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Monday, September 10, 2007

Ernest Thorp vs. The Third Reich: Wildcats 1 - Nazi's 0


In a pleasant article in the Pantagraph, Wapella Wildcat Ace Ernest Thorp (WHS '39) recounts his WW2 experiences in a Nazi Prison camp, and details his donation to the Simpkins' War Museum in Heyworth. Gary Simpkin's, also a former Wapella resident hosts a great colleciton of military related memorabilia, trophies and souvenirs.


It is a bit amazing that the Pantagraph can make it through this entire article without mentioning Wapella, but the point is well taken. Ernest made it through the prison camp with his Wildcat Moxie and came back to Wapella to take a life long interest in his community and business. As always, Wapella.com salutes the dedication of Ernest Thorp and all veterans in defending our country and liberating our allies.


Now to the real question, was Steve McQueen potraying Ernest Thorp in the 1963 Classic "The Great Escape"? Who could play Gary Simpkins in a sequel?

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rollie Fingers came to mind, but there is that pesky mustache issue. I might suggest a trip to Arthur/Tuscola to find a couple of Amish who aren't real religious.

BEP

Anonymous said...

Ernest is awesome - enjoyable reading.

I'd probably go with Joey Lawrence for Simpkins. bbd

Anonymous said...

good point on Simpkins & Joey Lawrence. Did you ever see Joey in character as Abe Lincoln? I've read a lot about President Lincoln but never knew that he used the catch phrase "whoa?" so frequently.

sempleman said...

As the author of the article, I'll confess to the error on Ernest's place of residence. Ernest was actually in the camp after the escape attempt that was immortalized in the movie, but he did become acquainted with some fellows who were supposed to be part of the operation but for one reason or another did not go with the rest of the group (which undoubtedly saved their lives).
Ernest was a delight to talk to. I taped our entire conversation and transferred it to CD for Gary Simpkins to utilize at the museum.
In the future I promise never to yank any more of Hog City's finest and place them in another location...especially Clinton.
Troy Semple - The Heyworth Star (and The Pantagraph..by way of ownership).

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Semple,

Welcome to wapella.com and good to hear from an official memeber of the fourth estate. I will step up to defend your coverage and accuracy. Without doubt, Ernest is one of Wapella's finest, and he bleeds royal blue and white. But, I think his official mailing address is Clinton, Illinois, and I think he resides in Clintonia township. So I think your story is accurate! Can you help organize a petition movement to annex Ernest's corner into the Wapella mailing address domain? It would be similar to Woodrow Wilson's attempt to bring rationality to the European borders after WWI. Wapella people should have a Wapella mailing address!

Hoosier Gato

JMP said...

As an addendum, let me recommend as required reading for all Wapella the WWII diary of Ernest Thorp. It is top shelf material all around.

HG

Anonymous said...

HG: How do we get a copy of Ernest Thorp's diary?

For the rest of you historians, Mr. Simpkins has an autographed photo of him with Gov. Geo. Wallace, the last great redneck segregationist yahoo in the US.

Having lived in Geo's state for these past eleven years I can vouch for his ability to promote 19th century ideas into the 21st century. He put us back further than folks realize.

Look away, look away, look away Dixieland...because folks from Wapella will bring the can of whoop again!

BEP (always a Yankee)

JB Powers said...

Troy,

If I may recommend a series of interviews with Wapella and Heyworth veterans would be a great record of the service to the country of our living legends.

Richard Cundiff served quite honorably in Wilmette, at Gilson beach, many times moseying down to Northwestern to look at Coeds sunbathing....you might want to skip that part actually....and concentrate on more gritty drama, but there is a bunch of information out there that can come your way for the price of a few pints and a hearing aid battery for the guy you are talking to.

Another suggestion is to Go 100% Wildcat for 1 day a week at the Star. Just focus on the action, adventure and romance that makes the village the Hog City.

JBP

Anonymous said...

