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Flatbush Flashback

Name That Year: July 27 Edition


July 27 is my birthday and it'll be here before you know it. It's also fellow Brooklynite Bugs Bunny's birthday, though he's considerably older. (He was born in a rabbit warren under Ebbets Field.)


I'm not going to say how old I'll be because that will make me feel older than I am (and older than I feel). But the information's out there. You can look it up.


Or you can read the list, below, of nine newsworthy events, which I've compiled from a chapter in Bobby in Naziland. Everything on the list took place in a 12-hour period, from 8:30 p.m., July 26, to 8:30 a.m., July 27. See if you can guess the year. The answer is in the UFO video at the end of the post.


  · Eva Perón—"Evita"—the first lady of Argentina, died, at age 33.


  · Objects unknown—UFOs—traveling at speeds between 100 and 7,000 miles per hour, buzzed Washington, D.C.


  · The stock market reached a 22-year high.


  · King Farouk of Egypt was deposed in a bloodless coup.


  · A woman flying Pan American airlines, from Rio de Janeiro to Rome, was sucked out of the plane off the coast of Brazil when the emergency door popped open.


  · U.S. B-29s bombed North Korea's electrical power grid.


  · At the Summer Olympic Games, in Helsinki, Bob Mathias broke his own world record for the decathlon.


  · The New York Yankees were in first place in the American League, and the Brooklyn Dodgers were in first place in the National League.


  · Cleveland Indians third baseman Al Rosen was leading the American League with 18 home runs, 4 more than Mickey Mantle of the Yankees.



Bugs Bunny's July 27, 1940, debut. If you're of a certain age, you've seen it many times.


One of the multitude of UFO sightings that occurred during the month of July, many years ago. Find the answer to the "quiz" in this video.


Bobby in Naziland is available on Amazon and all other online booksellers, as well as at your local brick-and-mortar bookstore, where you should (and probably can) buy it again.


I invite you to join me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter or my eternally embryonic Instagram.

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The UFOs of '52... and Evita


The above photo is a detail from a two-page advertisement that ran in The New York Times several months ago. It was for a show on the History channel, Project Blue Book, described as a drama "based on the true, top-secret investigations into Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs)… conducted by the United States Air Force from 1952 to 1969."


I checked out the first episode and turned it off after a half hour. It was pure, made-for-TV schlock. Yet the ad itself was astonishing—because the date on the newspaper article in the ad, July 27, 1952, is the day I was born.


As the excerpt from Bobby in Naziland indicates, the UFO frenzy of July 1952 is an incident that I explore in some detail—and as I was preparing the book for publication, it was weird to see one of the very newspaper articles I'd written about being used to promote an ancient occurrence that the gods of TV had suddenly deemed fit for mass consumption. Was I on to something?


I explain in the book that I found out about the UFOs of '52 only a few years ago, when I was in the library researching something else that had happened hours before my birth: the death of Eva Perón. I knew about Evita because my mother, a big fan of "The Lady of Hope," was always telling me about how Perón's death was on the front page of all the papers the day I was born. But she never said a word about the UFOs, which I'd have found a lot more interesting.


So it was a bit of a shock to learn that this other thing was also dominating the headlines that long-ago summer day. And it made me wonder: Had the aliens come for Evita and me?


Perhaps the gods of TV will explore that in some other extravaganza. Quality, in this case, would be a nice touch.


Meet me in St. Louis, Wednesday, October 16, 7 PM, at Subterranean Books. I'll be reading and signing copies of Bobby in Naziland.


I'll be reading and signing Bobby in Naziland at Temple Sinai, in Dresher, PA, Sunday, October 27, 10 AM. To attend, please RSVP by Oct. 22 to Tobey Grand, The event is free, all are welcome, and, I'm told, there will be a candy store and egg creams. Seriously.


Bobby in Naziland is available on Amazon and all other online booksellers, as well as at your local brick-and-mortar bookstore, where you really should buy it.


I invite you to join me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter or my just-launched Instagram.

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