16 May 1940

16 May 1940



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16 May 1940

May

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Western Front

BEF forced back to the west of Brussels

United States

Roosevelt asks the aircraft industry to produce 50,000 aircraft per year

General

Mussolini reassures Greece and Yugoslavia that Italy will not invade



Today in World War II History—May 16, 1940 & 1945

80 Years Ago—May 16, 1940: In Belgium, the Allies retreat behind the River Scheldt as the German 6 th Army breaks the Dyle Line.

France orders Frédéric Joliot-Curie’s atomic energy team at the Collége de France to evacuate: Hans von Halban flees to Britain with crucial research papers and the heavy water supply from Norway.

President Roosevelt asks Congress for $1.2 billion for the military and calls for 50,000 planes, a 280,000-man Army, and a Two-Ocean Navy Congress will appropriate $1.68 billion.

US Army Air Force study of damage to Nagoya, Japan done by aerial bombing on 14 and 17 May 1945 (US National Archives)

75 Years Ago—May 16, 1945: Last US B-29 Superfortress incendiary raid to Nagoya—in campaign, 12 out of 40 square miles have been burned and 4000 killed.

Off Malaya, British destroyers Saumarez, Venus, Verulam, Vigilant, and Virago sink Japanese heavy cruiser Haguro in the last classic destroyer action in history.


Today in World War II History—May 16, 1940 & 1945

80 Years Ago—May 16, 1940: In Belgium, the Allies retreat behind the River Scheldt as the German 6 th Army breaks the Dyle Line.

France orders Frédéric Joliot-Curie’s atomic energy team at the Collége de France to evacuate: Hans von Halban flees to Britain with crucial research papers and the heavy water supply from Norway.

President Roosevelt asks Congress for $1.2 billion for the military and calls for 50,000 planes, a 280,000-man Army, and a Two-Ocean Navy Congress will appropriate $1.68 billion.

US Army Air Force study of damage to Nagoya, Japan done by aerial bombing on 14 and 17 May 1945 (US National Archives)

75 Years Ago—May 16, 1945: Last US B-29 Superfortress incendiary raid to Nagoya—in campaign, 12 out of 40 square miles have been burned and 4000 killed.

Off Malaya, British destroyers Saumarez, Venus, Verulam, Vigilant, and Virago sink Japanese heavy cruiser Haguro in the last classic destroyer action in history.


HistoryLink.org

On May 16, 1940, Seattle's new Penthouse Theatre, the first “theater in the round” built in the United States, opens with a production of Spring Dance, a comedy by Philip Barry. Based on concepts developed by Glenn Hughes (1894-1964), head of the University of Washington’s School of Drama, the theater’s innovative design attracts international acclaim.

The Penthouse Players

The Penthouse Theatre grew out of Hughes’s search for a small, intimate space for student performances. When Hughes first arrived at the university, in 1919, the drama department’s only theater was a large auditorium, seating 2,200. He wanted a smaller venue, so that the actors would be close enough to the audiences to provide some of the drama and immediacy of cinema. “Modern audiences have become conditioned to the movies, and now, when they attend a legitimate performance they find the actor weak and ineffectual,“ he wrote (Hughes, 8).

His solution was to encircle the stage with rows of seats, similar to the seating in a circus or boxing arena. Directors in both Europe and the United States had toyed with the idea of arena seating in theaters but apparently none had actually employed it. Hughes began experimenting with the model in 1932, when a friend -- Thomas F. Murphy -- offered him the use of an unfurnished drawing room in a penthouse on top of the new Edmond Meany Hotel. Hughes set up a makeshift stage in the drawing room, surrounded it on three sides with seats for 60 people, and offered a program of one-act comedies, opening on November 4, 1932.

