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On This Day In History....

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by Mike K., Aug 6, 2008.

  1. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    If you're worried today about a robot taking your job, you now know how every successful silent film star felt about the advent of sound in 1927: career-oblivion risk was very real.
     
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  2. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    The talkie transition was a question mark for everyone -- actors, writers, directors, producers, distributors, and exhibitors all saw everything they did suddenly and completely upended over a period of about three years. I can't think of a single other industry that underwent so complete an upheaval over so short a period of time. Even the transition from radio to television took the better part of a decade.

    The thing with "The Jazz Singer," though, is that it was mostly a silent picture -- and not an especially good one. Remove the song sequences and you're left with a mawkish, sappy melodrama that looks like something left over from 1916 when viewed next to any of the better silent pictures of 1927. Jolson's next picture, "The Singing Fool," was even worse -- except for Jolson himself it had nothing going for it at all. But the sheer thrill of seeing Jolson -- "The World's Greatest Entertainer" -- blasting out of the screen carried both pictures. Watch him doing "Toot Toot Tootsie" in "The Jazz Singer" and just try to say you don't feel his charisma, even 90 years removed. He wasn't the Elvis of his time -- Elvis was the Jolson of *his* time.
     
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  3. Fun Fact: The first person to perform The Jazz Singer's iconic song My Mammy was not Jolson but William Frawley of later I Love Lucy fame.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
  4. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    And what a lot of people didn't realize even then was that that song was intended to be a satire of drippy sentimental "Southern" songs. But it ended up being taken much more seriously than it ever should have been.

    "The Jazz Singer" and "The Singing Fool" ended up inspiring a whole string of similar pictures during the early talkie period, stories about show-business personalities striving for success against a background of family strife and heart-tugging personal tragedy -- "Mother's Boy," "The Rainbow Man," "Is Everybody Happy," "My Man," "Blaze O' Glory, " "Say It With Songs," "Puttin' On The Ritz," ad infinitum. These films didn't have any particular genre name during their time, but modern-day critics have fixed them with the tag "mammy pictures." You'll know them if you see them.
     
  5. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Today, April 23rd, is St. George's Day, probably the least celebrated feast day of the year. St. George is the patron saint of England.

    Today is also the Anniversary of William Shakespeare, born on this day in 1564 and died on this day in 1616. He has sold more fictional books than any other, estimated to be around the four billion mark.
     
  6. 2jakes

    2jakes I'll Lock Up

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    Thursday April 23, 1914
    Federals.png
    The Chicago Whales beat Kansas City Packers 9-1 in the the first major
    league game played in Chicago’s Weeghman Park, later renamed Wrigley Field.
    The Federal league folded after 1915 season and the next year Cubs
    moved in.

    DW-IiHDV4AAAu3P.jpg-large.jpg

    Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 5.35.57 AM.png
    Bismark Garden billboard, would be changed to Marigold Garden.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
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  7. 2jakes

    2jakes I'll Lock Up

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  8. 2jakes

    2jakes I'll Lock Up

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    May 2, 1930

    President Hoover
    2C5993AA-0318-4D05-8B03-8EC8D8309534.jpeg
    "I am convinced we have now passed the worst, and with continued unity of effort, we shall rapidly recover. There is one certainty of the future of a people of the resources, intelligence and character of the people of the United States - that is, prosperity."
     
  9. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    I was thinking about Hoover the other day and don't want to discuss his politics here for all the reasons we don't discuss politics here, but based on his logistics skills - as shown in his work before, during and after our entry in WWI on world relief efforts - he might be a good man, if he wasn't dead (a big problem), running the VA today as he seemed to have tremendous skills are rationalizing massive organizations and making them efficient and successful.
     
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  10. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I dunno as Hoover would have been quite the right guy for the VA, given that he revealed a distinct lack of interest in the well-being of vets by sending that ridiculous popinjay MacArthur out to get rid of the BEF. But I'll grant that he was certainly an able administrator -- if he's coming back, let him run the GSA.
     
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  11. ChiTownScion

    ChiTownScion One Too Many

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    He was a very skilled and able engineer, and as such, was terrific in dealing with the distribution of food logistics. During the Soviet famine of the early 20's he literally saved millions from starvation: not merely handing out bags of grain, but providing the means for future agricultural production.

