When traveling Business Route 13 through Salisbury, Maryland, you may not even realize that you left Salisbury, shortly after passing Salisbury University, and entered the City of Fruitland. That is unless you noticed that sign welcoming you to Fruitland.
With a population of over 4,000 it is one of the larger of the incorporated areas on the Delmarva Peninsula.
Even though it wasn’t incorporated until 1947 the city has a long history. The first house was built in 1772 and the village that formed there was known as Disharoon’s Crossroads. It was a crossroads town on the border between Somerset and Worcester County. Wicomico County, the county in which it now is a part of, was formed from parts of those two counties in 1867.
By the 1820’s there was a fork of two roads that met in the area and used by stage coaches between Virginia and Pennsylvania. Development was established at the fork and in the 1820’s it was called Forktown.
In 1873 the town’s name was changed to Fruitland. After the Civil War and with the arrival of the railroad, it became a railroad town. Around the area there were a large number of fruits harvested and exported through the rail station.
From the 1890’s until December 1968, Fruitland held an annual holly auction. Holly trees are native to the woods of Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset Counties. Holly and mistletoe was shipped by the basket fulls to markets in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington DC as well as other markets.
The magician Harry Houdini became interested in the ‘spirit world’ after the death of his mother in 1913. He became involved in making contact with those who had died. He became more skeptical as he uncovered hoaxs and frauds by proclaimed mediums.
During the early 1920’s he spend time debunking these hoaxs and frauds. He was a member of a Scientific American committee, which offered a cash prize to any medium who could successfully demonstrate supernatural abilities. The prize was never collected mainly due to the skepticism of Houdini and his ability to recognize frauds, even those who had successfully fooled many scientists.
Houdini died on October 31, 1926, Halloween in Detroit. The official cause of death was peritonitis, internal poisoning resulting from a ruptured appendix, although there has been rumors that he died by poison.
For years after his death, his wife Bess conducted an séance on October 31. Before his death he had told her if it was possible to send a message in a secret code that they developed.
It appeared that in 1929 Houdini did come back and delivered the code. This was in a séance preformed by Rev. Arthur Ford. A few months later he was able to get a signed statement from Bess saying that the code had been delivered. Later she found out that the code had been released earlier and found or guessed by Ford. She disavowed the Ford message many times before her death in 1943.
Although countless mediums and physics have tried to call the spirit of Harry Houdini none have ever been able to prove without a doubt that he was able to return. With that you can call Harry Houdini the Missing Spirit.
Issac Asimov’s – Foundation
It has been said that Issac Asimov was the greatest of the authors during the Golden Age of Science Fiction – From the end of the 2nd World War to the 1970’s. Who am I to disagree? While I personally like his Robot series better, The Foundation trilogy (three first books) and the Foundation series (all seven) are often regarded as the greatest set of Science Fiction literature ever produced. And he actually tied in the Robot series and Foundation before his death.
Robert Heinlein was another of those Golden Age authors. Many today think that they are too extreme, but isn’t good fiction of any type somewhat extreme.
Frank Herbert – Dune
It may have come out at the end of the Golden Age, and been carried on in modern time, but Dune is another of those great series.
Ray Bradberry – Martian Chronicles
What top list of Science Fiction author’s wouldn’t include Ray Bradberry.
Arthur Clarke – 2001
Without Clarke’s 2001 and the movie that was made from it, there may not be any modern Science Fiction movies.
According to the movie Back to The Future II, the Chicago Cubs win the World Series in 2015. While this still can happen, although as I am writing this the Cubs are behind New York to win this year’s pennant, part of this prediction can not come true since it also said they defeated the team from Miami. The Marlins are in the National League, not the American League, but in 1989 when the movie was release, there was not a team from Miami in baseball.
The last time the Cubs won the World Series was in 1908. Does anyone alive remember that? From 1906 to 1918 they played in 6 World Series, but only won 2. They also won in 1907.
Since 1918 they have played in 4 World Series but none since 1945. When they played in 1945 they lost to the the Detroit Tigers.
