inktober52: wires

Good heavens Miss Sakamoto - you're beautiful!

“I don’t believe it! / There she goes again!
She’s tidied up, and I can’t find anything!
All my tubes and wires / And careful notes / And antiquated notions.”
— She Blinded Me with Science

Magnus Pyle was a well-respected scientist, published author, admired expert and Chairman of the Nutrition Society of Scotland long before he became a noted pop star of British New Wave, adding iconic dialog to Thomas Dolby’s 1982 hit “She Blinded Me with Science.”

In 1988, he was badly beaten during a burglary in his home. He passed away in 1992 at the age of 83.



DCS: mikki jamison

deb girl

Dark-haired with a brilliant smile, Mikki Jamison embodied Hollywood’s vision of “the girl next door.” She made numerous guest appearances in black & white series in the early days of television. From her 1962 screen debut in Hawaiian Eye, Mikki popped up in episodes of Dennis the Menace, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Donna Reed Show and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet… during which she dated Ricky Nelson. Mikki appeared in an episode of the sitcom Hazel as the wife of Lancer star James Stacy.

Mikki was tagged to star as “Veronica Lodge” in a pilot based on the popular Archie comics, featuring Frank Bank in the title role. Only a pilot was filmed and it was not picked up as a series. Bank cited his own typecasting and identification as “Lumpy Rutherford,” his role on the recently-canceled Leave It to Beaver.  He felt that audiences could see him as another character. In 1965, she was cast in a pair of teen films — one, a beach party movie with Edd “Kookie” Byrnes and the “anti-beach” movie Ski Party with Frankie Avalon.

Later, Mikki was cast as the wife of Kent McCord on the police drama Adam-12. Often referenced, but rarely seen, Mikki appeared in three episodes. After a small role in the action superhero series Wonder Woman and the adventure film Sea Gypsies, Mikki called it a career in 1978.

In June 2013, 70 year-old Mikki was traveling alone on a highway in Idaho. Her car crossed the center line and drove head on into an on-coming pick-up truck. She died instantly.



DCS: emanuel bronner


Emanuel Heilbronner emigrated from his native Germany in 1929, dropping the “Heil” from his surname to avoid any association with the Nazis. He begged his parents to follow him to the United States, but they refused. His last correspondence from his parents was in the form of a censored postcard reading: “You were right – your loving father.” They were murdered in a concentration camp.

Emanuel Bronner continued his family business by producing soap in his home. The bottles sported labels crammed with Bronner’s philosophy, which he called “All-One-God-Faith.” He quoted a variety of sources including the Old and New Testaments, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Paine, Jewish sage Hillel the Elder and Jesus, whom he referred to as “Rabbi Jesus.” The passages on the soap bottle labels were often log and rambling, fraught with hyphens and an abundance of exclamation marks.

In 1946, Emanuel was invited to the University of Chicago by a student group to lecture on his so-called “Moral ABC” philosophy. He was arrested for speaking without a permit and committed to a Chicago area mental hospital. After several electroshock treatments, Emanuel escaped.

He moved around the country, finally settling in Escondido, California, where his soap-making operation grew into a small factory. Emanuel passed away in 1997 at the age of 89. At the time, his factory was producing over a million bottles of soap annually. The company, still going strong, is run by Emanuel’s grandson David.



DCS: james booker


James Booker was a talented and influential pianist, once described by Dr. John as “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.” The good doctor couldn’t have been more dead on.

Born in New Orleans, the teenage James recorded a few songs under the guidance of famed producer Dave Bartholomew. These songs were a stepping stone for work with Fats Domino and Lloyd Price. In 1958, James had the opportunity to play for acclaimed pianist Arthur Rubinstein. An astonished Rubinstein commented, “I could never play that … never at that tempo.” His piano playing and flamboyant personality earned James the nickname “The Black Liberace.”

Unfortunately, James began to dabble in illegal drugs, specifically heroin. His frequent drug use led to numerous arrests. Consequently, he became close with New Orleans District Attorney Harry Connick Sr. In exchange for nullified jail time, arrangements were made for James to teach Connick’s young son how to play piano.

In the 70s, James recorded and toured with Dr. John’s band, as well as with a variety of other artists including Ringo Starr, The Doobie Brothers, Patti Labelle and Jerry Garcia. He toured Europe, playing jazz festivals in Nice and Montreux. James loved Europe. He was well received and didn’t experience the racism and homophobia he saw in the United States. Upon his return to the United States, James was disappointed to be relegated to house pianist at the Maple Leaf Bar in his native New Orleans, after being treated as a superstar in Europe.

By the 80s, James’ drug use had affected his health, both mentally and physically. He passed away at the age of 43, seated in a wheelchair in a hospital emergency ward, waiting for medical treatment.

A documentary, released in 2013, sparked a renewed interest in James Booker. He was regarded by his peers as a genius, under appreciated for his emotional vocals and his soulful musicianship.



DCS: christine jorgensen


Christine Jorgensen began preparations for sex reassignment surgery just after a discharge the US Army. She started with hormonal therapy before proceeding with physical alternations. After several procedures, Christine was introduced to the world, via a front page story in the New York Daily News in December 1952, as the first sex change in history. (However, she was not. In the 1920s, German doctors had performed a similar procedure, though it did not include female hormones.)

Christine became an instant celebrity. She launched a successful nightclub act and appeared on all media entertainment outlets. In 1967, she published her autobiography. It sold nearly 450 thousand copies. She was a sought-after interviewee. A New York radio host joked, “Christine Jorgensen went abroad, and came back a broad.” Christine admitted that she found the quip funny. However, during an appearance on The Dick Cavett Show, the progressive host asked her about her romantic life with her wife… prompting Christine to walk off the set. Cavett spent the rest of the broadcast apologizing for his callous remark.

During the 70s and 80s, Christine continued to act, as well as sing and record. She also became an in-demand public speaker, relating her life experiences to audiences who were both informed and enchanted by her natural wit. She often noted that that she had given the sexual revolution a “good swift kick in the pants.”

In 1989, Christine passed away a few weeks before her 63rd birthday.