradition that came about in 1947: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Milwaukee History

High-rises, baseball history and really bad beer… facts about Milwaukee you might have missed.

Twice it has been home to buildings that were among the tallest in the country.

Legend has it that City Hall was the tallest building in the world between the time it opened in 1895 and 1899, when it was passed by New York’s Park Row Building. However, Philadelphia’s City Hall tower reached over 200 higher than Milwaukee’s, and was completed in 1894 – although the interior was not completed until 1901. But Milwaukee’s Newhall House hotel, completed in 1857, featured a cupola that peaked at somewhere around 135-140 feet tall, slightly taller than the Jayne Building in Philadelphia, which is considered to be the nation’s tallest building between 1850 and 1865.

Our Braves set a trend.

In 1953, the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee and went from a moribund team that had a tiny following to a pennant contender that smashed attendance records. Following their lead, the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers moved west after the 1957 season to seek a Milwaukee-style attendance boom, forever changing the character of the National Pastime.

We weren’t always ‘Sconnies.

Since city father Solomon Juneau first arrived in the area, Milwaukee was a part of both the Illinois (1809-1818) and then Michigan (1818-1836) territories. The Wisconsin territory was established in 1836. It was granted statehood in 1848.

Our first beer was craft… but probably tasted horrible.

Before the first brewery was established here in 1840, local German immigrants were known to make their own kind of “beer,” a mixture of whiskey and vinegar dusted with limestone to give it a head. Let’s see an upstart local micro brew try to recreate that.

Our mayors last a long time.

Due to a sex abuse scandal, a refusal of the office, and an election, the city of Seattle recently went through a six-week period in which four different people served as mayor. By comparison, Milwaukee’s last four mayors cover a 57 year period, a remarkable period of stability for a major American city. The last elected mayor to be voted out of office was Dan Hoan in 1940 and the past century has only seen two elected mayors lose their job.

Our big brews all got started with different names.

Miller, Pabst, and Schlitz are names as synonymous with Milwaukee as Walker, Juneau, and Kilbourn. But each of these landmark breweries got started under a different name. Pabst was founded in 1844 as the Empire Brewery and later became the Best Brewery. It wasn’t until Jacob Best’s son-in-law, Frederick Pabst, took over in 1863 that the brewery was given its modern-day name. Frederick Miller bought the Plank Road Brewery, founded by another member of the Best family in 1879, for $8,000 in 1854 before putting his own name on the label. The Schlitz Brewing Company was founded in 1849 as the Krug Brewery. Joseph Schlitz was a bookkeeper for the company and took over operation of the plant when Krug died in 1956. Two years later, Schlitz completed the take-over by marrying Krug’s widow.

30 things we didn’t know about Kelly’s Heroes – Donald Sutherland was ill, expected to die before his wife got to Yugoslavia

Film is based upon a true incident. The caper was covered in a book called “Nazi Gold: The Sensational Story of the World’s Greatest Robbery – and the Greatest Criminal Cover-Up” by Ian Sayer and Douglas Botting. The heist was perpetrated by a combination of renegade Nazi and American officers. It was also listed as the “biggest” robbery ever in the Guinness Book of Records, in the 1960s.

In 1945, as Allied bombers continued their final pounding of Berlin, the panicking Nazis began moving the assets of the Reichsbank south for safekeeping. Vast trainloads of gold and currency were evacuated from the doomed capital of Hitler’s ‘Thousand-year Reich’.

Nazi Gold is the real-life story of the theft of that fabulous treasure – worth some 2,500,000,000 at the time of the original investigation. It is also the story of a mystery and attempted whitewash in an American scandal that pre-dated Watergate by nearly 30 years. Investigators were impeded at every step as they struggled to uncover the truth and were left fearing for their lives.

Vizinada’s square where the climax of Kelly’s Heroes was filmed.

The authors’ quest led them to a murky, dangerous post-war world of racketeering, corruption and gang warfare. Their brilliant reporting, matching eyewitness testimony with declassified Top Secret documents from the US Archives, lays bare this monumental crime in a narrative which throngs with SS desperadoes, a red-headed queen of crime and American military governors living like Kings. Also revealed is the authors’ discovery of some of the missing treasure in the Bank of England. Douglas Botting (Author), Ian Sayer (Author)

So let’s have a look as some more bizarre trivia from a fantastic film:

Donald Sutherland became seriously ill during filming on location in Yugoslavia. His wife received a telegram telling her to come immediately but warning her that he would probably be dead before she arrived.