Sempleman -

You wrote a fine article and major kudos for posting on w.com. BEP is correct on mailing addresses - Jack and Joanne Morris mailing address in Clinton was the most egregious example of this goofiness, I never bought that. I suppose we tend to define hometown by school (Ernie was definitely royal blue and white) rather than the gerrymandered mailing addresses - but hey we're a simple people.

I remain less concerned about the address technicalities vs. the Simpkins-Joey Lawrence connection. I'd like them to meet someday.

A Hog City salute to Sempleman. Now that I've basically been nice to you, would you consider doing an article on pet kidnapping? I felt like that story had quite an edge to it but just didn't catch on for some reason.

bbd

Anonymous said...

What about Todd Doenitz' cousin, Der Admiral? Will he get equal time?

BEP

Anonymous said...

BEP and all concerned,

I would email to Mama HG for a copy of Ernie's war diary. She was my source, and she would enjoy hearing from you. If that comes up empty, I think I can dig out my copy somewhere.

HoosierGato

Moderator said...

Todd Doenitz? Mickey Mouse.

Hog City has gone all Floyd Doenitz all the time in the last year. Floyd, a newrer resident, brings a Prusso-Mahomedan panache to a Wapella that left TD behind years ago.

Go Floyd!

EEP said...

Getting Ernest's book is no easy task. I've been trying to track down a copy for awhile. Although, if you go see Ernest personally, he has a few copies for sale. Look for no help from lackluster grandson Jered, that much I can tell you.

Speaking of Jered, can we get Willie Aames to play him in Hog City's production of "Ernest Thorp: All-American?"

Anonymous said...

Floyd's international style and his electric blue personality are fab. However Halle, home of the Doenitz family, is not in Prussia.

BEP

Anonymous said...

Mod, are you still lobbying for the Charles in Charge cable network? All Charles all the time.

BEP

Anonymous said...

What TV show did Willie Ames acting career take off?

The Mod could answer this.

IRBW

jmk said...

I believe Willie Ames was in "Eight is Enough", that aired on ABC? back in the late 70's.

sempleman said...

At one time The Star did have a page, or at least a section, of Wapella news. The Star's email is heyworthstar@verizon.net. I would be glad to include news from Wapella if anyone is so inclined to forward it on!
Thanks for the comments.
Troy

EEP said...

My favorite Aames performace? ZAPPED!

While some may decry me for not going with the money - "Charles in Charge," - you must remember, not only did ZAPPED! star Aames cohort Scott Baio (so you're not losing any of the playful camaraderie which made CIC such a hit) BUT it was also R-rated, which factored heavily into my decision. Plus, it included some zesty co-eds, some wacky hi-jinks and some questionable special effects.

I still have a VHS copy of the flick, given to me by BBD for HS graduation. The gift that keeps on giving.

Anonymous said...

EEP: Does ZAPPED belong anywhere in the Film Festival line up? Sounds like it may not be the same artistic genre that we plan to promote.

If Willie is goig to be in the film you'll need Adam Rich to play a Wehrmacht freak...maybe a Third Reich/Sprackets morph.

Heyworth Star: Don't think the Star is up to the hard-hitting journalis needed for Hog City reporting.

BEP

EEP said...

Bingo, BEP! EXACTLY what I was thinking.

This would fit seamlessly with our ultimate Wapella-gets-some-culture/film festival goal!

EEP said...

Oops, I see that you actually had some reservations about showing ZAPPED! at our film fest, BEP...but let me assure you, there's plenty in ZAPPED! to interest the audience we hope to attract.

Anonymous said...

EEP,

Pleased to hear that you still have your copy of Zapped. A lot of the younger generation just don't appreciate the classics.

bbd

Anonymous said...

I think I was too busy doing thermodynamics homework to see the 1982 debut of Zapped. So, for those of you, like me who want to know a little more about this gem, do as I did and visit the website

http://www.fortheretarded.com/?p=304

HG

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