[TowerTalk] Hedy Lamar and SS

David Robbins K1TTT k1ttt at arrl.net
Mon Dec 31 12:43:16 EST 2007

Only if your saddle is blazing.

David Robbins K1TTT
e-mail: mailto:k1ttt at arrl.net
web: http://www.k1ttt.net
AR-Cluster node: 145.69MHz or telnet://dxc.k1ttt.net

> -----Original Message-----
> From: towertalk-bounces at contesting.com [mailto:towertalk-
> bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Reicher, James
> Sent: Monday, December 31, 2007 17:15
> To: towertalk at contesting.com
> Subject: [TowerTalk] RE: Hedy Lamar and SS
> That's HEDLEY! :)
> 73 de W0HV, Jim in Raymore, MO (ex-N8AU)
> Light travels faster than sound...  This is why some people appear
> bright until you hear them speak.
> Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2007 09:16:17 -0600
> From: "Larry Essary" <larry at pulse.net>
> Subject: [TowerTalk] Hedy Lamar and SS
> To: <towertalk at contesting.com>
> Message-ID: <002401c84bc0$1762e3e0$4101a8c0 at larry>
> Content-Type: text/plain;	charset="Windows-1252"
>  For more background info on the development of SS technology, Google
> <Hedy Lamar>*, the 40's screen actress.  In 1942 she and her publicist,
> George Antheil, developed and were granted a patent for an early form of
> frequency-hopping encryption to provide anti-jamming for
> radio-controlled torpedoes.  (I'm finished with this OT topic.)
> Gene Smar  AD3F
> Since the subject of Hedy Lamar and SS was raised I thought that you
> might be interested in this.
> Larry - WA5WWH
> Subject:Hedy Lamar
> From:Larry Essary <larry at pulse.net>
> Not exactly your typical nerdy inventor with a pocket protector.
> Hedy Lamar is best known as the incredibly beautiful and sexy
> screen siren of the World War II era. In modern Wayne's World
> speak, she was babelicious.  Yet, perhaps the most fascinating
> part of Lamar's life had absolutely nothing to do with her
> beauty or film career.  Hedy Lamar is almost certainly the
> only Hollywood star that had claim to a patent on a significant
> technological breakthrough - one that has become the basis for
> modern communications.
> Lamar was frequently quoted as saying, "Any girl can be glamorous.
> All you have to do is stand still and look stupid."  She may have
> played that role on the silver screen, but when it came to real life,
> Hedy proved that brainpower was everything.
> Before examining her important contribution, let's take a quick
> look at her background (in case your memory has failed you, or,
> as in my case, you are too young to have ever known):
> First of all, Lamar was only her stage name. She was actually
> born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria back on
> November 9, 1913.
> As a teenager, Hedy attended acting school and quickly made the
> transition into films. Like most movie stars, her first few films
> were forgettable.  Yet, the one that she made at age seventeen made
> her an international star.  A very controversial star, that is.
> In the 1933 Czech film Ecstasy, Lamar acted in a steamy love scene
> and appeared nude in a 10-minute swimming sequence.  That was
> definitely not the thing to do.  While mild by today's standards,
> her nudity was considered morally unacceptable at the time, and
> the film was banned in the United States for several years on charges
> of indecency.
> In 1933 (at age nineteen), her parents placed her into an arranged
> marriage with an Austrian armament manufacturer named Fritz Mandl.
> Mandl was the type of shady character who would sell arms to anyone,
> even if it meant selling them in violation of the Versailles Treaty.
> Of course, to make these deals, Mandl had to entertain all of his
> prospects.  This included attending hundreds of dinners with the
> likes of Hitler and Mussolini.  And what would a business dinner
> be like without Mandl's gorgeous and equally famous wife dazzling
> these arms developers, buyers, and manufacturers?  But, as we will
> soon learn from the outcome of this story, Hedy did not just entertain
> these men.  She listened carefully and learned a great deal.
> To an outsider, Hedy had everything.   She was married to one of
> the wealthiest men in Europe. She lived in the famous Salzburg castle
> where the Sound of Music was filmed. Add to that all the clothes,
> jewelry, servants, and cars (one 1935 Mercedes owned by Mandl sold
> for over $200,000 several years ago) one could ever want.  It sure
> sounds like the ideal life to me, but it was not.
