#AtoZChallenge – We Didn’t Start the Fire from A to Z: Walter Winchell, Woodstock, Watergate and Wheel of Fortune

WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE

FROM A TO Z

On September 27, 1989, the iconic song by Billy Joel,  We Didn’t Start the Fire hit the airwaves.  It was a history lesson set to music.  When you first heard the song, did you know or remember all the people places, things and events mentioned in the lyrics?  I sure didn’t.  Back in 1989 before the internet was something everyone had access to, my boyfriend (now husband) and I headed to the local public library and looked up all the historical references.  This month, for the A to Z Challenge, I am writing about that history.

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

 

1949 –Walter Winchell

Walter Winchell (April 7, 1897 – February 20, 1972) was an American newspaper and radio gossip commentator, famous for attempting to destroy the careers of people both private and public whom he disliked. During the 1950s, Winchell supported Senator Joseph McCarthy‘s quest to identify Communists in the entertainment industry, but his popularity and influence began to decline as the public turned against McCarthy. 

Walter Winchell is an aggressive radio and newspaper journalist credited with inventing the gossip column.

Walter Winchell was an aggressive radio and newspaper journalist credited with inventing the gossip column.

1969 – Woodstock
On August 15, 1969, the Woodstock Music Festival opened on a farm in White Lake in the town of Bethel in upstate New York.
Woodstock: Famous rock and roll festival of 1969 that came to be the epitome of the counterculture movement.

Woodstock: Famous rock and roll festival of 1969 that came to be the epitome of the counterculture movement.

Promoters John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfield and Michael Lang originally envisioned the festival as a way to raise funds to build a recording studio and rock-and-roll retreat near the town of Woodstock, New York.

Woodstock promoters: John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfeld, Mike Lang

Woodstock promoters: John Roberts, Joel Rosenman,
Artie Kornfeld, Mike Lang

The longtime artists’ colony was already a home base for Bob Dylan and other musicians.

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Despite their relative inexperience, the young promoters managed to sign a roster of top acts, including the Jefferson Airplane, the Who, the Grateful Dead, Sly and the Family Stone, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival and many more.

Jefferson Airplane

Jefferson Airplane

The Who

The Who

The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead

slyandthefamilystone_woodstock_JasonLaureThe_ImageWorks

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Jimi Hendricks

Jimi Hendricks

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Plans for the festival were on the verge of foundering, however, after both Woodstock and the nearby town of Wallkill denied permission to hold the event, dairy farmer Max Yasgur came to the rescue at the last minute, giving the promoters access to his 600 acres of land in Bethel, some 50 miles from Woodstock.

220px-Max_yasgur

Max Yasgur, owner of the farm used for the festival

Farm used for the festival

Farm used for the festival

Early estimates of attendance increased from 50,000 to around 200,000, but by the time the gates opened on Friday, August 15, more than 400,000 people were clamoring to get in. Those without tickets simply walked through gaps in the fences, and the organizers were eventually forced to make the event free of charge.

woodstock-crowd

Folk singer and guitarist Richie Havens kicked off the event with a long set, and Joan Baez and Arlo Guthrie also performed on Friday night.

Richie Havens opens Woodstock Festival

Richie Havens opens Woodstock Festival

Joan Baez

Joan Baez

Arlo Guthrie

Arlo Guthrie

Somewhat improbably, the chaotic gathering of half a million young “hippies” lived up to its billing of “Three Days of Peace and Music.” There were surprisingly few incidents of violence on the overcrowded grounds.  A number of musicians performed songs expressing their opposition to the Vietnam War.

Among the many great moments at the Woodstock Music Festival were career-making performances by up-and-coming acts like Santana, Joe Cocker and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; the Who’s early-morning set featuring songs from their classic rock opera “Tommy.”

Santana

Santana

Joe Cocker

Joe Cocker

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young

The closing set by Hendrix, which climaxed with an improvised solo guitar performance of “The Star Spangled Banner.” (I don’t own this video but share for education purposes)

 

Though Woodstock had left its promoters nearly bankrupt, their ownership of the film and recording rights more than compensated for the losses after the release of a hit documentary film in 1970.

warners_woodstock_poster

Later music festivals inspired by Woodstock’s success failed to live up to its standard, and the festival still stands for many as a example of America’s 1960s youth counterculture at its best.

To see some really great photographs of the atmosphere that was Woodstock, check out the work of Dan Garson:  A Teenager’s Look at Woodstock

A FEW FACTS:

Source: By John W. Barry, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal

Where’s the paper trail? There are no records of any permit issued by Bethel, N.Y., granting permission for the Woodstock Music & Art Fair to be held on Max Yasgur’s farm in 1969, says Bethel town clerk Rita Sheehan.

Can they feed half a million? Documents from the Sullivan County Historical Society show that Food for Love, the company hired to provide food, made the following projections based on 50,000 people a day for a three-day festival. (Of course more then 400,000 people came so I guess food was a problem)

A sampling of the food list:

Bread: 30,000 loaves
Marshmallows: 10,000 packages
Peanut butter: 1,500 pounds
Napkins: 600,000
Milk: 20,000 gallons
Cheese: 5,000 pounds
Coffee: 2,000 pounds
Plastic eating utensils: 900,000 pieces
Ice: 450,00 pounds

 THE ARTISTS’ PAYCHECKS
Fees paid to bands that played the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in 1969, from organizer Michael Lang’s book The Road to Woodstock:Jimi Hendrix: $32,000
The Band: $15,000
Janis Joplin: $15,000
Jefferson Airplane: $15,000
Canned Heat: $12,500
Joan Baez: $10,000
Creedence Clearwater Revival: $10,000
Crosby, Stills & Nash: $10,000
Grateful Dead $7,500
Richie Havens: $6,000
Arlo Guthrie: $5,000
Incredible String Band: $4,500
Ravi Shankar: $4,500
Tim Hardin: $2,000
Santana: $1,500

 

1974 – Watergate

Events in the summer of 1972 resulted in the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon by 1974.  Early on the morning of June 17, 1972, a crime with astronomical political fall-out is committed and five men are arrested.  Their crime was breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office-hotel-apartment complex in Washington, D.C.

Watergate Hotel

Watergate Hotel

The political fall-out, the resignation of the President of the United States; however on the day of the arrest, the connection to Richard Millhouse Nixon was unknown.  These men were caught with burglary tools, cameras and film, and three pen-size tear gas guns. At the scene of the crime, in rooms the men rented at the Watergate, sophisticated electronic bugging equipment was found. Three of the men were Cuban exiles, one was a Cuban American, and the fifth was James W. McCord, Jr., a former CIA agent. That day, the suspects, who said they were “anti-communists,” were charged with felonious burglary and possession of implements of crime.

Conspirators

On June 18, however, it was revealed that James McCord was the salaried security coordinator for President Richard Nixon’s reelection committee.

