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Archive for June 2012

Godfather of the Lobotomy: Egas Moniz

In 2010 we saw no big celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the development of psychiatric surgery — not even in Portugal, where the first brain operations to treat psychiatric disorders, eventually leading to lobotomies, were performed. But the passing of the anniversary offers a good reason to wonder: How would someone come up with the…

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What’s Wrong with the Crazy Horse Monument?

The head of the Crazy Horse Monument

Four years ago, I took my family on a road trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Along the way, we toured the Corn Palace in Mitchell, sipped water and shopped the trinkets at Wall Drug Store, took in the splendor of the Badlands, and camped in the woods on the mountains sacred to…

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Confessions of an Art Linkletter Kid

Art Linkletter

Art Linkletter died two years ago, but I still sometimes think about the long black limousine that appeared outside my Los Angeles elementary school one morning during the spring of 1967. In stepped five children, including me, on our way to the set of Linkletter’s famous House Party program, where we would become the latest of Art’s kids…

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E.G. Marshall’s Invented Past

E.G. Marshall

When the actor E.G. Marshall died in 1998 — remember him in the movies Twelve Angry Men and Interiors, as well as a slew of TV shows, including The Defenders? — the world’s media took note. Newspapers and magazines passed along many tidbits on Marshall’s life: that he was born on June 18, 1910 (Variety), that he was “of Norwegian…

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The Cherry Sisters: good or bad?

Somehow, 100 years ago, five apparently talentless siblings from Marion, Iowa, reigned as America’s most famous female vaudeville team. For many years I have gathered information on the Cherry Sisters — Ellie, Lizzie, Addie, Jessie and Effie — and have found their lives full of puzzling events and psychological enigmas. Why did audiences come to…

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Abraham Lincoln’s Funeral Car

President Lincoln's Funeral Car in Alexandria, Virginia

For the past fifteen years, I’ve often heard from researchers and TV documentarians who want to know something about the railroad car in which Abraham Lincoln’s body traveled to its final resting place following his assassination in 1865. These people find me because I wrote an article about the car during the 1990s. Apparently too little…

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