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everyone had access to, my boyfriend (now husband) and I headed to the local public library and looked up all the historical references.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.
1951 – Panmunjom
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
1956 – Princess Grace
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.
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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.