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Culture

August 15, 2003

100 YEARS AGO

• When Police officer Murphy pushed Isaac Isaacs down at the corner of Forsyth and Division Streets, he probably didn’t think much of it. And when Isaacs’ nephew, David, came running up and demanded Murphy’s badge number, Murphy grabbed him and started dragging him to the precinct. David Isaacs, in Murphy’s grip, began yelling at the top of his lungs, bringing out the neighborhood’s Jews — about 2,000 in all, some of them armed with clubs. When they saw a policeman dragging David down the street, they gave Murphy a good beating. When they finally arrived at the Eldridge Street Stationhouse, David was sent home and Murphy was sent to a back room.

75 YEARS AGO

• Recent advances in technology indicate that it will not be long before we will be able to view moving pictures through our radios in the comfort of our own homes. One radio station in New York has already begun broadcasting pictures on the radio as part of their regular programming. WRNY has been broadcasting still photos that can be received by about 200,000 radio apparatuses in the city. The station plays a musical program, like other radio stations, but at the end of the program one can see on the television screen the picture of the person who sang. Those who don’t have the new type of radio only hear noise when the image is broadcast. Radio laboratories are working feverishly to perfect the broadcasts. The Westinghouse Electric Company was one of the first to present the public with a demonstration of how pictures can be broadcast through wires and then through the air and end up on radio-television sets. It may be said that this is the beginning of the dream to be able to see moving pictures through the radio.

50 YEARS AGO

• It used to be that Broadway stars who were Jewish were ashamed of it. If they didn’t deny it outright, they tried to conceal it somehow. Sure, there were exceptions, like Eddie Cantor and George Jessel, but most stars didn’t bother with their Jewishness until the angel of death showed up to take them away. But things have changed: The new country of Israel has given them a bit of pride, and now lots of stars are proud of their Jewishness. They can’t speak Hebrew, but many can speak a kind of broken-down Yiddish. Even gentile stars try to pepper their speech with Yiddish. Another place where Yiddish phrases fly about is in the press box at baseball games, particularly at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. The sportswriters, like the Broadway folk, also love a Yiddish word.

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