Monday, August 3, 2009

More Vintage Walter Cronkite

Here's another United Press story from Walter Cronkite's days as a correspondent with that wire service. It's dated March 11, 1941, from the Evansville Intelligencer. According to the story, the Czech figure skater Vera Hruba received 2600 marriage proposals after she was temporarily threatened with deportation from the United States. According to Miss Hruba, "I got a letter from a convict in Texas who said he had 14 more days to serve on a 10-year sentence for killing somebody, and that he'd be glad to marry me. Another said that he was 32, good-natured and handsome, but that he thought it was only fair to tell me that he was drunk all the time." For his own part, Cronkite describes Hruba as a "beautiful and shapely girl with a pronounced accent," a description you would most definitely not find most newspapers these days. Cronkite does not provide context about why Hruba fled Czechoslovakia to go the United States, but her Wikipedia entry states that Hitler asked her at the 1936 Olympics to "skate for the swastika." Miss Hruba then told Hitler that she would rather "skate on the swastika." Later on, after becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, Hruba adopted the name Vera Ralston and had a brief movie career that lasted from the 1940s to the early 1950s.

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