Born in Kansas in 1923, Bob Dole began his political career by serving as a member of the Kansas state legislature (1951–53), and later served four terms as prosecuting attorney for Russell County. From 1961 to 1969, Dole served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. From 1969 to 1996, he served in the U.S. Senate, where he earned titles as minority leader and majority leader.
Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole was born on July 22, 1923, in Russell, Kansas. Doran, Dole's father, ran a stand that sold eggs and cream. Dole's mother, Bina, sold Singer sewing machines and vacuum cleaners as a traveling saleswoman. Dole had one brother, Kenny, and two sisters, Gloria and Norma Jean.
When the Great Depression hit in the 1930s, the Doles had to struggle to make ends meet. The family moved into the basement of their home and rented out the upstairs to oilfield workers. Dole's parents instilled in him their values of hard work and sacrifice, and both of those would play a large role in Dole's later life. His parents also gave him a strong religious upbringing. Dole once explained, "As a young man in a small town, my parents taught me to put my trust in God, not government, and never confuse the two."
As a youth, Dole was a member of the Boy Scouts and also played sports, winning spots on several all-conference teams. He worked as a paperboy and as a soda jerk at the local Dawson's Drugstore. The drugstore's owner remembered Dole as a "good worker." After completing high school in 1941, Dole attended the University of Kansas, where, inspired by the doctors that he had met while working at the drugstore, he enrolled in the premedical program.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942 and was summoned to active duty in early 1943. Upon completing training programs in the United States, Dole became a combat infantry officer and was sent to Italy in 1944 to serve in a relatively safe area near Rome. The next year, Dole was transferred to a post near the Po Valley, in northern Italy. That region still held a German machine gun nest, and, despite Dole's relatively small amount of combat experience, he was ordered to lead an assault against it. The day of the assault was, as Dole put it, "the day that changed my life."
During the attack, an Army radioman went down under German fire. In his attempt to rescue the man, Dole himself was severely wounded. According to examinations by medics following the battle, Dole had sustained the following injuries: a shattered right shoulder, fractured vertebrae in his neck and spine, paralysis from the neck down, metal shrapnel throughout his body and a damaged kidney. The medics examining Dole thought him unlikely to survive.
After several surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, Bob Dole not only lived, but made a better recovery than had ever been expected. The only lingering physical limitations for Dole are his paralyzed right arm and hand, and during public appearances he often keeps a pen in his right hand to make it appear less unusual. The Russell community showed him a great amount of support during his recovery, and as a memento of that support, Dole still keeps a cigar box where donations toward his medical costs were collected. For his service in the military, Dole was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. During his recovery, Dole also met his first wife, Phyllis Holden, who worked as a nurse in a Michigan hospital where Dole spent time. They married in June 1948.
After more than three years of recovery, Bob Dole took advantage of the G.I. Bill, which provided veterans with financial assistance for education. First, he attended the University of Arizona to study liberal arts. After a year there, he returned to Kansas to study law at Washburn Municipal College in Topeka. While attending college, Dole was encouraged to enter into politics. Dole ran as a Republican candidate for the Kansas state legislature (despite the fact that both of his parents were registered Democrats) and won. Something of a moderate at that time, Dole might have been influenced in his party affiliation by advice from Republican leader John Woelk, who said, "If you really want to do something in politics in Kansas, you'd better declare yourself a Republican." In 1952, Dole received his undergraduate and law degrees, was admitted to the bar and began practicing law in his hometown of Russell.
Dole was initiated as a Freemason of Russell Lodge No. 177, Russell, Kansas on April 19, 1955.
The early 1950s marked the beginning of Dole's prestigious career as a public official, which lasted for five decades. Dole held the aforementioned state legislature seat until 1953. After his term ended, he took up the position of county attorney of Russell County. In 1961, he was encouraged to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives that was about to be vacated by a retiring incumbent. Because Dole had little name recognition outside of his home county, his campaign featured such gimmicks as a female singing group called Dolls for Dole, the handing out of hundreds of cups of free Dole brand juice and a coffin with a Frankenstein dummy in it bearing the sign, "You have nothing to fear with Dole." He also had his daughter, Robin (born in 1954), wear a banner saying, "I'm for Daddy—Are You?".
Dole won the Republican nomination, and went on to easily win the election over his Democratic opponent. Bob Dole won re-election to Congress twice more and, during this period, earned a reputation as a conservative willing to champion unpopular beliefs. One of these unpopular positions was supporting Barry Goldwater for president in 1964—a move that nearly lost him his second congressional term.
