1930-Judge Crater Misses the Curtain-Almanac of Absurdities 8.6.2012

Click here for the Audio Almanac

On this day in 1930, Judge Joseph Force Crater disappeared in New York City and was never heard from again. Judge Crater became known as the Missingest Man In New York, and for the middle of the 20th Century was the punchline of every missing person joke you’d ever hear, the same was you hear the names D.B. Cooper and Jimmy Hoffa used today. At this time in 1930, Judge Crater had been on vacation from his position as an associate New York Supreme Court Justice, up in Maine with his wife Stella. He’d already recently taken one vacation from his vacation, nominally to take care of some business in New York, but investigations indicated that he’d taken his Mistress Sally Lou Ritz to Atlantic City for a couple of days. That was late July. Then in early August, Crater returned to New York from his Vacation in Maine once again. According to investigators, he went to his office for several hours, and filled up a couple of locked briefcases with paperwork. He had his assistant go and cash a couple of checks for him, and once she’d returned with a handsome sum of several thousand dollars, the judge gave her the rest of the day off. Judge Crater then bought a ticket to a broadway show that evening…it was “The Dancing Partner” at the Belasco Theatre…then went to dinner with Sally Lou, and a lawyer friend. They stayed at Billy Haas’s Chop House on 45th Street until well after curtain time for the Belasco Theatre, which apparently didn’t bother the Judge at all…and after dinner, Judge Crater bid farewell to Sally Lou and The Lawyer friend…and was last seen walking down 45th street. And was never seen again. It took about ten days for people to decide he was really a missing person, and after that, Judge Crater was front page news, but despite several investigations, a missing person he remained, New York State missing persons file 15395, officially closed in 1979. Suitcases never showed up, although the money was apparently found. One disputed account suggests he was in deep with the rackets and Judge Crater was killed and buried somewhere on Coney Island. Nevertheless he was the missingest person in New York, although Seven years later, Amelia Earhart disappeared over the pacific, and took over the most famous missing person title for a while. Its also the first day of Psychic week, but you probably already sensed that.

Album Notes:  Grateful Acknowledgments to Mike Koenig, and Drum 8.  “Dances and Dames”Written and Performed by Kevin McLeod,  Licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution 3.0″ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ and used here by permission, and with appreciation and thanks.  Some audio may be used under the Fair Use Doctrine.

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About denniscmichael

Voice Artist, Writer, Journalist, even sometime actor. For 18 years the writer and voice for CNN's Hollywood Minute.
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