I remember 1 month ago exactly thinking to myself, “Wow there’s only one month until Night of the Notables!” now there is only four days. I’m not exactly freaking out, I’m just surprised on how fast time goes by. (OK maybe I am freaking out in an excitedly-nervous kind of way.)
For my document of learning I have decided to share with you my final copy of my speech. I actually learned so much about Hedy Lamarr by doing this speech. By looking at her through a different perspective, it was almost like learning about a whole new side to her. I was quite nervous right before my speech, it was actually really fun. Teaching my classmates about my eminent person made me feel like all my hard work of researching her and writing this speech really paid off.
Talking about writing the speech… I think I wrote about four versions of my speech for various reasons. First it was too short, then too long, then I didn’t like it, then it was too long again. I eventually wrote version I’m going to share with you right now.
Here is it:
A dazzling mind and a beautiful woman. She was so gifted, so smart, yet she always denied it.
Hedy Lamarr and I first properly met when she had come up to me and asked me about enhancing her upper torso. This was during a dinner party she was hosting. I had recently been researching female endocrinology and I guess she had read my recent article. We had been neighbours in Hollywood for quite a while, but we never really talked. We started talking and the conversation seemed to last forever. I found out so much about her parents and her life as a young child. She is the only woman I know who is fluent in 4 languages (!) Coming from such a beautiful actress as her, I would have never guessed. This is also the first time I’ve noticed how stunning she really is. Her long luscious raven hair frames her porcelain face beautifully. I guess that is why she’s known as “the most beautiful woman in films”
Not only is she gorgeous, she is extremely intelligent. The conversation ended up going into the direction of war and torpedoes. She knew so much! I was impressed. She told me that her ex-husband Friedrich Mandl had an interest in torpedoes and had shared his knowledge with her before she left him. She wanted to help the U.S military by contributing her idea about stopping the jamming of the US’s radio controlled torpedoes. But she was stuck and didn’t exactly know how to do it. 20 minutes later we came to the conclusion that the enemy would have a harder time intercepting signals if they were sent at different and changing frequencies. That way, the Allies would be able to send torpedoes without the Germans interfering with their courses. As soon as we realized this she ran off in excitement. I needed to know more about this amazing woman.
I found red lipstick smears on my car window later that night. Hedy’s phone number. Little did I know, that those lipstick smears would lead to the most incredible partnership and one amazing invention.
It has been about 1 year since World War II started. As a Jew and strictly Pro-American, Hedy was horrified by all the terrible things Hitler and the Nazi’s were doing to her friends and family back in Europe. I guess because they were being hurt and killed by the Nazis, she wanted to contribute and help the US win the war.
I called Hedy the day after the dinner party. She arrived at my house and said she had just auditioned for a new film called “Tortilla Flat”. I have seen almost all 11 of her films that she had a main role in. They were all amazing. We eventually revisited the conversation we had yesterday. We brainstormed different ideas of how the U.S. Navy could send the torpedoes with constantly changing frequencies, but we were once again stuck. Hedy suggested we take a break from this problem by asking me the play a piece on the piano. I decided to play her Sonata II. This was a long-time favourite and I had mastered it. Minutes later I had finally finished the piece. “Oh George, that was beautiful!” she said happily. But then, at the same time, our brains clicked. We can use the piano! “Hedy, are you thinking what I’m thinking?” I said. “George, I do believe I am.”
4 months later our project was complete with a patent that was granted under the name “Secret Communications System” She was so proud. Once we realized that we could use paper piano roll to change the radio frequencies simultaneously, then everything fell into place. A piano roll has 88 frequencies (because there are 88 black and white keys on a piano) that are changing constantly, so the enemy would never be able to jam the torpedoes. It was brilliant. Throughout the whole process she was determined and excited to help our country. It’s amazing. Well, she’s amazing.
Its 56 years later and I’m watching Hedy as she is walking down an aisle about to revive a belated award for her contributions. I George Antheil am not physically there, I died from a heart attack in 1959. All of our, all of her hard work is being recognized in this award. In World War II, the US Navy never did use our idea. They said to install the device into a torpedo would make it too large and bulky, plus it cost too much to produce. We tried to convince them for years, but nothing would change their minds. But Hedy isn’t receiving this award because our idea was never used. After our patent expired, other people’s patents have referred to our idea as the basis of their work. Now our idea is used in everyday necessities like Bluetooth and WiFi! All that hard work eventually paid off.
She floats down the aisle so gracefully. Even at the age of 83, Hedy still has so much elegance. A man from Electronic Frontier Foundation hands her a large silver award saying “Hedy Lamarr, for your contributions to the field of science and technology” There must be over 2000 people in the room clapping for her. I’m the proud one now. She stands there for a second and starts to make her speech. This is what she says:
“I never thought I would accomplish something like this. My parents always told me how smart and gifted I was, but I didn’t believe them. I chose an acting career over science because I didn’t have confidence in my abilities back then. Over time I realized that I was, well quite possibly smart and I could use that to my own, and to my country’s advantage. I wanted to figure out how to stop the jamming of torpedoes, but I didn’t exactly know how to. My good friend who passed away a few decades ago helped me invent what I am standing here being presented an award for. He provided the missing piece to the puzzle that created the final and beautiful picture.” She holds up the award and finally says “This one’s for you George”
I hope you liked it!