And Now, The Rest of the Story…

Let me admit that I am addicted to a history series in The Daily, much as I once was to the Paul Harvey radio series, “And, Now, The Rest of The Story.”

This week the Daily had the history of drones, and just today there is a new chapter being written as a Sunday drone strike killed three terrorists in Pakistan.Pakistan is much exercised over our use of drones in their airspace.

But the history of drones was fascinating to those of us old enough to remember Reginald Denny. He was a movie and Broadway star with 60 movies, you may recall him in My Fair Lady, but he became interested in radio controlled airplanes in the 30s and in 1935 opened a radio-controlled airplane shop on Hollywood Boulevard.

In WWII, his company produced 15,000 balsa wood drones for the US Air Force. They were low and slow by modern standards, with a 22 HP engine that could reach 140 MPH, only for an hour.

A sidelight was that toward the end of the war (1945), an Air Force Lt. named Ronald Reagan sent a film man to film the factory, and there the film man saw a beautiful girl working on the assembly line. He advised the 19 year old to go into movies.

She took up his suggestion…her name was Norma Jean…

Yep! Marilyn Monroe!

On a related note, I have often expressed my appreciation for DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency.

They run various Challenges for the Defense Department, and in this case for new drone concepts in  the May time frame for a $100,000 prize.

You can see some of the finalists of the drone challenge at

www.uavforge.net

(Some of the short videos are pretty amazing!)

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