2.25.2011

Undated: 'When I am an old woman ...'

"Warning" is a 1961 poem by British author Jenny Joseph about the delights of growing older. The first two lines:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.

The poem appeared in the 1974 poetry collection "Rose in the Afternoon." In the late 1990s the reference to a red hat inspired the creation of The Red Hat Society.

* Watch Joseph read "Warning": @
* Poem in full: @
* Short biographies of Joseph: @ and @
* Red Hat Society website: @

2.23.2011

Thursday, February 23, 1961: Duncan Carse

Polar explorer Duncan Carse sets up camp on the remote island of South Georgia, about 1,000 miles off the southeastern tip of South America. Carse, who had helped map the island in the 1950s, hoped to stay there -- all alone -- for 18 months and do scientific research. His plan went awry in May when much of his gear was swept away by high waves; he was rescued in September by a passing ship.

Carse also worked for the BBC before and after his expedition. The photo is from 1949, when Carse was the main character's voice on the radio drama "Dick Barton, Special Agent."

Watch "Survival in Limbo" (BBC documentary):
* Part 1: @
* Part 2: @
* Part 3: @
* Part 4: @
* Part 5: @
* Part 6: @

* "An experiment in loneliness" (New Scientist, September 22, 1950): @
* "The Forgotten Man of the Atlantic" (2007 article from The Guardian newspaper): @
* 2004 obituary from The Times newspaper: @
* Obituary from The Telegraph newspaper: @
* South Georgia map: @
* South Georgia government website: @

2.21.2011

Tuesday, February 21, 1961: Electrical resistor

Otis Boykin receives a patent on a versatile, durable, inexpensive electrical resistor, which would find use in such devices as radios, TVs, computers and guided missiles. It was but one of many contributions to electronics by Boykin, who also invented a regulating device for a heart pacemaker.

* Short biography of Boykin (from MIT): @
* Short biography (from the book "African Americans in Science, Math and Invention"): @
* Documents and drawings from United States Patent Office: @

2.16.2011

Thursday, February 16, 1961: DuSable Museum of African American History

What was then called the Ebony Museum of Negro History and Art opened its doors in the Chicago home of Charles and Margaret Burroughs (left). It was the first museum in the U.S. devoted to black history and culture. It was later renamed in 1968 to honor Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable, a Haitian regarded as Chicago's first permanent settler.

* Summary (from Encylopedia of Chicago): @
* Museum website: @
* Watch documentary on museum: @
* Short biography of du Sable from DuSable Heritage Association: @

2.15.2011

Wednesday, February 15, 1961: U.S. figure skating team

The entire U.S. figure skating team -- 18 skaters -- dies when their plane crashes near Brussels, Belgium. The team (along with coaches, officials and family members) was en route to Prague, Czechoslovakia, for the world championships, which were cancelled in the wake of the accident.

* Accident description (from Aviation Safety Network): @
* Crash site footage: @
* U.S. Figure Skating Memorial Fund (established after crash): @
* "Remembering Flight 548" (2000 series from Boston Globe): @
* Footage of Laurence Owen at U.S. National Championships (January 29, 1961): @
* Sports Illustrated (February 13, 1961) -- Cover: @ Story: @
* "Never to Skate Again" (Life magazine, February 24, 1961): @
* "Rise" (2011 movie): @

2.12.2011

Sunday, February 12, 1961: Venera-1

The Soviet Union launches the first interplanetary exploration spacecraft. Venera-1's mission was to send back information as it flies past Venus. A week after launch, communications with the craft were lost; Venera-1 passed near Venus in May and entered into orbit around the sun.

* NASA summary: @
* "The Soviet Exploration of Venus" (from mentallandscape.com): @
* Summary of Venera program (from Case Western Reserve University): @
* Graphic: @

2.09.2011

Thursday, February 9, 1961: The Beatles at The Cavern Club

The band plays a lunchtime gig at Liverpool's Cavern Club, the first of nearly 300 appearances there through August 1963.

* Summary (from thebeatlesbible.com): @
* Summary (from the book "Beatles-Discography.com"): @
* Account from a club regular: @
* About the club (from cavernclub.org): @
* 1961 appearances and photos (from beatlesource.com): @


Undated: '7 Days to Better Bowling'

This 1961 album "has been specifically designed to adapt to the schedule of the busy executive or career woman." It includes these instructions: "Listen to the record while in a relaxed, comfortable position. ... Should you be fortunate enough to relax to the point of drowsiness or sleep, you will receive even more rapid benefit ... since the instruction is directed primarily to your sub-conscious mind." However, it also includes this disclaimer: "This recording is for right-handed bowlers only."

* Album front: @
* Album back: @
* Watch Brunswick ad from 1961: @
* Watch 1961 episode of "Jackpot Bowling," hosted by Milton Berle and guest-starring Debbie Reynolds: @ and @

2.04.2011

Saturday, February 4, 1961: Lenny Bruce at Carnegie Hall

Controversial comedian Lenny Bruce takes the stage at New York's Carnegie Hall at midnight and delivers a nearly two-hour performance that is considered among his finest. It is recorded for the album "The Carnegie Hall Concert."

* Album liner notes: @
* Listen to "How to Relax Your Colored Friends at Parties" (not part of Carnegie Hall show): @
* Links to books, records, movies: @
* Chronology: @
* The Official Lenny Bruce Website (maintained by his daughter, Kitty Bruce): @

2.03.2011

Friday, February 3, 1961: Operation Looking Glass

The United States' Strategic Air Command sends a specially outfitted Boeing EC-135 plane into the air. Its purpose is to allow the U.S. government to retain control of its nuclear arsenal in the event of an attack on the country, particularly the SAC command post in Omaha, Nebraska. Flying in shifts, EC-135s are aloft 24 hours a day.

* Summary (from nebraskastudies.org): @
* Summary (from Federation of American Scientists): @
* "America's Top-Secret Doomsday Plan" (Popular Mechanics, May 1994): @
* EC-135 entry from Strategic Air and Space Museum: @
* U.S. Strategic Command website: @

2.02.2011

Undated: The films of Sid Davis

A stand-in for John Wayne in several movies, Sid Davis makes a short educational film in 1950 called "The Dangerous Stranger," warning young people to be wary of adults they don't know, and what can happen if they're not. (Wayne put up the money for the production.) Davis would go on to make more than 180 such films. Two of the more memorable were released in 1961: "Boys Beware" (about homosexual predators) and "Girls Beware" (about the risks faced by teenage girls).

* Watch "Boys Beware": @
* Watch "Girls Beware": @
* Watch "Dangerous Stranger": @
* Partial list of movies: @
* Davis talks about his early years in Hollywood: @
* New York Times obituary: @
* Los Angeles Times obituary: @
* "Mental Hygiene: Better Living Through Classroom Films 1945 - 1970" (book by Ken Smith): @

2.01.2011

Wednesday, February 1, 1961: 'The Misfits'

Starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift and Eli Wallach, the movie premieres in New York. It was Gable's last film (he died on November 16, 1960) and the last film that Monroe finished before her death in 1962.

* Summary (from tcm.com): @
* Movie trailer: @
* "Great Performances: Making 'The Misfits' " (from PBS): @
* "The Filming of an Unsettling Desert Classic" (from desertusa.com): @
* New York Times review: @

Blog archive

E-mail and Twitter

Send to: @
Follow:
@