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Today in History

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19,301
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Funkytown, USA
On this date in 1937, the Geo. A. Hormel Company of Chicago introduced one of the twentieth century's defining products:

CCJWbW-WYAAQ9SD.jpg


A chopped, pressed, and spiced combination of ham and pork shoulder meat, Spam was introduced with a barrage of publicity intended to hide the fact that it was a revised version of a canned meat product introduced the previous year under the name "Hormel Spiced Ham." The addition of shoulder meat reduced the manufacturing cost of the product, and made a new name necessary.

Under any name, there was nothing particularly new or unusual in 1937 about canned processed meat -- canned corned beef had been popular since the early nineteenth century, and Hormel had long had a prominent line of such products, including such delights as canned whole chickens. But the name "Spam" was a marketing breakthru for the company -- and turned a pretty generic product into something Exciting and Modern, a concept that appealed to convenience-minded 1930s housewives. Spam was heavily advertised in print, on billboards, and on radio -- and by the early 1940s it was close to becoming America's National Dish. It also attracted imitators -- within a few years, rival meatpackers Armour and Swift introduced their own versions: Armour Treet and Swift's Prem. But neither became the legend, the global phenomenon, that is Spam.

Which is for the best. You can't imagine referring to an unwanted commercial e-mail as a "treet."

I used to come coated in a gooey gel. I miss that, and the way you used to open it with the little key you peeled off the bottom of the can.

Since college, there has always been a can of Spam on my shelf, now pantry. Spam, eggs, and grits - now that's some good eatin'!
 

seres

A-List Customer
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457
Location
Alaska
...Spam was heavily advertised in print, on billboards, and on radio -- and by the early 1940s it was close to becoming America's National Dish...

And in the movies...

I remember watching “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” (or something like that), filmed in the late 1940’s with Cary Grant. I can’t remember all the details, but Grant was portraying an advertising man trying to find a slogan for Spam. Finally his cook/housekeeper said, “If it ain’t Spam, it ain’t ham.”

I may be off on the details, and maybe even the movie titla, but I’ll always remember that slogan... If it ain't Spam, it ain't ham!
 

Retired EE

New in Town
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46
Ronald Reagan passed away June 5, 2004

That timeframe reminds me of one of my maternal grandmother's adventures. A few months prior to Ronald Reagan's passing, my grandmother decided to sell her 1967 Buick Riviera (having bought it new and owning it for 37 years). She lived in Mountain View, California, since about 1946-47. One of her granddaughters (my cousin), who lived with her, said that Jay Leno might be interested in buying a classic Buick Riviera. So, they took some photos of the car (made into 8" X 10" size), put the photos into an envelope with a short letter "Classic Car for Sale" and sent the envelope off to Jay Leno. Well, surprise, a few weeks later Jay Leno calls, initially speaking to my cousin-- who shouted out "GRANDMA.... JAY LENO'S ON THE PHONE!" (as she described the event to me later). When my grandmother answered, Jay said "Is this Grandma?" and grandma said, in her Oklahoma twang, "Yes, it is." Jay said he was really interested in buying the car, but "... his wife would kill him if he bought another car..." However, his good friend was interested in buying it. A week or so later, Jay's friend drives up to Mountain View from the LA area with a car trailer in tow and buys grandma's Buick. As a token from Jay, he gave her 3 tickets to attend the Tonight Show.

Flashing forward to the day of Ronald Reagan's funeral, I'm watching the funeral on television-- which was taking place in Simi, California, when I get a call from grandma. She excitedly told me that she was in the audience of the Tonight Show, accompanied by my aunt and cousin, which just concluded taping. After the show, she got an autographed photo taken with Jay. I later saw the photo, and Jay was in the middle of them, with one arm over grandma's shoulder, and his other arm over the shoulder of my aunt and cousin on his other side.

