Marty Feldman versus the Suits

by Mike Kuhlenbeck “The pen is mightier than the sword, and is considerably easier to write with.” –Marty Feldman THE SUBVERSIVE WISDOM of comedian Marty Feldman should be chiseled in stone, and his unique likeness carved into a monument celebrating his efforts to slay the Establishment with humor. Martin Alan Feldman was born in north […]

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June 29: Stokely Carmichael and the Jews

Stokely Carmichael, later known as Kwame Ture, a dynamic leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee who evolved into a pan-Africanist revolutionary with a penchant for attacking Zionism, was born in Trinidad on this date in 1941. He came to the U.S. at 13, was a student at the mostly-Jewish Bronx High School of Science, […]

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June 14: Guitarist with Country Joe and the Fish

Barry “the Fish” Melton, guitarist and co-founder of Country Joe and the Fish and a lifelong progressive activist, was born to a Jewish mother and non-Jewish father (a merchant seaman who shipped out once with Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston) in Brooklyn on this date in 1947. The band was the most politically radical of […]

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May 31: Pete Yarrow

Folksinger Peter Yarrow, part of the trio of Peter, Paul and Mary, was born in New York on this date in 1938, to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. He joined the New York City folk revival scene after graduating from Cornell University (as a psych major), and joined up with Mary Travers and Noel Paul Stookey, under […]

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May 7: The Vietnam War

The U.S. defined May 7, 1975 as ending the Vietnam War era in an announcement by President Gerald R. Ford on that date — twenty-one years after the date on which the French had been decisively defeated in the Battle of DIen Bien Phu, 1954. While many, many American Jews were deeply involved in the […]

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April 24: Eighteen Ks

Dodger ace Sandy Koufax, 26, struck out eighteen batters for the second time in his career on this date in 1962 as his team beat the Chicago Cubs 10-2 at Wrigley Field. Koufax threw 144 pitches in nine innings, 96 strikes and 48 balls, and gave up one home run and two doubles. Chicago would […]

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April 16: Herbie Mann

Jazz flautist Herbie Mann (Solomon), an early explorer of world music following State Department tours of Africa in 1959 and Brazil in 1961, was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1930. Mann helped generate the bossa nova craze in the U.S. in the 1960s and worked with Brazilian musical themes throughout the decade. As […]

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April 14: Bye Bye Birdie

The stage musical Bye Bye Birdie, created by the all-Jewish team of Michael Stewart (book), Lee Adams (lyrics), and Charlie Strouse (music), opened on Broadway on this date in 1960. Inspired by the real-life induction of Elvis Presley into the army in 1958, Bye Bye Birdie won a Tony Award and spawned a London production […]

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April 9: Tom Lehrer

Songwriter, social satirist, and mathematician Tom Lehrer was born on this date in 1928. In the 1960s he gained a wide audience as the resident songwriter for the American version of That Was the Week That Was, a short-lived satirical television news show, for which he wrote a famous spoof about rocket scientist Werner Von […]

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