This Week in 1945 (February 15–February 21)

    By Rick Kaempfer
    In This Week in 1945
    Feb 15th, 2017
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    This week during the last year the Cubs went to the World Series…

    World War II Rages On…

    *Venezuela declares war on Nazi-Germany. That’s right, Venezuela. Hitler may have a few bigger problems.

    *Hitler visits the Eastern front, which is getting closer and closer to Berlin.

    *Meanwhile, in the Pacific, 980 Japanese soldiers die as a result of a killing spree by long saltwater crocodiles that began on February 19 and ended on Feb 20 in Ramree, Burma.

    *And the Battle of Iwo Jima begins, as about 30,000 United States Marines land on Iwo Jima.

    In Chicago…

    Chicagoans actually read. This is the list of best selling books this week:

    Forever AmberFiction:
    Forever Amber, Kathleen Winsor
    The Green Years, A.J. Cronin
    Immortal Wife, Irving Stone
    Green Dolphin Street, Elizabeth Goudge
    The Robe, Lloyd C. Douglas

    *PRICE CHECK: Beef Chuck Roast is only 43 cents per pound, while Campbell’s Tomato Soup costs 25 cents for 3 cans

    In Pop Culture…

    *“The Enchanted Cottage” starring Robert Young and Dorothy McGuire has it’s Hollywood Premiere

    Birthdays

    Some future celebrities are serving in the Armed Forces and celebrating birthdays this week…

    *Harvey Korman turns 18. He is serving in the US Navy.

    Charles Schultz*Charles Schultz (photo) is 19. He and his unit in the 20th Armored Division have just arrived in France. Schultz is a Staff Sergeant.

    *George Kennedy (serving in General Patton’s army), Robert Altman (serving in the Army in Borneo/Dutch East Indies), and Sam Peckinpah (serving in the USMC in Asia) all celebrate their 20th birthdays.

    *Joe Gordon is already a celebrity. He’s the Yankees starting second baseman, but not in 1945. His 30th birthday finds him serving stateside in the military.

    Meanwhile, back on the homefront…

    *Jack Palance turns 26. He is just out of the service, studying at Stanford.

    *Buddy Ryan celebrates his 11th birthday in Oklahoma.

    *Future football Hall of Famer Jim Brown turns 9 in Georgia.

    Cub of the week

    Pancho ComellasJorge Comellas is a pitcher the Cubs signed out of Havana Cuba, and they have high hopes he can contribute in the 1945 season because he won 18 games with a 2.44 ERA for their minor league club in Los Angeles in 1944. Unfortunately, he doesn’t report at the beginning of spring training, and the team has no idea where he is. This angers both manager Charlie Grimm and GM John Gallagher. Jorge won’t arrive in French Lick until the week before the season starts.

    Comellas won’t win a single game for the Cubs in seven appearances, and will be hit pretty hard. At the end of May they send him back to the minors, from which he will never return. His short stint on the 1945 Cubs comprises his entire major league career.

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