19 December 2016

The Third Man theme. And fake penicillin.

Here played by the composer and original instrumentalist. After the release of The Third Man in 1950, this song was #1 in the United States for three months, until it was displaced by Nat King Cole singing "Mona Lisa." It certainly must be the best-known piece of zither music ever created.

Via UncertainTimesReposted from 2008 (!) to update the video and add this relevant history from the Christmas 2016 issue of the British Medical Journal:
In April 1946, in the bleak aftermath of the second world war, American and British intelligence services arrested seven men and three women in Berlin on charges of manufacture, possession, and sale of fake penicillin. A former German army private was the alleged chief of the fake drug ring that included ‘Two former GIs in love with frauleins and an American doctor with a passion for fine cameras…who got at least $13 000 [about $170 000 (£130 000; €160 000) today] in cash from one Berlin druggist for penicillin."..

Penicillin was scarce but much sought after as an innovative cure of bacterial infections, and it became a currency in post-war Europe. The Times reported from Berlin “There is great illicit demand for penicillin here for the treatment of venereal diseases. Supplies are strictly controlled by the British and American authorities, being reserved for the treatment of their soldiers, and secondarily for the treatment of German women likely to spread disease. Otherwise supplies are not available.”
There is also evidence of illegal penicillin trade in post-war Vienna. Zane Grey Todd was head of criminal investigation in the American sector. His obituary tells us that “His most dangerous case involved two American medical officers who were stealing and selling penicillin on the black market, aided by a former Miss Austria, with whom they were living.” That Todd may have been a key source for Greene is suggested by a tributary clue in the film—Martins gives a cultural talk on the American author Zane Grey.
More at the link.  Quite interesting.

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