Thursday, January 13, 2011

Your moment of childlike wonder


Now back to the harsh reality of your humdrum life.

January 13, 1957 -
The Wham-O Company produced the first Frisbee on this date. It was initially called the Pluto Platter.

The most popular theory as to how this flying disc came to be dates back to the 1920s when Yale students invented a game of catch by tossing around metal pie tins from the Frisbee Baking Company in nearby Bridgeport, Connecticut. Building inspector Fred Morrison puttered with and refined a plastic flying disc that he sold to WHAM-O (for $1 million) in 1955. The disc was introduced to the consumer market on this date as the Pluto Platter. Wham-O changed the name to Frisbee in 1958, upon hearing the Yale pie-tin story. (Mattel now owns the rights to Frisbee, which has become an American icon.)

January 13, 1967 -
The Rolling Stones, whom Ed Sullivan swore would never return to his show, appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, on this date.

They were forced to change the lyrics of Let's Spend The Night Together to Let's Spend Some Time Together.

Today in History
January 13, 1832 -
Horatio Alger, Jr., pederast, minister and American children's author (Ragged Dick, Tattered Tom and Julius, the Street Boy out West ) was born, on this date.

Some novels, uncompleted at Alger's death, include Out of Business and Having to Walk the Streets, Nelson, the Randy Pegboy, Young Captain Jack and the Lonely Sea Men, Jerry, the Barefoot Backwoods Boy (who wore no undergarments under his britches), From Farm to Fortune (with nothing but bacon grease) and Joey, the Ruggedly Handsome Meat Delivery Boy.

(Stop snickering.)

January 13, 1862 -
President Lincoln names Edwin M. Stanton Secretary of War. He vigorously pursued the apprehension and prosecution of the conspirators involved in Lincoln's assassination. These proceedings were not handled by the civil courts, but by a military tribunal, and therefore under Stanton's supervision.

Stanton was appointed by President Grant to the Supreme Court, but he died four days after he was confirmed by the Senate, and taking the oath of office on his deathbed, set the record for shortest tenure on the Court.

January 13, 1900 -
To combat Czech nationalism, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary decrees German the official language of the Imperial Army.

This causes all of the Esperanto schools in Austria-Hungarian Empire to close.

January 13, 1910 -
Lee De Forest, the American inventor of the vacuum tube, demonstrates the first radio broadcast, a live performance of Cavalleria Rusticana with Enrico Caruso from the Metropolitan Opera.

The broadcast over a telephone transmitter could be heard only by the small number of electronics hobbyists who had radio receivers or could squeeze into telephone booths. De Forest started regular nightly concerts in 1915, increasing interest in radio receivers, which at the time depended on the vacuum tubes manufactured by De Forest's company.

How convenient.

January 13, 1919 -
California votes to ratify the prohibition amendment.

Much heavy drinking ensues.

January 13, 1962 -
Ernie Kovacs was killed in an automobile accident when he lost control of his Chevrolet Corvair station wagon while turning fast. Crashing into a power pole at the corner of Beverly Glen and Santa Monica Boulevards, he was thrown halfway out the passenger side, dying almost instantly from chest and head injuries.

Kovacs may have lost control of the car while trying to light a cigar. A photographer managed to arrive moments later, and morbid images of Kovacs in death appeared in newspapers across the United States. An unlit cigar lay on the pavement, inches from his outstretched arm. (I'm not posting the photo - you google it.)

Kids - smoking kills.

And so it goes.

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