The First Penthouse Theatre

After a season in the penthouse, the troupe moved into larger quarters in the ballroom of the Meany Hotel. Encouraged by the audience response, Hughes began looking for a more permanent home for what had become known as the Penthouse Players. In 1935, the drama department leased a building on 42nd Street near University Way, two blocks from campus, and converted it into a 140-seat arena theater. This was the original Penthouse Theatre. Described by the University of Washington Daily as “the only ‘stageless’ theatre in the world,” it opened on April 18, 1935, with a production of A. A. Milne’s comedy, The Dover Road.

Both the Penthouse and the adjacent Studio Theatre (also operated by the drama department) were immediately popular with the public. However, in April 1938, the theaters were picketed twice, first by union activists protesting their use of non-union student labor and then by students protesting the termination of Florence James’s contract as a part-time instructor in the drama department. With construction already underway on one on-campus theater (the Showboat) and plans being made for a second (a new Penthouse), the university closed both off-campus theaters. The “unpleasantness” of the student strike, Hughes wrote, “brought the administrative officers of the University strongly to our support and increased public sympathy for our activities” (Hughes, 21-22).

Construction of the new Penthouse began in September 1939, funded in part with a labor grant from the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). The School of Drama paid for the materials and equipment. The 172-seat theater, designed by Hughes in partnership with John Conway, chief designer for the drama department, featured an elliptical, dome-roofed central unit flanked by rectangular wings. The domed ceiling was supported by eight laminated, wooden arches, crafted by WPA workmen.

A Gala Affair

Opening night on May 16, 1940, was a gala affair for the cream of Seattle society. Seattle Daily Times columnist Virginia Boren provided a breathless account of “Cameras clicking Klieg lights burning … celebrities broadcasting baskets, boxes and seemingly carloads of flowers arriving …beautifully gowned women gliding into the foyer … Hollywood glamour! . a blue and white Penthouse Theatre, a proud beauty of the show world…Salute to glory!" (Seattle Daily Times, 1940). After the show, Thomas F. Murphy and his wife hosted a supper in the same penthouse apartment where, eight years earlier, the first Penthouse productions were held.

From the elliptical stage (more interesting than a perfect circle) to the clean, airy décor to the complimentary coffee and candies at intermission, the Penthouse Theatre bore the imprint of Glenn Hughes. Opening nights were black tie affairs, by invitation only, for university officials and civic and business leaders. Productions ran six nights a week for six weeks, then were immediately replaced by another, leaving the theater with few dark nights.

Hughes, head of the drama department from 1930 until 1961, also selected every playbill, and with few exceptions, what he selected was contemporary comedy. Hughes believed serious drama was inappropriate in the arena setting. Classics he also considered risky. “Artistically there is no reason why we should not present drawing-room tragedy as well as comedy,” he wrote. “The actual reason why we do not present tragedy is that our audiences wouldn’t like it as well. The Penthouse Theatre is bright and gay and sociable. We like it that way, and so does the public” (Hughes, 47).

Accolades and Acclaim

After the theater opened, Hughes was inundated with congratulations, inquiries, and requests for help. Letters came from universities, colleges, high schools, community theatres, USO Clubs, and drama teachers across the country and around the world. In response, he wrote several pamphlets and then a book, sharing his formula for “theater in the round.”

Today, more than 80 years after it was built, the Penthouse remains in use by the School of Drama, although in a new location and with a broader focus. In 1991, it was moved from one corner of the campus to another, to make way for the construction of a new physics building. Two sections of the original building were moved a third -- the west wing -- was rebuilt. When the theater reopened, it was rededicated, in honor of its founder, as the Glenn Hughes Penthouse Theatre.


San Antonio Register (San Antonio, Tex.), Vol. 10, No. 16, Ed. 1 Friday, May 17, 1940

Weekly newspaper from San Antonio, Texas that includes local, state, and national news along with advertising.

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eight pages : ill. page 20 x 15 in. Digitized from 35 mm. microfilm.

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This newspaper is part of the collection entitled: Texas Digital Newspaper Program and was provided by the UT San Antonio Libraries Special Collections to The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 190 times. More information about this issue can be viewed below.

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this newspaper or its content.