    Arguably, the very life experiences which made him a stellar engineer (years spent directing projects around the world) hampered his knowledge of the needs of the American people. That was a big factor also with the very Dugout Doug whom Miss Lizzie notes. Years spent overseas blinded him to what was going on within his own country, and it might be added, with members of his own Army who were not the RA/ careerist types who were so predominant during the interwar years.
     
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  12. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    ⇧ Both good, smart post - smarter than mine as my knowledge is "surfacey" versus the always impressively in-depth knowledge you guys have. While my post wasn't tongue-in-cheek, it also wasn't deeply serious (hard to be serious proposing a dead man for a role) as I was just thinking about what an overwhelming logistics and management issue the VA is - even to somebody whose intentions are spot on - and how Hoover seemed to have those skills.
     
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  13. 2jakes

    2jakes I'll Lock Up

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    From one “surfer” to another... You're doing just fine!
    I always enjoy your honest and interesting posts. :)
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
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  14. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I've always had the sense that engineering types tend not to go in so heavily for the empathetic side of things: they tend to view situations more as blunt mechanical problems -- how to get from X to Y -- than as human problems demanding more complex solutions than simply X into Y equals Z. That would describe Mr. Hoover's mental processes to a T, unfortunately for a man in his particular circumstances. He was not the only man of his time to be so limited -- the whole "technocracy" movement/cult of the early 1930s sought to take the human factor out of the equation entirely -- but he was the one in the highest position of power. I don't think it's too surprising that Hoover was the only actual engineer ever to serve as president.
     
  15. ChiTownScion

    ChiTownScion One Too Many

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    He certainly locked on to a particular mindset and didn't seem to be able to let go of it. He felt no small amount of frustration with two leaders of his own party- Thomas Dewey and Dwight Eisenhower- because he felt that they were too unwilling to retreat from what he felt were the excesses of the New Deal.

    That said, he certainly was capable of putting partisan convictions aside to get the work of government done when asked. He developed a friendship with Harry Truman and assisted in post World War II hunger relief and efforts to make the Federal bureaucracy more efficient. Harry was still not shy during his whistle stop campaign of '48 about reminding voters of Hoovervilles and such that could be the result of electing Thomas Dewey and members of his party, but "that was politics." We might call it cognitive dissonance today, but HST saw it differently.
     
  16. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    That whole 1948 campaign was scabrous from the word go. Those who think politicians of the Era always conducted themselves with respect and dignity should take a long hard look at the cheap and sleazy rhetoric that flew from every direction. Harry flung mud by the bucket at anybody who crossed him, and Dewey tried to paint himself as the "high minded" choice, despite being surrounded by an army of henchmen and sycophants who slung equal amounts of mud on his behalf. The only one in that race who didn't take the low road from the first day out was Henry Wallace.
     
  17. ChiTownScion

    ChiTownScion One Too Many

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    Wallace was clearly a victim (perhaps that isn't the right word) of the electoral system. At day's end he didn't garner a single electoral vote. Would his 2.4% popular vote have earned him a few seats in a parliamentary body? Not sure.

    Wallace's running mate, Sen. Glen H. Taylor of Idaho was, to put it politely, somewhat of a character. Reading the details of his life I can see why he was regarded as a crank in 1948. Perhaps the real problem was that the Wallace- Taylor ticket was 20 years ahead of its time?
     
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  18. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Taylor was unforgettable. During the peak of the postwar housing shortage, he and his family stood on the steps of the Capitol, and he broke out his cowboy guitar and sang, in a delightfully reedy tenor:

    "Oh give me a hoooooome
    Near the Capitol doooooome
    With a yarrrrrd where the chilllllldren can playyyyy
    Jest one roooom or twooooo
    Any ole thang will doooooo
    Oh we cain't find no plaaaaace to stayyyyyy"
     
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  19. 2jakes

    2jakes I'll Lock Up

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    MAY 23, 1934
    1024x1024.jpg
    On this day in 1934, wanted outlaws Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker are shot to death by Texas and Louisiana state police officers as they attempt to escape apprehension in a stolen 1934 Ford Deluxe near Bienville Parish, Louisiana.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
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  20. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    The CN (Canadian National) Tower opened to the public in Toronto in 1976. For many years it was the tallest free standing structure in the world. It was also my first part-time job in 1984:

    CN.jpg
     

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