PHOTO: Electronics expert and former CIA agent James W. McCord was arrested in connection. Metropolitan Police/AP Photo

PHOTO: Electronics expert and former CIA agent James W. McCord was arrested in connection. Metropolitan Police/AP Photo

The next day, E. Howard Hunt, Jr., a former White House aide, was linked to the five suspects.  In July, G. Gordon Liddy, finance counsel for the Committee for the Re-election of the President, was also implicated as an accomplice.

E. Howard Hunt, G. Gordon Liddy

E. Howard Hunt, G. Gordon Liddy

In August, President Nixon announced that a White House investigation of the Watergate break-in had concluded that administration officials were not involved. In September, Liddy, Hunt, McCord, and the four Cubans were indicted by a federal grand jury on eight counts of breaking into and illegally bugging the Democratic National Committee headquarters.  If you know anything about Watergate, you know that it did not end there.

W is also for Woodward and Berstein and Washington Post

In September and October, reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of The Washington Post uncovered evidence of illegal political espionage carried out by the White House and the Committee for the Re-election of the President, including the existence of a secret fund kept for the purpose and the existence of political spies hired by the committee. Despite these reports, and a growing call for a Watergate investigation on Capitol Hill, Richard Nixon was reelected president in November 1972 in a landslide victory.

Reporters Bob Woodward, right, and Carl Bernstein, whose reporting of the Watergate case won them a Pulitzer Prize, sit in the newsroom of the Washington Post in Washington May 7, 1973. (AP Photo)

Reporters Bob Woodward, right, and Carl Bernstein, whose reporting of the Watergate case won them a Pulitzer Prize, sit in the newsroom of the Washington Post in Washington May 7, 1973. (AP Photo)

In January 1973, five of the Watergate burglars pleaded guilty, and two others, Liddy and McCord, were convicted. At their sentencing on March 23, U.S. District Court Judge John J. Sirica read a letter from McCord charging that the White House had conducted an extensive “cover-up” to conceal its connection with the break-in. In April, Attorney General Richard Kleindienst and two top White House advisers, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, resigned, and White House counsel John Dean was fired.

watergate_graphic

On May 17, 1973, the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, headed by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina, began televised proceedings on the rapidly escalating Watergate affair.

Senators Howard Baker (R-TN) and Sam Ervin (D-NC) cast votes during the Senate Watergate Committee hearings of 1973. Seated behind the senators is the committee deputy counsel Rufus Edmisten, whose oral history interview is included in the collection of the U.S. Senate Historical Office. (Photo courtesy Senate Historical Office.)

Senators Howard Baker (R-TN) and Sam Ervin (D-NC) cast votes during the Senate Watergate Committee hearings of 1973. Seated behind the senators is the committee deputy counsel Rufus Edmisten, whose oral history interview is included in the collection of the U.S. Senate Historical Office. (Photo courtesy Senate Historical Office.)

One week later, Harvard Law professor Archibald Cox was sworn in as special Watergate prosecutor.

Archibald Cox sworn in, 5/25/73

Archibald Cox sworn in, 5/25/73

During the Senate hearings, former White House legal counsel John Dean testified that the Watergate break-in had been approved by former Attorney General John Mitchell with the knowledge of White House advisers Ehrlichman and Haldeman, and that President Nixon had been aware of the cover-up. Meanwhile, Watergate prosecutor Cox and his staff began to uncover widespread evidence of political espionage by the Nixon re-election committee, illegal wiretapping of thousands of citizens by the administration, and contributions to the Republican Party in return for political favors.

19730730_Newsweek-The_Nixon_Tapes

In July, the existence of what were to be called the Watergate tapes–official recordings of White House conversations between Nixon and his staff–was revealed during the Senate hearings. Cox subpoenaed these tapes, and after three months of delay President Nixon agreed to send summaries of the recordings. Cox rejected the summaries, and Nixon fired him. His successor as special prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, leveled indictments against several high-ranking administration officials, including Mitchell and Dean, who were duly convicted.

L JaworskiPublic confidence in the president rapidly waned, and by the end of July 1974 the House Judiciary Committee had adopted three articles of impeachment against President Nixon: obstruction of justice, abuse of presidential powers, and hindrance of the impeachment process. On July 30, under coercion from the Supreme Court, Nixon finally released the Watergate tapes. On August 5, transcripts of the recordings were released, including a segment in which the president was heard instructing Haldeman to order the FBI to halt the Watergate investigation. Four days later, Nixon became the first president in U.S. history to resign. On September 8, his successor, President Gerald Ford, pardoned him from any criminal charges.

I can remember where I was when President Nixon resigned even though I wasn’t even a teenager yet.  I was at Girl Scout Camp in New Jersey and one of counselors had us sit in the camp pavillion and listen to his resignation on the radio.  I know at the time, I didn’t really understand what the Watergate Scandal was all about.  Years later I enjoyed the movie All the Presidents Men.

1983 – Wheel of Fortune

Wheel of Fortune is an American television game show created by Merv Griffin. The show features a competition in which contestants solve word puzzles, similar to those used in Hangman, to win cash and prizes determined by spinning a giant carnival wheel.The daily syndicated version of Wheel premiered on September 19, 1983, preceded by a series of episodes taped on location at the Ohio State Fair and aired on WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio. Would you like to buy a vowel?

Wheel of Fortune: A hit television game show which has been TV's highest-rated syndicated program since 1983.

Wheel of Fortune: A hit television game show which has been TV’s highest-rated syndicated program since 1983.

#1LinerWeds – Crash

“Take it easy driving– the life you save may be mine.”
― James Dean

What a quote from James Dean considering how his life ended. Unfortunately, his statement is so true. I was in a car accident this week and the best part is that no one was hurt. One minute you could be driving along thankful that the light is green and traffic is moving and the next minute another driver wants to take away your right of way by cutting you off to turn left because of the same traffic. In an instant, you go from maybe holding onto your car for a few more years or maybe passing it onto your daughter to having to replace it now. With a crash, there is always change. Take it easy.

In case you wish to participate, the post is for One-Liner Wednesday, hosted by LindaGHill.

#AtoZChallenge – We Didn’t Start the Fire from A to Z: Vaccine

WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE

FROM A TO Z

On September 27, 1989, the iconic song by Billy Joel,  We Didn’t Start the Fire hit the airwaves.  It was a history lesson set to music.  When you first heard the song, did you know or remember all the people places, things and events mentioned in the lyrics?  I sure didn’t.  Back in 1989 before the internet was something everyone had access to, my boyfriend (now husband) and I headed to the local public library and looked up all the historical references.  This month, for the A to Z Challenge, I am writing about that history.

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it
Today is brought to you by the letter V.

The first effective polio vaccine was developed in 1952 by Jonas Salk and a team at the University of Pittsburgh that included Julius Youngner, Byron Bennett, L. James Lewis, and Lorraine Friedman, which required years of subsequent testing. Salk went on CBS radio to report a successful test on a small group of adults and children on 26 March 1953; two days later the results were published in JAMA.  Beginning 23 February 1954, the vaccine was tested at Arsenal Elementary School and the Watson Home for Children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Salk’s vaccine was then used in a test called the Francis Field Trial, led by Thomas Francis; the largest medical experiment in history at that time. The test began with approximately 4,000 children at Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, Virginia, and would eventually involve 1.8 million children, in 44 states from Maine to California. By the conclusion of the study, roughly 440,000 received one or more injections of the vaccine, about 210,000 children received a placebo, consisting of harmless culture media, and 1.2 million children received no vaccination and served as a control group, who would then be observed to see if any contracted polio.

