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Today in History

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by KittyT, May 15, 2007.

  1. Peacoat

    Peacoat I'll Lock Up

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    This was not a good day in history in 1970.

    Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University, killing four and wounding nine others. Protests, riots and looting had been taking place for several days culminating in the shootings.

    Of the students killed, the closest to the guardsmen was 256' away. The farthest away was 390'. There were some wounded who were closer to the Guardsmen.
     
  2. ChiTownScion

    ChiTownScion One Too Many

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    I think that even he would agree that he was out of his element. He was essentially badgered by FDR to be the VP nominee in '44, and would have been perfectly happy to remain in the Senate. Bess wasn't the only one who shuddered in that household when he was sworn in. There was in that event a triumph of a very common (and in some aspects quite extraordinary) individual that underscores the axiom that events create men as much as vice versa.

    Part of the political genius of FDR (whether you agree with his policies or embrace his personality or not) is that he held together a very diverse coalition whose elements would have otherwise been at each other's throats. Only other President I can name who performed that juggling act so well (and arguably, better) was Lincoln. When Roosevelt died in April of ' 44, the die was cast for the split in his party which played out in the 1948 election.

    Truman wasn't FDR, and the world knew it. That aside, could Henry Wallace (let alone Strom Thurmond!) have held that party together as well as he did and go on to defeat the very formidable Thomas Dewey in 1948? All things considered, I'd say that Harry Truman did that very well. Which was quite remarkable for a self educated former failed haberdasher from Independence.
     
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  3. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Dewey had problems of his own to worry about -- there was a very large faction of his own party, the midwest hard-conservatives led by Robert Taft, who wanted nothing to do with him, seeing him as the candidate of the "Eastern elite," and tried to slip the skids under him at the convention. There were observers at the time who looked at what was going on there and realized that Dewey was a lot less formidable than his press agents believed he was. The Wallaceite Progressives, in fact, ran more against the Taftites than against Dewey himself.

    I've always said that the more you look at it, in the militant party factionalism, and in the buckets of slime being flung about among the various candidates, the more it seems that the 1948 election was the first of the current era.
     
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  4. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Quite so - often mistaken for being the first woman elected[ to Parliament, though of course that was Connie Markievicz in the general election of 1918. Markievicz of course stood on the Sinn Fein abstentionist ticket, allying herself instead with the proto-Dail Eireann as of January 1919, so Astor became the first woman MP to actually take her seat when she entered Parliament via a by-election in 1919 (as memory serves, she had also stood in 1918, but loast on that occasion).

    Churchill's full response was actually "Madam, I may be drunk, but you are ugly, and tomorrow, I shall be sober." Charmer, eh?

    Wallis and Edward were very far indeed from being the only open Nazi sympathisers among the British aristocracy. Even the late (as she became known by her own demand) "Queen Mother", who became queen as a result of the abdication, hated Wallis Simpson not for being a Nazi sympathiser, but for being American and vulgar (the two being much the same thing in her eyes).
     
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  5. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    May 6, 1937: The Hindenburg was destroyed by fire in attempting to dock. The live broadcast became legendary.

    May 6, 1889: The Eiffel Tower was opened to the public.
     
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  6. Peacoat

    Peacoat I'll Lock Up

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    There are restaurants on the first two levels and a small apartment at the top. The apartment was built so Gustave Eiffel could entertain guests. It is now open to the public. How cool would that be to have an apartment at the top of the Eiffel Tower?
     
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  7. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    One of the most remarkable things about the Hindenburg broadcast is that it *wasn't* live -- it was in fact the very first time an electrical transcription was broadcast over NBC.

    The recording was made on a portable Presto disc cutter by announcer Herbert Morrison and engineer Charlie Nehlsen of WLS, Chicago. The station had sent them east to Lakehurst to make a recording of the airship's arrival for a later "special events" feature -- while NBC didn't permit network broadcast of recordings, most affiliate stations did use them on a local basis. The event went normally until the moment of the explosion -- you actually hear, when listening to the transcription, the moment when the shock wave from the blast jolted the recording head off the disc. While Morrison was losing his cool, Nehlsen was keeping his -- he caught the head and lowered it gently back into position so the recording could continue. Had it just bounced back down, the cutting stylus would likely have been damaged, and we'd have nothing after Morrison screamed "It's burst into flame!"

