December 2008: In Memoriam

blog_freddieWe were saddened to read about the recent passing of Freddie Hubbard (pictured here), who Down Beat hailed as “arguably the most powerful and prolific trumpeter in jazz,” and we concur — Hubbard’s death comes at the close of a month that has claimed an astonishing amount of fascinating figures, among them the former associate director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Mark Felt (aka Deep Throat); pinup queen Bettie Page; director Robert Mulligan (To Kill a Mockingbird); singer and civil rights activist Odetta; sculptor Robert Graham; playwright Harold Pinter; the oldest man in the United States George Francis; cult movie actress Ann Savage; and last but not least, Richard Topus, a pigeon trainer in World War II. According to the New York Times, “World War II saw the last wide-scale use of pigeons as agents of combat intelligence. Mr. Topus, just 18 when he enlisted in the Army, was among the last of the several thousand pigeoneers, as military handlers of the birds were known, who served the United States in the war.”