Dick Churchill Escapee

Born in Crediton, Devon, England, in World War II Churchill was the pilot of a Handley Page HP.52 Hampden bomber in the Royal Air Force’s No. 144 Squadron — and, in September 1940, was shot down by fighter planes. He parachuted into the Netherlands, was captured, and sent to Stalag Luft III, a Luftwaffe-run prisoner … Read more

From This is True for 17 February 2019

Ron Hutchinson Film historian

While Hutchinson had a day job as a chemical engineer who worked in environmental health and safety, he’s much better known for his side hobby. In the 1920s and 1930s, Hollywood studios were making the switch from silent films to “talkies” — films with soundtracks. Led by Warner Bros., the predominant technology to have sound … Read more

From This is True for 10 February 2019

Stewart Adams Pharmacist

After being raised in rural Northamptonshire, England, Adams left school at just 16, and took an apprenticeship at a chemist — a pharmacy — called Boots, in Cambridgeshire. He did well: Boots, which also did research on drugs, paid for him to return to school and get a degree in pharmacy. Once out of school … Read more

From This is True for 3 February 2019

Tony Mendez CIA agent

An artist, Mendez was working for an aerospace company in Colorado when he saw an ad looking for a graphic artist in 1965. When he answered the ad, he discovered the advertiser was the CIA — the Central Intelligence Agency is the U.S. foreign intelligence service. His assignment: “espionage artist” — he forged documents, created … Read more

From This is True for 27 January 2019

Millicent Young Pilot

A pilot, Young caught the flying bug at 6 years old: a plane had landed in the field of her family’s Nebraska farm, and the pilot told her, “Don’t touch that plane, little girl.” Her son Bill picks up the story: “That was the wrong thing to say to her. She went right up and … Read more

From This is True for 20 January 2019

Lester Wunderman The direct

A New Yorker (born in the Bronx), after Wunderman graduated from high school, he decided to take classes from various area colleges and universities to create his own “degree” — learning what he wanted. He took a job in advertising in 1947, and learned the ropes. His big innovation in the early years: placing ads … Read more

From This is True for 13 January 2019

Bob Einstein Comic actor

Born in Los Angeles, his mother was an actress and singer (Thelma Leeds), and his father a “dialect” comedian and comic actor, best known for his radio character, Greek chef Nick Parkyakarkus. When his father died when Bob was 16, he was horrified that his father’s peers, such as Milton Berle, made jokes at his … Read more

From This is True for 6 January 2019