The results of the field trial were announced 12 April 1955 (the tenth anniversary of the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose paralysis was generally believed to have been caused by polio). The Salk vaccine had been 60–70% effective against PV1 (poliovirus type 1), over 90% effective against PV2 and PV3, and 94% effective against the development of bulbar polio. Soon after Salk’s vaccine was licensed in 1955, children’s vaccination campaigns were launched. In the U.S, following a mass immunization campaign promoted by the March of Dimes, the annual number of polio cases fell from 35,000 in 1953 to 5,600 by 1957. By 1961 only 161 cases were recorded in the United States. Pierre Lépine at the Pasteur Institute in Paris nearly simultaneously announced an effective polio vaccine.

Growing up in the 1960s; I have two distinctive memories about polio. (1) I received the vaccine via a sugar cube.  As a kid, that was some event.  Who ever heard of medicine coming with sugar ; (2) The episode of the Waltons television show where the mother, Olivia Walton was diagnosed with polio (late 1930s) but she recovered.  Her recovery was sudden as she heard her youngest child, Elizabeth calling for her.  She got up from bed to go to her child and walked.

The vaccine for polio is privately tested by Jonas Salk.

#AtoZChallenge – We Didn’t Start the Fire from A to Z: U-2 (A.K.A. Bridge of Spies)

WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE

FROM A TO Z

On September 27, 1989, the iconic song by Billy Joel,  We Didn’t Start the Fire hit the airwaves.  It was a history lesson set to music.  When you first heard the song, did you know or remember all the people places, things, and events mentioned in the lyrics?  I sure didn’t.  Back in 1989 before the internet was something everyone had access to, my boyfriend (now husband) and I headed to the local public library and looked up all the historical references.  This month, for the A to Z Challenge, I am writing about that history.

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it
Today is brought to you by the letter U.
1960 – U-2
If you have seen the recent film starring Tom Hanks call “Bridge of Spies”, you know the story of U.S. pilot, Francis Gary Powers.  During the Cold War, the Soviet Union captures U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers after shooting down his U-2 spy plane. Sentenced to 10 years in prison, Powers’ only hope is New York lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks), recruited by a CIA operative to negotiate his release. Donovan boards a plane to Berlin, hoping to win the young man’s freedom through a prisoner exchange. If all goes well, the Russians would get Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), the convicted spy who Donovan defended in court.
The film is based on true events. Francis Gary Powers – often referred to as simply Gary Powers – was an American pilot whose Central Intelligence Agency U-2 spy plane was shot down while flying a reconnaissance mission in Soviet Union airspace, causing the 1960 U-2 incident.

#AtoZChallenge We Didn’t Start the Fire From A to Z: From Harry Truman to Terror on the Airline, the Letter T

WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE

FROM A TO Z

On September 27, 1989, the iconic song by Billy Joel,  We Didn’t Start the Fire hit the airwaves.  It was a history lesson set to music.  When you first heard the song, did you know or remember all the people places, things and events mentioned in the lyrics?  I sure didn’t.  Back in 1989 before the internet was something everyone had access to, my boyfriend (now husband) and I headed to the local public library and looked up all the historical references.  This month, for the A to Z Challenge, I am writing about that history.

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Today is brought to us by the letter T.

1949 – Harry Truman

Harry S. Truman’s inaugural address, known as the Four Point Speech, was delivered by United States president Harry S. Truman, on Thursday, January 20, 1949.  In a world only recently emerged from the shadow of World War II, in which freedom and human rights seemed under threat from many sides, this was Truman’s response.  He challenged both Democrats and Republicans to assist people around the world struggling for freedom and human rights; to continue programs for world economic recovery; to strengthen international organizations; and to draw on the expertise of the United States to help people across the world help themselves in the struggle against ignorance, illness, and despair.

The four points

  • First, “we will continue to give unfaltering support to the United Nations and related agencies, and we will continue to search for ways to strengthen their authority and increase their effectiveness.”
  • Second, “we will continue our programs for world economic recovery.”
  • Third, “we will strengthen freedom-loving nations against the dangers of aggression.”
  • Fourth, “we must embark on a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas.”

Harry Truman was inaugurated as U.S. president after being elected in 1948 to his own term; previously he was sworn in following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He authorized the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan during World War II, on August 6 and August 9, 1945, respectively.

 

1950 – Television

Perhaps no phenomenon shaped American life in the 1950s more than television. At the end of World War II, the television was a toy for only a few thousand wealthy Americans. Just 10 years later, nearly two-thirds of American households had a television.

Television is becoming widespread (in black and white format) and becomes the most popular means of advertising.

Television is becoming widespread (in black and white format) and becomes the most popular means of advertising.

1954 – Toscanini
Arturo Toscanini (March 25, 1867 – January 16, 1957) was an Italian conductor. He was one of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 19th and of the 20th century, renowned for his intensity, his perfectionism, his ear for orchestral detail and sonority, and his eidetic memory. He was at various times the music director of La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Later in his career, he was appointed the first music director of the NBC Symphony Orchestra (1937–54), and this led to his becoming a household name (especially in the United States) through his radio and television broadcasts and many recordings of the operatic and symphonic repertoire. In June 1954, Toscanini participated in his final recording sessions, remaking portions of two Verdi operas so they could be commercially released. Toscanini was 87 years old when he finally retired. After his retirement, the NBC Symphony was reorganized as the Symphony of the Air, making regular performances and recordings, until it was disbanded in 1963.
Arturo Toscanini is at the height of his fame as a conductor, performing regularly with the NBC Symphony Orchestra on national radio.

Arturo Toscanini is at the height of his fame as a conductor, performing regularly with the NBC Symphony Orchestra on national radio.

1956 – Trouble in the Suez

The Suez Crisis also named the Tripartite Aggression (in the Arab world) and the Kadesh Operation or Sinai War (in Israel), was an invasion of Egypt in late 1956 by Israel, followed by the United Kingdom and France. The aims were to regain Western control of the Suez Canal and to remove Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser from power. After the fighting had started, political pressure from the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Nations led to a withdrawal by the three invaders. The episode humiliated Great Britain and France and strengthened Nasser.

Trouble in the Suez: The Suez Crisis boils as Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal on October 29.

Trouble in the Suez: The Suez Crisis boils as Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal on October 29.

