Jerry Lewis 1926-2017: Quiet Guy At The Deli

After a two-year Navy active duty recall during the Korean War, I was hired in 1953 by the daily Beverly Hills Citizen newspaper, now long gone. At lunch times, staffers often gathered around the corner at Nate’n’Al’s Deli, now still serving great foods.

Often, we were joined by agents seeking newspaper publicity for their clients. Sometimes the stars of the era were with them. Tho it’s almost 65 years since, I recall then-famous faces in our dining booth, including Groucho Marx, Milton Berle, Yul Brynner, Carol Channing and many others.

At one luncheon that year, a slim young guy of about my age sat next to me. He was quiet during most of the hour, with occasional polite talk with other diners. The only conversation I had with him was about menu selections. Later, when I was back in the newspaper office, I learned my quiet young dining companion had been Jerry Lewis.

Rest in peace, Jerry. Your enormous talent brought laughter to millions of admiring fans. And your annual Muscular Dystrophy Telethon earned you the love and admiration of the world.

Leyte, The Philippines: USS Indy Wreck Located

Several horrible events happened within only two weeks of the end of World War 2. Just after midnight on July 30, 1945, a Japanese submarine sank the American cruiser, USS Indianapolis, resulting in the deaths of nearly a thousand Navy men.

Before sailing for the Philippines, the Indy had delivered the first atomic bomb to the Pacific island of Tinian. On August 7, an American bomber from that island dropped it on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, resulting in more than 100,000 deaths.

To most people under age 90 today, this story is about as obscure as Admiral Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar or Captain John Paul Jones win over British ships. However, for me the Indy disaster evokes personal memories of 72 years ago.

Recent news reports that a scientific team found the Indy wreckage about a mile deep in the ocean, several miles off the coast of Leyte in the Philippines. In 1945, I was at the Navy base in the coastal port of Tacloban. When the news of the disaster came in to us, it was five days and nights after the sinking.

Unfortunately for the Indy crew, the torpedo had destroyed all the communications equipment, so no distress call went out, and the ship sank within minutes. Of the 1,200 crewmen aboard, about 300 were killed by the blasts. The others went into the shark-infested water, and by the time of rescue five days later, only 317 survived.

I was among the Navy guys at the Tacloban base who were assigned to help as the survivors were brought to camp on August 5. Many were in advanced states of exposure, sunburn, wounds and exhaustion.

The Hiroshima bomb was dropped on August 7. When the official Japanese offer to surrender came in on August 15, we were all grateful we had survived the war. The horrible irony of the story, of course, is that the Indy was sunk after delivering the bomb that won the war just days later.

Mayweather-McGregor Waltz: Worst Of Fake Sports

It’s stupid enough when pro jocks are paid $25 million annually to play schoolyard games for six months. The effort exhausts them so much they must kneel or squat for the National Anthem. Now, the absolute peak of the inflated sports insanity will happen in Las Vegas.

On Saturday, August 26, at the T-Mobile Arena, for an hour or so, a 40-year-old pro boxing champ will dance around the ring with a 28-year-old grapple-and-kick, tattooed freak show. For all the hype, predictions are that Mayweather will take home over $100 million. The underdog, fighting his very first legit pro boxing match, will have to be satisfied with only $20 million or so.

With Pay-Per-View, product promotions and scads of between-round ads for snake oil medicine, the dance contest could generate as much as $500 million. Seats at the arena are going for $1,500 and up. Also, various upscale Vegas gambling joints are charging up to $10,000 to attend booze and eats parties to watch the phony event on super-sized video screens.

What kind of action can we expect in the ring? Considering the lack of any real boxing in the recent Mayweather-Pacquiao fiasco, this dance could be like experiencing one of history’s most famous Fred and Ginger routines.

Ft. Hamilton, Brooklyn NY: Erase Rebel Street Names

We thought the street riots in Virginia demanding statues of Civil War generals be destroyed in the South had quieted down. Wrong! Now, way up north in Brooklyn, of all places, angry activists are yelling for the same changes of local street signs.

In the U.S. Army base at the Bay Ridge area, several streets are dedicated to Rebel Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. How about some suggestions for new names: Kardashian Highway, O.J. Simpson Avenue, Bill Cosby Street and Usher Boulevard. Or just call all of them Star-Crossed Lovers’ Lanes.

Holy Tupelo! 40 Years Since Elvis Left The Bldg

He collapsed from a fatal hearth attack on the floor of one of the many bathrooms at his Graceland Estate in Memphis, Tennessee, on August 16, 1977. His music and memory are still fresh in the minds of his many fans from that era and on to today.

Elvis performed dozens of iconic shows in Las Vegas between 1956 and 1976. Fortunately for this fan, a college classmate was advertising manager of one of the major hotels on the Strip.

Because of his connections, on visits to the city over the years, I had front-row seats to several live Presley concerts. The singing star never failed to entertain and amaze his many happy fans. I’d like to believe Elvis is way up there right now singin’ a rockin’ solo with the heavenly choir.

Ya Gotta Watch That Great American Eclipse

On Monday, August 21, a heavenly happening will be the first coast-to-coast solar phenom of its kind in nearly a century. On eclipse day, the moving sun will disappear behind the moon for about two minutes at each location.

The brilliant event includes a path across the skies at certain times from Oregon to South Carolina. Check the area where you’ll be for scheduled special ceremonies and other celebrations of the eclipse.

It could show above your hometown or at a location where you’re traveling elsewhere in the US, Mexico, Caribbean or Canada. Plan to be an observer of this once-in-a-lifetime event with eyes and/or camera telephoto lens.

Warning: Be sure to protect your eyes from eclipse damage. If you intend to stare directly at the sun, wear certified-safe eclipse glasses. Or avoid direct eye contact by reflecting the brilliant image to view it safely on a nearby wall.

Check with local newscasts and online sites, including › Skywatching. Learn minute-by-minute details on the total solar eclipse in the sky as it passes over your location.