graveSwiss auto mechanics turned thieves, Roman Wardas and Gantscho Ganev, had a great idea for a heist. They executed their bold plan with daring and cunning in the wee hours of March 2, 1978. Their target: a 300-pound oak coffin in the village of Corsier, Switzerland. Inside the coffin, was the body of the Little Tramp, Charlie Chaplin, who had died on Christmas day of the previous year. The graverobbers phoned Chaplin’s widow Oona with their demand for £400,000 a few days later.

Oona was having none of it. “Charlie would have thought it rather ridiculous,” she said, refusing to pay. A cat and mouse game between police and the robbers ensued as the police set up phony payoff meetings. The robbers got cold feet, however, and contact was never made, although police and robbers continued to communicate in an effort to achieve their disparate goals.

So dogged were the Swiss police that they put 200 phone booths under surveillance. The robbers again called Oona, whose phone had been tapped. The call was traced, and the hapless thieves were arrested. The men led police to a cornfield where they had buried the body. Chaplin was buried once again in the same burial plot, surrounded by a thick layer of concrete where he has since rested in peace.

Other robbers have made attempts to steal notable remains, Elvis Presley for a supposed ransom of $10 million and Abraham Lincoln for a mere $200,000. Neither attempt got very far, but as a result the bodies of Presley and his mother were moved from a Memphis cemetery to Graceland and 24-hour security monitoring. The 16th President now rests in a steel cage ten feet below ground, covered by concrete.

Captain Courageous

Captain America was the beefier alter ego of Steve Rogers, a typical captain90-pound weakling who realized every 90-pound weakling’s dream of being enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental magic potion, so that he could employ his super abilities in the American war effort. He wore a rather gaudy American flag costume, a lot like those seen at Republican national conventions today.

In the first issue of Captain America Comics (March 1941), Captain America faced the Red Skull, a bellhop recruited by the Fuhrer himself to become a super villain for the Third Reich (and someone you wouldn’t want to forget to tip).

The incredibly patriotic Captain America fought the Nazis throughout World War II, and was one of the most popular comic characters during the war. After the war ended, his popularity waned and he was whisked off to the superheros’ retirement home in the 1950s, but made a super comeback during the 60s.


Memories are like mulligatawny soup in a cheap restaurant. It is best not to stir them. ~ P. G. Wodehouse

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