This could be the mother of all conspiracy theories. On February 16, 1923, in Thebes, Egypt, English archaeologist Howard Carter entered the burial chamber of the Egyptian ruler King Tutankhamen — Tut to his friends and hangers on. As every schoolgirl knows, Tut died and was mummified back in 1324 B.C., give or take a year, while still a teen idol. As every schoolboy knows anyone foolish enough to enter Tut’s burial chamber would become subject to a pretty nasty curse — involving but not limited to crocodiles, snakes and scorpions.
Tut was the first mummy found in tact and with all his wealth untouched by tomb raiders. And his discovery left scientists scratching their heads. No one knew what had caused the young king’s death. Theories have popped up during the years — genetic disorders, disease, foul play.
An Egyptologist at California State University, Dr. Benson Harer, has come up with a dandy new idea: Tut was done in by an angry hippopotamus. Well, we all know what nasty tempers hippos have. They kill more people each year than lions, gorillas, you-name-it. And ancient Egypt was lousy with hippos — capsizing boats, stomping crops, stampeding through villages, chomping people in half with a single bite.
King Tut loved to hunt hippos, and every schoolgirl knows what dummies hippo hunters can be. We can imagine Tut happening upon a baby hippo: “Isn’t he cute? Let’s get closer. I wonder if his mother’s around somewhere.” Dr. Harer has a lot of scientific stuff that goes along with his theory, but what’s most interesting is the good doctor’s speculation that a coverup took place, with authorities stonewalling and concealing the pharaoh’s death by hippo for political reasons, fearing that the common folk might see Tut as less Trumplike, more Bushlike — or that the gods always liked hippos best. There you have it, slippery slopers — Hippogate!
When it comes to mummies, they don’t make them like this anymore:
Radio for Dummies
Born February 16, 1903, Edgar Bergen, along with his cohorts, Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, got his start in vaudeville and one-reel movie shorts, but his real success came on radio of all places. The popularity of a ventriloquist on radio, when no one could see the dummies or even whether Bergen’s mouth moved, is a puzzler. But popular they were. Seen at a New York party by Noel Coward, who recommended them for an engagement at the famous Rainbow Room, they were discovered by two producers who booked them for a guest appearance on Rudy Vallee’s radio program. That quickly led to their own show which, under various sponsors, was on the air from 1937 to 1956. Bergen died in 1978.