1976 – Terror on the airline

Operation Entebbe was a successful counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by commandos of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on 4 July 1976. A week earlier, on 27 June, an Air France plane with 248 passengers had been hijacked by two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – External Operations (PFLP-EO) under orders of Wadie Haddad (who had earlier broken away from the PFLP of George Habash), and two members of the German Revolutionary Cells. The hijackers had the stated objective to free 40 Palestinian and affiliated militants imprisoned in Israel and 13 prisoners in four other countries in exchange for the hostages. The flight, which had originated in Tel Aviv with the destination of Paris, was diverted after a stopover in Athens via Benghazi to Entebbe, the main airport of Uganda. The Ugandan government supported the hijackers, and dictator Idi Amin personally welcomed them. After moving all hostages from the aircraft to a disused airport building, the hijackers separated all Israelis and several non-Israeli Jews from the larger group and forced them into a separate room. Over the following two days, 148 non-Israeli hostages were released and flown out to Paris. Ninety-four, mainly Israeli, passengers along with the 12-member Air France crew, remained as hostages and were threatened with death.   The IDF acted on information provided by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. The hijackers threatened to kill the hostages if their prisoner release demands were not met. This threat led to the planning of the rescue operation. These plans included preparation for armed resistance from Ugandan troops.  The operation took place at night. Israeli transport planes carried 100 commandos over 2,500 miles (4,000 km) to Uganda for the rescue operation. The operation, which took a week of planning, lasted 90 minutes. Of the remaining hostages, 102 were rescued. Five Israeli commandos were wounded and one, unit commander Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, was killed. All the hijackers, three hostages, and forty-five Ugandan soldiers were killed, and thirty Soviet-built MiG-17s and MiG-21s of Uganda’s air force were destroyed. Kenyan sources supported Israel, and in the aftermath of the operation, Idi Amin issued orders to retaliate and slaughter several hundred Kenyans present in Uganda.  Operation Entebbe, which had the military codename Operation Thunderbolt, is sometimes referred to retroactively as Operation Jonathan in memory of the unit’s leader, Yonatan Netanyahu. He was the older brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, the current Prime Minister of Israel.

Terror on the airline: German and Palestinian terrorists hijack Air France Flight 139, holding only Israeli and Jewish passengers hostage in Entebbe; Yonatan Netanyahu leads historic rescue raid.

Terror on the airline: German and Palestinian terrorists hijack Air France Flight 139, holding only Israeli and Jewish passengers hostage in Entebbe; Yonatan Netanyahu leads historic rescue raid.


 

#AtoZChallenge We Didn’t Start the Fire from A to Z: Events in Race for Space and Others for the Letter S

WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE

FROM A TO Z

On September 27, 1989, the iconic song by Billy Joel,  We Didn’t Start the Fire hit the airwaves.  It was a history lesson set to music.  When you first heard the song, did you know or remember all the people places, things and events mentioned in the lyrics?  I sure didn’t.  Back in 1989 before the internet was something everyone had access to, my boyfriend (now husband) and I headed to the local public library and looked up all the historical references.  This month, for the A to Z Challenge, I am writing about that history.

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Today is brought to us by the letter S.

1949 – South Pacific

 South Pacific is a musical composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The work premiered in 1949 on Broadway and was an immediate hit, running for 1,925 performances.  In 1949, the war was still fresh in the minds of those who served and those who waited for their loved ones to come home.  I imagine its themes brought it all back.
 South Pacific, the prize-winning musical, opens on Broadway on April 7.


South Pacific, the prize-winning musical, opens on Broadway on April 7.

From the original 1949 Broadway cast recording of “South Pacific.” This production won the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; and won Tony Awards for Best Musical; Libretto; Best Original Score; Best Actor in a Musical (Ezio Pinza); Best Actress in a Musical (Mary Martin); Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Myron McCormick); Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Juanita Hall); Producer (Musical) (Hammerstein, Rodgers,

1950 – Studebaker

Studebaker (1852–1967) was an American wagon and automobile manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana. Founded in 1852 and incorporated in 1868 under the name of the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, the company was originally a producer of wagons for farmers, miners, and the military.  Studebaker entered the automotive business in 1902 with electric vehicles and in 1904 with gasoline vehicles, all sold under the name “Studebaker Automobile Company”. Until 1911, its automotive division operated in partnership with the Garford Company of Elyria, Ohio, and after 1909 with the E-M-F Company. The first gasoline automobiles to be fully manufactured by Studebaker were marketed in August 1912. Over the next 50 years, the company established a reputation for quality and reliability.  After years of financial problems, in 1954 the company merged with luxury carmaker Packard to form Studebaker-Packard Corporation. However, Studebaker’s financial problems were worse than the Packard executives thought. The Packard marque was phased out, and the company returned to the Studebaker Corporation name in 1962. The South Bend plant ceased production on December 20, 1963, and the last Studebaker automobile rolled off the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, assembly line on March 16, 1966.

Studebaker, a popular car company, begins its financial downfall.

Studebaker, a popular car company, begins its financial downfall.

1951 – Sugar Ray

On September 12, 1951, former middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson defeats Randy Turpin to win back the belt in front of 61,370 spectators at the Polo Grounds in New York City. Robinson, a New York City native, had lost the belt to Turpin two months prior in Turpin’s native London.

Sugar Ray Robinson, a champion welterweight boxer.

Sugar Ray Robinson, a champion welterweight boxer.

1952 – Santayana goodbye

Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás, known in English as George Santayana  December 16, 1863 – September 26, 1952), was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. Originally from Spain, Santayana was raised and educated in the United States from the age of eight and identified himself as an American, although he always kept a valid Spanish passport. He wrote in English and is generally considered an American man of letters. At the age of forty-eight, Santayana left his position at Harvard and returned to Europe permanently, never to return to the United States. His last wish was to be buried in the Spanish pantheon in Rome.  Santayana is popularly known for aphorisms, such as “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, “Only the dead have seen the end of war”, and the definition of beauty as “pleasure objectified”. Although an atheist, he always treasured the Spanish Catholic values, practices, and worldview in which he was raised. Santayana was a broad-ranging cultural critic spanning many disciplines. He died on September 26, 1952 (aged 88) in Rome, Italy

Santayana goodbye: George Santayana, philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist, dies on September 26.

Santayana goodbye: George Santayana, philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist, dies on September 26.


1957 – Sputnik

History changed on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The world’s first artificial satellite was about the size of a beach ball (58 cm.or 22.8 inches in diameter), weighed only 83.6 kg. or 183.9 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. That launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments. While the Sputnik launch was a single event, it marked the start of the space age and the U.S.-U.S.S.R space race.

1958 – Starkweather homicides

Charles Raymond “Charlie” Starkweather (November 24, 1938 – June 25, 1959)1] was an American teenager and spree killer who murdered eleven people in the states of Nebraska and Wyoming in a two-month murder spree between December 1957 and January 1958. All but one of Starkweather’s victims were killed between January 21 and January 29, 1958, the date of his arrest. During the murders committed in 1958, Starkweather was accompanied by his 14-year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate.  Starkweather was executed 17 months after the events, and Fugate served 17 years in prison before her release in 1976. The Starkweather-Fugate spree has inspired several films, including The Sadist (1963), Badlands (1973), Kalifornia (1993), and Natural Born Killers (1994). Starkweather’s electrocution in 1959 was the last execution in Nebraska until 1994.

