Big Bang (2007-)
Approximately 13 seconds into the introductory credits, an image of the US DeKalb briefly appears [00:00:13] in a high speed photo montage. Without the use of freeze frame technology the image is practically indiscernible but the additional appearance of an image of the reverse of the American Great Sealthe all-seeing eye and pyramidraises the question of why this particular image was chosen.
Launched as the USS St. Louis on 12 October 1861, the stern wheel casemate gunboat was renamed USS Baron DeKalb on 8 September 1862, in honour of General Baron Johann DeKalb of Hüttendorf, a German officer who served as a major general in Washington's army during the American Revolutionary War. The actual date of the photograph is unknown,2 although it would predate 13 July 1863 when the USS Baron DeKalb was sunk by a mine one mile below Yazoo City, Mississippi.
"The ship's log, a transcription of which resides at the Louisiana State University library in Baton Rouge, makes no mention of Freemasonry at all, and no anecdotal evidence exists that explains a masonic connection."1 The presence of the masonic emblem is not easily explained, but there are two masonic connexions with the boat.
First, DeKalb is claimed to be a freemason and usually believed to be a member of Pennsylvania Lodge No. 29.3
Second, the gunboat's fifth and final captain was Lt. Commander (later Admiral) John Grimes Walker (1862-1863). Although no record is known of his masonic membership, in the archives at Wichita State University in Kansas are his personal papers, amongst which has recently been found an 1859 masonic cypher book with his name written on the inside cover.4
Of course, if the photograph was taken when the boat was first launched, as is suggested by the handwritten note in the bottom right corner, then neither DeKalb's nor Walker's masonic membership has any relevence and we are no closer to solving the mystery.
The Big Bang Theory (2007-). Created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, produced by Steven Molaro. Starring Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar. USA, English, 21 min., Stereo, Colour
1.Michael Halleran, Scottish Rite Journal, 23 February 2008. (ISSN 1076-8572)
2.National Archives and Records Administration, cataloged under the ARC Identifier (National Archives Identifier) 533123.
3.Ronald E. Heaton, Masonic Membership of the Founding Fathers Silver Spring, Md: Masonic Service Association, 1974, pp. 84-85.
4.arkansastoothpick.com accessed 2012/03/12.