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.
The International Olympic Committee was founded at the Sorbonne in Paris.
Prior to the ICO’s establishment by Pierre de Coubertin, the British physician Dr William Penny Brookes had established the Wenlock Olympian Games in the English market town of Much Wenlock. Although he always maintained that he had the idea of reviving the ancient Olympic Games for amateur athletes himself, Coubertin entered correspondence with Brookes and benefited from his connections with the Greek government.
Coubertin was the secretary general of the Union of French Sports Associations and first proposed establishing the modern games at its meeting on 25 November 1892. Although his enthusiasm was met with little more than general applause, Coubertin was not deterred and began to lay the groundwork for what was to become the first Olympic Congress at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1894.
Having initially invited participants to a meeting entitled ‘Reflections on and Propagation of the Principles of Amateurism’, Coubertin later changed the name to a ‘Congress on the Revival of the Olympic Games’. 79 delegates from 9 countries subsequently met at the Sorbonne, although Coubertin himself recognised that there still little enthusiasm for reviving the games.
Despite this, a vote was held at the final meeting of the congress on 23 June that established the International Olympic Committee. Coubertin was elected to the role of general secretary with the Greek businessman and writer Demetrios Vikelas as the first president. It was further agreed that the first modern Olympic Games would take place in Athens in 1896 with the second in Paris four years later. The IOC has remained responsible for the Olympic Games ever since.
Authorities in the Californian city of Santa Cruz banned rock and roll music at public gatherings.
The previous evening had seen around 200 teenagers attend a concert at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium by the Los Angeles-based Chuck Higgins and his Orchestra. Higgins and an earlier band, the Mellotones, had scored a West Coast hit four years earlier with the saxophone instrumental “Pachuko Hop”. This jump blues single has since been described as one of the key releases that bridged the upbeat jazz styles of the 1940s to the frenetic rhythm and blues that was to emerge the following decade.
Shortly after midnight members of the Santa Cruz police, under the command of Lieutenant Richard Overton, entered the venue and shut down the concert. He later described the predominantly teenage crowd inside the auditorium as being ‘engaged in suggestive, stimulating and tantalizing motions induced by the provocative rhythms of an all-negro band.’
The next day the Santa Cruz authorities announced an outright ban on rock and roll music, with the justification that ‘rock and roll and other forms of frenzied music [were] detrimental to both the health and morals of our youth and community.’
According to a report in a local newspaper from the time, the Chief of Police had said that, ‘we have nothing against rock and roll music…it’s just what some people do while listening to it.’ Within days, however, Santa Cruz’s teenagers had begun to protest against the ban. In response City Manager Robert Klein announced that the music, ‘along with other harmless types of swing music, enjoyable to young and old’ was welcome. Despite this, a scheduled concert by another rock and roll artist was cancelled by the auditorium manager.
On 15th May 1928, the first animated cartoon to feature Mickey and Minnie Mouse was shown to a theatre audience. However, the cartoon that was shown that day was not Steamboat Willie, which is the cartoon most people know as Mickey Mouse’s debut. In fact Mickey’s first animated appearance was in a silent short called Plane Crazy, but the cartoon failed to secure a distributor until a soundtrack was added a year later. It was finally released on the 29th March 1929, 11 months after its first – silent – showing.
The Mickey shown in Plane Crazy is nothing like the mouse we know today. Whereas the modern Mickey is caring and compassionate, in Plane Crazy he was rather mischievous and – some might say – cruel. In his first appearance he was aggressive towards Minnie, and took dangerous risks when flying the aeroplane that is central to the storyline. Visually he was also different – he didn’t wear his famous gloves, or shoes. These developments came much later, and demonstrate how rough the original ideas for Mickey Mouse really were.
Although it was an underwhelming first appearance for Mickey, Plane Crazy was an important release for the Disney studio. Animated almost exclusively by Disney’s trusted friend Ub Iwerks, it featured a range of highly developed techniques including the very first animated Point Of View sequence and a range of sophisticated perspectives. Although it has since been overshadowed by the success of Steamboat Willie, Plane Crazy is still a vitally important part of animation history.
West Germany’s Federal Archives revealed that forensic tests proved the Hitler Diaries were forgeries.
In the final days of the Second World War, an aeroplane carrying some of Hitler’s closest staff members crashed near the German border with Czechoslovakia. Hitler’s personal valet, Sergeant Wilhelm Arndt, was killed and the personal effects he was carrying on behalf of the Fuhrer were lost. On hearing of the crash, Hitler allegedly exclaimed that, ‘In that plane were all my private archives that I had intended as a testament to posterity. It is a catastrophe!’ Journalist Robert Harris later described this possibility of lost documents belong to Hitler as providing ‘the perfect scenario for forgery’.
