The first edition of the National Geographic Magazine was published by the National Geographic Society.
The National Geographic Society was established in Washington D.C. in January 1888. Founded by just thirty-three men, the Society’s first President was the lawyer and financier Gardiner Greene Hubbard whose lay interest in science and geography perfectly embodied the Society’s creation ‘for the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge’.
Nine months after the Society’s foundation, the first edition of its journal was sent to its 165 charter members. Consisting mostly of short technical articles, the magazine struggled to increase its readership for the first few years of its existence. Following the election of Alexander Graham Bell as President and the appointment of the new editor Gilbert H. Grosvenor, the early 1900s saw the magazine begin to focus more on pictorial content. Although criticised by some members of the Board of Managers for being ‘unscientific’, the increasing use of often pioneering photographs soon helped to secure a much wider audience.
Initially only available to members of the National Geographic Society, the magazine is now available to purchase on newsstands and through direct subscription around the world. The creation of nearly 40 different local-language editions has resulted in a global circulation of more than 6.5 million copies per month, reaching an estimated 60 million readers. Revenue from sales of the magazine help to fund scientific expeditions and scientific research as well as sponsor travelling exhibitions, making the National Geographic Society one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational organisations in the world.
On the 19th September 1970 the first Glastonbury Festival took place at Worthy Farm in Somerset. Organised by dairy farmer Michael Eavis, the event was billed as the Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival and attracted 1,500 people who paid a pound each to see a number of bands on a single stage and drink as much milk as they wanted.
The two-day festival was inspired by Eavis’ visit to the nearby Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music albeit on a much smaller scale. Described by performer Ian Anderson as ‘ramshackle’ the festival was a very laid-back affair. With a stage constructed of scaffolding and plywood, security provided by local Hell’s Angels, and with the Kinks pulling out from the headline spot, there was no indication from the first festival of the size and significance that the event would become.
It’s said that the Kinks’ Ray Davies had got a doctor’s note to say he had a throat infection and couldn’t sing after reading in Melody Maker that the event was only a ‘mini-festival’. However, Eavis struck lucky by securing T.Rex as replacement headliners just as Ride a White Swan was about to take the number 1 spot in the charts.
Despite the legends associated with Glastonbury, Marc Bolan’s experience of the first festival wasn’t entirely positive – his fancy car got covered in mud, and Eavis was only able to pay his fee in installments. Despite the great time had by everybody, the festival ultimately lost £1,500 and was only resurrected the next year thanks to money from its supporters.
The body of actress Peg Entwistle was found in a ravine below the Hollywoodland sign in Los Angeles.
Millicent Lillian Entwistle was born in Wales to English parents, but had settled in New York with her actor father by 1916. After he died in 1922, the fourteen year old Peg and her two half-brothers were cared for by their uncle who had also moved to New York.
Within a few years Entwistle had followed her father into the theatre, and she appeared in ten Broadway plays between 1926 and 1932. She also toured the United States, but in 1932 settled in Los Angeles where she lived with her uncle on Beachwood Drive. Entwistle’s performance in a sold-out production of The Mad Hopes secured glowing reviews and, having lost out on the lead role in Bill of Divorcement to Katharine Hepburn, she was given a supporting role in the RKO film Thirteen Women. However, her contract with the studio was not renewed. The actress’s uncle later told the police that by September she was ‘suffering an intense mental anguish.’
By 1932 a large advertising sign on Mount Lee for the new Hollywoodland housing development had become an iconic feature of the Los Angeles skyline. It was here that the distraught Entwistle headed on 16 September, having told her uncle that she was walking to a nearby drugstore and then paying a visit to some friends.
Two days later LAPD received an anonymous call from a hiker informing them that she had found a woman’s purse, shoes and jacket near the sign. Inside the purse was a suicide note. Officers soon located the body of a young blonde woman in the ravine below, which was later identified by Entwistle’s uncle. The police came to the conclusion that the 24 year old had climbed a workman’s ladder behind the letter ‘H’ and thrown herself to her death.
On the 13th September 1985, the Super Mario Bros. video game was released in Japan. Originally only available for the Japanese Family Computer, it took nearly another two years for the game to be available worldwide following the release of the iconic 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System or NES home video game console.
The Italian-American plumber Mario, and his younger brother Luigi, had first appeared in a video game called simply Mario Bros. in 1983. Super Mario Bros. was therefore a pseudo-sequel in that it featured the same characters, but the gameplay was dramatically different. It popularised side-scrolling platform games, and spawned a whole series of successors. The success of Super Mario Bros. played a major role in reversing the early-1980s crash in the American video games industry, and confirmed its creator Shigeru Miyamoto’s position as one of the leading forces in video game design.
