The Peculiar Truth about 6 Successful Strangers
- Howard Thurston was the most prestigious magician of his era, and he competed for attention with Harry Houdini. His most amazing trick involved levitating a woman, a novelty that astonished audiences. To this day stage magicians perform many of Thurston’s original pieces.
- Louis L’Amour was a prolific 20th Century author best known for novels about the Old West. He wrote 100 books that sold worldwide. His most famous titles were The Quick and the Dead and Hondo. The latter was made into a film starring John Wayne. After a long career, L’Amour received a Congressional Gold Medal.
- Art Linkletter was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1912. In the US, he became a radio and television pioneer with his daytime show House Party. The most beloved segment, Kids Say the Darnedest Things, included his charming and unpredictable interviews with school children. His TV career spanned from 1952 to 1969. Linkletter lived to age 97.
- H.L. Hunt was a small-time Arkansas oilman who purchased the rights to land in Eastern Texas for a relative pittance. When a massive amount of crude oil was found on the property, Hunt became one of America’s wealthiest men. Rumors swirled around him that, due to his far right wing political views, Hunt might have been involved in the Kennedy assassination.
- Eric Sevareid was a correspondent for CBS News who was signed by Edward R. Murrow. Sevareid was the first newsman on the scene in 1940 when Nazis overtook Paris. Later, the CBS News with Walter Cronkite often featured Sevareid’s news commentaries. As early as 1966, he advocated on television for ending the war in Vietnam.
- William O. Douglas served on the US Supreme Court for nearly 37 years, the longest SCOTUS term in history. Douglas was a liberal voice on the court, and he outlived five Chief Justices.
- Though they led disparate lives, and aside from the obvious facts that they were all successful white men who lived during the 20th Century, these six individuals had one thing in common.
- Each man, at some point in his life, rode the rails as a hobo.
- None of them are mentioned at the National Hobo Museum in Britt, Iowa.
Dan is the author of over a dozen novels. His latest is Tight Five.