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History for Sept 24, 2013
September 24th, 2013

Question: In honor of the Seventh Anniversary of this Trivia Question, I’ll ask one of the earliest questions- What was the name of Abraham Lincoln’s pet dog?

Yesterdays Quiz: Jules Verne was never specific where his character Captain Nemo came from, but he once did have an idea until his publisher talked him out of it. What nation would the protagonist of Twenty Thousand Leagues hail from?
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History for 9/24/2013
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Vitellius, Duke Albrecht Wallenstein, Chief Justice John Marshall, Francis Scott Key, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Raft, Chief Joseph, Sheila MacCrae, Anthony Newley. Phil Hartman, Mean Joe Greene, Billy Bletcher the voice of Pegleg Pete, Pedro Almodovar is 64, Jim Henson, Brad Bird is 56.

768 A.D. The two sons of Pepin the Short , Carloman and Charles, inherited the kingdom of the Franks, or France. Carloman then conveniently died, so Charles goes on to become Charlemagne- Charles the Great. The Franks had the strange custom of inheritance. Instead of primogeniture- eldest son inheriting all, they divided all their lands among all their male siblings evenly, who would immediately start fighting one another. Carloman supposedly died of food poisoning, but getting rid of rivals with poison was common in those days.

1561- Mary Queen of Scots first met Presbyterian reformer John Knox. The beautiful young monarch, reared in Catholic France, attempted to win the sour old preacher to her side. Historian Unfortunately Knox was not impressed by Mary’s personal charm and howled against her entire reign. He thought women as rulers were “an abomination in the sight of God.” When she was deposed and imprisoned in England he wrote Queen Elizabeth Ist constantly urging Mary be beheaded. John Knox also called Queen Elizabeth a beast and whore.

1688- King Louis XIV of France declared war on Germany and moved his armies towards the Rhine. This had the unexpected consequence of deciding who became King of England. Dutch Prince William of Orange was waiting for the opportunity to invade and overthrow his father-in-law King James II Stuart, who many English despised for being a Catholic. But William would never have dared such a move if Louis and his large French Navy who were allies of James, were watching him. Once Louis turned his attention eastward, William crossed the Channel with no trouble. William overthrew James in short order and became King William III of England.

1789- Congress passes the First Judiciary Act, which calls for an Attorney General and a Supreme Court. John Jay was first Chief Justice. When Washington formed the first cabinet, Thomas Jefferson asked if he could be Attorney General as well as Secretary of State, because representing a little country with no foreign policy was boring and had nothing to do.

1805- LE GRANDE ARMEE- Napoleon’s army had been cooling it’s heels for weeks on the beach at Boulogne waiting to invade England. This was not likely since the British Navy kept sinking the French Navy. While waiting in camp, Napoleon took the time to drill his troops to an efficiency far superior to any other army of the period. England meanwhile had subsidized Russia and Austria into declaring war on France.

This day Napoleons Grand Army turned around and began an epic march in 5 separate columns across Europe from the English Channel to suddenly appear in Czechoslovakia. No one had ever moved troops so fast. Napoleon left Paris that evening with his Imperial Guard. There was a rainstorm and his famous felt hat got waterlogged and drooped around his ears like a black sombrero. Napoleon moved his Guard veterans like motorized infantry of the future by piling them into farm wagons.

1806- The North German Kingdom of Prussia gave Napoleon’s France an ultimatum to get out of Germany or else! Prussia at the time was considered the most superior military power in the world, but the army of Frederick the Great was now a ghost of it’s former self ruled by a timid king. Napoleon destroyed it and overran Prussia in 6 weeks. Prussia later became the kingdom German unified around in 1870.

1869- BLACK FRIDAY- A scheme by robber barons Big Jim Fisk and Jay Gould to corner the US gold market backfired into a major financial panic. The two tycoons had thought they had convinced the gullible President Ulysses Grant into halting sale of government bullion. The night before Gould tried to bribe Grants brother-in-law James Corbin with $100,00 to ensure the President wouldn’t change his mind.

But Grant smelled a rat and ordered millions in Federal gold put on the market to bring the prices down. Gold hoarders saw their investment shrink overnight. This day the value of gold dropped in three hours from $160 and ounce to $34. Up in the special part of the N.Y. Stock Exchange nicknamed the Gold Room, dozens speculators were ruined. One investor ran up and down shouting “Shoot Me! Someone Shoot Me!” “Let each man drag out his own corpse.”-Gould later testified.

