"The most important equation to solve in life is the human equation." -- Robert Zorn, Cemetery John
Every once in a while, something happens that grabs America by the shoulders and gives it a good shake. The colors of the rainbow suddenly muddy. Our silver linings become streaked with tarnish. Heroes are brought to their knees. There was probably never a time in the 20th century when Americans needed the hope of rainbows and silver linings more than during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Shirley Temple was the biggest box-office star in the country throughout much of the decade. Millions of weary people flocked to theaters to watch the curly-headed moppet sing and dance their troubles away for 90 minutes. The movies always had a happy ending, too, no matter how distant the prospect seemed to be at first. With everything else that they had to deal with, Americans clung to the promise of a happy ending.
The expectation was shaken badly after the kidnapping of the 20-month-old son of Charles Lindbergh on a windy and cold night in March of 1932. Lindbergh was arguably the most famous man in the world, a genuine hero after his solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927. It made the abduction of his only child even more puzzling to authorities. There were richer men and there were certainly families whose ordeal would attract less attention and sympathy. (READ MORE)