Sunday, August 15, 2010
Once in a Lullaby
Today is my late mother’s birthday and I decided to a little research to see what happened on the day and in the year she was born.
I think the most striking thing I learned was that The Wizard of Oz was released on August 15, 1939.
This was one of my mother’s favorite movies—she was a huge Judy Garland fan—and it seems fitting that she and this classic film that she loved so much would share a birthday.
Apocalypse Now was released on this date 40 years later, but I can’t say my mom was a big fan of this flick. I don’t even know if she ever saw it. Edna Ferber, who wrote Show Boat, was born on this day in 1887.
Ben Affleck, Ethel Barrymore, Julia Child, Vernon Jordan, Jimmy Webb, Sir Walter Scott, and Huntz Hall—the guy who played Satch in all those Bowery Boys movies—were all born on Aug. 15.
My mother lived through the Depression and on August 15, 1930, Herbert Hoover held a press conference in which he offered plans for relief of people and businesses affected by a series of devastating droughts.
On this day in 1899, Henry Ford resigned as chief engineer of the Edison Illuminating Company's main plant so he could concentrate on automobile production. The Panama Canal was opened to traffic on this day in 1914, while construction on the Berlin Wall began in 1961.
Woodstock kicked off on this day in 1969 at Max Yasgur's dairy farm in upstate New York. In 1945, Emperor Hirohito broadcast the news of Japan's surrender to the Japanese people.
In 1924, the year my mother was born, Judy Garland—billed as “Baby Frances” made her show business debut at age two.
Thomas Watson founded IBM in that year. Johnny Weissmuller set the 100-yard freestyle record at 52.4 seconds. Sean O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock premiered in Dublin and "Happy Birthday To You" published by Claydon Sunny.
WJZ in New York City broadcast the first foreign language course broadcast on U.S. radio. Mass Investors Trust became the first mutual fund set up in U.S.
The Ford Motor Company--Henry Ford again--manufactured its 10 millionth Model T automobile in 1924.
Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B. Mayer merged to form MGM. Jelly Roll Morton recorded "Jelly-Roll Blues" and—leapin’ lizards!-Harold Gray’s comic strip "Little Orphan Annie" made its debut.
J. Edgar Hoover was appointed head of FBI in 1924, the same year Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb kidnapped Robert Franks in Chicago.
Boston opened its airport and Malcolm Campbell set the world auto speed record at 146.16 MPH.
As 1924 drew to a close, Edwin Hubble announced the existence of distant galaxies.
It was a very good year.