Urban Dictionary defines 'newsbabe' as "a sexually-attractive female news anchor or reporter on TV." It sounds like a modern term, but it actually was in use as far back as 1949, and originated in the context of radio news.
Back then, Christina Ohlsen earned the title of newsbabe while she was working at the U.S. Army's radio station in West Berlin (RIAS, or Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor). On-air, she played a character called 'Das Botenkind' which was a Berlin slang term that got translated as the Newsbabe. She would essentially make fun of the headlines in the Soviet newspapers, while in the persona of this newsbabe.
According to her obituary in the Washington Post (she died in 2012), she later married Air Force Col. William Heimlich, who was her boss at the station, moved with him to Falls Church, Virginia, and taught dance classes there for the rest of her life.
In an interview, her husband offered some recollections of her times as the newsbabe:
Q: How did you meet your wife, who was then Christina Olsen?
A: Christina Olson. She was a guest of my British opposite, Colonel E A Hollard, at a tea to which I was invited. I saw her, I thought she was the loveliest thing I'd ever seen in my life and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her - on the spot. I - came to know her then when she was in RIAS, came to know her much better, and when she came to the United States as a guest of the State Department in 1950 - yes, 1950, we were married here.
Q: If you describe exactly what she was doing for RIAS?
A: In RIAS she was an actress of course and a charming one, a very popular one, and - she did particularly a role called 'Das Botenkind' or 'The Little Messenger - The Newsboy, that's about the only way I can translate that. And she would sing song a pompous news story that appeared in, let us say, the T&aumb;gliche Rundschau, the Soviet Newspaper, and then poke fun at it. Typical example: 'The meat ration this month will not be filled. Instead you will receive four hundred fifty five grams of sugar.' or 'The potato ration this week will not be filled. Instead you will get thirty- three hundred and fifty grammes of soya beans.', or 'The travel cards between Berlin and Dresden will no longer be honoured until further notice. There will be no German personnel allowed to leave the city of Magdeburg until further notice' These pompous things would appear constantly in the Soviet newspaper, and she would talk about it on the air and say, 'I don't understand it. But the big ones, they've got to understand it. All of these things which violated agreements between the Western and the Eastern allies.
Odd trivia: Rick Feeney is arguably the longest-serving White House appointee ever, having served as the Official White House Squirrel Feeder since 1949, when Truman appointed him to the post. Having never been replaced, he presumably still holds the role. Feeney was 5 years old when appointed, which would make him about 75 now. I wonder what would happen if he wandered up to the White House and insisted on being able to perform his squirrel feeding duty.
The story goes that his father (who was Truman’s administrative assistant) took him to the White House in 1949 to meet the president, whereupon Feeney informed Truman that the White House squirrels were skinnier than the ones in Lafayette Park. So Truman promptly appointed him to be the White House squirrel feeder, noting that the Senate was in recess so their confirmation wasn’t needed. Feeney was to serve “at the pleasure of the President.”
In 1974, when Feeney was 29, he noted that it was really time for someone to replace him, but no other Squirrel Feeder has ever been appointed.
At the end of World War II, the Allied forces wanted to make sure that Nazism didn't rise again in Germany. So they implemented a program of denazification, making it a criminal act, punishable by up to three years in prison, to display Nazi symbols such as the swastika or to give the Nazi salute. However, they encountered resistance from an unusual quarter: a 15-year-old white, female, South-American parrot named Laura who lived in a cage at Munich's Hellabrunn Zoo. This bird had the disturbing habit of greeting visitors by loudly squawking the phrase 'Heil Hitler' as she bobbed her head up and down.
Children at the Munich Zoo hoping to hear Laura say her signature phrase. Image via icp.org.
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