Super Mario Bros. received positive reviews at the time, and is still regarded as one of the best –if not the best – video game of all time. This has led to it spawning a vast number of successors and being re-released on a number of occasions for subsequent Nintendo gaming platforms. In some cases even the original bugs have been left in place for the sake of authenticity.
As well as appearing in video games, the Super Mario Bros. have also starred in their own TV show and a feature film. Even the music from the game is iconic, with the three-bar introduction to the first level being proclaimed the most memorable video game theme in history.
American rock band Nirvana released the critically acclaimed single “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.
Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic formed Nirvana in 1987. After a succession of drummers they recruited Dave Grohl in 1990, with whom they signed to DGC Records and soon began recording the album Nevermind. Cobain was initially reluctant to include “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as he was reportedly concerned that it sounded too similar to songs by the Pixies, a band whose music he had long admired and attempted to emulate. However, he was eventually persuaded by the other band members and producer Butch Vig.
The song title was inspired by graffiti scrawled on Cobain’s wall by Kathleen Hanna, singer with feminist punk band Bikini Kill. The message, ‘Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit’ was a reference to how the Nirvana frontman had been marked by his girlfriend’s deodorant, the popular Teen Spirit brand produced by Mennen.
When Cobain shared the main guitar riff and chorus melody with the rest of the band, Novoselic is said to have described it as ‘ridiculous’. Despite such blunt criticism, the band played the riff repeatedly and, after an hour and a half of experimentation, they had agreed to slow down the tempo while Grohl added his iconic drum intro. A rough demo recording was sent to their producer, who immediately heard the song’s potential.
The single was released to radio on 27 August, and to the public on 10 September. Intended to consolidate and build Nirvana’s core following, neither DGC Records nor the band members themselves expected the single to take off in the way it did. The music video took MTV by storm and within weeks, it had catapulted alternative rock and the grunge genre into the mainstream.
The English writer Daniel Defoe was put in the pillory for seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet.
Defoe had authored a number of political pamphlets by the time he published The Shortest Way with the Dissenters, which satirised the increasing hostility towards religious Dissenters after Queen Anne succeeded to the throne. Also known as nonconformists, the term applied to a range of Protestant denominations that had broken away from the Anglican High church over the course of the previous century, and who were often the target for criticism and persecution.
Shortly after Anne came to the throne parliament began to debate a Bill that would make it more difficult for Dissenters to hold public office. In its wake, High church clergymen and the Tory press published numerous sermons and pamphlets warning against Dissenters assuming positions of political power.
Defoe himself was a Presbyterian, who responded with a pamphlet of his own. Written as a satire from the point of view of the High church and Tory arguments, Defoe later explained that he sought to mock them by taking their arguments to the extreme. However, the pamphlet was initially taken seriously by both sides and ultimately led to the Tory ministry of the time coming under scrutiny for their handling of the issue of Dissenters.
Despite publishing the pamphlet anonymously, Defoe was identified and later found guilty of seditious libel. He was sentenced to endure public humiliation in a pillory, and then to be imprisoned until he paid a punitive fine that he was unlikely ever to afford. While in the pillory the public allegedly threw flowers at him instead of the customary unpleasant objects. He was later released from prison after his fine was paid in return for him agreeing to work for the Tories.
Bugs Bunny made his first appearance in the Merrie Melodies cartoon A Wild Hare.
A wisecracking rabbit voiced by Mel Blanc had first appeared in 1938’s Porky’s Hare Hunt. However, it wasn’t until two years later that director Tex Avery asked the animator Bob Givens to redesign the character as the bold tormentor of the hunter, Elmer Fudd.
In the cartoon A Wild Hare Fudd tries numerous times to shoot Bugs Bunny with his double-barrelled shotgun. In one sequence where Elmer tries to dig out the rabbit from his hole, Bugs emerges from another exit to deliver his catchphrase for the first time. Tex Avery later explained that the phrase ‘What’s up, Doc?’ was a common expression where he grew up in Texas, but audiences around the country found the rabbit’s delivery of it hilarious and this guaranteed its inclusion in all subsequent Bugs Bunny cartoons.
A Wild Hare was an immediate hit with the public when it was released in cinemas on 27 July 1940, and later received an Academy Award nomination for Best Cartoon Short Subject. Within two years Bugs Bunny had become the biggest star of the Merrie Melodies series of cartoons, and was used during the Second World War in propaganda against the Axis as a well as to advertise War Bonds.
