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In the Good Old Days Antiques Corner This Week in History
This Week in History

A Laugh to Remember, A Nap Interrupted, and A Historic Restoration

--On Nov. 25, 1940: The cartoon character Woody Woodpecker debuted in an animated short entitled Knock Knock. The bird's distinctive laugh and his first words, "Guess who?", were introduced during his debut performance. Woody Woodpecker got his own theme song in 1947 entitled The Woody Woodpecker Song. It featured his memorable laugh and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Several full-length animated features starring Woody Woodpecker were also created, and in 1957, The Woody Woodpecker Show aired on ABC. In addition to animated shorts and a television show, the character has also appeared in films and in video games.

--On Nov. 30, 1954: Ann Hodges was struck by a meteorite -- the first verifiable case of a person being struck by such an object. A grapefruit-size fragment of the larger meteorite fell through the roof, bounced off of a radio, and hit Hodges while she was napping on her couch. Hodges suffered a huge bruise from the incident. The meteorite brought with it a legal battle between the Hodges (Ann and her husband, Eugene) and their landlady, Bertie Guy, for the rights to the rock. The ownership issue was settled when the Hodges paid Guy $500 for the meteorite. Unfortunately, the Hodges were unable to reach any agreements for the sale of the meteorite, and in 1956 they ended up donating it to the Alabama Museum of Natural History. While the meteorite brought misfortune for the Hodges, including unwanted media attention, it brought good luck to Julius McKinney. McKinney, a local farmer, found another fragment from the meteorite, sold the fragment, and was able to purchase a car and a house with the money.

--On Nov. 27, 1926: Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin convinced John D. Rockefeller Jr. to become involved in the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg. Dr. Goodwin was a visionary with a dream of restoring Williamsburg to the 18th-century style. He also happened to have the fundraising talent necessary for achieving such a goal. He was an Episcopal priest, author and historian who managed to raise the money and restore the Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg where he worked. In 1924, he went to New York and gave a speech at a Phi Beta Kappa banquet and Rockefeller happened to be in the audience. In 1926, Rockefeller and his family visited Williamsburg and Goodwin gave them a tour of the town. In November 1926, Rockefeller traveled back to Williamsburg to attend the dedication of the Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall. After talking with Goodwin, Rockefeller agreed to pay for restoration plans and drawings. Rockefeller became further involved in the project, and soon Goodwin began buying up property on behalf of Rockefeller. In June of 1928, he publicly announced his and Rockefeller's plans to restore Colonial Williamsburg.

-- Compiled by M. Moeller

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