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Famous people born in August

Staff Writer
The Examiner
Ted Stillwell

Rudolf Ising was born in August 1903 in Kansas City, Missouri and became one of the early pioneers of animation.

He began as a young man with Walt Disney for a time, but took off with fellow artist Hugh Harman to form their own cartoon studio in 1929. They created “Bosko” for Warner Brothers, the first synchronized talkie cartoon, and went on to create both the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series, featuring our favorites Porky Pig and Daffy Duck. As a major during World War II, Ising headed the animation division for the Army Air Corps to make training films.

Charlie Parker was born in Kansas City, Kansas in August 1920. “Bird” was mostly self-taught, beginning when his mother gave him a saxophone at age 11. When he left school, he jammed with local jazz groups and even hit the big time with Dizzy Gillespie, which took him to New York. By the time Parker was 25, his ability to create ornate, off-the-cuff improvisations was legendary

Louis Armstrong was born down New Orleans way in 1900. Also basically self-taught, he and his mother lived in poverty in a bad part of town, so “Satchmo” took to playing trumpet on street corners for coins to buy food. At night he hung out in bars listening to the jazz bands, and the balls began to roll his way. By the mid-1920s, Armstrong’s career was sizzling. He appeared on Broadway in 1929 in “Hot Chocolate” where he introduced his first big hit, “Ain’t Misbehavin.” He put a band together called the New Cotton Orchestra and hit the road across the U.S. and Europe, even starring in a few movies along the way. Remember his hit “What a Wonderful World” and “Hello Dolly,” which he performed with Barbara Streisand.

Penicillin has an August connection if you take into account that its creator, Alexander Fleming, was born in August in Scotland. He saved us all from the miseries of pneumonia, gangrene, blood poisoning and meningitis, just to name a few maladies.

Anne Oakley was born August 13, 1860 in Ohio and had an uncanny ability as a sharpshooter. She joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show when she was only 15, and he said, “She was just a tiny thing, stood less than five-foot-tall, and weighed less than a hundred pounds soaking wet.” Riding side-saddle on a galloping horse, she could shoot out a candle as she raced past. She could blast a dime tossed up in the air and shoot the burning tip off a cigarette in someone’s mouth.

Annie persuaded Lakota Tribal Chief Sitting Bull to join the show. Oh, he loved Annie Oakley so much, and because of his respect for her shooting ability, Sitting Bull “symbolically adopted” her as his daughter and gave her the handle “Little Miss Sure Shot,” a name that stuck with her throughout the rest of her 16-year career.

Sitting Bull never did any acting himself; he was paid $50 a week just to ride his horse around the arena during the opening ceremonies, but it’s been rumored that he made a small fortune selling autographed pictures of himself. Many Lakota came along with Sitting Bull, and they danced and did some pretty fancy bareback riding.

Both Davy Crockett and Meriwether Lewis were August babies as was President Herbert Hoover. Also, Alex Haley, author of “Roots”, and Roy Wilkins, past executive secretary of the NAACP. Wilkins helped organize the famous march on Washington in 1963. Mother Theresa, Sir Walter Scott of Ivanhoe fame, Wilt Chamberlain and

Cal Ripken Jr. are also August babies.

Reach Ted W. Stillwell at Ted@blueandgrey.com or 816-896-3592.

The Examiner