On this day in 1818 Frankenstein was published. Another title of the book was The Modern Prometheus. Prometheus was a demigod, one of the Titans, who was worshiped by craftsmen. When Zeus hid fire from man, Prometheus stole it by trickery and returned it to earth. As punishment, Zeus chained him to a rock where an eagle fed each day on his liver, which grew again each night; he was rescued by Hercules.
Shelley started writing the novel when she was only 18 and didn’t finish it until she was 21. When it was first published in 1818 it was anonymously, then in the second edition, published in France Shelley’s name appears.
Frankenstein is commonly thought to be the monster, but in fact, the monster is never referred to as Frankenstein, only as monster, fiend, etc. Victor Frankenstein was the doctor who created the monster.
I ran into some local history a few weekends ago while out with my family. We were visiting a popular garden shop here in the orange county and we saw a cool gazebo when I approached it I saw that it had a sign stating its local history. I posted those pictures a while ago on our Facebook page, but here they are for you incase you missed them there.
Originally this gazebo/bandstand sat in the middle of Town Square at Disneyland. Just before the park opened the bandstand was moved just to the left of the castle, because Walt was afraid it would get in the way of people seeing the castle. It was there on opening day July 17, 1955. Later the Carnation Garden’s Plaza would be built to permanent house all the musical performances. It was then that the bandstand was moved to Adventureland, in an area that would become known as Magnolia Park, near the jungle cruise. In 1962 the Jungle Cruise had an expansion and the Bandstand was donated to the city of Anaheim. Its last move was to Roger’s Gardens when the City of Anaheim asked them if they would like to have it.
Here is a cool video I found that gives a great overview:
The company Mattel was founded in 1945 by Elliot Handler and Harold “Matt” Matson. The company name was a combination of the too names Matt and El from Elliot. Which of course is Mattel. Before Mattel was Mattel, it was a small picture frame shop, that Harold and his wife Ruth Handler owned. They started to create toy furniture in the 1940’s. When the toy furniture became a better seller than the picture frames, they changed the company to a toy company. In the 1950’s after Mattel had already been founded Ruth was in Switerland and happened to purchase a German doll called Lilli. Lillit was the inspiration for Barbie. Why call it Barbie? Ruth’s daughter’s name was Barbra and her son’s? One guess…yep, Kenneth. So, there you have the history of the names at least.
Happy Birthday Barbie!
Barbie (the doll) was first shown at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. This date is also the date of Barbie’s birthday. Making her 52 years old today! And she still looks great. There were 350,000 Barbie dolls sold in that first year. Barbie even has a full fictional biography in case you were wondering her full name is, Barbra Millicent Roberts. Her parent’s names are George and Margret and she lives in Willows, Wisconsin (not a real place).
Barbie and Ken
She has had an on-again-off-again relationship with her boyfriend Ken Carson, who she met in 1961. On Valentine’s Day 2004, the couple broke it off, but recently they got back together. Mattel staged a huge transmedia campaign at barbieandken.com.
On this day in 1950 the VW Bus went into production. The official name of the VW Bus or Camper is actually the Transporter. I think this is a fun topic and one that is best illustrated with a timeline. So please see the embedded youtube video from my new youtube channel.
I recently finished The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann. This book is a little hard to describe, because it is not only an adventure book, but it also a kind of biography on Colonel Fawcett aka Percival (Percy) Harrison Fawcett , an adventurer who went deep into the Amazon in search of the lost city of Z. Fawcett was a prolific explorer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used his exploits as a basis for The Lost World.
The book moved along at a very good clip. I never got bored or thought there was too much detail. As the author tells the story of Fawcett he also tells the story of his research and his preparation to go into the Amazon himself. It is a very interesting adventure/biography story. I would recommend to any history buff and especially to anyone who enjoys a good adventure story.
Here is an excerpt from a review that John Grisham did of the book:
The great mystery of what happened to Fawcett has never been solved, perhaps until now. In 2004, author David Grann discovered the story while researching another one. Soon, like hundreds before him, he became obsessed with the legend of the colorful adventurer and his baffling disappearance. Grann, a lifelong New Yorker with an admitted aversion to camping and mountain climbing, a lousy sense of direction, and an affinity for take-out food and air conditioning, soon found himself in the jungles of the Amazon. What he found there, some 80 years after Fawcett’s disappearance, is a startling conclusion to this absorbing narrative.