 1959 – space monkey
On May 28, 1959, two monkeys are the first creatures to survive a space flight.  Able, a seven-pound female rhesus monkey and Baker, a one-pound female squirrel monkey launched 300 miles into space.  They were placed in the nose cone of a Jupiter missile AM-18 and launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.  This 15-minute flight that reached speeds of up to 10,000 mph ended with the monkeys being recovered 1,500 miles away in the South Atlantic near Puerto Rico. The pair, who were weightless for nine minutes, were monitored throughout the flight for changes in their heart beats, muscular reaction, pulse velocity, body temperature and rate of breathing. A spokesman from the Medical Research and Development Command of the US Army said the monkeys were in “perfect condition” on their return. Data recorded throughout the flight was analyzed over the next two weeks.  Though considered a success in the race for space, it was also heavily criticized by animal activists.
Space Monkey: Able and Miss Baker return to Earth from space aboard the flight Jupiter AM-18.

Space Monkey: Able and Miss Baker return to Earth from space aboard the flight Jupiter AM-18.

1960 – Syngman Rhee

Syngman Rhee (April 18, 1875 – July 19, 1965) was a South Korean statesman, the first president of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, and the first President of the Republic of Korea (commonly referred to as South Korea). His three-term presidency of South Korea (August 1948 to April 1960) was strongly affected by Cold War tensions on the Korean Peninsula.  Rhee was regarded as an anti-Communist and a strongman, and he led South Korea through the Korean War. His presidency ended in resignation April 26, 1960, following popular protests against a disputed election. He died in exile in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Syngman Rhee was rescued by the CIA after being forced to resign as leader of South Korea for allegedly fixing an election and embezzling more than US $20 million

Syngman Rhee was rescued by the CIA after being forced to resign as leader of South Korea for allegedly fixing an election and embezzling more than US $20 million

1961 – Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land is a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert A. Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who comes to Earth in early adulthood after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians. The novel explores his interaction with—and eventual transformation of—terrestrial culture. In 2012, the US Library of Congress named it one of 88 “Books that Shaped America”.  The title “Stranger in a Strange Land” is an allusion to the phrase in Exodus 2:22.   (And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land — Exodus 2:22).  According to Heinlein, the novel’s working title was The Heretic.  In 1991, three years after Heinlein’s death, his widow, Virginia Heinlein, arranged to have the original uncut manuscript published. Critics disagree about which version is superior, though Heinlein preferred the original manuscript and described the heavily edited version as “telegraphese”. (is a clipped way of writing that attempts to abbreviate words and pack as much information into the smallest possible number of words or characters.)
1983 – Sally Ride
I wrote about Sally Ride previously for my series The Worlds Outstanding Women (WOW)
 Sally Ride: In 1983 she becomes the first American woman in space. Ride's quip from space "Better than an E-ticket", harkens back to the opening of Disneyland mentioned earlier, with the E-ticket purchase needed for the best rides.

Sally Ride: In 1983 she becomes the first American woman in space. Ride’s quip from space “Better than an E-ticket”, harkens back to the opening of Disneyland mentioned earlier, with the E-ticket purchase needed for the best rides.

From Cape Canaveral, Florida, the space shuttle Challenger is launched into space on its second mission. Aboard the shuttle was Dr. Sally Ride, who as a mission specialist became the first American woman to travel into space. During the six-day mission, Ride, an astrophysicist from Stanford University, operated the shuttle’s robot arm, which she had helped design. June 18, 1983

Sally Ride on Space Shuttle Challenger

Sally Ride on Space Shuttle Challenger

Early Years

Born on May 26, 1951 in Los Angeles, California, Sally Ride was the elder child of Dale Burdell Ride and Carol Joyce (née Anderson).  She had one sibling, Karen “Bear” Ride, who is a Presbyterian minister. Both parents were elders in the Presbyterian Church. Ride’s mother had worked as a volunteer counselor at a women’s correctional facility. Her father had been a political science professor at Santa Monica College.  Sally Ride attended Portola Junior High (now Portola Middle School) and then Westlake School for Girls in Los Angeles (now Harvard-Westlake School) on a scholarship.   In addition to being interested in science, she was a nationally ranked tennis player.

ride 7

Ride attended Swarthmore College for three semesters, took physics courses at UCLA, and then entered Stanford University as a junior, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English and physics. At Stanford, she earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in physics while doing research on the interaction of X-rays with the interstellar medium.

Sally Rider and parents at Graduation

Sally Rider and parents at Graduation

NASA Career

Ride was one of 8,000 people who answered an advertisement in the Stanford student newspaper seeking applicants for the space program. She was chosen to join NASA in 1978.

3_capcom

During her career, Ride served as the ground-based capsule communicator (CapCom) for the second and third space shuttle flights (STS-2 and STS-3) and helped develop the space shuttle’s robot arm.

Prior to her first space flight, she was subject to media attention due to her gender. During a press conference, she was asked questions like, “Will the flight affect your reproductive organs?” and “Do you weep when things go wrong on the job?” Despite this and the historical significance of the mission, Ride insisted that she saw herself in only one way—as an astronaut.

On June 18, 1983, she became the first American woman in space as a crew member on space shuttle Challenger for STS-7.

Astronauts of the STS-7/Challenger mission are left to right first row: Sally K. Ride (mission specialist), Robert L. Crippen (commander), Frederick H. Hauck (pilot); rear row: John M. Fabian (left) and Norman E. Thagard (mission specialists). STS-7 launched the first five-member crew and the first American female astronaut into space on June 18, 1983.

Astronauts of the STS-7/Challenger mission are left to right first row: Sally K. Ride (mission specialist), Robert L. Crippen (commander), Frederick H. Hauck (pilot); rear row: John M. Fabian (left) and Norman E. Thagard (mission specialists). STS-7 launched the first five-member crew and the first American female astronaut into space on June 18, 1983.

She was preceded by two Soviet women, Valentina Tereshkova in 1963 and Svetlana Savitskaya in 1982.

Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina Tereshkova

Svetlana Savitskaya, the first woman to fly into space twice and the first woman to perform an EVA. Photo Credit: Roscosmos.

Svetlana Savitskaya, the first woman to fly into space twice and the first woman to perform an EVA. Photo Credit: Roscosmos.

The five-person crew of the STS-7 mission deployed two communications satellites and conducted pharmaceutical experiments. Ride was the first woman to use the robot arm in space and the first to use the arm to retrieve a satellite.  Her second space flight was in 1984, also on board the Challenger. She spent a total of more than 343 hours in space.

Challenger Explosion

Challenger Explosion

Ride, who had completed eight months of training for her third flight (STS-61-M, a TDRS deployment mission) when the space shuttle Challenger disaster occurred, was named to the Rogers Commission (the presidential commission investigating the accident) and headed its subcommittee on operations. Following the investigation, Ride was assigned to NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., where she led NASA’s first strategic planning effort, authored a report entitled “NASA Leadership and America’s Future in Space” and founded NASA’s Office of Exploration.

