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January 15, 2010

100 Years Ago In the Forward

It was “he-said, she-said” as the case of Mr. and Mrs. Levine was heard before Judge Whitney in the New York Supreme Court. “You’re a dog and a monster,” was among the printable terms of approbation that Mr. Levine, a lawyer who defended himself, frequently heard from his wife as she claimed that he was the one constantly abusing her, both verbally and physically. But his major issue wasn’t his wife’s cursing, it was her family. Apparently, Mrs. Levine’s parents and 12 siblings could be found all about the Levine household at various hours of the day and night. Fed up, Mr. Levine finally had the police escort them out. But it was Mrs. Levine who had an ace in the hole when a Bronx landlord, Frederick Marx, took the stand and told the court that Mr. Levine had recently rented an apartment for “his wife,” who turned out to be not the Mrs. Levine in the courtroom, but some other lady entirely.

75 Years Ago In the Forward

Many years ago, his dream was to become a rabbi, and he still remembers swaying over a tome of Talmud. When he waxes nostalgic, he can still call up passages of the Bible and recite them by heart. But now, Samson Raphaelson, is one of the most successful screenwriters in Hollywood. When Ernst Lubitsch needs a screenwriter, he calls Raphaelson. He’s also a successful playwright. One of his plays, “Accent on Youth,” is enjoying great success right now on Broadway. Born on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Raphaelson was raised by his grandfather, who was a rabbinical assistant at the Pike Street Synagogue. He is best known as having written the screenplay for the first talkie, “The Jazz Singer.”

50 Years Ago In the Forward

Famed Broadway impresario Billy Rose announced plans to give his entire sculpture collection, valued in the millions of dollars, to the new national art museum in Israel. He added that he contracted Japanese architect Isamu Noguchi to design the area in which the sculptures were be exhibited. Rose also said that he planned to purchase more sculptures to enrich the collection. The museum’s curator, Karl Katz, noted that Rose’s sculpture collection is the largest privately held collection in the world.

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