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Check out our Resources for Educators Site! We've identified this newspaper as a primary source within our collections. Researchers, educators, and students may find this issue useful in their work.

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UT San Antonio Libraries Special Collections

UTSA Libraries Special Collections seeks to build, preserve and provide access to our distinctive research collections documenting the diverse histories and development of San Antonio and South Texas. Our collecting priorities include the history of women and gender in Texas, the history of Mexican Americans, activists/activism, the history of the African American and LGBTQ communities in our region, the Tex-Mex food industry, and urban planning.


Maginot Line

This French line of defense was constructed along the country’s border with Germany during the 1930s and named after Minister of War André Maginot. It primarily extended from La Ferté to the Rhine River, though sections also stretched along the Rhine and the Italian frontier. The main fortifications on the northeast frontier included 22 large underground fortresses and 36 smaller fortresses, as well as blockhouses, bunkers and rail lines. Despite its strength and elaborate design, the line was unable to prevent an invasion by German troops who entered France via Belgium in May 1940.

The Maginot line was named after Andre Maginot (1877-1932), a politician who served in World War I until wounded in November 1914. He used crutches and walking sticks for the remainder of his life. While serving after World War I as France’s minister of war and then as president of the Chamber of Deputies’ Army Commission, he helped complete plans for the defensive line along the northeastern frontier and obtain funds to build it.

The main fortifications of the Maginot line extended from La Ferte (thirty kilometers east of Sedan) to the Rhine River, but fortifications also stretched along the Rhine and along the Italian frontier. The fortifications on the northeast frontier included twenty-two huge underground fortresses and thirty-six smaller fortresses, as well as many blockhouses and bunkers. The French placed most of their largest fortresses in the northeast because of their desire to protect the large population, key industries, and abundant natural resources located near the Moselle valley.


HistoryLink.org

On May 16, 1940, Seattle's new Penthouse Theatre, the first “theater in the round” built in the United States, opens with a production of Spring Dance, a comedy by Philip Barry. Based on concepts developed by Glenn Hughes (1894-1964), head of the University of Washington’s School of Drama, the theater’s innovative design attracts international acclaim.

The Penthouse Players

The Penthouse Theatre grew out of Hughes’s search for a small, intimate space for student performances. When Hughes first arrived at the university, in 1919, the drama department’s only theater was a large auditorium, seating 2,200. He wanted a smaller venue, so that the actors would be close enough to the audiences to provide some of the drama and immediacy of cinema. “Modern audiences have become conditioned to the movies, and now, when they attend a legitimate performance they find the actor weak and ineffectual,“ he wrote (Hughes, 8).

His solution was to encircle the stage with rows of seats, similar to the seating in a circus or boxing arena. Directors in both Europe and the United States had toyed with the idea of arena seating in theaters but apparently none had actually employed it. Hughes began experimenting with the model in 1932, when a friend -- Thomas F. Murphy -- offered him the use of an unfurnished drawing room in a penthouse on top of the new Edmond Meany Hotel. Hughes set up a makeshift stage in the drawing room, surrounded it on three sides with seats for 60 people, and offered a program of one-act comedies, opening on November 4, 1932.

The First Penthouse Theatre

After a season in the penthouse, the troupe moved into larger quarters in the ballroom of the Meany Hotel. Encouraged by the audience response, Hughes began looking for a more permanent home for what had become known as the Penthouse Players. In 1935, the drama department leased a building on 42nd Street near University Way, two blocks from campus, and converted it into a 140-seat arena theater. This was the original Penthouse Theatre. Described by the University of Washington Daily as “the only ‘stageless’ theatre in the world,” it opened on April 18, 1935, with a production of A. A. Milne’s comedy, The Dover Road.

Both the Penthouse and the adjacent Studio Theatre (also operated by the drama department) were immediately popular with the public. However, in April 1938, the theaters were picketed twice, first by union activists protesting their use of non-union student labor and then by students protesting the termination of Florence James’s contract as a part-time instructor in the drama department. With construction already underway on one on-campus theater (the Showboat) and plans being made for a second (a new Penthouse), the university closed both off-campus theaters. The “unpleasantness” of the student strike, Hughes wrote, “brought the administrative officers of the University strongly to our support and increased public sympathy for our activities” (Hughes, 21-22).