At the end of his third term in Congress, Dole decided to try for a position of more influence in the U.S. government. A longtime U.S. senator from Kansas told Dole that he was retiring and that Dole should not hesitate to begin campaigning for the seat. Dole did this with the same vigor and determination with which he had run for his seat in the House years before. Again, his work was rewarded with a resounding win. Dole was elected senator the same year that Richard Nixon was elected president: 1968. Dole became an advocate for Nixon against Democratic criticisms, and the Nixon administration took notice. Nixon became an adviser to Dole and helped him be named Republican National Chairman in 1971.
Dole served in the Senate until 1996, winning re-elections in 1974, 1980, 1986 and 1992. During this time, he chaired many committees and established a conservative voting record as well as a reputation as a "hatchet man." This description refers to Dole's notoriety for speaking out adamantly against policies or proposals he thought unwise.
While Brother Bud Abbott is best known for his radio, movie, and television work with Lou Costello, his career both predated and extended beyond the partnership. Abbott was born William Alexander Abbott on October 2, 1895, in Asbury Park, NJ. Abbott grew up in a show business family; both of his parents worked for Barnum & Bailey Circus. Abbott eventually dropped out of school, first working at Coney Island and then working the box office of the Casino Theatre in Brooklyn. Abbott married Jenny May Pratt (her stage name was Betty Smith) in 1918, and the two worked together in a vaudeville show called Broadway Flashes and toured with the Gus Sun Vaudeville Circuit.
In 1924 Abbott began playing the straight man in a comic act with Smith. He quickly gained a reputation for the quality of his work, and teamed with a number of other comics including Harry Steppe and Harry Evanson.
During the 1930s Abbott met Lou Costello, and after working together occasionally, the two formed a team in 1936 and eventually signed with the William Morris Agency. Over the next four years, the comic duo worked in vaudeville, minstrel shows, and movie houses. Beginning in 1938, Abbott & Costello made radio appearances on The Kate Smith Hour and by 1940 were cast in supporting roles in One Night in the Tropics. Between 1940 and 1956, the comic duo appeared in 36 films including Buck Privates, Abbot and Costello Go to Mars, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. The team also hosted their own radio program on NBC and later ABC during the 1940s.
After years of working together, Abbott and Costello's working relationship became strained, and the two parted company in July 1957. Speaking of the duo's strained relationship, Abbott quipped, "You never heard of a comedy team that didn't fight, did you?"
Abbott formed a new comedic duo with Candy Candido in 1960. While the duo received a positive critical response, Abbott nonetheless decided to leave the business. "No one," he noted, "could ever live up to Lou." In 1961 he made an appearance on a General Electric Theater episode, "The Joke's on Me." Later, he also provided the voice for his own character in Hannah-Barbera's cartoon version of Abbott & Costello. Because of his work in film, radio, and television, Abbott has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Abbott and Betty Smith had two adopted children, Bud, Jr., and Vickie. Abbott died of cancer on April 24, 1974, at the age of 78 in Woodland Hills, CA. He and Smith, at the time of his death, had been married 55 years. Abbott was cremated and his ashes were spread in the Pacific Ocean.
Member of Daylight Lodge No. 525, MI
Director, producer, writer and actor, Cecil Blount DeMille formed an alliance with vaudeville musician, Jesse L. Lasky, and a glove salesman named Samuel Goldfish (later Goldwyn) called the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company in 1913. In time he would be called "the founder of Hollywood", "the world’s greatest director" and "the showman of showmen". A prodigeous producer during the silent era, he continued to discover stars in the sound era such as Evelyn Keyes, Francesca Gaal, Paulette Goddard, Gary Cooper, and Charlton Heston.
He championed the switch from short to feature-length films and is often credited with making Hollywood the motion picture capital of the world. Rather than putting his money into known stars, he emphasized production values. He produced and directed 70 films and was involved in many more.
He later appeared in front of the camera, playing himself in Sunset Boulevard (Paramount, 1950). He produced and directed The Greatest Show On Earth (Paramount, 1952), winning an Academy Award for best picture. His remake of The Ten Commandments (Paramount, 1956), his last film, was as big a hit as his original, 1923 version.