A series of diaries purporting to be the lost journals of Adolf Hitler were later forged by Konrad Kujau. Posing as a Stuttgart antiques dealer, he successfully struck a deal with journalist Gerd Heidemann who had convinced his bosses at the newspaper Stern to buy the diaries. They eventually handed over 9.9 million Deutsche marks for 62 volumes, and sold the serial rights to other publications.
Authenticity of the diaries was originally confirmed by historians including Hugh Trevor-Roper and Gerhard Weinberg, but they grew more sceptical as the April 1983 publication date approached. The newspaper subsequently submitted three volumes to the Bundesarchiv for forensic examination. Initial tests highlighted both textual inconsistencies and the presence of materials that didn’t exist until a decade after their alleged creation.
More volumes were submitted for further tests and, on 6 May, the government formally announced that they were forgeries. Kujau was later arrested and imprisoned while the journalist, Heidemann, was found to have skimmed money from Stern’s payments for which he too was sent to jail.
On the 1st May 1952, Mr Potato Head first went on sale. The idea for making a “funny face man” using a vegetable and plastic body parts was first proposed by George Lerner from Brooklyn in the 1940s. In 1951 he successfully sold the idea to a breakfast cereal manufacturer who planned to include the accessories in their cereal packets, but when the Hassenfeld brothers – the founders of Hasbro – met with Lerner later that year they agreed to buy the concept back off the cereal company and to produce and market Mr Potato Head as a toy.
The day before Mr Potato Head was released, he featured in the first ever television advert for a child’s toy that was aimed directly at children. This revolutionary marketing worked, and led to over a million Mr Potato Head kits being sold in the first year alone.
Unlike the modern Mr Potato Head, the original released in 1952 only included plastic body parts and accessories. Customers were expected to supply their own potato for the body itself, something that led some members of the public to criticize the toy for encouraging food waste in the aftermath of wartime rationing. However, twelve years passed before a plastic potato body was included with Mr Potato Head – and all because of government safety regulations. The plastic parts needed to become less sharp, meaning that a real potato was also too difficult to puncture. It wasn’t until the 1980s, however, that Mr Potato Head took on the shape we now recognise.
On the 23rd April 1985 the Coca-Cola Company introduced “the new taste of Coca-Cola”, when they replaced the original Coca-Cola formula with a new version. Marking the first major formula change in 99 years, ‘new Coke’ is widely heralded as one of the biggest marketing failures in history. However, the short-term problems arising from its introduction were far outweighed by the sales boost achieved when the company reintroduced the old formula as ‘Coca-Cola Classic’.
The new formula was introduced as a response to Pepsi’s increasing market share, where by 1983 Pepsi was outselling Coke in American supermarkets. This prompted Coke executives to begin ‘Project Kansas’ – secret research and development focused on reformulating the drink to challenge the sweeter taste of Pepsi. Taste tests were overwhelmingly positive and, even after the new formula was introduced to the market place, surveys suggested that the majority of drinkers liked the new taste. However, a small but vocal minority spoke out against it.
As criticism emerged in the press, it became clear to Coca-Cola executives that the issue was not a problem with the introduction of the new formula but the fact that it completely replaced the old one. When the company reintroduced the old formula three months later, there was a surge in sales of ‘Coca-Cola Classic’. In the words of marketing Vice-President Sergio Zyman, rather than being a marketing failure, “New Coke was a success because it revitalized the brand and reattached the public to Coke.”
On 15th April 1755, Samuel Johnson published “A Dictionary of the English Language” in London. Johnson was not the first to write a dictionary, but his was the most comprehensive and detailed to date. The finished book contained 42,773 words, each of which featured notes on each word’s usage. Perhaps most astounding is the fact that Johnson wrote the entire dictionary himself, taking 9 years to do so, and earning the modern
equivalent of £210,000 British pounds for his efforts.
Johnson’s book was by no means the first dictionary to be produced – as far as we’re aware that accolade goes to Sir Thomas Elyot, who was the first to publish a book called a Dictionary in 1538 while working for Henry VIII. However, it’s generally accepted that Johnson’s dictionary was the ‘go to’ reference for the English language until the publication of the first Oxford English Dictionary in 1888 – 173 years after Johnson published his.
Despite the impact of Johnson’s dictionary, it would be fair to say that it created a number of problems that the modern English language has inherited. His spellings have become standard, despite them having a number of inconsistencies. However, as Johnson himself wrote in a letter to an Italian lexicographer in 1784, “Dictionaries are like watches: the worst is better than none, and the best cannot be expected to go quite true.”