After NASA

In 1987, Ride left her position in Washington, D.C., to work at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Arms Control. In 1989, she became a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego, and director of the California Space Institute. From the mid-1990s until her death, Ride led two public-outreach programs for NASA — the ISS EarthKAM and GRAIL MoonKAM projects, in cooperation with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and UCSD. The programs allowed middle school students to request images of the Earth

Death

Ride died on July 23, 2012, at age 61, seventeen months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Following cremation, her ashes were interred next to her father at Woodlawn Cemetery, Santa Monica, California.

Sally Ride

 

#AtoZChallenge – We Didn’t Start the Fire: From Red China to Rock and Roller Cola Wars

WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE

FROM A TO Z

On September 27, 1989, the iconic song by Billy Joel,  We Didn’t Start the Fire hit the airwaves.  It was a history lesson set to music.  When you first heard the song, did you know or remember all the people places, things and events mentioned in the lyrics?  I sure didn’t.  Back in 1989 before the internet was something everyone had access to, my boyfriend (now husband) and I headed to the local public library and looked up all the historical references.  This month, for the A to Z Challenge, I am writing about that history.

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

 

1949 – Red China

The history of the People’s Republic of China details the history of mainland China since October 1, 1949, when, after a near complete victory by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the Chinese Civil War, Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from atop Tiananmen. The PRC has for several decades been synonymous with China, but it is only the most recent political entity to govern mainland China, preceded by the Republic of China (ROC) and thousands of years of imperial dynasties.

Red China: The Communist Party of China wins the Chinese Civil War, establishing the People's Republic of China.

Red China: The Communist Party of China wins the Chinese Civil War, establishing the People’s Republic of China.

1950 – Richard Nixon

The 1950 United States Senate election in California followed a campaign characterized by accusations and name-calling. Republican Richard Nixon defeated Democrat Helen Gahagan Douglas, after Democratic incumbent Sheridan Downey withdrew during the primary election campaign. Douglas and Nixon each gave up their congressional seats to run against Downey; no other representatives were willing to risk the contest.

Richard Nixon is first elected to the United States Senate.

Richard Nixon is first elected to the United States Senate.

1951 – Rosenbergs

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were United States citizens who were executed for conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union. They were instrumental in the transmission of information about top-secret military technology and prototypes of mechanisms related to the atomic bomb, which were of value to the Soviet nuclear weapons program and also provided top-secret radar, sonar, and jet propulsion engines to the Soviet Union.

The Rosenbergs, Ethel and Julius, were convicted on March 29 for espionage.

The Rosenbergs, Ethel and Julius, were convicted on March 29 for espionage.

 

 

1953 – Rockefeller

 Winthrop Rockefeller and his wife Barbara are involved in a highly publicized divorce, culminating in 1954 with a record-breaking $5.5 million settlement

Winthrop Rockefeller and his wife Barbara are involved in a highly publicized divorce, culminating in 1954 with a record-breaking $5.5 million settlement

1954 – Roy Cohn

Roy Marcus Cohn (February 20, 1927 – August 2, 1986) was an American attorney. During Senator Joseph McCarthy’s investigations into Communist activity in the United States during the Second Red Scare, Cohn served as McCarthy’s chief counsel and gained special prominence during the Army–McCarthy hearings. He was also known for being a U.S. Department of Justice prosecutor at the espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and later for representing Donald Trump during his early business career.

Roy Cohn resigns as Joseph McCarthy's chief counsel and enters private practice with the fall of McCarthy. He also worked to prosecute the Rosenbergs, mentioned earlier.

Roy Cohn resigns as Joseph McCarthy’s chief counsel and enters private practice with the fall of McCarthy. He also worked to prosecute the Rosenbergs, mentioned earlier.

1954-“Rock Around the Clock”

One, two, three o’clock, four o’clock rock
Five, six, seven o’clock, eight o’clock rock
Nine, ten, eleven o’clock, twelve o’clock rock
We’re gonna rock around the clock tonight
Put your glad rags on and join me hon’
We’ll have some fun when the clock strikes one
We’re gonna rock around the clock tonight
We’re gonna rock, rock, rock, ’till broad daylight
We’re gonna rock, gonna rock around the clock tonight
When the clock strikes two, three and four
If the band slows down we’ll yell for more
We’re gonna rock around the clock tonight
We’re gonna rock, rock, rock, ’till broad daylight
We’re gonna rock, gonna rock around the clock tonight
When the chimes ring five, six, and seven
We’ll be right in seventh heaven
We’re gonna rock around the clock tonight
We’re gonna rock, rock, rock, ’till broad daylight
We’re gonna rock, gonna rock around the clock tonight
When it’s eight, nine, ten, eleven too
I’ll be goin’ strong and so will you
We’re gonna rock around the clock tonight
We’re gonna rock, rock, rock, ’till broad daylight
We’re gonna rock, gonna rock around the clock tonight
When the clock strikes twelve we’ll cool off then
Start rockin’ ’round the clock again
We’re gonna rock around the clock tonight
We’re gonna rock, rock, rock, ’till broad daylight
We’re gonna rock, gonna rock around the clock tonight
Songwriters: Jimmy Deknight / Max Freedman
Rock Around The Clock lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
"Rock Around the Clock" is a hit single released by Bill Haley & His Comets in May, spurring worldwide interest in rock and roll music.

“Rock Around the Clock” is a hit single released by Bill Haley & His Comets in May, spurring worldwide interest in rock and roll music.

 

1968 – Richard Nixon back again

On November 5, 1968, Richard Nixon is elected President of the United States.  Republican challenger Richard Nixon defeats Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Because of the strong showing of third-party candidate George Wallace, neither Nixon nor Humphrey received more than 50 percent of the popular vote; Nixon beat Humphrey by less than 500,000 votes. Nixon campaigned on a platform designed to reach the “silent majority” of middle class and working class Americans.
Richard Nixon back again: Former Vice President Nixon is elected in 1968.

Richard Nixon back again: Former Vice President Nixon is elected in 1968.

1976 – Reagan

In the 1976 Republican presidential primaries for the United States, incumbent President Gerald Ford was selected as the nominee through a series of primary elections and caucuses culminating in the 1976 Republican National Convention held from August 16 to August 19, 1976, in Kansas City, Missouri. 1976 was the first time that Republican primaries or caucuses were held in every state; the Democrats had previously done so in 1972.  Ford, the incumbent President, faced a very strong primary challenge from Ronald Reagan. The former California Governor was popular among the GOP’s conservative wing. The race for the nomination was the last one by the Republicans not to have been decided by the start of the party convention.
 Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States in 1980, but he first attempted to run for the position in 1976.

Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States in 1980, but he first attempted to run for the position in 1976.

1979 – Russians in Afghanistan

The Soviet–Afghan War lasted over nine years, from December 1979 to February 1989. Insurgent groups known as the mujahideen fought against the Soviet Army and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Between 562,000–2 million civilians were killed and millions of Afghans fled the country as refugees, mostly to Pakistan and Iran. The war is considered part of the Cold War.

Russians in Afghanistan: Following their move into Afghanistan, Soviet forces fight a ten-year war, from 1979 to 1989.