Construction of the new Penthouse began in September 1939, funded in part with a labor grant from the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). The School of Drama paid for the materials and equipment. The 172-seat theater, designed by Hughes in partnership with John Conway, chief designer for the drama department, featured an elliptical, dome-roofed central unit flanked by rectangular wings. The domed ceiling was supported by eight laminated, wooden arches, crafted by WPA workmen.

A Gala Affair

Opening night on May 16, 1940, was a gala affair for the cream of Seattle society. Seattle Daily Times columnist Virginia Boren provided a breathless account of “Cameras clicking Klieg lights burning … celebrities broadcasting baskets, boxes and seemingly carloads of flowers arriving …beautifully gowned women gliding into the foyer … Hollywood glamour! . a blue and white Penthouse Theatre, a proud beauty of the show world…Salute to glory!" (Seattle Daily Times, 1940). After the show, Thomas F. Murphy and his wife hosted a supper in the same penthouse apartment where, eight years earlier, the first Penthouse productions were held.

From the elliptical stage (more interesting than a perfect circle) to the clean, airy décor to the complimentary coffee and candies at intermission, the Penthouse Theatre bore the imprint of Glenn Hughes. Opening nights were black tie affairs, by invitation only, for university officials and civic and business leaders. Productions ran six nights a week for six weeks, then were immediately replaced by another, leaving the theater with few dark nights.

Hughes, head of the drama department from 1930 until 1961, also selected every playbill, and with few exceptions, what he selected was contemporary comedy. Hughes believed serious drama was inappropriate in the arena setting. Classics he also considered risky. “Artistically there is no reason why we should not present drawing-room tragedy as well as comedy,” he wrote. “The actual reason why we do not present tragedy is that our audiences wouldn’t like it as well. The Penthouse Theatre is bright and gay and sociable. We like it that way, and so does the public” (Hughes, 47).

Accolades and Acclaim

After the theater opened, Hughes was inundated with congratulations, inquiries, and requests for help. Letters came from universities, colleges, high schools, community theatres, USO Clubs, and drama teachers across the country and around the world. In response, he wrote several pamphlets and then a book, sharing his formula for “theater in the round.”

Today, more than 80 years after it was built, the Penthouse remains in use by the School of Drama, although in a new location and with a broader focus. In 1991, it was moved from one corner of the campus to another, to make way for the construction of a new physics building. Two sections of the original building were moved a third -- the west wing -- was rebuilt. When the theater reopened, it was rededicated, in honor of its founder, as the Glenn Hughes Penthouse Theatre.


First Successful Single-Rotor Helicopter Flight

On May 24, 1940, Igor Sikorsky successfully flew the first single-rotor helicopter.

Born in Kiev, Russia (now Ukraine) Sikorsky developed an interest in flight at the age of 11, and created a small rubber band powered helicopter by the time he was 12.

Sikorsky attended the St. Petersburg Imperial Russian Naval Academy for three years and later a mechanical college. However, in 1908 he learned of the Wright Brothers’ Flyer and Ferdinand von Zeppelin’s dirigible. He later claimed that, “within 24 hours, I decided to change my life’s work. I would study aviation.”

By May 1909, Sikorsky began designing his first helicopter. However, by that October he realized that with only the parts and knowledge he currently had, it would never fly. Sikorsky then began designing fixed-wing airplanes. After his design won a Russian Army aircraft exhibition, Sikorsky became Chief Engineer of the aircraft division for the Russian Baltic Railroad Car Works. In that role he designed the first four-engine aircraft, the S-21 Russky Vityaz, which he test piloted on May 13, 1913. At the outbreak of World War I, Sikorsky designed the first four-engine bomber.