> Hedy became more of a trophy than a wife to Mandl.  He was a control
> freak and would not even let her go swimming without his supervision.
> After four years of marriage, Hedy could take no more. She decided to
> escape.
> In her first attempt to see if she could get away, Mandl followed her.
> She was forced to sneak into a club that had peep shows upstairs.
> Hedy paid off the attendant to keep his mouth shut, but Mandl paid
> even more to get in. Hedy was forced to hide in one of the rooms.
> While in there, a male customer came in and assumed that she was
> the lady he had hired.  Without going into all of the details,
> Hedy was forced into the position of making love to the man to
> avoid her husband (she claimed that he was banging on the door).
> During her real escape, Hedy supposedly drugged (that old trick -
> 3 sleeping pills in the coffee) the maid that was assigned to her,
> put on a maid's uniform, and walked out the service entrance to
> freedom. Hedy eventually made it to London where she appeared on
> the stage.
> Hedy hopped aboard the ship Normandie on a cruise for Hollywood
> and stardom.  She signed a contract with MGM's Louis B. Mayer
> while on the boat, but he insisted on a name change to avoid
> the controversy from Ecstasy.  At this point, MGM publicist
> Howard Strickland (according to a 1970 NewYork Times article)
> approached Hedy and handed her a typewritten list of last names
> and asked her to make a choice. You guessed it - she chose Lamar
> and the rest is Hollywood history.  Lamar was immediately crowned
> the most beautiful woman in the world by MGM and quickly became
> one of Hollywood's glamour gals. Which leads us to the real focus
> of this story - her incredible invention.
> First, I must introduce you to the other lead character in this
> story, George Antheil. Antheil was Internationally famous for
> his mechanistic avant-garde musical style.  When Antheil moved
> to Hollywood, he became a film composer and a syndicated columnist
> for Esquire magazine, for which he also contributed articles on
> romance and endocrinology.  He even published a book on the subject
> - the 1937 Every Man His Own Detective: A Study of Glandular
> Endocrinology.  What made him an expert on this subject one will
> never know.  Maybe it is because, according to my hormone laden
> teenage students, that if you say "pianist" very quickly, it sounds
> just like "penis". Since they sound so much alike, one can only
> conclude that being an expert in the first makes one knowledgeable
> in the latter.  Well, maybe I am stretching it a wee bit here?)
> In the summer of 1940, Lamar sought out Antheil. They were
> neighbors in Hollywood and supposedly met at a party. The story
> goes that Hedy did not want to see Antheil about his music.
> Lamar wanted to consult Antheil about glands - her mammary
> glands to be specific.  Lamar wanted to find out how she could
> enlarge the size of her breasts. (Doesn't this part of the story
> smell kind of fishy? - Only two articles actually makes this claim.)
> Very quickly, it became clear that Antheil didn't have the answer
> (those toxic silicone implants had not been invented yet), so
> the topic of conversation changed to the impending war and
> torpedoes.  Lamar feared Hitler (remember that she actually
> knew the guy) and began to talk about an idea that she had for
> the radio control of torpedoes.  At the time, radio control
> sounded like a great idea, but was not practical.  All one had
> to do was jam the particular frequency that the torpedo operated
> on and the missile would fail to reach its target.
> Lamar was sitting at the piano with Antheil when that flash
> of genius struck her.  Antheil was hitting keys on the piano
> and she would follow.  It became clear that Antheil was
> changing the keys that he was hitting, yet he was still able
> to communicate to her.  What if this could be translated into
> radio control for a torpedo?
> The next day they sat on his floor and figured the whole
> scheme out.  Lamar realized that the frequency needed to
> randomly change so that the enemy could not jam it. Any
> attempt to knock out the signal controlling the missile
> would only knock out a small blip of the communication
> stream and have virtually no effect on its overall control.
> Hence, the concept known as "frequency hopping" was born.
> Of course, getting this grand scheme to actually work was
> another story.  Keep in mind that this was the time of
> large vacuum tubes, not the miniaturized microprocessors
> that rule our world today.