Russians in Afghanistan: Following their move into Afghanistan, Soviet forces fight a ten-year war, from 1979 to 1989.

1989 – Rock and Roller cola wars

The cola wars are a series of mutually-targeted television advertisements and marketing campaigns since the 1980s between two long-time rival soft drink producers, The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo. The battle between the two dominant brands in the United States intensified to such an extent that the term “Cola wars” was used to describe the feud. Each employed numerous advertising and marketing campaigns to outdo the other.
Rock-and-roller cola wars: Soft drink giants Coke and Pepsi each run marketing campaigns using rock & roll and popular music stars to reach the teenage and young adult demographic.

Rock-and-roller cola wars: Soft drink giants Coke and Pepsi each run marketing campaigns using rock & roll and popular music stars to reach the teenage and young adult demographic.

 

#AtoZChallenge – Quadrotriticale

QUADROTRITICALE

Today is brought to you by the letter Q but unfortunately Billy Joel didn’t include anything for Q.  Back at letter E I posted about England’s Got A New Queen which I should have saved for Q.  Instead I am posting about a word that was part of the storyline of a favorite 1960’s television show.  You are probably wondering what television show featured quadrotriticale.

First let’s define this strange fifteen letter word.  I say strange because it is in fact fictional but its root is real.

Photograph:Triticale is a hybrid of rye and wheat.

triticale [trit-i-key-lee]

A hybrid produced by crossing wheat, Triticum aestivum, and rye, Secale cereale.  The ficitional quadrotriticale is a four grain hybrid of wheat and rye. It’s root grain, triticale, can trace its origin all the way back to 20th century Canada. (Urban Dictionary)
Have you remembered what television show yet?  Maybe this will help.

Captain Kirk Standing in a Pile of Tribbles

In the 44th episode (15th of the 2nd season) of the science fiction television show, Star Trek, the Enterprise is called to Deep Space Station K7, near an area in dispute between the Federation and the Klingons, by a distress call.  Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) becomes furious when he finds out that the reason for the distress call is the under-secretary of agriculture for the sector wants someone to guard the shipments of quadrotriticale bound for Sherman’s Planet, since quadrotriticale is the only Earth grain that would grow on Sherman’s Planet and thus is required to resolve the ownership issue. Kirk assigns two crewmen to guard the grain, but afterwards he finds out the Starfleet Command share the under-secretary’s concerns. In addition, a Klingon ship arrives for shore leave which Kirk agrees as long as the crew are always under Starfleet guard.

Meanwhile, an independent trader, Cyrano Jones, arrives on the station with some tribbles, the cute fury creatures seen in the photograph above. He gives one to Lt. Uhura, who brings it on board the Enterprise, where it and its quickly produced offspring are treated as adorable pets. The animals purr a relaxing trill that the crew find soothing. Klingons, however, find tribbles annoying, and the feeling is mutual: tribbles hiss and shriek whenever they are near Klingons.

Doctor Leonard McCoy is concerned that the increasing numbers of tribbles threaten to consume all the onboard supplies. It is discovered that they are entering ship systems, interfering with their functions and consuming any edible contents present. Kirk realizes that if the tribbles are getting into the ship’s stores, then they are a threat to the grain aboard the station. He examines the holds but learns that it is already too late: The tribbles have indeed eaten the quadrotriticale, and Kirk is literally buried in grain-gorged tribbles when he opens a grain hold with an overhead hatch. Spock and McCoy discover that about half the tribbles in the hold are dead and many of the rest are dying, alerting them that the grain has been poisoned.

 star trek mess tribbles GIF

The under secretary holds Kirk responsible but in the end, it was his own assistant who was actually a Klingon agent who poisoned the grain.  Incidentally, it was the tribbles that exposed him. At the end of the episode, the tribbles are transported onto the Klingon vessel by Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott where, in his words, “they’ll be no tribble at all.”

#1LinerWeds – A Wish for a Daily Do Over

“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it… Yet.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

It would be nice if this was really true.  We carry our baggage on from day to day and our actions are remembered. I guess we just try to do our best each day and hopefully do no harm and if we are lucky we do some good.

Source: NPR, Photo illustration of a green billboard on a Rising Sun background.

In case you wish to participate, the post is for One-Liner Wednesday, hosted by LindaGHill.

#AtoZChallenge We Didn’t Start the Fire from A to Z: From Panmunjom to Palestine and All the P’s In Between

WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE

FROM A TO Z

On September 27, 1989, the iconic song by Billy Joel,  We Didn’t Start the Fire hit the airwaves.  It was a history lesson set to music.  When you first heard the song, did you know or remember all the people places, things and events mentioned in the lyrics?  I sure didn’t.  Back in 1989 before the internet was something everyone had access to, my boyfriend (now husband) and I headed to the local public library and looked up all the historical references.  This month, for the A to Z Challenge, I am writing about that history.

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it
Today is brought to you by the letter P.

1951 – Panmunjom

Panmunjom, the border village in Korea, is the location of truce talks between the parties of the Korean War.

Panmunjom, the border village in Korea, is the location of truce talks between the parties of the Korean War.

Panmunjom was the armistice area bordering North and South Korea where forces from the United Nations met with North Korean and Chinese officials to discuss the possibility of a truce from 1951 to 1953. The debating carried on for several months, the main point of disputation surrounding the prisoners of war and how to handle their return or lack thereof. However, after years of war and months of truce talks, an armistice was signed by the United Nations, China, and North Korea on July 27th, 1953. South Korea, unfortunately, refused to sign the treaty, and so a 4 km demilitarized zone was officially established to divide Korea into two separate countries. Additionally, because South Korea never decided to sign the agreement, they are technically still at war with North Korea. Source: http://1949to1952.blogspot.com/2009/06/panmunjom-1951.html

1953 – Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev, the composer, dies on March 5, the same day as Stalin.

Sergei Prokofiev, the composer, dies on March 5, the same day as Stalin.

Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev was a Russian and Soviet composer, pianist and conductor. As the creator of acknowledged masterpieces across numerous musical genres, he is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century.  He died on March 2, 1953
1955 – Peter Pan
On March 7, 1955, NBC presented Peter Pan live as part of Producers’ Showcase (with nearly all of the show’s original cast) as the first full-length Broadway production on color TV. The show attracted a then-record audience of 65-million viewers, the highest ever up to that time for a single television program. Mary Martin and Cyril Ritchard had already won Tony Awards for their stage performances, and Martin won an Emmy Award for the television production. It was so well received that the musical was restaged live for television (again on Producers’ Showcase) on January 9, 1956. Both of these broadcasts were produced live and in color, but only black-and-white kinescope recordings survive.
Peter Pan is broadcast on TV live and in color from the 1954 version of the stage musical starring Mary Martin on March 7. Disney released an animated version the previous year.

Peter Pan is broadcast on TV live and in color from the 1954 version of the stage musical starring Mary Martin on March 7. Disney released an animated version the previous year.