Item #113253 – Russian commemorative cover honoring Sikorsky’s accomplishments.

After the war, Sikorsky believed he’d have more opportunities in America and moved there in March 1919. After working as a teacher and lecturer, he established the Sikorsky Manufacturing Company. With financial backing from composer Sergei Rachmaninoff and others, Sikorsky created one of America’s first twin-engine aircraft. His company then became part of United Aircraft and Transport Corporation (now United Technologies Corporation). With that company, Sikorsky designed and built “flying boats” including the S-42 Clipper that was used for Pan Am transatlantic flights.

Item #55696 – Sikorsky First Day Proof Card.

Through all this, Sikorsky was still interested in helicopters. In 1931 he filed a patent for a “direct lift aircraft,” which he received four years later. He built his single-engine helicopter, the VS-300, and staged its first tethered flight on September 14, 1939. After that success, he was ready to complete its first free flight on May 24, 1940.

Some mechanics didn’t believe Sikorsky’s helicopter would fly and dubbed it “Igor’s nightmare.” However, during that test flight it successfully flew up to 20 feet off the ground, traveled about 200 feet, backed up, and then landed.

Sikorsky then took what he learned from the VS-300 to design the R-4, which impressed military officials, who ordered 100 of them. In fact, the R-4 was world’s first mass-produced helicopter and one of the first American helicopters used in World War II. It was used to rescue troops in Burma, Alaska, and other areas with challenging terrain. Sikorsky went on to design subsequent models – the R-4 through R-6 – producing over 400 helicopters before the war’s end.

The helicopters Sikorsky’s company went on to produce were even more widely used in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In fact, Sikorsky helicopters are still used today, including the UH-60 Black Hawk and the Marine One Fleet that transports the President.


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May 17, 1940 Reynato Puno y Serrano is born in 1940. He was the 22nd Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. Appointed on December 8, 2006 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he was the 22nd person to serve as Chief Justice. Puno had initially been appointed to the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice on June 28, 1993. Puno is a member of Hiram Lodge No. 88. He is a charter member of Jacques DeMolay Memorial Lodge No. 305. He is also a dual member of Dagohoy Lodge No. 84. Puno was also the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines in 1984.

This Day In Masonic History

June 20, 1925 Audie Leon Murphy is born in Kingston, Hunt County, Texas, He was one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II, receiving every military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, as well as French and Belgian awards for heroism. After the war he was brought to Hollywood and took up an acting career. Throughout his career spanning from 1948 to 1969, Murphy made more than 40 feature films and one television series. Murphy was also a successful rancher and businessman. He bred and raised thoroughbred horses and owned several ranches in Texas, Arizona and California. He was also a songwriter, and penned hits for such singers as Dean Martin, Eddy Arnold, Charley Pride and many others. Murphy was a member of North Hollywood Lodge No. 542 in North Hollywood, California.

This Day In Masonic History

June 20, 1772 Having previously freed his slaves, Brother Benjamin Franklin first wrote against the institution of slavery in “The Somersett Case and the Slave Trade.”

This Day In Masonic History

June 20, 1756 William Richardson Davie is born in Egremont, Cumberland, England . He was a military officer and the tenth Governor of North Carolina from 1798 to 1799, as well as one of the most important men involved in the founding of the University of North Carolina. He was a member of the Federalist Party and is a "Founding Father of the United States." Davie was raised in Occasional Lodge No. 1791. He served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina from 1792 to 1798. During that time Davie laid the cornerstone in a Masonic ceremony for the University of North Carolina. The University of North Carolina was the first public university in the United States and Davie is considered the "Father of the University." A tree on the campus is called the "Davie Poplar", legend has it that Davie tied his horse to that tree while scouting for the location of the University.


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The Panola Watchman (Carthage, Tex.), Vol. 67, No. 25, Ed. 1 Thursday, May 16, 1940 , newspaper , May 16, 1940 Carthage, Texas . (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth896105/: accessed June 20, 2021 ), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu crediting Sammy Brown Library .

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