Other Bare Facts

The Lighter Side of Freemasons

 by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Steven L. Harrison, 33°, FMLR

Some outside the Fraternity see Freemasons as being stiff, formal, archaic and arcane.  One of the great Masonic secrets is that isn't true.  Oh, we have our moments of formality, but here are a few examples of what might be called the lighter side of Freemasons' lives:

Richard Locke's Moon People
Richard Locke was so irritated by outlandish claims of discovering life on the moon, he fabricated the discovery of an entire race of moon beings, which took the science community and public by storm in 1835.

Chic Sale published a book, The Specialist, in the early twentieth century, which was nearly banned.  The carefully worded book was a humorous but risqué treatise on the subject of outhouses.

Astronaut Gus Grissom also ran into a bit of censorship.  After his first space capsule sank at the end of a mission, Grissom named his second craft the Molly Brown because the original Molly was "unsinkable." When the NASA board balked, Grissom submitted a new name, Titanic.  After due consideration, the board approved Molly Brown.

Will Rogers was not so lucky in escaping the censor's ax.  After visiting the Soviet Union he published a book entitled, There's Not A Bathing Suit In Russia.  The censors were not at all amused by the second part of the title when they cut it from naughty Will's book: And Other Bare Facts.

Rogers worked with "Blue Boy," a champion hog, in his 1933 movie, "State Fair." At the end of filming director Henry King gave Blue Boy to Rogers to slaughter and eat.  Rogers instead donated the hog to an agricultural college saying, "I refuse to eat a co-star."

As if that's not enough on Will, he is also known to have dated all seven of the Blake sisters before settling down and marrying the youngest, Betty.  Family gatherings must have been interesting...

In the 1948 presidential race, Thomas Dewey's campaign came up with the world's first political   It read, "Dew It With Dewey."  The electorate, instead, decided to "Dew It" with Truman.

Clifton Truman Daniel didn’t learn his grandfather Harry Truman had been the US President until his first day of school, when the other kids confronted him with the news.  Clifton rushed home at the end of the day and asked his mother Margaret, "Did you know Grandpa was the President of the United States?" With all the timing of a great comedian, Clifton will then tell you, "She knew."

Clifton's life as Harry's grandson wasn't all a bed of roses.  On one occasion, playing with a popgun inside the Truman house in Independence, he fired a shot and knocked a vase over.  Grandpa sent Clifton and his brother outside to play.  Within minutes Clifton rounded the corner of the house and came face-to-face with a scowling Secret Service agent who, from a house across the street, had seen two shadowy figures with guns sneaking around the former President's property.

England's Prince Phillip has a famously caustic and non-politically-correct sense of humor.  On one occasion when told he would be attending a Madonna concert he said he would have to bring some ear plugs.  He is also known for the quote, "If you see a man opening a car door for a woman, it means one of two things: it's either a new car or a new woman."

In the mid 1960s the Grand Lodge of California brought a member up on Masonic charges for participating in a college panty raid.  The judges allowed that such behavior could be dismissed as collegiate hi-jinx, but felt the situation warranted further investigation when the member in question was found to have 181 pairs of the delicate undergarments.

After losing the world championship in a brutal fight to Gene Tunney in 1926, a battered Jack Dempsey told his wife, "Honey, I forgot to duck." As medics wheeled Ronald Reagan (an honorary Scottish Rite Mason) into the operating room after a 1981 assassination attempt, he looked at his wife Nancy and used Dempsey's quote.

Ford VS Chicken
Finally, there is the case of the giant chicken that hounded Gerald Ford in his 1976 presidential   Instead of becoming irritated, Ford played along with the prank even to the point of inviting the chicken on stage for an interview.  Today, that same "chicken" who made his national debut campaigning with Gerald Ford has gone on to fame in his own right.  He is now known as The San Diego Chicken.

These stories aren't all that unusual.  Part of the reason we are members of this Fraternity is the fellowship we enjoy when we get together.  If you're looking for more Masonic stories that bring a little chuckle, just attend your next Lodge meeting.  You're sure to find them there.


Bro. Steve Harrison, 33°, is Past Master of Liberty Lodge #31, Liberty, Missouri. He is the editor of the Missouri Freemason magazine, author of the book Freemasonry Crosses the Mississippi, a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research and also its Worshipful Master. He is a dual member of Kearney Lodge #311, St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite, Moila Shrine and a member and Past Dean of the DeMolay Legion of Honor. Brother Harrison is a regular contributor to the Midnight Freemasons blog as well as several other Masonic publications. His latest book, Freemasons: Tales From the Craft, is available on amazon.com.

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