The noise made by electric motors of the Tigers’ turrets was later used for the movements of the power lifters in Aliens (1986).

Sutherland in November 2014. Ibsan73 CC BY 2.0

It was during shooting in Yugoslavia 1969, that Donald Sutherland received word, via co-star Clint Eastwood, that his then-wife Shirley Douglas was arrested for trying to buy hand-grenades for the Black Panthers with a personal cheque from an undercover FBI agent. Sutherland recounts this story often, mentioning that when Eastwood got to the part about the personal cheque, he laughed so hard, he fell to his knees, and Sutherland had to help him up. Eastwood then put his arm around Sutherland and walked him down the hill that overlooked the Yugoslav countryside, assuring his friend with complete support of his predicament. Sutherland and Douglas, who are the parents of Kiefer and twin sister Rachel Sutherland, later divorced in 1970.

The movie was mainly filmed in Yugoslavia because the Yugoslavian army still had a large quantity of Sherman tanks in 1970.

The town is mostly the same as it was in the production, as seen in the photograph of the church square, in which the confrontation with the Tiger Tank takes place.

The “Tiger” tanks used in the film were actually Russian T-34 tanks which had been specially modified to look like Tiger tanks. This is apparent when you look at the suspension of the tanks (T-34s used a modified Christie suspension, whereas the Tigers’ wheels were much more elaborate.)

The German Tiger tank commander (played by Karl-Otto Alberty) appears to be a parody – both in appearance and manner of speaking – of Marlon Brando’s portrayal of German Lt. Christian Diestl in The Young Lions (1958).

In the nineties, a group of Swedish war game enthusiasts started to build a 1/72 scale model of the town, where the robbery takes place. As they pursued accuracy they even traveled to Vizinada and in fact hired a pilot and plane to get aerial photos of the town. Croatian authorities thought they were foreign spies and arrested them. Reportedly, they were released after a couple of hours.

A record was made of Clint Eastwood singing “Burning Bridges”, the theme song from the film. It was released as a 45-rpm disc on Certron Records, catalog #C-10010, produced by Dickey Lee and Allen Reynolds (with the B-side of “When I Loved Her” also sung by Eastwood, and written by Kris Kristofferson).

The blue “crosshair” shoulder patch indicates Kelly and his men are from the 35th Infantry Division. It’s a National Guard Division, comprised of Guardsmen from Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas.

Artillery sergeant Mulligan has a humorous name. In golf, a “mulligan” is a “do-over” a chance to repeat a bad shot. In the film, Sgt. Mulligan is repeatedly berated for his inaccuracy.

John Landis was a production assistant on this film. He also appears as an extra (he was one of the three nuns).

The ‘key’ symbol on the Tiger tanks denotes that they are attached to the 1st SS Panzer Division “Leibstandarte (Body guard unit) Adolf Hitler.”

14,000 gold bars, valued at $16M, equals about $1,143 per bar. At the long-standing price of $35/troy ounce, the bars would have had to weigh only 32.6 oz (almost 36 oz avoirdupois) each–probably a gross understatement, even though the bars are clearly much smaller than the standard “Fort Knox” size. But even assuming the weight is correct, 14,000 bars would weigh almost 16 tons (not counting boxes, men and equipment)–well beyond the capacity of the truck they were using. Then again (still with me, folks?), 14,000 bars, at only 12 to a box, would require over 1,100 boxes-seemingly a lot more than is in the pile. So maybe the German colonel was wrong.

The American fighter-plane that attacks Kellys group, is actually an Yugoslav “Ikarus Type 522” trainer, that flew for the first time in 1955.

Kelly, Big Joe and the other recon soldiers wear the shoulder patch of the 35th Infantry Division, which was fighting in the area of Nancy, France, in late summer 1944.

Clint Eastwood signed to do the film mainly because his friend and favorite director, Don Siegel, was set to direct it. However, Siegel ran into post-production problems while finishing up Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970) and had to withdraw from the project. Brian G. Hutton was then signed to direct. Eastwood, who had already signed a contract to do the film, couldn’t pull out.