His regular appearances during the war saw Bugs Bunny become a military mascot. He was even made an honorary master sergeant in the United States Marine Corps after appearing in the dress blue uniform of the Marines in 1943’s Super-Rabbit.
By the time Bugs Bunny was retired from regular releases in 1964 he had appeared in more than 160 short films and won an Academy Award for Knighty Knight Bugs in 1958. He only began to appear again in animated specials and films from the late 1970s.
The Hollywood Bowl opened in Bolton Canyon near Los Angeles.
The natural amphitheatre that later became home to the Hollywood Bowl was originally a Cahuenga Indian ceremonial ground. Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, by 1919 it had become known as Daisy Dell and was a popular picnic spot with Los Angeles families. That year it was bought as part of a 59 acre purchase of land by the newly-formed Theatre Arts Alliance, who were keen to find a location to stage outdoor productions.
Alliance members William and H. Ellis Reed identified the natural amphitheatre and, on their advice, the Alliance purchased the site for $47,000. A female pianist, believed to be local woman Carrie Jacobs Bond, subsequently tested the acoustics by playing a piano placed on a barn door in approximately the same location as the venue’s iconic band shell.
Although the Alliance was restructured the following year, the site itself quickly became a popular venue for productions ranging from choral concerts to Shakespeare plays. The first Easter Sunrise Service was performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in March 1921 without any formal structure in place, and even when the venue formally opened as the Hollywood Bowl on 11 July 1922 the stage was a simple wooden platform covered with a canvas awning while the audience sat on moveable wooden benches.
Within just four years, however, the Bowl had become so popular that permanent seating was installed along with a band shell that further helped to reflect sound towards the audience. It has since become one of the most iconic live music venues in the world, and continues to be the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
On the 6th July 1957, John Lennon and Paul McCartney of The Beatles met for the first time at the St. Peter’s Church garden fête in Woolton, Liverpool. Lennon was playing guitar with his skiffle band, The Quarrymen, who were performing on a bill beneath the Liverpool police dogs display team and the Band of the Cheshire Yeomanry.
McCartney arrived at the fair in the late afternoon, where the band had already begun playing. According to McCartney’s own recollection of the day they were halfway through the song Come Go With Me by American doo-wop group The Del-Vikings that had been released the previous year.
Following their afternoon performance, the Quarrymen went inside the church hall opposite the fête to set up for an evening ‘Grand Dance’ at which they had also been booked to play. It was here that the band’s sometime tea-chest bass player Ivan Vaughan introduced McCartney, with whom he was at school.
McCartney showed the band how to tune a guitar to standard tuning instead of the open G banjo tuning they used, and then sang some rock n roll including Twenty Flight Rock, Be-Bop-A-Lula and a medley of Little Richard songs. Lennon was apparently impressed with McCartney’s musicianship and later that night agreed with the Quarrymen’s washboard player, Pete Shotton, that they should invite him to join the band. After a Scout camp in the Derbyshire Peak District, he accepted.
Lennon and McCartney both stayed in touch with Ivan Vaughan. His wife – a languages teacher – later helped McCartney to write the French lyrics for the Rubber Soul song Michelle.
The Globe Theatre in London burned to the ground during a performance of Henry VIII.
The Globe Theatre was situated on the southern side of the River Thames near today’s Southwark Bridge. It was owned by shareholders who were actors in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men whose lease had expired on their previous venue. On 28th December 1598, while the landowner was celebrating Christmas, they dismantled the old building and transported its timbers across the river to construct the Globe. Completed in 1599, the three-storey amphitheatre had an open-air standing space at its centre while the surrounding galleries were roofed with inexpensive but highly flammable thatch.
The play All is True, which was later referred to as Henry VIII was staged at the Globe in 1613. In the play the king attends a ball at Cardinal Wolsey’s house, and his arrival was heralded on stage with the firing of a cannon. A number of contemporary accounts record that during a performance on 29 June the cannon situated close to the roof misfired and set fire to the thatching.
Sir Henry Wotton recorded how the blaze ‘kindled inwardly, and ran round like a train, consuming within less than an hour the whole house to the very ground.’ The account goes on to describe how one man whose breeches were set on fire extinguished the flames by pouring a bottle of ale over himself.
The Globe was rebuilt with a tile roof, and it continued operating until 1642 when it closed as a casualty of Parliament’s ban on theatrical plays. The entire structure was demolished a few years later to make way for tenement housing yet, despite the Restoration overturning the theatrical ban in 1660, the Globe was never rebuilt. A modern reconstruction opened in 1997 near the original site.