May 1, 2007 International Workers Day
May 1st, 2007
Birthdays: Mary Harris a.k.a.Mother Jones, Benjamin Latrobe designer of the US Capitol, Calamity Jane, Joseph Addison, Kate Smith, Jack Paar, Joseph Heller, Rita Coolidge, Steve Cauthen, Judy Collins, Glen Ford, Ray Parker Jr., Maurice Noble, Soviet animator Fyodor Khytruk, Louis Nye, John Woo, the Batman,
Happy Birthday Eric Goldberg!
May or Maius is named for Maia, Roman god of flowers, daughter of Fauna and Vulcan.
This day Romans celebrated the LARALIA- the feast of the Lares, your personal domestic gods who watch over you and your family. Many times they included the founder of your house, a famous family member or a particular allegiance to one deity, for example Julius Caesar claimed to be descended from Venus. It’s also the Roman festival for the Bona Dea or the Good Goddess, a deity of fertility.
62BC- Publius Clodius Pulcher- The Handsome, seduced the wife of Julius Caesar by dressing like a woman and sneaking into Caesars home while the women were celebrating the secret sacred mysteries of Bona Dea. Caesar wasn’t too upset because he was sleeping around as well. Part of Greco-Roman religious mysteries was the drinking of a wine mixed with herbs approximating the effect of modern LSD. Sex, Drugs and Latin Conjugations!
1886- MAYDAY- In most of the world except the U.S. this is Labor Day. Ironically the tanks and red banners that used to parade down Tianamehn or in Havanna celebrate events that began in the United States. In 1886- The Knights of Labor- an underground movement of unions came out in the open and announced itself America's first national labor organization. On this day they called for strikes against all employers who wouldn't institute an 8 hour workday. The norm in America was 12 hours, 7am to 7pm six days a week. 500,000 people go out on 1,700 strikes and paralyze the nation's economy. The authorities crushed the strikes with violence, shootings, arrests and firings with a brutality that shocked the rest of the world. Karl Marx said: " Isn't it amazing what's happening in America ?". The 8 hour day doesn't become normal in America until 1913. In 1889- in Europe the International Socialist Congress declaring itself in sympathy with the embattled American worker designated May 1st as International Worker's Day. In 1894 American Federation of Labor, a less militant successor to the Knights, ask President Cleveland to move Labor Day from May 1st to the end of August. This was so people can have a holiday between Independence Day and Thanksgiving, but also a Labor Day free of "radical politics".
1893- The WORLD COLUMBIAN EXHIBITION opened in Chicago. A great White City topped by the first Ferris Wheel, a giant that carried passengers higher than the crown of the Statue of Liberty. Worlds Fairs then still had a certain amount of cheap sensationalist burlesque to attract customers uninterested in dynamos and new farming exhibits. This exhibition was made famous by the erotic gyrations of an hootchie-cootchie dancer named Little Egypt. It was the first example of belly dancing in America but the famous tune "In the Land of Oz Where the Ladies Smoke Cigars" was not written in Egypt but by a local songwriter named Joe Blume. Candy maker Milton Hershey inspected some new German milk chocolate machines and was inspired to build his new business around chocolate. It also displayed the World’s Largest Red Cedar Bucket, then filled with lager beer. I had the pleasure of seeing the Bucket at Mufreesboro Tennessee, minus the beer.
1898- BATTLE OF MANILA BAY- Admiral Dewey's fleet sinks the Spanish fleet when he gives the order to the captain of the USS Olympia :"You may fire when ready, Gridley:" I'm sorry, Bugs Bunny didn't say it first.
1902- Richard Outcault's comic strip Buster Brown and Tige first appeared. Outcault, the creator of the first hit cartoon the Yellow Kid was so famous that as part of his deal to do this strip he negotiated the first back-end deal for a percentage of the merchandise sales.
1914-THE BIRTH OF THE BIG BLUE- Thomas Watson got a job at a little business machine company called CTR, the Calculating, Typewriter and Regulating Company. He quickly rose to the top and renamed the company International Business Machine or IBM. When he retired in 1956 it employed 60,000 and is one of largest companies in the world.
1931- The Empire State Building in New York dedicated. For fifty years it was the worlds tallest office building and King Kong’s hangout. It’s topmost deck was designed to be a dirigible mooring post but despite several tries no zeppelin has ever been able to park there. A Goodyear Blimp attempted mooring there in 1976 but the highwinds bobbed it around like a bucking bronco. The building was dedicated during the depths of the Great Depression when business was so bad it was nicknamed the 'Empty State Building'.
1939- The first Batman comics created by Bob Kane appear on newsstands.
1941-ROSEBUD- Orson Welles film "Citizen Kane" debuted at the Paramount theater (the El Capitan) in Hollywood. At the last minute William Randolph Hearst's friend Louis B. Mayer tried to buy and destroy every print of the film and the Hearst press went crazy attacking it. Hearst spokesperson Louella Parsons threatened "A Beautiful Lawsuit" if the film was not pulled. Despite winning some Oscars the film didn't do well in it's initial release, but it remains one of the greatest films of all time. Welles said later:" The problem I've always had is my movies become classics ten years later."
1967- Elvis Presley marries Priscilla Beaulieu at the Aladdin Casino in Las Vegas.
1989- Walt Disney Feature Animation in Orlando Florida opens. It closed in 2006.
1993- The Florida Animation Union Local 843 chartered.
1997- Bebe, the dolphin who played Flipper on the television show, died at age 40.
1997- Tony Blair defeated Tory John Major to become Prime Minister of Britain.
2003-MISSION ACCOMPLISHED? President George W. Bush lands a military jet onto the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to deliver a speech declaring the war in Iraq to be officially over. In the next three years 2800 more Americans would be killed, 25,000 wounded and an untold number of Iraqis. A big banner on the carrier read Mission Accomplished. The White House said it was set up spontaneously by crewmen, but later admitted it was conceived, printed and hung by West Wing functionaries.
My best investment since Billy Carter's Billy Beer.