Oddball’s division is the “Super Sixth”, the 6th Armored Division.

Mike Curb, who wrote the lyrics to the movie’s theme song “Burning Bridges,” served as lieutenant governor of California between 1978 and 1982.

A gold bar of 400 Troy ounces would measure roughly 2 inches x 3 inches x 9 inches and would weigh about 28 pounds. 14,000 bars at 28 pounds is 196 tons requiring a minimum of 78 two-and-a-half ton trucks to transport. The bar seen being handed around like it was a loaf of bread looks a bit larger, roughly 3 inches x 4 inches x 12 inches. A gold bar of this size weighs 75 pounds and 14,000 of these bars would weigh 523 tons requiring 209 trucks.

Oddball carries a Luger P-08 “Parabellum” semiautomatic gun, which were in service only in Switzerland and Germany.

Approximately 20 minutes were cut from the movie by MGM and studio boss James T. Aubrey before theatrical release. MGM even changed the title of the movie. Originally it was called The Warriors, then in post production it was changed to Kelly’s Warriors and then into Kelly’s Heroes. Clint Eastwood mentioned in interviews that he was very disappointed about the way movie was re-cut by studio because many deleted scenes not only gave depth to the characters but also made the movie much better. Some of the deleted scenes were shown on promotional stills and described in interviews with cast and crew for Cinema Retro’s special edition article about Kelly’s Heroes Oddball and his crew pack up to go over the lines to meet up with Kelly and others while local village girls are running around half naked.

#1: He Revolutionized the Men’s Undershirt Business

In 1934, Gable appeared alongside Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night: a film neither wanted to make and would, ironically, bring them the only competitive Oscars of their careers. In the scene where Gable is changing his clothes in front of a shocked Colbert, men in American audiences everywhere gasped: Gable wore no undershirt under his button-up! While tales of the undershirt business tanking is the stuff of legend, it’s no tall tale that men were highly influenced by it.

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6 Things You Didn’t Know About Johnson City

Johnson City is known as the crossroads of the Texas Hill Country. It was the hometown of President Lyndon Johnson and was founded by his uncle, James Polk Johnson.

James Polk Johnson died at the age of 40 in 1885, and by then, he had built the first gristmill, the Pearl Hotel and had began construction on the building to house a general merchandise store. This building housed the town’s first jail in its basement, as well as the first church congregation upstairs. It also served as the first Johnson City courthouse.

Here are a few fun facts about Johnson City you might not have known.

1. Texas White House

The childhood home of President Lyndon Johnson was built out of native limestone in 1894 on the grounds that would later become LBJ Ranch. He visited the home frequently when other family members lived there and eventually purchased it. It became known as the Texas White House during the Johnson Administration, and he was the first President to create a functioning White House outside of Washington.

The Johnsons frequently hosted world leaders and Washington staff for BBQs by the river and staff meetings under the live oak in the front yard. The Johnsons built a hangar and airstrip behind the house so the President could easily fly to and from Washington.

They donated the Texas White House to the National Park Service in 1972, and Mrs. Johnson continued to live at LBJ ranch part time after the President’s death. She passed away in 2007, and the Texas White House was officially opened to the public in August 2008. Many of the rooms were restored to their appearance during President Johnson’s time in office.

2. Christmas Lights Spectacular

The Annual Christmas Lights Spectacular kicks off the holiday season on the Friday night after Thanksgiving, and the lights are aglow every night until New Year’s Day. It is one of the biggest, best light shows on the Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail.

The Blanco County Courthouse bathes the whole town in the glow of over 100,000 twinkling lights. Not to be outshined, the Pedernales Electric Coop headquarters has a lighted forest of over 1 million lights!

Spectators can take carriage rides or go on hayrides throughout the season, and every weekend, the Johnson City Garden Club has Christmas ornaments and holiday crafts for sale in the Courthouse. The Courthouse is open on weekend nights from 6-9 pm.

The Lighted Hooves and Wheels Parade takes place on the Saturday night following Thanksgiving. Other events include a fireworks display, an annual 5k run, singing and dancing, and of course, the story of Christmas.

3. Hill Country Science Mill

If you’re looking for a fun, educational family destination, look no further than the Hill Country Science Mill. It offers an interactive learning environment for people of all ages, featuring technology-based exhibits, games, and programs. It’s mission is to expand students’ understanding and appreciation of science, technology, engineering, and math in our everyday lives.