    Morrison and Nehlsen continued recording for about forty minutes, consuming three sides of two sixteen-inch blank discs. With the field swarming with police and Nazi officials dispatched from the German embassy in New York, and the discs likely to be seized as evidence, they smuggled the discs and equipment away from the scene, and grabbed the first flight back to Chicago. The recordings aired in their entirety over WLS that night, and after a frantic flurry of memos between Chicago and network headquarters in New York, officials authorized the broadcast of excerpts over both the NBC Red and Blue networks on May 7th.

    78rpm dubs were made from the original discs by both WLS and NBC, and pressings were made and distributed to various station and network dignitaries, but the complete forty minute recording wasn't commercially released until it came out on LP during the 1970s nostalgia craze. The original discs were donated to the National Archives in 1938, where they remain today. Here's the complete recording, including Morrison's descrptions of survivors.



    Interestingly, as careful as Nehlsen was about protecting his cutting head, he had the turntable on his recorder incorrectly calibrated -- it was running slow, so that when the discs were played back at normal speed, Morrison's voice sounded higher in pitch, and even more frantic, than it actually was.
     
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  8. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Another significant bit of media connected to the Hindenburg disaster was a silent newsreel cut together by a Pathe News film editor named Eugene Castle, and sold to the home movie market on 8mm and 16mm just a few days after the event.

    Castle was a hustler by nature, and he picked up the rights to put the film together for peanuts -- and it, in turn, made him a great deal of money with sales thru camera shops and mail order. Castle used the proceeds to form "Castle Films," which quickly became the dominant distributor of 8-16mm subjects for home use, with its flagship product an annual newsreel compendium, "News Parade of 19xx." Castle ran his company to great success into the 1960s, before selling out to Universal at a tidy profit -- just before the rise of videotape caused the bottom to fall of the home movie market.

    Anyone who owned an 8mm or 16mm projector in 1937, and anyone who collects old film today, is very familiar with Castle's "Hindenburg Explodes." It's still, to this day, the most common 16mm film out there.

     
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  9. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    I believe it was on the show "History's Detectives" (but I could be wrong about that) where I heard a version of that recording "adjusted" to sound accurate to Morrison's voice at the time he was recorded. It was amazing. After decades of hearing Morrison sound high-pitched, almost frenetic - when adjusted, as you said, he sounded, basically, like a professional announcer, a bit innerved, but not screeching or like he lost his cool.

    It almost changes your feel for the event or the moment.
     
  10. Peacoat

    Peacoat I'll Lock Up

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    The Hindenburg was a big event, and tragic. Six years earlier, in 1931, a not so big event had happened; Willie Mays was born. I came along late enough to miss all the hoopla over integration in baseball. Didn't think anything about the race of the players. I just thought Willie Mays was a good baseball player. He was beyond a "good" player. Having played before the drug enhancing era, there is growing opinion that Mays was possibly the greatest all-around offensive baseball player of all time. I know he was one of my top favorites of that era, which was baseball's golden era for me.
     
  11. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    And to this day "like Willie Mays playing for the Mets" is a sad metaphor for someone who's stayed on the job too long.
     
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  12. ChiTownScion

    ChiTownScion One Too Many

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    After listening to the full production (courtesy of Miss Lizzie) and locating a digitally corrected version of the crash portion of the broadcast on YouTube, I came away with a newfound respect for Mr. Morrison's skill as a broadcast journalist. The "Oh the humanity!" spiel we were all familiar with had kind of rendered him as a grist for amateur comedy among my friends and I since high school days-- but I now learn that we were wrong in our assessment of him.

    It's always fun to learn new facts that force you to reevaluate an opinion. A bit humbling, perhaps, but fun.
     
