There was good news from Washington one fine day in 1921. Attorney General Palmer looked into the Prohibition law and found that it would be legal for doctors to prescribe beer as medicine. He told the tortured massesyou can just imagme the sick hangovers that came from needle beerthat his ruling would mean "beer at soda fountains but never again over the saloon bar."
Colonel Jacob Ruppert, the New York brewery-and-baseball potentate, hailed Palmer's discovery. "It is the most cheerful news in a business way I have heard in five years," the colonel said. "We are ready on a moment's notice to put out real beer." Alas, real beer did not drive chocolate soda and two-cents-plain from the drugstore spigots. The Internal Revenue people said no, thatwasn't what the Attorney General meant. They said he meant beer could be dispensed as medicine in 2-1/2-gallon quantitiesunder prescription, of course. Even so, the Drys got very angry. The others called the family doctor: they had developed aches and pains that could be relieved only by Colonel Ruppert's foaming medicine.
The ex-Kaiser charged that in losing the big fight Germany betrayed Itself, its God and the Kaiser . . . Colonel George Harvey, the plain-spoken American Ambassador to the Court of St. James, told the Pilgrim Society of London that we had gone into the war "solely to save the United States of America, and most reluctantly and laggardly at that . . . We are afraid not to fight . . . So we came along toward the end and helped you and your Allies shorten the war." This candid and cynical view of history drew a storm of protests, even on our side of the ocean . . . The British partitioned Ireland . . . Marie Curie, co-discoverer of radium, visited the U.S. . . . The Chicago Civic Opera made soprano Mary Garden its General Director.
A woman in Danville, Illinois, fighting a lone battle against the Lawless Decade, went on a forty-eight day fast to make her husband quit smoking and swearing and join the church . . . Mae West, doing ten days on New York's Welfare Island for appearing in a naughty play called Sex, complained that the prison underwear was too fuzzy . . . The Chicago Crime Commission counted 10,000 crooks in the
Windy City and said they were stealing $12,000,000 a year . . . In New York, the Committee of Fourteen reported that Baghdad-on-the-Hudson had less open crime than any other big city in the whole wide world . . . President Harding ordered himself a bed five-feet-wide and eight-feet-long . . . In Dallas, Texas, playful Klansmen flogged a Negro and branded "KKK" on his forehead . . . Boston banned The Birth of a Nation . . . On Long Island, Laura Bromwell, 23, looped the loop 199 times in a plane but later got killed trying to better that record . . . The first coast-to-coast telephone conversation took place . . . Race riots in Tulsa, Oklahoma, killed twenty-one Negroes and nine whites.
Babe Ruth drew a $100 fine and a day in jail for speeding but the judge let him out at 4:00 P.M. so that he could get into that day's game at the Polo Grounds in the sixth inning. December was more expensive for the Home Run King. Judge Landis took away his World Series check, $3,362.26, for playing a post-season barnstorming tour without permission . . . Princeton students voted Woodrow Wilson the University's foremost graduate
. . . Caruso died in Naples . . . Camp Clark died . . . Iowa legalized the sale of cigarettes to adults . . .
U.S. Steel cut wages back to the pre-war 30-cents-an-hour . . . Edith Rockefeller divorced Harold F. McCormick and gave him $3,000,000 for title to their homes on Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, and plush Lake Forest.
The people were being told that psychoanalysis, something new, could cure what ailed them . . . The White House ordered the Klan looked into . . . Evelyn Nesbit Thaw, star of the 1907 courtroom drama in which Harry K. Thaw escaped the electric chair in the slaying of Stanford White, took twenty grains of morphine but survived . . . Helen Keller
began to drift away from the Socialist movement to devote her life to the American Foundation for the Blind . . . The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the husband was master in the home . . . The President got himself a radio . . . Men began to speak of women as skirts . . . In Braintree, Massachusetts, Judge Thayer denied Sacco and Vanzetti a new trial . . . Atlantic City staged the first Miss America Bathing Beauty contest.
On Bedloe's Island, New York, the Mother of Exiles witnessed a contrary scene: the exiles were going the other way. The Army Transport Bufordalso called the Soviet Arksailed down the harbor on December 21 with 249 Russians "going back where they came from." It was part of the government drive to cleanse the states of such unwholesome guests as Anarchists. The Buford carried Emma
Goldman and Alexander Berkman, among others. There would be many more to follow, though hardly of such imposing repute . . . Henry Ford ordered the Dearborn Independent, his own paper, to stop printing all those articles blaming everything on the international Jews . . . Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson were married.
Main Street topped the fiction best-sellers . . . Zane Grey stayed up there with> The Mysterious Rider . . . John Dos Passos' Three Soldiers came out, and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned . . . Edith M. Hull's The Sheik, which would make Rudolph Valentino the decade's Great Lover, did very well, causing Life to complain that
"any writer who can pull off the same old sex stuff, and make it look new, is always rewarded by the public" . . . On the silver screen, Douglas Fairbanks starred in The Three Musketeers . . . Valentino danced the tango in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse . . . Mary Pickford played Little Lord Fauntleroy . . . On Broadway, John Barrymore in Clair de Lune, Helen Hayes in Golden Days, Walter Hampden in Macbeth, Hedda Hopper in Six Cylinder Love, Lenore Ulric in Kiki, Katharine Cornell in A Bill of Divorcement, Otis Skinner and his daughter Cornelia in Blood and Sand, George Arliss in The Green Goddess, Julia Marlowe in Twelfth Night, Lynn Fontanne in Dulcy, Ed Wynn in The Perfect Fool, E.H. Sothern in The Taming of the Shrew, and the SRO sign was out for Frank Bacon in a record run of Lightnin'. It was a good year on the Great White Way.