Your odd historical factoid of the day

No great significance to this, but I found it amusing: toymaker Louis Marx (who created Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Johnny West, all kinds of fabulous tin litho playsets, and any number of other toys which readers of a certain age will recall with great fondness) was the father-in-law of Daniel Ellsberg, the man who made the Pentagon Papers public. If that’s not enough cognitive dissonance for you, Marx was also apparently pals with J. Edgar Hoover.

Hat tip goes to my wife, who noticed this passage in the book Secrecy and Power: the Life of J. Edgar Hoover:

As agents fanned out to interview everyone who knew Ellsberg to gather information on Ellsberg’s motives, the Domestic Intelligence Division, which was handling the case, asked Hoover if it could interview Ellsberg’s father in law, New York toy manufacturer Louis Marx. It so happened that Hoover and Marx were good friends (Marx gave Hoover a shipment of toys to distribute each Christmas), so Hoover specifically told Charles Brennan, head of Domestic Intelligence, not to interview Marx. Brennan misread Hoover’s “NO H” as “H OK” and permitted the interview to take place. When Hoover learned about the mistake, he was furious and ordered Brennan demoted and transferred. Brennan was Sullivan’s protege, and Sullivan went over Hoover’s head to the White House and got Mitchell to order Hoover to cancel Brennan’s punishment …

At which point, Hoover is rumoured to have howled, “You knocked my block off!”