During the 1940’s they were lead by power hitter William “Swish” Nicholson. Nicholson a native of Chestertown in Kent County, Maryland led the National League in HRs and RBIs in 1943 & 1944 and appeared in 5 All-star games as a Cub.
Even though they are often referred to as the “Lovable Losers” the 1906 team won 116 games, tied for the most in a season with the 2001 Seattle Mariners. Their season winning percentage of .763 that year is still the best.
But one thing for sure, the Cubs will not win the World Series on October 20, 2015 the day predicted in the movie.
To many who study Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) the claim is that the first documented UFO sighting is in the Bible. The prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 1:4 describes a “a whirlwind came out of the north: and a great cloud, and a fire infolding it, and brightness was about it:”.
Jimmy Carter in October 1969, seven years before he was elected President of the United States reported an UFO sightings.
There is a story that on August 6, 1974 at Wickers Field, the home of The Key West Conchs, a Class A Cubs affiliate, a fly ball hit by Joe Wallis, the Key West right fielder, is heading toward the glove of the Cardinal right fielder, John Crider when the ball disappears. No one knows whether or not the ball landed, the batter was credited with a Home Run.
Many Astronauts have reported spotting unidentified “bogies” during their flights. Among them are John Glenn, Gordon Cooper, the crew of Apollo 16 and possibly Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong was followed to the moon by a UFO.
UFO’s have been reported throughout the World. In the Unites States it appears that UFO sightings are concentrated in the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, the three coastal western states and Nevada.
On the night before Christopher Columbus’s exploration sighted land on October 12, 1492, Columbus along with Pedro Gutierrez reported seeing a light glimmering in the distance from the desk of their ship Santa Mairia. The light vanished and reappeared a few times.
Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809 in Hardin, Kentucky. He was the second child of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks Lincoln. He had an older sister Sarah, February 10, 1807 – January 20, 1828) and a brother Thomas who died as an infant in 1812. He also had a step-brother and step-sister from his father’s second marriage to Sarah Bush Johnston.
Lincoln was just a little over a month into his second term of President when he was assassinated on April 15, 1865. His second term began on March 3rd.
During his term as President two new states entered the Union. West Virgina, which divided itself from Virginia, in 1862 and Nevada in 1864.
Between December 20, 1860, when South Carolina seceded from the union and North Carolina’s secession on May 20, 1861, 11 states seceded from the United States. The others were Mississippi (January 9), Florida (January 10), Alabama (January 11), Georgia (January 19), Louisiana (January 26), Texas (February 1), Virginia (April 17), Arkansas (May 6) and Tennessee (May 7)
Lincoln owned one home, the one that he purchased for his family on January 16, 1844 at 413 South Eighth Street; Springfield, Illinois. He paid $1,500 for it.
Lincoln only wore a beard for a little over 4 years of his life. He grew it after receiving a letter in October 1860 from Grace Bedell, a 11 year old from Westfield, New York urging him to grow a beard to improve his appearance. “I have got 4 brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you. You would look a great deal better for your face is so thin.”
William (Bud) Abbott was born in Asbury Park, NJ, October 2, 1895 and died April 24, 1974 in Woodland Hills, California. Lou Costello (Louis Francis Cristillo) was born in Paterson, NJ, March 6, 1906 and died March 3, 1959 in East Los Angeles, California.
They first began to work together in 1935 at the Eltinge burlesque theater on 42nd Street in New York. Abbott had been working in burlesque for years, usually as the straight man. Costello had tried to become a film actor, but after his failure there, began work on burlesque circuit. In 1936 they formally made the partnership. Their act was built by refining sketches from vaudeville and burlesque with Abbott as the devious straight man and Costello as his stumbling, comprehension-challenged partner.
In the late 1930’s they worked on radio as regulars for 2 years on the Kate Smith Hour. It was there that Costello began using a high-pitched childish voice since it had been difficult for those listening to tell them apart.
In 1940 they appeared in their first movie, One Night in the Tropics, in a supporting capacity. They were the hit of the film and Universal signed them to a long-term contract. The duo made over 30 films between 1940 and 1956 and in many ways saved Universal Studios. Between 1942 and 1952 they were a top 10 box office attraction. Also in the 1940’s they appeared on their own radio program. The Abbott and Costello Show mixed comedy with musical interludes.