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  13. belfastboy

    belfastboy Call Me a Cab

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    A sadder day was when i read the red coloured juice he always had in his locker was laced with amphetamines. Its tough having boyhood idols...even in the 1950's
     
  14. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    The Fountainhead was published on May 7, 1943

    Sections From Wikipedia
    The Fountainhead is a 1943 novel by Russian-American author Ayn Rand, her first major literary success. The novel's protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who designs modernist buildings and refuses to compromise with an architectural establishment unwilling to accept innovation. Roark embodies what Rand believed to be the ideal man, and his struggle reflects Rand's belief that individualism is superior to collectivism.

    The Fountainhead was published on May 7, 1943, with 7,500 copies in the first printing. Initial sales were slow, but they began to rise in late 1943, driven primarily by word of mouth. The novel began appearing on bestseller lists in 1944. It reached number six on The New York Times bestseller list in August 1945, over two years after its initial publication. By 1956, the hardcover edition sold over 700,000 copies

    The Fountainhead has continued to have strong sales throughout the last century into the current one. By 2008, it had sold over 6.5 million copies in English. It has also been referred to in a variety of popular entertainments, including movies, television series, and other novels.

    The novel attracted a new following for Rand and has enjoyed a lasting influence, especially among architects, American conservatives and right-libertarians.

    Ayn Rand on "The Fountainhead (Appears to be from a letter she wrote and was punctuated by her as shown below)
    "NOTHING in THE FOUNTAINHEAD was put in for the sake of an audience. EVERYTHING was put in because the story, the subject, required it."

    First line of the novel
    "Howard Roark laughed"
     
  15. Peacoat

    Peacoat I'll Lock Up

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    May 7 is a big day for surrenders. In 1945 Germany surrendered, thus ending WWII in Europe. Of course there was still that pesky war in the Pacific.

    And the French surrendered to the communists at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. I am currently reading Bernard Fall's Street Without Joy, which chronicles the French involvement in Indo China. I haven't gotten to Dien Bien Phu yet.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
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  16. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    In a move that did much to establish the image of the Brutal Hun of WWI, A German U-20 sank the passenger ship The Lusitania May 7, 1915. 1,198 people died.

    On the way to a rapid Japanese post-war recovery, Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering was founded with 20 employees May 7, 1946. It would become the giant Sony.

    Beethoven's 9th Symphony was first performed in 1824 in Vienna. It finally gained traction in 1971 with Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange.
     
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  17. vitanola

    vitanola I'll Lock Up

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    Recorded in New York on May 20, 1915:

     
  18. ChiTownScion

    ChiTownScion One Too Many

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    Or "Why I Got Out of Civil War Reenacting."

    Portraying a 30 year old regimental surgeon (captain) when you're pushing sixty more than lapses into absurd. Irony is, when you're old enough to have finally acquired all of the necessary accoutrements (amputation kit, full apothecary, operating table, camp furniture, wall tent) and you have studied enough to present an arguably authentic presentation to Ma & Pa Kettle and the rest of the public, you're too damn old to accurately portray your first person personage. Some guys never want to leave the party, and authenticity suffers. Most of the soldiers of those armies, North and South, were little more than boys.

    Sold most of my gear and uniform a few years back to a fine gent from North Carolina whose unit mainly does a Secesh medical impression- but occasionally does Federal when the event needs that. My old gear's in good hands, and my bank account grew a tad: a win/ win.
     
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  19. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    133 years ago, May 8, 1886. A patent medicine called "Coca Cola" is offered for the first time, and nine servings were sold. Compare to this very day: 1.9 billion servings will be drunk up worldwide before you go to bed.

    1912: Paramount Pictures is founded.

    May 8, 1933, Mahatma Gandhi begins a 21 day fast in protest of British rule in India.

    Biggest of all, for us here at The Fedora Lounge: It's VE Day.
     
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  20. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    Even veterans of the actual war, when asked to reenact Pickett's Charge years later, said it was impossible to do a credible Rebel Yell with a full belly and no teeth.
     
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