Daily Archives: August 3, 2013

Historian’s Almanac for Augusst 4, 2013

It is the anniversary of The Saturday Evening Post’s début as a weekly in 1821.  It continued publication until its demise in 1969, due in part to a successful lawsuit against the magazine for libel.  The suit claimed that an article in the Post alleged that Georgia Bulldogs football coach Wally Butts and Alabama head coach conspired to fix football games. 

Billboard Magazine introduced its “Hot 100” chart.  The first number one song on the Hot 100 chart was Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool.”  The oldest musician to occupy the number one spot on the Hot 100 was Louis Armstrong, born on this day in 1901.  Satchmo’s recording of “Hello Dolly” sold more than a million copies.  “There is two kinds of music,” said Armstrong, “the good, and the bad.  I play the good kind.”

A ban on all recordings by the Beatles went into effect on most radio stations in the United States in 1966.  The drastic action was taken in response to John Lennon’s comment that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ. 

A twenty-two cent postage stamp honoring the Nobel Laureate William Faulkner went on sale at the post office in Oxford, Mississippi in 1986.  Ironically, Faulkner was fired as the postmaster of the same post office in 1924.   William Faulkner, who once said “Pouring out liquor is like burning books,” was named after his great-grandfather William Clark Falkner, who was gunned down in the town square of Ripley, Mississippi.

And finally these words from Faulkner:  “I decline to accept the end of man… I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among the creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.”

Until next time, be good, do good, and always live under the mercy.

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Historian’s Almanac for August 3, 2013

 On this day in 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain.  Although he knew where wanted to go, he ended up [re]discovering the “new world.”  By doing so, Columbus proved what every woman knows; men simply refuse to ask directions.

In 1922, radio station WGY in Schenectady, New York broadcast the first full-length melodrama.  “The Wolf” was written by Eugene Walter in 1914.  Set in Canada, the play is about one man’s pursuit of revenge for the death of his sister, who was betrayed and deserted by a cad called “the Wolf.”

The first Mickey Mouse watch went on sale in 1933.  It sold for $12.75.  The Japanese Emperor Hirohito was given a Mickey Mouse watch in 1975 and wore it even on formal occasions.  A great crisis occurred in 1979, when the watch stopped running.  The precious watch was rushed to Tokyo for repair by experts on American watches.  All was well when it turned out that the watch only needed a new battery.  Today a vintage 1933 Mickey Mouse watch can be purchased on eBay for $1500.

Among the notable birthdays to celebrate is that of John T. Scopes, born on this day in 1900.  Scopes was serving as a football coach and substitute teacher at the Rhea County High School in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925.  The ACLU wanted to test Tennessee’s Butler Act banning the teaching of evolution in the public schools.  The merchants of Dayton wanted to put their town on the map.  Scopes agreed to test the law.  The result was one of the most sensational and widely known trials in American history, the so-called “Monkey Trial.”

The trial pitted two heroic figures against each other, William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution and Clarence Darrow for the defense.  Bryan was a three-time presidential candidate and defender of biblical inerrancy.  Darrow was a famous defense lawyer and libertarian.  The presence of H. L. Mencken, editor of the American Mercury, guaranteed the trial would be a national, if not international, sensation.