So, while a 93 year old man was being buried in a somber, state funeral in Simi Valley, over the mountain, in Burbank, a 93 year old woman was just getting out of the Tonight Show-- excitedly calling family members on her cell phone to let them know she was having a great time, having just seen the show and afterwards meeting Jay Leno backstage.
 
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Peacoat

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Today in 1981, Sandra Day O'Conner became the first woman to serve on the US Supreme Court. She was appointed by President Reagan and served until her retirement in 2006.
 

Peacoat

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Bartender
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6,371
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South of Nashville
Today in 1942 Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in the attic above her father's office in an Amsterdam warehouse.

I am currently reading her diary, and it is an eye opener. A sad story but it gives a gritty look at the ordeals suffered by the Jews of that unfortunate time.
 

Bushman

I'll Lock Up
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4,138
Location
Joliet
We read The Diary of Anne Frank my freshman year of high school, and looking back, I feel I was too young to appropriately grasp the subject material at the time.
 
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17,008
Location
New York City
Today in 1942 Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in the attic above her father's office in an Amsterdam warehouse.

I am currently reading her diary, and it is an eye opener. A sad story but it gives a gritty look at the ordeals suffered by the Jews of that unfortunate time.

I read the book as an assignment in 6th grade (pretty sure that was the year) and it was a stunning and scary eye opener then. Not something a kid - close in age to Anne Frank - easily forgets (probably the school's intention). If you get TCM, keep an eye on it for the 1959 movie as (also from memory - haven't seen it in a long time) it is very well done and honest to the diary.
 

Bushman

I'll Lock Up
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4,138
Location
Joliet
I recall reading Number the Stars in 5th or 6th grade. That one definitely left an impression on me, especially being so close to the main character's age.
 

Peacoat

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Bartender
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6,371
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South of Nashville
I remember discussion about the book in class in about the 8th grade, but it wasn't assigned reading. The last few entries are mostly introspective and then there are no more entries After August 1, 1944. They were caught three days later.

On a brighter note (pun intended): Today in 1939 Frank Sinatra recorded his first song, From the Bottom of My Heart, with the Harry James Band. The flip slide was Melancholy Mood. Neither song charted. His fame was to come later.
 

Lean'n'mean

I'll Lock Up
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4,079
Location
Cloud-cuckoo-land
On this day in 1789, the partisans of the French revolution stormed the Bastille, an armoury & political prison at the time. Bonne fête Nationale to all Frenchies reading this.Vive la révolution !

On this day in 1881, Henry McCarty, also known as; William H. Bonney but better known as Billy the Kid, was shot dead by sheriff Pat Garret, in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. He was 21.
The only authenticated photo of Billy the Kid.....or is it ?
220px-Billy_the_Kid_corrected.jpg
 

Bushman

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,138
Location
Joliet
On this day in 1881, Henry McCarty, also known as; William H. Bonney but better known as Billy the Kid, was shot dead by sheriff Pat Garret, in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. He was 21.
The only authenticated photo of Billy the Kid.....or is it ?
220px-Billy_the_Kid_corrected.jpg
I recall one of the amazing backstories to this photo was the for decades, it was believed that Billy the Kid was a leftie, due to the position of the above photo being flipped due to mirror technology in the camera that was used to take the photo. @Lean'n'mean, naturally, posting the photo as it was originally viewed by the cameraman, not the camera.
 

EngProf

Practically Family
Messages
600
I recall one of the amazing backstories to this photo was the for decades, it was believed that Billy the Kid was a leftie, due to the position of the above photo being flipped due to mirror technology in the camera that was used to take the photo. @Lean'n'mean, naturally, posting the photo as it was originally viewed by the cameraman, not the camera.
It always amazed me that it took so long for people to figure out that the photo was "flipped". Even if people didn't know for sure which hand BtK was, and didn't know about the photo technology of the time, any Western historian or even a fairly knowledgeable firearms-person would immediately see that the Winchester 73 was "backwards". The loading gate was and is on the RIGHT side of the rifle. A dead giveaway about the orientation...
 

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