In 1951 they moved into television, first as frequent hosts of The Colgate Comedy Hour, a live hour of vaudeville. This gave new sparkle to their old routines. Then in 1952 they began a film a half hour comedy casting the duo as unemployed wastrels, similar to their radio program.
By the mid 50’s their popularity was waning, due in part to them glutting the market with the same routines. Universal dropped them in 1955 and after making one last independent film (Dance with me Henry) Abbott retired. In 1956 they were charged by the IRS for back taxes, which forced them to sell most of their assets.
Annie Oakley, the female sharpshooter of “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” fame along with her husband Frank Bulter called Cambridge, Maryland one of their retirement homes. She along with Butler decided in 1912 to stop performing with the Wild West show. The couple lived in the Eastern Shore town from 1912 until 1917.
Those familiar with Maryland’s Eastern Shore know that the area is a great place for those who like to hunt and fish. Butler even called the area a “sportsman’s paradise”. This is considered the reason that the couple decided to retire there.
The house that they built in Cambridge located at 28 Bellevue Avenue is the only surviving primary residence of Annie Oakley. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 3, 1995. Presently, it is a private residence.
The couple found that it was hard to settle down. They also owned a place in Pinehurst, North Carolina and Newcastle, New Hampshire. In 1917 they decided to sell their Cambridge home and relocate to North Carolina..
After long and adventurous lives in 1926 the couple died within a couple of weeks of one another. Annie on November 6 and Frank Butler on November 21.
Annie Oakley was born on August 13, 1860 as Phoebe Ann Mosey. She met Frank Butler as the two of them were rival sharpshooters. The married on June 20, 1882 and joined the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1885, she was the sharpshooter and he as her business manager.
Had he lived, James Dean would be an 80 year old man and who knows what would have happened with his career. He could have been one of those stars that would shine for a couple of years and then fade away never to be seen again.
It’s possible he may even had changed careers. Dennis Hooper, who was a friend of Dean, said that Dean told him that he was considering leaving acting to become a director.
But James Dean will forever be remember as the 24 year old Rebel Without a Cause who died as a result of an auto accident that occurred on September 30, 1955.
When he died he only one of his three movies had been released. That being East of Eden which was released in March 1955. Nearly a month after his death on October 27, 1955 Rebel Without a Cause was released. His last film Giant was released over a year later on November 24, 1956.
After his death he was nominated for the Academy Award for best Actor in both 1955 and 1956. His nomination in 1955 for his role of Cal Trask in East of Eden was the first ever posthumous nomination. He is the only person to have two posthumous nominations.
Along with Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe and now Michael Jackson he is one of the most popular dead celebrity. Sometimes it does pay to die young, but all of that pay goes to the estate.
During the early part of the 20th Century it was sheet music that was the way that music was purchased. On September 28, 1912, W.C Handy’s The Memphis Blues sheet music went on sale in department stores. It was a huge success selling the first thousand copies in three days.
But W.C Handy did not see much money from the success of the song. His publisher told him that it was a flop and offered to buy the rights for 50 dollars. In 1912, 50 dollars was a lot of money, so Handy sold the rights. Unfortunately this was common even as late as the 1970s.
Handy learned a lesson and although he was cheated out of the rights of his first hit, he went on to write many more songs including St. Louis Blues, and Yellow Dog Rag and self published them. With his songs he is considered by most musical scholars as the Father of the Blues with Memphis Blues as being the first Blues song.
The genesis of Memphis Blues was as a campaign tune for Edward Crump who was running for Mayor of Memphis in 1909. It was originally entitled as Mr. Crump but changed prior to its publication.
Handy didn’t create the blues. While he wandered the southern roads of the Mississippi Delta he wrote down the songs that he heard. These songs were the basis of his later compositions adapting the style to become his own.
W.C. (William Christopher) Handy was born in Florence, Alabama on November 16, 1973 in the log cabin that handy said was build by his Grandfather. Both his grandfather and father were minsters. That log cabin is now preserved. Handy died on March 28, 1958 at the long lived age of 83.