Manfred von Richthofen
- "The infamous womanizer?"
For reasons unknown, von Richthofen (better known as the Red Baron) is indestructible: only when everyone in the world cares about him will he be made vulnerable (the open definition of ‘everyone’ assumes he is thus invincible). Physical invulnerability does not seem to prevent mental atrophy, however: the once-respected flying ace of the First World War now devotes his time to chasing the girls and resurrecting the Flying Circus as a means of world domination.
Great Giant Titans: the men and/or women who changed the course of world events, made their mark on history, and then died just as miserably as the rest of us. Today, Great Giant Titans looks at the life of Germany's greatest fighter ace, the Red Baron.
- "Who made this?"
"Mannie, you're fired."
Richthofen's mother was Marie Margaret von Trapp, a noble but ugly woman whose relationships with men were always brief.
- "Howdy zere, mein herren!"
"Oh barf, are you a pig! Here's a Deutschmark, go avay!"
Soon, she was a rich woman.
One day, inexplicably, Mannie was born.
Historians suggest Richthofen's father was either a blind man or a communal hot tub.
At the age of five, Mannie's mother taught him to fly.
Unfortunately, this was ten years before the airplane had been invented.
Despite his humble beginnings, Mannie dreamed of becoming a great man some day.
- "Me and Wayne Gretzky, man oh man..."
Mannie grew into a fine young man, wearing a black hat, a vest, chaps, and no pants, like the cover of Poncho magazine. But, just when he thought all there was to life was straddling chairs and hanging around weight rooms, the war began, and Manfred was called to arms. His legs quickly followed.
The First World War had begun. At the time, they didn't know it was the First World War, so they simply called it, "The Fifth World War". There were few pilots in Germany, so a general call went out.
- "I'm General Call, I'll be back in five minutes."
And when he returned, he brought Manfred von Richthofen.
- "I won't fly! You can't make me!"
"Shut up and get in your airplane!"
"Oh, and airplane! Well that's different, of course."
Mannie's first flights were routine reconnaissance missions.
- "Well Richthofen, what did you see?"
"I saw little duckies und piggies und-"
"Enough of that nonsense! Did you see any horsies?"
But the picnic didn't last.
Yes, the ants were what men looked like from the air: black with feelers and six legs.
- "No, those are the Mills brothers."
In the second year of the war, both armies got the hang of it, and millions died horribly. The war had turned ugly.
- "Oh war, here's a Deutschmark, go avay!"
But the war would not go away; it sat there smiling. The French air force was reeling; it was running out of brave young Canadians and British to send to their deaths. Richthofen knew every trick in the book.
- "Power dive! Hammerhead stall! Barrel roll! Loop-de-loop! Joybuzzer! Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!"
By 19-something-or-other, Richthofen had received the Iron Cross, the Kaiser Bun and a lifetime subscription to Gent, home of the D-cups. Richthofen's red Fokker struck terror into the British.
And the British pilots gave him a nickname.
- "Let's call him Nooby-Nub!"
"No no no no no... Let's call him Pudding-Pie Peter!"
"No, something really embarrassing, like the Bloody Red Baron!"
"Oh, good thinking, Deekie-Dum!"
"Thank-you, Pookie-Wookie Bum Bum!"
The name stuck; until it was oiled. Then, Richthofen wore it easily as he continued to gun down Americans, Brits, Peruvians, Greeks; even a beagle on a doghouse. It was then, or near then, the Baron met Canada's ace-in-the-hole, Captain Brown.
For three hours the battle raged. Then they stopped for lunch. When they returned, they fought on through the night and into the next day. Finally, the poor Canadian pilot ran out of ammunition.
- "I've got you now, you Canuck flying fool!"
And it would have been true, except that Mannie Richthofen had run out of gas.
"Aaa-ha-ha-how! Oh-ho-ho! Oh-ho! Oh! That hurts so much I'm dead!"
When Richthofen died, short-order cooks all over the world flew their aprons at half-mast. If Richthofen were alive today, we could only wonder just how wrinkly he'd look.
Next week on Great Giant Titans, Vladimir Lenin: his hopes; his ideals; his toupée!
- The Frantics. "Great Giant Titans: The Red Baron". CBC radio, April 1983; re-aired some time later.