> Antheil offered the solution to the problem. He had previously
> composed his Ballet Mechanique, which was scored for sixteen
> player pianos to perform at the same time. He suggested using
> punched piano rolls to keep the radio transmitter and torpedo
> receiver in synch. The transmitting signal was designed to
> broadcast over a band of eighty-eight possible frequencies
> - one for each key of the piano keyboard.
> It took Lamar and Antheil several months to work out the exact
> details of their invention. Then, in December of 1940, they
> sent a description of their idea to the National Inventor's
> Council(set up by the government to get ideas from the general
> public).  Very few of the hundreds of thousands of submissions
> that the Council ever received actually caused any kind of
> excitement, but Lamar and Antheil's did.  Under the direction
> of the Council's chairman (and inventive bigwig over at General
> Motors) Charles Kettering, the government helped to improve on
> the concept. Patent 2,292,387 for the "Secret Communication
> System" was granted on August 11, 1942.  (The patent is actually
> under her married name at the time - Hedy Kiesler Markey.)
> Unfortunately, other members of the council were less than
> enthusiastic.  There's no surprise here - just think about the
> feasibility of placing a synchronized player piano mechanism
> into a torpedo and having it operate properly.  The Navy declared
> the mechanism too cumbersome and shelved the idea.  The concept
> of frequency hopping was too far ahead of its time.  Lamar and
> Antheil pursued their invention no further. Yet, Lamar was still
> able to help out in another way - by selling war bonds.  As part
> of one promotion, anyone that purchased $25,000 worth of bonds
> could get a kiss from Lamar (would Pamela Anderson do the same
> today?). She was actually able to sell $7 million worth in one night.
> Not all great ideas are forgotten, however. In 1957, engineers at
> the Sylvania Electronics Systems Division, located in Buffalo,
> New York, used transistor electronics to accomplish the goal
> that Lamar and Antheil had set out to conquer years before.
> Finally, in 1962 (three years after the Lamar/Antheil patent
> expired), the concept of frequency hopping was used by the United
> States government in the communication systems placed aboard ships
> sent out to blockade Cuba.
> Today, the concept is not only used by the military (it is used
> in the Milstar defense communications satellite system), but has
> also become the technology behind the latest in wireless Internet
> transmission and the newest cellular phones.  A quick search
> of the United States Patent Office shows 1203 patents dealing
> with frequency shifting (now called "spread spectrum") between
> 1995 and 1997. How much influence the Lamar-Antheil patent
> has had, if any, on this technology will probably never be known.
> Lamar never earned a penny from this invention that so many
> others have profited from.  Instead, she slowly faded from public
> view.  She was married and divorced six times between 1933 and
> 1965 to Fritz Mandl, Gene Markey, Sir John Loder, Ted Stauffer,
> W. Howard Lee (who later married actress Gene Tierney , and
> Lewis J. Boles.  In 1966, Lamar made international headlines
> when she was arrested for shoplifting in the May department
> store in Los Angeles, but was acquitted by a 10-2 jury vote.
> The bad publicity from this incident coupled with her controversial
> autobiography "Ecstasy and Me" (purportedly ghost written and not
> approved by Ms. Lamar) brought an end to her movie career.
> On March 12, 1997, Hedy Lamar was finally honored by the
> Electronic Frontier Foundation for her great contribution
> to society.  Her son Anthony Loder accepted the award for
> his mother and played an audiotape for the audience - the first
> time she had publicly spoken in over two decades.
> Sadly, Hedy Lamar passed away on January 19, 2000 at her
> Casselberry home in Florida. The bulk of her nearly three
> million dollar estate was willed to her two children, but
> a portion was left to her former personal secretary and
> to a friend.  Most surprisingly, however, was that she
> bequeathed $83,000 to a local police officer who had befriended
> her in the last years of her life.  Lamar asked that her
> ashes be scattered over the Vienna Woods, near where she
> was born in Austria. In one of those weird twist-of-fates,
> that same son Anthony today owns a Los Angeles phone store
> in which half of the phone systems that he sells are based
> on his mom's pioneering technology.
> ------------------------------
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