History & Headlines

Were You Alive in June 1945?

Baby Boomer Trivia From June 1945: PM Mackenzie King Wins 6th Term, Battle of Okinawa Ends, & Who’s On First?

Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King

70-year-old septuagenarian senior citizen and Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King won another majority Liberal Party federal government on June 11, 1945, beginning his record-breaking 6th term in office.


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(Prime Ministers MacKenzie King / Canada, General Jan Smuts / Union of South Africa, Winston Churchill / Great Britain, Peter Fraser / New Zealand, and John Curtin / Australia: 1944 Collections Canada)

WWII Battle of Okinawa Ends

The World War II Battle of Okinawa, which had started on April 1, 1945,  was finally concluded on June 22, 1945 82 days of fierce fighting Japanese forces in the Pacific islands ended with a victory for the Allied forces (primarily British and American troops in the air and at sea, and American troops on land) over Japanese soldiers.

“The battle for Okinawa was declared won by Fleet Admiral Nimitz in a special communique Thursday, giving tired but triumphant American 10th Army troops official victory on the 82nd day of the campaign…The conquest put American air power within reach of every part of the Japanese empire and secured for the Pacific Fleet an operating base only 325 miles from Japan’s mainland….Nimitz’ victory communique said only that ‘after 82 days of fighting, the battle of Okinawa has been won’ and that two small Japanese pockets of resistance were being mopped up.” – Japanese Empire Now at Mercy of Air Force, AP / Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 22, 1945

News ports at the time calculated 

  • The Battle of Okinawa resulted in Allied force losses of 14,009 deaths (killed or missing) and more than 82,000 casualties of all kinds.
  • Japanese forces suffered losses of over 77,000 soldiers (killed, died of their wounds, or by suicide).
  • More than 40,000 civilians were either missing, killed, or committed suicide.

Who’s On First? Abbot & Costello Comedy Routine Debut

The Bud Abbott & Lou Costello baseball comedy The Naughty Nineties (1945) was released on June 20 1945, and their “Who’s on First?” routine in this classic comedy film became a part of pop culture history enjoyed by all ages in the decades after

Directed by Yean Yarbrough, and script was co-written and co-produced by Edmund L. Hahrtmann and John Grant (additional writers were Edmund Joseph and Hal Fimberg).

Stage performers Dexter Broadhurst (Bud Abbott) and his sidekick Sebastian Dinwiddle (Lou Costello) try to help Captain Sam Jackson (Henry Travers, best known as the angel trying to earn his wings in It’s a Wonderful Life), who lost the boat in a poker game to crooked gambler Crawford (Alan Curtis) and his girlfriend (Rita Johnson). Now Captain Jackson needs to get back his ship from the bad guys, who have turned it into a gambling house. Lois Collier plays the Captain’s daughter, Miss Caroline Jackson, who falls in love with Crawford, who is reformed by love…

Filmed at Universal Studios in Universal City in black and white, some scenes from Naughty Nineties were shot a riverboat that had been constructed for the 1936 movie musical Show Boat.

Although the Naughty Nineties wasn’t acclaimed as one of their best movies – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reviewer Harold V. Cohen wrongly said it was completely laughless – the Who’s on First routine is an Abbott & Costello standout.

Note: This article was first published in 2015. It has been updated with new & additional content.

For more “Were You Alive in 1945?”,

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Were You Alive in November 1945?

Were You Alive in December 1945?

Anita Hamilton

50+ World editor & writer Anita Hamilton's articles are inspired by real historical events, places, and people. Her travel experiences, a lifelong keen interest in history, art, vintage music, books, silent films, classic movies, "golden age" television shows, fashion, & entertainment in general - combined with years of research - make her a subject matter expert with acquired knowledge & expertise on these topics. This, and a loving and supportive family complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions, keeps her busy.

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