Master of Orange Lodge No. 16, New York
Brother Telly Savalas was an American actor born on January 21, 1922, in Garden City, New York. In the 1950s, Savalas gained production experience on ABC radio’s Voice of America and then became the executive producer of his own award-winning talk show, Telly's Coffee House. Often casted as a villain, in 1962 Savalas earned an Oscar nomination for Birdman of Alcatraz. One of his more popular roles was playing a New York City detective in the hit TV series Kojak (1973-'78). After the show ended, Savalas continued to act in smaller roles in television and film. He died on January 22, 1994, in Universal City, California.
Actor Telly Savalas was born on January 21, 1922, in Garden City, New York. The son of Greek immigrants, Savalas and his brother Gus sold newspapers and shined shoes to help support the family. In 1941, he joined the army and served in World War II, from which he was discharged with a Purple Heart disability. After his release, Savalas attended the Armed Forces Institute where he studied radio and television production. He went on to enroll at Columbia University where he continued his studies in psychology. During the early 1950s, Telly worked for ABC radio, the Voice of America, and eventually became the executive producer of his own popular talk show, Telly's Coffee House, for which he earned a Peabody Award.
In 1959, Savalas attended an audition for the CBS anthology series Armstrong Circle Theatre, intending to prompt an actor friend who was up for a role. Instead, the casting director took Savalas' sinister demeanor into account and cast him in a character part, which led to other TV assignments and movie roles. A performance in Matter of Conviction impressed actor Burt Lancaster, who cast him in Birdman of Alcatraz (1962). Savalas earned a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination for his role as solitary row prisoner Feto Gomez.
In 1973, he landed the part of tough-talking New York City detective Theo Kojak in the TV movie The Marcus-Nelson Murders. His incorruptible, lollipop-sucking character was so popular that a spin-off series resulted, which ran from 1973-'78 on CBS. The show catapulted Savalas into icon status as the very image of the hedonistic '70s. This clout allowed him to hire brother George (professionally named "Demosthenes") in the role of Detective Stavros. And to this day, Kojak's catchphrase, "Who loves ya, baby?" can be heard around the globe. Savalas won an Emmy and two Golden Globes for his role on the series.
Red Skelton was a pantomimist and radio and television comedian, host, and star performer of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) for 20 years. Skelton performed in minstrel and burlesque shows until his career took off in 1938 when he made his big break in both radio and film. Eventually Skelton took roles in over 30 films, including Having a Wonderful Time with Ginger Rogers.
Skelton was a member of Vincennes Lodge No. 1. Skelton became interested in Masonry as a small boy selling newspapers in Vincennes, when a man bought a paper from him with a five dollar bill and told him to keep the change. The young Skelton asked his benefactor why he had given him so much money; the man explained that he was a Mason and Masons are taught to give. Skelton decided to become one also when he was grown.
Perhaps one of the most memorable moments in television history was on January 14, 1969, when legendary comic, Red Skelton, became suddenly serious at the end of one of his television show as he reminisced about an incident from his childhood. Something was on Red's mind he wanted to share. You have to remember that this was during the Vietnam War when anti-war protests had rendered the American flag as much as symbol of divisiveness as that of unity. It was also a time when the Supreme Court ruling eliminating prayer from schools was still fresh in the minds of Americans.
Red said what he had to say in his own way. He remembered back to his boyhood, when his teacher, Mr. Lasswell, felt his students had begun to recite the Pledge of Allegiance as if it were a daily drudgery. He decided to take a moment, and recite it to them, telling them the meaning of each word. Ever since the first broadcast, Red Skelton's words have remained a perennial favorite--especially around patriotic holidays.
It went like this:
I -- Me; an individual; a committee of one.
Pledge -- Dedicate all of my worldly good to give without self-pity.
Allegiance -- My love and my devotion.
To the Flag -- Our standard. “Old Glory”; a symbol of courage. And wherever she waves, there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts “Freedom is everybody's job.”
of the United -- That means we have all come together.
States -- Individual communities that have united into 48 great states; 48 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose; all divided by imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common cause, and that’s love of country, of America.
And to the Republic -- A Republic: a sovereign state in which power is invested into the representatives chosen by the people to govern; and the government is the people; and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.
For which it stands, one nation -- Meaning "so blessed by God."
Indivisible -- Incapable of being divided.
With Liberty -- Which is freedom; the right of power for one to live his own life without fears, threats, or any sort of retaliation.
And Justice -- The principle and qualities of dealing fairly with others.
For All -- For All. That means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.