World War II – Commando Kelly – The One Man Army
September 13, 1943
The war hero Charles “Commando” Kelly begins a series of actions that would make him the first WWII U.S. solider in the European war theater to receive the Medal of Honor and earned him the title, “The One Man Army”. He had made several reconnaissance missions under fire. While protecting an ammo dump from the encroaching Germans, several of the automatic rifles he was firing jammed due to overheating. He then picked up 60mm mortar shells, pulled the safety pins, and used the shells as grenades, killing at least 5 of the enemy. After it became necessary to evacuate, Kelly volunteered to stay behind and hold off the Germans so the others could evacuate.
Prior to his military service, Kelly made his living with a street gang in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and frequently got in trouble with the law. After the war, he opened a gas station, but had to sell it after a downturn in business the following year. His wife was diagnosed with uterine cancer that same year, and died in 1951. The cost of the radiation treatments eventually resulted in Kelly losing his home in foreclosure. He remarried in 1952 and held a series of short-term jobs. Poor health, financial problems, and alcohol led to a divorce in 1962. In late 1984 Kelly was admitted to Veterans Hospital, suffering from kidney and liver failure and died a few months later.
Mae Questel (Mae Kwestel)
Born September 13, 1908 d. 1998
American actress. Mae Questel voiced the cartoon character Betty Boop (1931-39), Olive Oyl (1933-38, 1944-1967), Swee’Pea (1936-38), and even voiced Popeye for a few episodes while the usual voice actor was off to serve in World War II.
She also played Aunt Bethany in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) and voiced Betty Boop for Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).
She started her career as a voice impersonator, of voices such as Fanny Brice and Mae West. Max Fleischer hired her when he saw her doing an impersonation of Helen Kane‘s “Boop-boop-a-doop” routine. Fleischer had based the Betty Boop character on Helen Kane and was looking for someone to voice his cartoon character.
People like to use the excuse that our current times are too dismal and chaotic for anyone to accomplish meaningful action. But they ignore the fact that some of the greatest figures in history reached their peaks against the background of declining, decadent societies.