The Hills are Alive…

…with the sound of an anniversary!

Andrews and Plummer

Sound of Music to be released early next year

You may have heard by now that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the classic film, The Sound of Music. The monumental musical was released on March 2, 1965, with rising star Julie Andrews in the leading role. The movie’s success (including winning five Academy Awards) is proof of the film’s quality and explains why it is still so beloved today.

Some even went so far as to call it the “crowning achievement of motion picture musicals.”

After being passed over for established film actress Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady (despite playing the role of Eliza for 3 1/2 years in Pygmalion), Julie Andrews earned notice with her dazzling performance in Mary Poppins, released in 1964. But it was the character of Maria that solidified Andrews’ fame and captured the hearts of viewers around the world.

Academy Award-winning Julie Andrews thrills audiences as Maria in the Sound of Music

Destined to be one of the biggest hits ever

Still, there will always be those who disagree. Some were not so spell-bound by the film. This article is particularly critical of the casting—except for Julie Andrews, of course!

Unhappy Over CastingBut Julie Andrews Magnificent

Is The Sound of Music one of your family favorites? Does it warm your heart? Or do you agree that “the rest of the cast is ludicrous” as Mr. Kleiner states above? Let us know. And if you’re interested to find more about The Sound of Music, seek articles on other films, or want to find something completely unrelated, take a look at Newspapers.com and try a search for some of your favorite things.

Pierced Nails—The Latest Fad

Nail Piercings - Titenia

Does the idea of piercing your fingernails strike your fancy? This fashion was once on the borderline of becoming popular thanks to the famous dancer Titenia, whose hand is pictured above. Each nail was pierced through and decorated with solitaire diamonds or other shiny things. Saying it was the “latest fad” is a bit generous, however, as nail piercings never really took off with the majority of ladies. Still, the practice is around today for those who wish to indulge in it, though commonly on just one fingernail instead of all.

Interested in more clippings like these? Try browsing through Newspapers.com and see what catches your eye.

Davies’ Heroic Rescue

Richard Bell Davies

This unassuming death notice marked the passing of military hero Richard Bell Davies. During World War 1, Davies was on a bombing mission with fellow British pilot Gilbert F. Smylie when Smylie’s craft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and he was forced to land behind enemy lines. Smylie dropped all but one of the bombs from his plane during the descent and managed to safely land, but he could not get the plane started again. To disable the plane, Smylie set it on fire.

The next part played out like a scene from a movie. Davies, having seen his fellow officer in trouble, immediately turned back to save him with little thought of his own safety. Smylie saw Davies coming as his own plane burned behind him. Knowing the last bomb might explode at the most inconvenient of times, Smylie took aim at his craft with a revolver and exploded the bomb himself. Under heavy fire from converging Turkish soldiers, Davies landed, pulled his comrade into the plane, and took off, leaving the Turks and the flaming wreckage of Smylie’s aircraft behind. Both men made it back to British lines unharmed.

For thinking on his feet, Gilbert Smylie received the Distinguished Service Cross. And, as the obituary above states, Richard Davies was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest of Britain’s military honors, for a skillful and daring rescue.

Interested in more articles like this? Military history is especially prevalent in history’s newspapers. Try a search that interests you on Newspapers.com.

Jackie Mitchell

Her Curves Fool 'Em

The story is surprising: 17-year-old amateur strikes out two of the best baseball players of all time? So goes the tale of Jackie Mitchell, one of the first girls to ever sign with a minor league baseball team. Many thought this was so unbelievable it had to be a hoax, but whether staged or sincere the story appears to be true.

Jackie grew up next door to eventual Dodger great Dazzy Vance, who taught her classic baseball tricks and throws. She thrived in the world of sports and played on both basketball and baseball teams depending on the time of year. Eventually she caught the eye of the chief scout of the Washington Senators and president of the Chattanooga Lookouts, Joe Engel. He gave her a coveted spot on his team in their exhibition game against the New York Yankees.

Mitchell can fool

Mitchell sped to Tennessee—with her mother as chaperone, of course—and signed a contract with the Lookouts, making her an official member of the class AA minor league team. She practiced like crazy, trying to warm up her pitching arm after months of playing basketball.

Before the game Mitchell posed for pictures with some intimidating competition: Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. She was put on the pitcher’s mound early on, and to everyone’s surprise, struck out Babe Ruth with two wicked curve balls—Ruth’s well-known weakness—and one straight across the plate. Lou Gehrig followed Ruth, and soon he too was sent back to the dugout after three strikes.

Girl Pitcher Who Once Struck Out Babe Ruth

Mitchell’s success against two major baseball greats certainly happened that day in 1931, but there are some who suspect Ruth and Gehrig were in on it all along. Ruth is known to have been a fan of pranks, so this is not necessarily an unfair speculation, but Gehrig was generally very unwilling to do anything that would make him look bad, even for a joke. But whether you believe Mitchell pranked the masses, got by on luck, or was just a skilled player, this unusual baseball story is certainly one for the news.

Check out Newspapers.com for more articles like this. Whether your interests be sports-related or not, there are hundreds of papers to look through using the search or browse features.

The Tastes of Valentine’s Day

Here’s a quirky centerpiece for your Valentine’s party. The “Heartbreak Cake” can be made broken or whole, a match for any Valentine’s sentiment. This gelatin-infused white cake will, as the article’s picture caption says, “win coldest of hearts.”

Heartbreak Cake

Of course, if chocolate’s more your thing, there’s plenty to go around on the holiday of love and romance. And the good news is, these articles are happy to give you reassurance that chocolate is good, even beneficial, whatever the motivation behind the indulgence.

