Sunday, April 14, 2013

Iceberg - Dead Ahead

April 14, 1859 -
The detective Auguste Dupin investigates a series of baffling murders, whose victims are brutally killed in apparently inaccessible rooms along the Rue Morgue, a street in Paris. Dupin reaches the astounding conclusion that killings were not murder per se but were carried out by a wild orangutan the escaped pet of a sailor.

Edgar Allen Poe's Murders in the Rue Morgue was published on this date.

April 14, 1883 -
Leo Delibes' opera Lakme, premiered in Paris on this date.

OK plebes, the only reason you've probably even know this opera is because of the duet, Viens, Mallika, les liens en fleurs (The Flower Duet) in Act I has become widely used in ads, as well as in films.

April 14, 1945
Tex Avery retooled his Warner Brothers cartoon, Dangerous Dan McFoo, and remade it for MGM as The Shooting of Dan McGoo. It was released on this date.

This is probably the better version, but what do I know.

Today in History:
April 14, 73 -
With the 10th Roman Legion about to breach the gates of their mountaintop fortress, 960 Sicarii Jews commit mass suicide at Masada on this date. According to Josephus, the radical cult selected ten swordsmen by lottery to perform the killing.

Then they held a second lottery to choose one man to kill the remaining nine. Finally, the last one fell on his sword.

I 'll take my chances with the Powerball lottery.

April 14, 1828 -
Noah Webster published his American Dictionary of the English Language on this date. He was a man who'd grown up in America at a time when Americans from different states could barely understand each other, because they spoke with such different accents and even different languages.

Americans in Vermont spoke French, New Yorkers spoke Dutch, and the settlers in Pennsylvania spoke German. All these different languages were influencing American English, and there were no standards of spelling or meaning.

Please note: the word "blogger" was not in that edition of the dictionary.

April 14, 1865 -
So, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?

President Abraham Lincoln receives a cranial gunshot wound from well-known actor, John Wilkes Booth, while attending a performance of the play, Our America Cousin at the Ford Theatre. Booth shouted out “sic semper tyrannis” (thus always to tyrants), Virginia’s state motto, after shooting Pres. Lincoln. He leaped to the stage, breaking his left leg on impact, and escaped through a side door.

Lincoln dies the following day, primarily from ill-advised attempts to extract the bullet lodged in his brain.

On April 14, 1894, a public Kinetoscope parlor was opened by the Holland Bros. in New York City at 1155 Broadway, on the corner of 27th Street - the first commercial motion picture house. The venue had ten machines, set up in parallel rows of five, each showing a different movie. For 25 cents a viewer could see all the films in either row; half a dollar gave access to the entire bill.

The ten films that comprise the first commercial movie program: Barber Shop, Bertoldi (mouth support) Ena Bertoldi( a British vaudeville contortionist), Bertoldi (table contortion), Blacksmiths, Roosters (some manner of cock fight), Highland Dance, Horse Shoeing, Sandow (Eugen Sandow, a German strongman), Trapeze and Wrestling. As historian Charles Musser describes, a "profound transformation of American life and performance culture" had begun.

They were sure to have plenty of kleenex on hand.

April 14,1910 -
President William Howard Taft began a sports tradition by feebly throwing out the first pitch on baseball’s Opening Day.

Taft threw to Washington Senator pitcher Walter Johnson, who went on to hurl a shutout win, allowing the Philadelphia Phillies just one hit and ending the day with a 3-0 victory for Washington.

April 14, 1912 - 11:40 pm.
Jack and Rose witness the horrific events after Jack had sketched Rose in the nude, wearing only the Heart of the Ocean, an engagement present from Cal (afterwards, they entered William Carter's Renault and had sex) ...but that's another story.

The Unsinkable RMS TITANIC hits an iceberg causing damage to six of her 16 'water tight' compartments. (Lat. 41° 46' N. and Long. 50° 14' W.)

Originally, a lifeboat drill was scheduled to take place on board the Titanic on earlier on this date. However, for an unknown reason, Captain Smith canceled the drill. Many believe that had the drill taken place, more lives could have been saved.

April 14, 1924 -
Form follows function - Louis Henri Sullivan

Louis Henri Sullivan, America's greatest 19th and early 20th century architect died on this date. His autobiography was entitled The Autobiography of an Idea.

April 14, 1939 -
William Wyler's Wuthering Heights, starring Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier, premiered in New York, on this date.

In a departure from the novel, there is an afterlife scene in which we see Heathcliff and Cathy walking hand in hand, visiting their favorite place, Penistone Crag. William Wyler hated the scene and didn't want to do it but Samuel Goldwyn vetoed him on that score. Goldwyn subsequently claimed, "I made Wuthering Heights, Wyler only directed it."

April 14, 1941 -
Julie Frances Christie, famous beauty and renown actress and Peter Edward "Pete" Rose, Sr. (Charlie Hustle) were born on this date.

One of them has a better chance of getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame than the other.

And so it goes.


Jim Haas said...

"Don't put on any airs when you're down on Rue Morgue Avenue; they got some hungry women there and they'll really make a mess out of you." -- B. Dylan

Kevin said...

Thanks for the Dylan lyric - I didn't remember it.