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everyone had access to, my boyfriend (now husband) and I headed to the local public library and looked up all the historical references.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.
DuPont purchased the rights to Dr. Wallace Hume Carothers’s organic chemical research in 1945 after he developed synthetic nylon from polyester. Chemical engineers at DuPont dedicated an entire laboratory to perfect Dacron, which is known for its durability, resistance to degradation and high tensile strength. They patented the fabric in 1953. Suits made of the synthetic fabric began to debut in May of 1951, with items sold by Deering, Milliken & Co., and a $79.50 model from Hart, Schaffner & Marx. Adjusting for inflation, the suit would sell for more than $650 today. Dacron became commercially available for medical use in 1957. The synthetic fiber was used to graft arteries and veins during bypass surgery. Dacron was widely used in vascular surgery from the late 1950s through the 1970s. Dacron is a polymer obtained through chemical reactions between ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid. The synthetic fabric is used in curtains, fire hoses, dresses, men’s suits, sails, knitted wear, woven sportswear and many other applications.
1954 Dien Bien Phu Falls
On May 7, 1954, the French-held garrison at Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam fell after a four month siege led by Vietnamese nationalist Ho Chi Minh. After the fall of Dien Bien Phu, the French pulled out of the region. Concerned about regional instability, the United States became increasingly committed to countering communist nationalists in Indochina. The United States would not pull out of Vietnam for another twenty years.
1955 Davy Crockett
Davy Crockett was a five-part serial which aired on ABC from 1954-1955 in one-hour episodes, on the Disneyland series. The series starred Fess Parker as real-life frontiersman Davy Crockett and Buddy Ebsen as his friend, George Russel. The first three episodes of the serial were edited together as the theatrical film Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier (1955) and rebroadcast in color in the 1960s, when the Disney program went to NBC. This series and film are known for the catchy theme song, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett”. It was filmed in color at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at the Mountain Farm Museum adjacent to the visitor center at Oconaluftee, near Qualla Reservation’s entrance and Janss Conejo Ranch, California. The final two episodes were edited together as the theatrical film Davy Crockett and the River Pirates (1956). It was filmed in Cave-In-Rock, Illinois.
Disneyland, Walt Disney’s metropolis of nostalgia, fantasy, and futurism, opens on July 17, 1955. The $17 million theme park was built on 160 acres of former orange groves in Anaheim, California, and soon brought in staggering profits. Today, Disneyland hosts more than 14 million visitors a year, who spend close to $3 billion.
On April 11, 1961, Bob Dylan plays his first major gig in New York City. A number of major developments in the year that followed would set Bob Dylan on his road toward stardom, but the very first of those was his appearance at Gerde’s Folk City.
This is not the 1961 event but it is Dylan from 1963 on television
Tune in tomorrow which is brought to you by the letter E: Edsel is a no go, Eihmann, Eisnstein, Eisenhower, Elvis Presley and England’s Got A New Queen.