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“Flexing For Hitler”
Newsweek March 6, 1939
Just wait a few years…
“Three Cars For The price Of One” Guess the Year…
Can you guess the year?
A medical journal corrects an obituary from 1858:
More than 150 years later, and 200 years after Snow’s birth, The Lancet has finally decided to set the record straight. In a recent article, “after an unduly prolonged period of reflection,” the journal finally comes clean, lightheartedly admitting that “some readers may wrongly have inferred that The Lancet failed to recognise Dr Snow’s remarkable achievements in the field of epidemiology,” as well as “his visionary work” in discovering how cholera is spread.
My Dark Days With Phil [Spector], by filmmaker Vikram Jayanti, in this week’sNewsweek
It’s a story as old as justice. The crazy man crying out, “It’s not fair!”—his calls falling deaf ears.
Now it’s Phil Spector’s story too, about to be twice-told anew, once in his last-chance appeal being considered by a federal court and again by David Mamet in a new film to air later this month. Both argue that whatever happened to cause the bloody and gaudy 2003 death of actress Lana Clarkson—at Spector’s home, a gun owned by the legendary music producer discharged in her mouth—Spector should not have been convicted. Innocence is not the question. The right to a fair trial is.
It’s a story I also have told. A month before the start of his first trial—which ended in a hung jury—I started making a documentary film with Spector, as complicated and self-destructive a man as you can imagine. He’d been a celebrity for almost 50 years, since writing and performing his first No. 1 hit song “To Know Him Is To Love Him” at 18 years old and going on to develop his hallmark Wall of Sound. As a producer, he had dominated the ’60s charts, later producing Let It Be (the final Beatles album), George Harrison’s and John Lennon’s first solo albums, and the most successful Ramones record. In all that time, he never let a filmmaker near him—until the eve of his first trial. The result was my feature-length documentary The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector, which intercut no-holds-barred conversations between Spector and me in his castle with the trial footage from the courtroom.
There were many surprises along the way, the first being that Spector’s castle, where Clarkson died, was in blue-collar Alhambra on the outskirts of L.A. and not in Beverly Hills or Malibu. As Spector told me, when he decided to leave his Beverly Hills mansion, he wanted to live in a castle. His real-estate agent found two for sale and the one in Alhambra, atop the town’s only hill, took his fancy.
But if Alhambra was a surprise, the possibility that he’d finally shot and killed somebody was most definitely not. After all, the world had been hearing stories about his gunplay and mean temper for more than 30 years. He’d even been reported to have taken a shot just past John Lennon’s head after they’d made the Rock & Roll album together, to encourage Lennon to hand over the acetate master recordings. He’s said to have pulled a gun on the Ramones, and on Leonard Cohen—who became even more of a hero to me when he told my journalist friend Chris Goodwin that he’d responded by saying something along the lines of, “Oh, Phil, you’ve been pulling guns on everyone your whole life and you’ve never shot anyone yet and you’re not going to shoot me either, so just put it down.” And Spector was so taken aback that he did.
[Photo of Phil Spector, 1975. By Mark S. Wexler/Corbis]
This week’s animated Newsweek cover, as seen in the iPad app, features a morphing King Richard III—from legend…to reality!
The cover story, written by historian Simon Schama, looks back at the means Richard III used to create his rock-solid center of power and loyalty—that undid him in the end.
A king, one shoulder higher than the other (an armorer’s nightmare), the golden circlet of the crown upon his helmet, is fighting for his life and his throne. Seeing the odds of a victory, which should have been his for the taking, suddenly shorten when his vanguard flounders in marshy ground, he has made a gambler’s throw: a frontal charge at the enemy with a long column of his most loyal knights behind him, meant to smash its way to his rival and kill him. The wet ground has lost him his mount, but he is cutting his way through the bodies with a swinging battle ax. He makes for the standard bearer of the enemy, fells him. Surely, the Welshman, the Tudor who wants his crown, cannot be far behind. Another swing, another knight, much bigger than his own slight frame, goes crashing down in his clanking hardware. Now Richard is within feet of his quarry when it all goes wrong. A presumed ally, his troops held in reserve, perhaps sensing the shift in the day’s fortunes, has thrown in his lot with the enemy and is attacking his rear; his scarlet-coated men throwing themselves into the fray. Everyone, all those men groaning and stumbling and hacking in the soft ground, feels the beginning of the end. Ranks of them close in on the king from whose helm the crown has ominously fallen. Defying everything and everyone, the king swings and flails, is engulfed, and a halberd slices through his helmet and into his brain. He sinks and folds and it is over. It is always finished when the leader of an army loses his life, for these thousands of men, knights and hardened men at arms, archers and gunners (for there were both cannon and harquebuses on Bosworth Field) are not fighting for an idea or a country, but for the person of the king who, in some way they don’t ask themselves, is England.
The chronicles of the late 15th and early 16th centuries have told us this, but those histories were written either by, or to please, the victors. But now we have Richard III’s story as written on his bones: a forensic romance. Not just the deep cleft in his skull where the halberd penetrated the helmet, but the marks of the subsequent indignities and mutilations inflicted on his corpse. It was always known that the new king, Henry Tudor, made sure to expose Richard’s body for either two or three days (sources differ) in Greyfriars Abbey where it was deposited, and it may have been, as one of the histories describes, half-naked, its lower half covered merely by “a poor black cloth”—the ultimate humiliation for a king who had reveled in royal costume. The skeleton shows signs of lunging stab wounds through the right buttock, another targeted indignity and, more mysteriously, the body’s feet are missing. Most dramatically of all, the backbone is curved like the blade of a scythe: the sign of “idiopathic” scoliosis, a condition that would have come upon the prince, Richard, as a boy and which would have thrust one shoulder up high enough for critics during and after his life to jeer at the deformity. Thomas More, whose unfinished biography is the first thrilling work of historical narrative—more a novel than a true history—and Shakespeare, who drew on More, may have been unjust in making Richard a monster, and there is no sign of the withered arm at the center of one of More’s most dramatic and fanciful scenes. But the bones tell us they were right to picture Richard III as deformed, and entirely of their time to imagine what effect this might have on the self-consciousness of a noble steeped in the chivalric literature of manly perfection, and on those many who feared and hated him.
The Return of Ruthless Richard III, Newsweek
Hillary Clinton’s Greatest Hits
And read Michael Tomasky’s current cover story: “The Most Powerful Woman In American History”
Newsweek’s obit for Bob Marley, published in our 5/25/1981 issue. The singer would be 68 today.
Apple’s Macintosh PC Introduced On This Day In 1984
Newsweek January 30, 1984
This probably blew some minds back then: ”To remove an unwanted file, for example, one uses the mouse to drag an icon of a tiny file folder across the screen to an image of a garbage can; to erase the file, one uses the mouse to point to a command to “Empty Trash.”