The book has 3 stars out of a possible 4, with of 331 reviews. I myself would give it a 3.5 to 4 stars. I always like to use Goodreads to see the reviews, since a lot more people review books on that site. There this book has 3.8 stars and over 1,578 reviews.
On this day in 1994, John Franklin Candy died of a heart attack. At the time, Candy was filming Wagons East! In Durango, Mexico. The movie was finished using a body double for Candy. John Candy was born in Newmarket, Ontario in Canada. Candy grew up with his older brother, playing football and attending an all-boy Catholic high school in Toronto.
Candy started in film in the 1970’s. In 1976 he started working on The Second City which would become Second City Television (SCTV). After NBC picked up the show in 1981 it became hugely popular. In 1980, Candy got a part in Steven Spielberg’s 1941 and another in The Blues Brothers. Then in 1981 he received a part in Stripes. During the following 2 years, he had a cameo in National Lampoon’s Vacation and appeared on Saturday Night Live (SNL) twice.
In the 1990’s you may remember Candy playing roles in The Rescuers Down Under, Cool Runnings, and Home Alone. In an effort to avoid being type cast, Candy appeared in a light romantic film called Only the Lonely and a dramatic role in JFK. In 1991, Candy joined Bruce McNall and Wayne Gretzky to become a co-owner of a Canadian Football team known as the Toronto Argonauts. This culled a lot of attention in Canada, as they spent a lot of money signing some big players to the team and it paid off, as they won the 1991 Grey Cup.
In the 80’s and 90’s Candy had put on even more weight. He is believed to be at least 100 pounds overweight by 1994. Just before he passed he had made an effort to lose weight. He had stopped smoking. It seems that the physically demanding role in Wagons East! may have been too much for Candy’s body. He passed away on March 4, 1994 in his sleep from a heart attack. He was only 43 years old.
Wagons East! and Canadian Bacon, a movie filmed in 1993 were released after his death.
For this review I listened to Stuff You missed in History Class, which is currently rated number one in the history category on iTunes [iTunes Link]. I listened to the episode called How the Stono Rebellion Worked that was released on 2/23/2011. The episode was about 26 minutes long. Stuff You Missed in History Class has 280 episodes! They have 1,610 ratings on iTunes with an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars. The podcast is one of many different podcasts that howstuffworks.com puts out. The podcast is updated very frequently. When glancing that the past shows, it looks like they do one almost every other day. That’s a lot of content and a lot of research.
I enjoyed listening to this episode. I always find history about early slavery in America fascinating. I’m always after more information. Sarah Dowdey and Deblina Chakraborty did a great job putting this episode together. You can tell they did a lot of research. They both have very pleasant voice and are easy to listen to. The production quality of the podcast is high. They have a little musical intro and some more music plays as they wind down the podcast episode.
The ladies took turns speaking through what sounded pretty scripted. With two people on a podcast I usually expect a discussion, but really they just took turns presenting the topic. I’m not sure that two speakers were really necessary. I did find the webpage for the podcast a bit lacking. I wanted to know more about who these podcasters were. What is their background? I couldn’t find that information. I did find that they have a Twitter page, a Facebook page and separate author pages on howstuffworks.
All in all, I thought they did a good job presenting the information and while two speakers is a little strange to me in this format, they are pleasant to listen to. I’m going to stay subscribed. It seems that I am not the only one, after all they are number 1 in the History section of iTunes. They also have more than 10,000 fans on their Facebook page and over 6,000 Twitter followers. You should give them a try and if you do let me know what you think in the comments section below.
This would be his 107 birthday if he had not died in 1991 at the age of 87. His name was actually Theodor Seuss Geisel. His friends and family called him Ted. Seuss’ name is Bavarian. His mother emigrated from Bavaria int he ninetieth century. Seuss is actually pronounced Zoice.
