Rushville Republican

October 29, 2013

Strange happenings of Octo-BRRR! 31st

By Don Stuart
Rushville Republican

---- — Truly frightening and eerie things are known to happen on October 31st.

Some examples just from my own experience include the October 31st that I tried a disastrous Halloween experiment – the “Naughty Middle Manager from a Large Midwestern Corporation” costume.

Also, every 10/31, my wife uncannily predicts the future – for 16 years in a row, she has forecast that I will suffer from a terrible stomach malady. And for 16 years in a row, she’s been right! Three years ago, it was because I ate too much Halloween candy that I stole from my kids. Two years ago, it was because my kids caught me stealing their Halloween candy and socked me. And last year it was from having a flashback about the “Naughty Middle Manager from a Large Midwestern Corporation” costume.

Other things have happened on October 31 ever since calendars became a thing. Some are kinda creepy, too, such as:

• Mussolini becoming Italy’s Premier in 1922.

• In 1846, it’s said to be the day the Donner Party gave up trying to cross the snow-choked Sierra Nevada Mountains and decided to build a winter camp; forgetting, however, to include a proper cafeteria.

• And in 1868, October 31 was the day the United States Postal Service approved a standard uniform for letter carriers, including those summertime shorts that exposed the gnarly, knobby knees of Mr. Woglemuth, the postman who delivered to my childhood home. Shudder!

Oh, and how’s this for kind of eerie: In 1941, the Mount Rushmore sculpture was completed on October 31. Exactly ten years prior to that, October 31, 1931, Charles E. Rushmore passed away. Yeah, that’s right, he’s the “Rushmore” the mountain was named after!

Here’s a really strange one: on October 31, 1929, Carlo Pedersoli is born in Santa Lucia, Italy. And in one of my columns from August, 2012, I wrote about the famous Italian song “Santa Lucia”!

Hold on, it gets weirder! Carlo Pedersoli is known to film aficionados as an actor, especially from the era of “Spaghetti Westerns.” His stage name, which I understand is the literal translation of “Carlo Pedersoli,” is “Bud Spencer.” And Bud Spencer played the lead role in a 1977 Italian comedy – described as a movie “in the style of ‘The Sting,’”; the flick was called “Charleston.” And I just recently wrote multiple columns about my family’s visit to Charleston!

Cue the “Twilight Zone” music, right?!?!

In 1931, the last day of October saw the birth of Dan Rather, the famous TV newsman and victim, in 1986, of a strange and random incident: he was assailed while walking along Park Avenue in New York City, by two men who repeatedly asked him the question “What is the frequency, Kenneth?”

But here’s the scariest part – the rock band R.E.M. wrote a song called “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” and they were once joined on stage in a performance of the song by guest vocalist. . .Dan Rather! Everyone present said it was terrifying!

October 31, 1942 is the birthdate of David Ogden Stiers, who played on the classic TV show “M*A*S*H” as Dr. Winchester, the stuffy Bostonian. He’s done tons of voice acting and voice-over work, including one of the early films by George Lucas, the “Star Wars” mastermind. The movie was called “THX 1138,” set in a bleak future when the use of mind-altering drugs is mandatory. Well, apparently someone responsible for composing the film’s credits took that film plot to heart, because the closing credits says Stiers’ voice work was performed by “David Ogden Steers.”

A year after Stiers was born, a guy named Paul Frampton was born. He was a physics professor at the University of North Carolina, although he’s currently an inmate serving 56 months in argentina. Long story short, he was attempting to leave Argentina with a suitcase containing a whole bunch of cocaine hidden in it. He claims the usual thing that guys claim when they’re caught in this predicament: he was tricked by gangsters into carrying the suitcase while on his way to see a supermodel he met on a dating website. That alibi actually worked, and he was about to be set free. Until another search of the suitcase revealed a way more dangerous and frightening hidden cargo – a bootleg cassette tape of Dan Rather singing “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?”