The Science Mill opened in February 2015 and is housed in a Johnson City community landmark. It was built in 1880 as a steam grist mill and cotton gin used to distribute grain to the surrounding rural community. It was then converted to a flour mill in 1901 and a feed mill with electrical power in the 1930s. The Science Mill reflects the innovation and technology built into its history.

4. We Got Yer Goat Cook-Off

The Blanco County Fairgrounds in Johnson City is home to the annual We Got Yer Goat Cook-Off in September. Now in its 6th year, the event includes the cook off, a washer pitching tournament, arts and crafts, food vendors and various activities for kids.

Each team participating in the cook off gets one half of a goat to BBQ, and it is judged on taste, looks, aroma and texture. Teams can also enter a submission to the “mystery meat” category. It might sound a bit precarious, but it’s really just a category for any type meat the team wants to prepare.

In addition to food and fun, the cook off provides a way for residents to give back to the community, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting the Johnson City Community Education Foundation.

5. Exotic Resort Zoo

Photo: stock photo, no citation necessary

The Texas Hill Country is home to several exotic species preserves. The Exotic Resort Zoo is located on 137 wooded acres and houses over 500 animals of 80 different species. More than half of these animals were or still are on the endangered species list. The preserve provides a safe, natural habitat, which enables the animals to breed and raise their young.

The knowledgeable zoo staff leads daily safari tours, providing a hands-on experience for visitors. Everyone has a chance to feed the animals along the tour and play with the baby deer, elk and other animals in the petting zoos.

Visitors can purchase day passes to the zoo or stay overnight in one of the resort’s five cabins.

6. The Sculpture Ranch

The Sculpture Ranch & Galleries is located in the Texas Hill Country, six miles west of Johnson City, about an hour’s drive from Austin and from San Antonio.

Originally established in Central Florida in 1978 as Benini’s studio, this fine arts project has evolved into a facility that includes a 14,000 sq.ft. Studios Building with a fine arts library, exhibit galleries featuring 40 years of Benini’s paintings, and guest Italian artists, as well as the Sculpture Ranch on the surrounding 140 acres.

The term Sculpture Ranch was chosen to reflect the strong environment of the Texas Hill Country. The area was settled by Germans in 1847 with the help of a treaty with the Comanches in the region. The Texas Hill Country is a preferred destination of Texans and out-of-state tourists, known for charming villages, wildflowers, longhorns and mountain vistas. Proximity to Austin and San Antonio allows easy accessibility to two international airports and major highways.

6 Things You Didn't Know About Tanks - HISTORY

For many women, a visit to the OB/GYN is something fearful or shameful. In fact, those of us who work in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology are kind, compassionate and love what we do. Where society has placed an embarrassing stigma on anything having to with female reproduction – often referred to as “down there” or “female parts” – we view them as a natural, wonderful and regular phenomena that require gentle attention and care for our patients’ overall comfort and health.

Image Courtesy of Imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Get Comfortable With Obstetrics By Learning 6 Facts You (Probably) Didn’t Know

Because of the aforementioned stigma and mystery that has surrounded female reproductively for centuries, there is much about the realm of Obstetrics that people never learn. Here are a few facts that will educate you and, hopefully, make you feel more comfortable the next time you visit your OB/GYN. If nothing else, they will give you something to talk about when your feet are in the stirrups.

