Sunday, March 6, 2016

Bytes People

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Maurice Tillet (1903-1954)


Maurice Tillet was a Russian-born French professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, The French Angel. Tillet was a leading box office draw in the early 1940s and was twice recognised world heavyweight champion by the American Wrestling Association run by Paul Bowser in Boston.

As a child he had a completely normal appearance and Tillet was nicknamed "The Angel" due to his angelic face. When Tillet was 20, he noticed swelling in his feet, hands, and head, and after visiting a doctor was diagnosed with acromegaly - a condition usually caused by a benign tumour on the pituitary gland, resulting in bone overgrowth and thickening.

It has been rumoured that Tillet was the inspiration for the character Shrek. The resemblance is uncanny but Dreamworks, the studio which released the Shrek films, has refused to comment on the suggestion.


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Francis Bellamy (1855 – 1931)


Francis Bellamy was a Christian socialist minister and author, best known for writing the American Pledge of Allegiance.

Working for a family magazine, Youth’s Companion, from 1891, Bellamy was tasked with arranging a patriotic program for schools around the country to coincide with the 400 year anniversary in 1892 of Columbus’s discovery of America.

A key element of the commemorative program was to be a new salute to the flag for schoolchildren to recite in unison. Bellamy, told he had a knack for words, was directed to write it. After two hours of "arduous mental labor," as he described it, “I pledge allegiance to my flag and the Republic for which it stands—one Nation indivisible—with liberty and justice for all.

Bellamy also decreed the form of hand salute that should accompany the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, a gesture that became known as the Bellamy Salute and the Flag Salute. Although it was stipulated that the salute be with the palm upward, it was easier to carry out with the palm facing down and this form also became common.



Use of the salute fell into disfavour with the adoption of a similar salute by the Nazis and the Italian Fascists, derived from the Roman salute. The Bellamy salute was officially replaced by the hand-over-heart salute when Congress amended the Flag Code in 1942.

By the way:

The Olympic salute, given to the dignitaries of the Olympic host country, was similar to the Bellamy salute/Nazi salute, although its use was discontinued after WW2 for obvious reasons. Hitler pretty much killed for evermore the use of that salute, of wearing a toothbrush moustache and the swastika as a good luck symbol.

At the opening ceremony of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the crowds cheered especially loudly the athletes of those countries giving the Olympic salute, believing they were “Heil Hitler” moments.

All countries at the 1936 Olympic opening ceremony dipped their flags as they passed the Hitler dais but one, the US. Their athletes placed their straw hats over their hearts instead of saluting.

Hitler at the 1936 Olympic Games opening ceremony


The crowd responds

as do the gathered military members as the torch enters the stadium.

A report on the opening ceremony and march past by the New York Times reporter, Frederick T. Birchall, includes a paragraph:
The New Zealanders evidently mistook an erect German athlete in white who stood out in front, far to the left of the stand, for the Fuehrer himself, for they removed their hats for this outstanding figure and put them on again while passing the dais.

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