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This column, though strange, is easy to explain.
WND, for whom I write this column, is also the publisher of my new book, “Cocktails With Molotov.” There was talk about me writing a line or two to advertise the book, and one good leap later I was asking our founder and chief, Joseph Farah, if, instead of a line or two, I might devote an entire column to that purpose.
Permission granted! Thanks, Boss. Here we go!
This book is not an autobiography or a memoir. That would be much too pompous. Obama’s wrong about success being mostly luck, but I’ll admit luck played a huge roll in stories as good as these landing like trained canaries on my shoulder; maybe luck mixed with language-learning, the right kind of travel, history breaking the right way and half a century doing a nightly radio show. Each tale had to be totally true and each had to be “unbelievable” or, at least, very hard to believe. There follow as many examples as my editors’ generous allotment of WND space will permit.
Inside “Cocktails With Molotov,” folks, you’ll read all about my friend, an Episcopalian aristocrat, who married and divorced six Jewish women within 18 months – to save their lives! His name was Charles Fawcett, and later his hastily drawn pornography distracted the Nazis just enough to get him across the Spanish border with vital microfilm for British intelligence.
In October 1951, I went from North Carolina to Maryland to see a football game and wound up for six weeks in Communist Yugoslavia. Nothing added or omitted here; it’s the straight story.
You’ll read about the day in 1954 our Army unit at Arlington Hall Station, Va., staged a mutiny – that won us congratulations from our officers. And you’ll learn what it was the Boston Strangler said to make old ladies’ doors fly open long after the citywide alarm was widespread and well-known.
Show business! You’ll learn how I spooked Alfred Hitchcock into near-apoplexy; the fight between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford of which I’m the only living witness; and how I gave Bob Hope one of the biggest laughs of his life, prompting him to agree to a “free” performance later that evening!
Sports? Plenty, but just one example here: How did the big Thanksgiving Day college football game in Greensboro, N.C., in 1943 wind up 18-to-0 with no touchdowns, hence no extra points, no safeties and no field-goal place kicks?
World War II? You’ll meet the Finnish officer, a German ally, who used to have lunch sitting on the railroad tracks between Soviet Leningrad and Archangel – the same railroad the world wondered why the Germans could never cut. Reason: There was a secret treaty between Finland and America not to cut that railroad! Does Henry Kissinger know about that treaty? Does Hillary Clinton? You will! During the Battle of the Bulge in early 1945, U.S. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe thrilled America by rejecting Germany’s surrender offer with the word “Nuts!” But was the word really “Nuts”? Also, you’ll read, if not the best line of World War II, at least the best line in North Carolina of World War II.
Jewish, anybody? It’s time to remind you: Every one of these stories is true. Have you heard about Japan saving 50,000 German Jews from their Nazi allies? Japan was aiming to save a million, but the outbreak of war ended their “Fugu Plan.” You’ll visit a Jewish school in France where the students read fluently in French and Hebrew halfway through the first grade! And you’ll learn how – and how much – Hebrew I learned from an Israeli dog. Last reminder, folks: all true!
I can’t wait until you meet my favorite “terrorist”: Gunnar Sonsteby, the notorious “Number 24” of the Norwegian Underground in World War II. His methods would make any Islamic extremist need to take a pill and lie down. You’ll join me on the Leningrad black market during the Cold War and in Army basic training when I refused to believe there would really be an inspection on a Tuesday night. While the others spit-and-polished, I lay in my bunk in long underwear, reading. What I happened to be reading saved me.
You’ll get my scariest moment in life and my most unforgettable moment in 52 years on radio. Also, I cannot leave out the commander of the American Legion post in my Deep-Southern hometown who invited me as after-dinner speaker to describe my experiences covering the aftermath of the Hungarian Revolution. Knowing I’m Jewish, as they brought out dinner, country ham, he leaned over to me and said, “Son, we know you don’t eat ham. We’ve got some pork chops cooking for you!”
It’s hard to bow from the waist until your forehead touches the rug, but I feel like doing exactly that for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Rusty Humphries who all put their kind words about this book right there on the cover.
Oh, I almost forgot! Also revealed is how I happened to have had Cocktails With Molotov!