  1. We have midwives to thank for the development of obstetrics. For the past several decades, midwives have been thrust to the sidelines. Fortunately, midwifery is making a comeback and thousands of women enjoy the care of midwives and OBs. Either way, midwives are the ones who have assisted women during labor for thousands upon thousands of years. Without them, and their copious amount of knowledge, the first rung of obstetrics would never have been climbed. In fact, until the 20th century, the science of Obstetrics was still referred to as Midwifery in medical schools – and obstetrix is the Latin word for midwife!
  2. The science of birth has been written about for thousands of years. There are texts dating back from the time of Hippocrates (5th century B.C.) and beyond that discuss obstetrics in detail, including best practices for childbirth and postpartum care.
  3. The first obstetric textbook was a bestseller. It’s true! The first (recorded) obstetrics textbook was published in 1513. It was titled, Der Schwangern Frauen und Hebamen Rosengarten, later shortened to Der Rosengarten, and was translated into multiple languages. It was written by Eucharius Rosslin, an apothecary, who mostly compiled and restated texts from the ancient scientists and philosophers.
  4. Sunday is a day of rest for babies. Or maybe it’s the doctors? Ever since inductions – inducing labor using synthetic hormones such as pitocin – have gone up – the amount of babies born on Sunday has gone down. Sunday is also most doctors’ day off. Coincidence? We think not.
  5. Cesareans are the most common major surgical procedure performed in the U.S. There are two reasons why C-sections are the most common major surgical procedure performed in the U.S. The first is that C-Sections can now be done electively, rather than as a last alternative. The second is that with the rising rates of induced labors and other interventions, there has been a proportional rise in fetal/maternal distress, which typically results in an emergency C-section. Make sure you understand the risks and complications associated with C-Sections before scheduling one or electively inducing your labor.
  6. Female obstetricians are still in the minority. Once the field of medicine and the arena of pregnancy and childbirth were usurped by modern medicine – all doctors, including obstetricians were men. The first female to graduate from medical school was Elizabeth Blackwell back in 1821, although it took more than a century and a half for female doctors to be considered “normal.” While obstetrics is still a male dominated field, the tides are turning and women are beginning to outnumber men when it comes to choosing obstetrics as a specialty.

Schedule your next wellness appointment with Women’s Health Associates.

6 Things You Didn't Know About Tanks - HISTORY

A true predator never shows all his (or her) cards, and that's true of the entire "Shark Tank." Just like the investors who star in it, the show has a storied past. TV producers are always hopeful, of course, that a show will be a success. However, no one predicted the phenomenon that "Shark Tank" has become. Are you one of those obsessed fans who thinks they know everything there is to know about the show? Here are several tidbits that maybe even you didn't know.

1. It was renewed immediately

The first season of "Shark Tank" premiered in August 2009. Summer isn't a popular time to unveil a pilot, but investors are a risky bunch. It hadn't even aired three episodes before it was locked down for a second season. The numbers were right, the ratings were high and CNBC had an obvious hit.

2. There are 5,999,999 people watching "Shark Tank" with you

Each episode of "Shark Tank" averages six million viewers. There are millions more who tune in for syndication. The appeal of this show is that it ages very well. It doesn't matter if you watch an episode from 2009 or one from 2014. Investing and negotiating tactics don't change that much. If you work as a content marketer, you might call this content "evergreen."

3. There's a 'Shark Tank' movie

OK so it's a TV movie, but that counts right? The 2014 flick, "Shark Tank: Swimming with the Sharks," showed behind the scenes clips of the show. While it proved interesting to big shark fanatics, it didn't do as well in the ratings compared to other shows during the season in which it aired. Perhaps the sharks should stick to television and not film.

4. 'Shark Tank' has been mentioned in dozens of other TV shows

"Who Wants to be a Millionaire?," "Dancing with the Stars," "Tosh.0″ and "Jeopardy!" are just a few of the shows that have mentioned this killer reality show. It reflects a human's natural tendency to want to haggle, exchange large sums of money and of course share in the success (or laugh at the failures) of others.

5. It has its fair share of spoofs

TV shows that specialize in spoofs have referenced the show too, including mentions in "Robot Chicken" and "Saturday Night Live." The SNL spoof is considered to be the most controversial "bit" in the longtime comedy series' most recent season, because of its representation of the Middle Eastern terrorist organization ISIS.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and given the massive success of "Shark Tank," it's obvious that the jesting is all in good fun. Plus, any PR is good PR whether you're a fledgling startup or one of the most successful shows on TV.

6. You might have heard the man who performs the soundtrack before

Ricky Fante is an artist who performs on the soundtrack for "Shark Tank." He's also the talent behind some of the scoring in "The Best Man Holiday," an episode of "One Tree Hill," and "Their Eyes Were Watching God." He was schooled in Motown and used to sing in a choir.

How much do you really know about "Shark Tank?" A little more now possibly. It's certainly impressive to have a grand working knowledge of all the deals struck and lost, but there are certain, even more trivial facts that deserve attention. Dig a little deeper. Sometimes the best catches aren't the easiest to spot.