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Friday, July 7, 2006

Big Damn History: Edition, The Fifth

As an addendum to an earlier article, we illustrate more instances of history being a curious thing.

Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian-Americans with a passionate love for comedy.

Sacco, a shoe maker, and Vanzetti, a fish seller, met while attending the performance of a witty humorist at a local theater on the Orpheum Circuit. Finding a shared love for all things funny, they both found an odd stirring within themselves. At first this was misinterpreted as the culmination of some latent homosexuality...but it turned out to simply be a driving desire to form a comedy team.

Sacco and Vanzetti (as their oh-so-creative comedy team was named) began performing in local dime museums. While they had some small local success, their attempts to join the Orpheum Circuit remained fruitless.

Aimless, the two drifted toward the Anarchist political ideology. Anarchism was generally frowned upon in the early American 20th century. As such, Sacco and Vanzetti were accused of the killings of Frederick Parmenter and Alessandro Berardelli during a robbery on April 15, 1920.

Many believe that Sacco and Vanzetti were innocent. They both had alibis. There were alleged police improprieties in regards to the handling of weapons. Probably the most important piece of evidence for the innocence of Sacco and Vanzetti is that one of the victims, Berardelli, was himself an aspiring comedian. Sacco and Vanzetti had far too much love for comedy to harm a fellow humorist.

Unfortunately for the world of comedy, Sacco and Vanzetti were executed on August 23, 1927 leaving the world a slightly less funny place.

The following year, an even more unfortunate event for Sacco and Vanzetti (as if there could possibly be anything more unfortunate than being dead) happened in January 1928. Benjamin Franklin Keith, Edward Franklin Albee II and Martin Beck united their vaudeville circuits into the Keith-Albee-Orpheum. This new behemoth needed more acts to fill their bills and they specifically needed comedians.

Who knows what the future may have had in store for poor Sacco and Vanzetti?

Another fascinating occurrence in 1928 was Alexander Fleming's discovery of Penicillin.

Arthur Edmund Penicillin was often teased as a child for the bizarre secretions his body would make whilst under stress. As he grew older, the teasing turned to amazement as it was discovered that Arthur Penicillin was virtually immune to Gonorrhea, a sexual plague that was devastating Penicillin's group of acquaintances.

Alexander Fleming was working at St. Mary's Hospital in London when he heard a strange noise. Peering under his table, he discovered Arthur Penicillin enjoying a turkey on rye. Penicillin, being a generous soul, offered to split his sandwich with Fleming. Fleming agreed.

Conversation began. One thing led to another. Eventually, Fleming learned how to utilize the odd secretions of Penicillin to create a very strong anti-biotic.

In further installments of this series, we will examine how the hare really did beat the tortoise but the outcome was egregiously distorted by the liberal media. Also, we will analyze how one man eating clam chowder forever effected the economy of the Latvian pygmies.

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