1956 – Princess Grace

On April 18, 1956, American actress Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier of Monaco in a spectacular ceremony.  Grace Kelly, the daughter of a former model and a wealthy industrialist, began acting as a child. After high school, she attended the American Academy for Dramatic Arts in New York. While she auditioned for Broadway plays, she supported herself by modeling and appearing in TV commercials. In 1949, Kelly debuted on Broadway in The Father by August Strindberg. Two years later, she landed her first Hollywood bit part, in Fourteen Hours. Her big break came in 1952, when she starred as Gary Cooper’s wife in High Noon. Her performance in The Country Girl, as the long-suffering wife of an alcoholic songwriter played by Bing Crosby, won her an Oscar in 1954. The same year, she played opposite Jimmy Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.  While filming another Hitchcock movie, To Catch a Thief (1955), in the French Riviera, Kelly met Prince Rainier of Monaco. It wasn’t love at first sight for Kelly, but the prince initiated a long correspondence, which led to their marriage in 1956. Afterward, she became Princess Grace of Monaco and retired from acting. She had three children and occasionally narrated documentaries. Kelly died tragically at the age of 52 when her car plunged off a mountain road by the Cote D’Azur in September 1982.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

1956 – Peyton Place

Peyton Place is a 1956 novel by Grace Metalious. The novel describes how three women are forced to come to terms with their identity, both as women and as sexual beings, in a small, conservative, gossipy New England town, with recurring themes of hypocrisy, social inequities and class privilege in a tale that includes incest, abortion, adultery, lust and murder. It sold 60 000 copies within the first ten days of its release and remained on the New York Timesbest seller list for 59 weeks.  The novel spawned a franchise that would run through four decades. Twentieth Century-Fox adapted it as a major motion picture in 1957, and Metalious wrote a follow-up novel that was published in 1959, called Return to Peyton Place, which was also filmed in 1961 using the same title. The original 1956 novel was adapted again in 1964, in what became a wildly successful prime time television series for 20th Century Fox Television that ran until 1969, and the term “Peyton Place” – an allusion to any small town or group that holds scandalous secrets – entered into the American lexicon.  An NBCdaytime soap opera, titled Return to Peyton Place, ran from 1972 to 1974, and the franchise was rounded out with two made-for-television movies, which aired in 1977 and 1985.

Peyton Place, the best-selling novel by Grace Metalious, is published. Though mild compared to today's prime time, it shocked the reserved values of the 1950s.

Peyton Place, the best-selling novel by Grace Metalious, is published. Though mild compared to today’s prime time, it shocked the reserved values of the 1950s.

Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for fair use for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.


1957 – Pasternak

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (10 February [O.S. 29 January] 1890 – 30 May 1960) was a Soviet Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator. In his native Russian, Pasternak’s first book of poems, My Sister, Life (1917), is one of the most influential collections ever published in the Russian language. Pasternak’s translations of stage plays by Goethe, Schiller, Calderón and Shakespeare remain very popular with Russian audiences.  Outside Russia, Pasternak is best known as the author of Doctor Zhivago (1957), a novel which takes place between the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the First World War. Doctor Zhivago was rejected for publication in the USSR. At the instigation of Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, Doctor Zhivago was smuggled to Milan and published in 1957 and distributed with the help of the CIA in the rest of Europe. Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958, an event which both humiliated and enraged the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which forced him to decline the prize, though his descendants were later to accept it in his name in 1988.

Boris Pasternak, the Russian author, publishes his famous novel Doctor Zhivago.

Boris Pasternak, the Russian author, publishes his famous novel Doctor Zhivago.

1960 – Payola 

Payola, in the music industry, is the illegal practice of payment or other inducement by record companies for the broadcast of recordings on commercial radio in which the song is presented as being part of the normal day’s broadcast. Under U.S. law, a radio station can play a specific song in exchange for money, but this must be disclosed on the air as being sponsored airtime, and that play of the song should not be counted as a “regular airplay.”

He’s been called America’s Oldest Living Teenager, but behind his famously boyish demeanor, Clark was a razor-sharp businessman—sharp enough to be accused of questionable practices during the early years of rock and roll, yet smart enough to set those practices aside when public scrutiny demanded it. On April 2, 1960, Dick Clark concluded his second day of testimony in the so-called Payola hearings—testimony that both saved and altered the course of his career. If Alan Freed, the disk jockey who gave rock and roll its name, was Payola’s biggest casualty, then Dick Clark was its most famous survivor.

Payola, illegal payments for radio broadcasting of songs, was publicized due to Dick Clark’s testimony before Congress and Alan Freed’s public disgrace.

 

1960 –Psycho

Psycho is a 1960 American psychological horror film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, and written by Joseph Stefano, starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, John Gavin, Vera Miles and Martin Balsam, and was based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The film centers on the encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (Leigh), who ends up at a secluded motel after stealing money from her employer, and the motel’s disturbed owner-manager, Norman Bates (Perkins), and its aftermath.

Psycho: An Alfred Hitchcock thriller, based on a pulp novel by Robert Bloch and adapted by Joseph Stefano, which becomes a landmark in graphic violence and cinema sensationalism. The screeching violins heard briefly in the background of the song are a trademark of the film's soundtrack.

Psycho: An Alfred Hitchcock thriller, based on a pulp novel by Robert Bloch and adapted by Joseph Stefano, which becomes a landmark in graphic violence and cinema sensationalism. The screeching violins heard briefly in the background of the song are a trademark of the film’s soundtrack.

1963 – Pope Paul

Pope Paul VI, born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini (26 September 1897 – 6 August 1978), reigned as Pope from 21 June 1963 to his death in 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, he continued the Second Vatican Council which he closed in 1965, implementing its numerous reforms, and fostered improved ecumenical relations with Eastern Orthodox and Protestants, which resulted in many historic meetings and agreements. Montini served in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State from 1922 to 1954. While in the Secretariat of State, Montini and Domenico Tardini were considered as the closest and most influential colleagues of Pope Pius XII, who in 1954 named him Archbishop of Milan, the largest Italian diocese. Montini later became the Secretary of the Italian Bishops Conference. John XXIII elevated him to the College of Cardinals in 1958, and after the death of John XXIII, Montini was considered one of his most likely successors.

Pope Paul VI: Cardinal Giovanni Montini is elected to the papacy and takes the papal name of Paul VI.

Pope Paul VI: Cardinal Giovanni Montini is elected to the papacy and takes the papal name of Paul VI.

1974/1975 – Punk Rock

Punk rock (or simply “punk”) is a rock music genre that developed in the early to mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as “proto-punk” music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock.

 Punk rock: The Ramones form, with the Sex Pistols following in 1975, bringing in the punk era.

Punk rock: The Ramones form, with the Sex Pistols following in 1975, bringing in the punk era.

1976/1977 – Palestine

The ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict escalates as Israelis establish settlements in the West Bank, previously held by Jordan for non-Jewish Palestinians after the 1948 war, beginning shortly after Begin’s election.

Palestine: a United Nations resolution that calls for an independent Palestinian state and to end the Israeli occupation.

Palestine: a United Nations resolution that calls for an independent Palestinian state and to end the Israeli occupation.