Chocolate for heartbreak

Chocolate is good for you

Newspapers.com is filled to the brim with Valentine’s Day articles, ads, and recipes. Try a search for more like these or on a topic that matches your interests!

Poe’s Balloon Prank

Poe's balloon hoax

In 1844, writer Edgar Allan Poe sent The Sun, a New York newspaper, a story about an incredible balloon trip across the Atlantic. The feat was accomplished by famous balloonist Monck Mason and took only 75 hours. Incredible detail was given in the submission, including facts about the balloon’s dimensions and diagrams of the craft, and real people were cited in the story. The problem, of course, was that The Sun printed the story as news when it was entirely untrue.

Even Monck Mason, the main character spoken of in the story, was not a real person, though he was apparently based strongly off of Thomas Monck Mason, a real-life balloonist. The true Mr. Monck Mason did not, however, manage a 3-day Atlantic balloon adventure.

Poe's Sensational Balloon Hoax

“It is interesting that Riley’s hoax revolved around Poe because Poe was a great jester himself. One hoax that he perpetrated in New York in 1844 had the city by the ears and found a place in literary history. Poe had written a story, ‘The Balloon Hoax.’ He sold it to the editor of the New York Sun, who printed it as news. It created a sensation.”

The fabricated news story prompted plenty of attention for the newspaper. People were infatuated with the idea that aeronautical travel had progressed so quickly, but the first real trans-Atlantic lighter-than-air craft flight did not happen until 1919 and took four and a half days from start to finish.

You can find more interesting stories like these on Newspapers.com. Try a search for something that interests you using this search page.

Cats, Cats, Cats

Cat PortraitsAre you one who enjoys perusing the plethora of cat pictures on the internet? Today you’ve come to the right place–superfluous cat pictures are not just a thing of the present, oh no. Newspapers throughout the years have done their duty in capturing the prideful, curious, and aloof expressions of our feline companions as well.

Have a gander at this collection of feline photos. Cats make the perfect subjects for photography—at least, so says the intro to this trifecta of kitty cuteness. “Entirely unselfconscious, they fall into poses at the click of a shutter…” Click through the image below to the full page and be rewarded with tips on the taking of formal and informal snapshots of your furry friends.

Cat (S)naps!

“Cat Photos Evoke Greater Response Than Other Types,” says this headline. Oh, don’t we know it.

Here’s another article for the scrapbook. With the tips from this expert cat photographer, you too can take appealing pictures of cats toting around their adorable offspring.

Cat Photography Tips

This example brings it back to a real classic—pet art. The woman highlighted in the story had a goal to paint 1,000 cat pictures. After all, “with a 900 record behind one, 100 more seems few.” Good point, Mrs. Gardner.

Woman Who Has Painted 850 Cat Pictures

There’s more where that came from, of course! Try any number of searches about kittens, cats, cat photos and more on Newspapers.com for a slew of pictures and articles about our favorite purring pals.

The Axeman of New Orleans

Morbid accounts of the work of an ax-wielding serial killer had shaken up New Orleans for months when a mysterious and worrisome letter was printed in the local newspaper. Supposedly from the killer himself, the author claimed to be a spirit, a demon, uncatchable, and threatened to return again the following Tuesday night for more murderous mayhem. The warning came with a helpful hint, however: any house or establishment enjoying the music of a jazz band on the evening mentioned would be spared the killer’s ax.

The Axeman's Letter

Was the letter from the killer himself, or was it a hoax? Many people joked about the letter; one man even offered to leave his window open for the Axeman if he would promise to leave the door undamaged. But despite any doubts, the night of March 18-19, 1919, was flooded with music. Jazz blared in the dance halls and amateur bands played at house parties, the music drifting through open windows. True to his word, the Axeman killed no one that night.

Night-Long Jazz Music Stops Murders

A few months later he struck and killed again, the last crime ever attributed to the Axeman. Just as the letter predicted, the jazz-loving murderer was never caught.

Try your own searches for mysteries like these using the search page on Newspapers.com. 

Jackson’s Profane Parrot

Jackson's foul-mouthed parrot

Here’s a comical tidbit about one of our presidents past. Seventh U.S. President Andrew Jackson once purchased an African Grey parrot for his wife. When she died, Jackson himself took over care of the bird, whose name was Poll. Jackson had a bit of a temper, and dear Poll the parrot must have picked up on some rather fowl foul-mouthed language around the fiery man. When Jackson died many were invited to the funeral, Poll included—until the parrot launched on a loud and repetitive cursing binge, shocking the reverent crowd. The offensive bird was promptly removed from the house.

Check out Newspapers.com for more strange stories like these. Try looking for a topic that interests you on the search page.

Payback Worth Savoring

It’s often said that revenge will get you nowhere, but it turns out that is not necessarily the case when it comes to snack food. If it hadn’t been for the frustration of a certain cook, potato chips might never have come to pass.

A Happy Accident - Potato Chips

In 1853, as the story goes, a wealthy customer came to dine at the restaurant where a man named George Crum worked as a chef. The rich patron’s meal included a side of fried, sliced potatoes, a fairly popular dish at the time. The man was dissatisfied with the thickness of the potatoes and promptly had them sent back to Crum. Crum, frustrated with the man’s complaint, proceeded to slice the potatoes paper thin and throw them in a vat of oil, thinking the man out in the restaurant would surely feel his displeasure. Instead, the wealthy diner found the taste of the crispy-thin potatoes to be incredibly delicate and raved about them. Thus, potato chips were born.

The Beginnings of Potato Chips

Raving about potato chips

Who knew revenge could be so sweet…er, savory?

Read more about this happy accident here, and feel free to enjoy Newspapers.com’s wealth of newspaper history through searches or browsing.