Jay Gould recovered and died in 1892 worth $70 million In 1872 Big Jim Fisk was shot dead in the lobby of the Grand Central Hotel by a jilted suitor of Fisk’s mistress actress Josie Mansfield. And Grant the Civil War hero was labeled a financial dunce by Washington insiders.

1890- Under pressure from the US Government before getting statehood for Utah, the Mormon Church officially renounced polygamy.

1906- Teddy Roosevelt designated Devils Tower Wyoming as our first national monument. Teddy’s desire to preserve natural resources was blocked by Congressmen lobbied by rich developers. So he circumvented Congress and by Presidential Executive order declared them national monuments.

1934- Frank Thomas’s first day as a Walt Disney Animator.

1936- Babe Ruth's last appearance in a baseball game. Yankees lost to Boston 5-0.

1936- Noel Coward's play 'Private Lives' opened.

1938- Bob Clampett's cartoon "Porky in Wackyland" ( Foo!)

1938- Tennis champion Dan Budge won the US Open in Forrest Hills. Budge became the first person to win all four major tennis meets in one year- Wimbledon, French Open now called Roland Garros, Australian Open and US Open

1941- This day the Japanese Consul in Honolulu was instructed by the Imperial War Ministry to quietly begin gathering information about the US Fleet in Pearl Harbor.

1944- President Franklin Roosevelt had been criticized by Republicans for wasting money in needless wartime excesses. This day he defeated his critics with humor when they accused him of sending a Navy destroyer to the Aleutian Islands just to retrieve his Scottie dog Fallah. He said in a speech” Now I am used to personal attacks, My family is used to personal attacks, but Fallah- isn’t.(laughter) He’s Scottish, you know….and, well, he hasn’t been the same dog since.”

1953- US Army scientist Frank Olsen jumped out of a NY hotel window to his death after getting high on LSD given him as part of a CIA monitored program. Olsen’s widow sued twenty years later when she finally found out the circumstances of her husbands death.

1953-UPA's "Unicorn in the Garden" directed by Bill Hurtz, based on the cartoon style and story by James Thurber.

1953- The movie "The Robe" premiered, the first movie in CinemaScope. It's success was part of a wave of 'Sword & Sandal" epics and fostered many imitation wide screen processes- Superama,VistaVision, Dynarama, WarnerVision, TotalScope-etc. There had been earlier experiments with wide screen - Abel Gance's 1925 Napoleon, which used three 35mm images shown simultaneously, and Cimmarron 1930, which was a true wide screen 70mm film starring a very young John Wayne. It was superceded by 1967 by the more advanced Panavision lens. For many years in Hollywood we called a wide screen picture a "Scope" picture.

1955- President Eisenhower suffered a major heart attack while playing golf. Secretary of State Allen Foster Dulles and other White House staffers run things without even telling Vice President Nixon.

1960- The first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise is launched.

1960- The "Howdy Doody Time" children's show canceled after thirteen years. The show remains a pivotal memory in the minds of thousands of American baby-boomers who grew up in the fifties. As the last song and the last credits rolled by, just before the cameras switched off, Clarabell the mute clown goes up to the lens and in a haunting voice said; "Goodbye, Kids."

1968- T.V. show "60 Minutes" debuts. Mike Wallace was pared with Harry Reasoner. The show was originally aired Tuesday nights at 10PM and fared poorly in the ratings. When it was moved to Sundays at 7:00PM it became a weekly institution.

1977- The TV series “The Love Boat “debuted.

1988- The Godfather of Soul Music James Brown got a little crazy sometimes. This day he burst into his office complex in Georgia waving a pistol and shotgun and demanded everyone stop using his washroom! After locking the bathrooms he led police on high speed chase through Georgia and South Carolina, only stopping when the cops shot out his tires. He rode the rims till they collapsed. James Brown did 2 years for being under the influence of drugs. Hay!
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Yesterday’s Quiz: Jules Verne was never specific where his character Captain Nemo came from, but he once did have an idea until his publisher talked him out of it. What nation would the protagonist of Twenty Thousand Leagues hail from?

Answer: In 1863 Verne had been reading about how an uprising of Polish nationalists had been brutally crushed by forces of the Czar of Russia. His first drafts had Nemo as an exiled Polish nobleman who waged war on the “ Crimes of that Unnamed Country”. But his publisher urged him to avoid controversy by making Capt. Nemo not the citizen of any one specific country.


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