Geisel started using Dr. when he was in college. The story goes that one day he was in his room having a little party with his friends and drinking a little gin. He and his friends were busted by the dean of the college, Dartmouth. His punishment was that he could no longer write for the college’s humor magazine, called the Jack-O-Lantern. To work around that Geisel started using a pen name. Sometimes he used L. Pasteur, T. Seuss or just “Seuss”. This is the first time he started using his middle name to mark his work.
Then in 1927 he stated signing his work “Dr. Theophrastus Seuss”. And in 1928 it was shortened to the name we are all familiar with Dr. Seuss. American’s pronounced his name as Soose and it stuck.
Dr. Seuss was going did continue his schooling after Dartmouth and went to Oxford after a English master’s, but instead of getting a master’s he got engaged to Helen, whom he would marry in 1927. She convinced him that he wasn’t after higher education, he was an artist and liked to draw. Helen was right and he dropped out of Oxford.
In 1955 he received his first of many honorary doctorates. This one from Dartmouth. Dr. Seuss was not an immediate success, he struggled for a year until he hit his stride when writing an advertisement for Flit a popular insecticide. After the hit with Flit Seuss went on to create advertisements for NBC, General Electric, Ford and others. This went on for the next 30 years, but a cat in a hat would change that.
Seuss wrote an unpublished children’s book in 1931, then in 1937 he wrote Saw It on Mulberry Street and in 1957 he wrote the hugely successful The Cat in the Hat.
In 1957 he told the Dartmouth librarian Edward Connery that:
I would like to say I went into children’s book writing because of my great understanding of children. I went in because it wasn’t excluded by my Standard Oil contract.
It turns out there may have been another reason. His first children’s book was written the year he found out that his wife Helen could not have a baby. When people asked Seuss how he was able to write so well for children, not having any of his own he replied:
You make ’em. I’ll amuse ’em.
Seuss did want children he is quoted tell his niece Peggy, “it was not that we didn’t want to have children. That wasn’t it.” Sadly Helen passed away in 1967. The next year he met and married Audrey Stone who already had two daughters a fifteen year-old and a eleven year-old.
During the period between April 1941 and January 1943, WWI, Seuss took a break from children’s books and published over 400 political cartoons for PM, a liberal New York newspaper.
Many of Seuss’ following books contained political messages like Yertle the Turtle which was inspired by the rise of Hitler or Horton Hears a Who! about anti-prejudice particularly prejudice against the Japanese who were being bombed out of existence, just like the Who’s.
Seuss wrote and illustrated 44 books. When asked where he got his ideas for all these wonderful books Seuss replied:
This is the most asked question of any successful author. Most authors will not disclose their source for fear that other, less successful authors will chisel in on their territory. However, I am willing to take that chance. I get all my ideas in Switzerland, near the Forka Pass. There is a little town called Gletch, and two thousand feet up above Gletch there is a smaller hamlet called Uber Gletch. I go there on the fourth of August every summer to get my cuckoo clock repaired. While the cuckoo is in the hospital, I wander around and talk to the people in the streets. They are very strange people, and I get my ideas from them.
Seuss would later state the he based two characters after himself, the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch. His license plate said GRINCH.
Following several years of poor health the man the world new as Dr. Seuss succumbed to throat cancer on September 24, 1991 in San Diego, CA.
On March 1, 1932 Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr., the son of the famous aviator, was kidnapped at 9pm, just 4 months prior to his 2 year-old birthday. He was taken from the second story nursery of the Lindbergh home in Hopewell, New Jersey. Betty Gow, the baby’s nurse discovered the child missing at 10 p.m. and it was immediately reported. A search of the home revealed a ransom note for $50,000 that was left on the nursery window sill. Read more…
Who Do You Think You Are is a television program that was originally in the UK starting in 2004. Last year they brought the program to the states. I first heard about it when listening to BBC History Magazine Podcast where they mentioned the UK program. Then later when listening to another podcast, History According to Bob, I heard that the show was in the US and had some good programming according to Bob. I trust Bob, so I looked for it on Hulu and found it. The first season is now only available to Hulu Plus subscribers (a fee service), but the new ones are available to watch for free, for a limited time. Here is a link to the Hulu page for Who Do You Think You Are, where the go over Vanessa William’s family history. It is very interesting. If you really like and and want more, the first season is available at Amazon where you can Pre-Order for March 15 or watch instantly via Amazon Instant video.
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