Today in History

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by limbkiller, May 26, 2019.

  1. limbkiller

    limbkiller Pulling my hair. Supporting Addict

    Aug 18, 2011
    1907
    John Wayne is born

    John Wayne, an actor who came to epitomize the American West, is born in Winterset, Iowa.

    Born Marion Michael Morrison, Wayne’s family moved to Glendale, California, when he was six years old. As a teen, he rose at four in the morning to deliver newspapers, and after school he played football and made deliveries for local stores. When he graduated from high school, he hoped to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. However, after the school rejected him, he accepted a full scholarship to play football at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

    In the summer of 1926, Wayne’s football coach found him a job as an assistant prop man on the set of a movie directed by John Ford. Ford started to use Wayne as an extra, and he eventually began to trust him with some larger roles. In 1930, Ford recommended Wayne for Fox’s epic Western The Big Trail. Wayne won the part, but the movie did poorly, and Fox let his contract lapse.

    During the next decade, Wayne worked tirelessly in countless low-budget western films, sharpening his talents and developing a distinct persona for his cowboy characters. Finally, his old mentor John Ford gave Wayne his big break, casting him in his brilliant 1939 western, Stagecoach. Wayne played the role of Ringo Kid, and he imbued the character with the essential traits that would inform nearly all of his subsequent screen roles: a tough and clear-eyed honesty, unquestioning valor, and a laconic, almost plodding manner.

    After Stagecoach, Wayne’s career took off. Among the dozens of Westerns he appeared in—many of them directed by Ford-were memorable classics like Tall in the Saddle (1944), Red River (1948), Fort Apache (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), Rio Bravo (1959), and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). In all these films, The Duke, as he was known, embodied the simple, and perhaps simplistic, cowboy values of decency, honesty, and integrity.

    Besides Westerns, Wayne also acted in war films. It was a small leap from the valorous cowboy or cavalry soldier to the brave WWII fighters of films like Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) and Flying Leathernecks (1951). Deeply conservative in his politics, Wayne also used his 1968 film, The Green Berets, to express his support of the American government’s war in Vietnam.

    By the late 1960s, some Americans had tired of Wayne and his simplistically masculine and patriotic characters. Increasingly, western movies were rejecting the simple black-and-white moral codes championed by Wayne and replacing them with a more complex and tragic view of the American West. However, Wayne proved more adaptable than many expected. In his Oscar-winning role in True Grit (1969), he began to escape the narrow confines of his own good-guy image. His final film, The Shootist (1976), won over even his most severe critics. Wayne—who was himself battling lung cancer—played a dying gunfighter whose moral codes and principles no longer fit in a changing world.

    Three years later, Wayne died of cancer. To this day, public polls identify him as one of the most popular actors of all time.


    Dracula goes on sale in London

    The first copies of the classic vampire novel Dracula, by Irish writer Bram Stoker, appear in London bookshops on this day in 1897.

    A childhood invalid, Stoker grew up to become a football (soccer) star at Trinity College, Dublin. After graduation, he got a job in civil service at Dublin Castle, where he worked for the next 10 years while writing drama reviews for the Dublin Mail on the side. In this way, Stoker met the well-respected actor Sir Henry Irving, who hired him as his manager. Stoker stayed in the post for most of the next three decades, writing Irving’s voluminous correspondence for him and accompanying him on tours in the United States. Over the years, Stoker began writing a number of horror stories for magazines, and in 1890 he published his first novel, The Snake’s Pass.

    Stoker would go on to publish 17 novels in all, but it was his 1897 novel Dracula that eventually earned him literary fame and became known as a masterpiece of Victorian-era Gothic literature. Written in the form of diaries and journals of its main characters, Dracula is the story of a vampire who makes his way from Transylvania–a region of Eastern Europe now in Romania–to Yorkshire, England, and preys on innocents there to get the blood he needs to live. Stoker had originally named the vampire “Count Wampyr.” He found the name Dracula in a book on Wallachia and Moldavia written by retired diplomat William Wilkinson, which he borrowed from a Yorkshire public library during his family’s vacations there.

    Vampires–who left their burial places at night to drink the blood of humans–were popular figures in folk tales from ancient times, but Stoker’s novel catapulted them into the mainstream of 20th-century literature. Upon its release, Dracula enjoyed moderate success, though when Stoker died in 1912 none of his obituaries even mentioned Dracula by name. Sales began to take off in the 1920s, when the novel was adapted for Broadway. Dracula mania kicked into even higher gear with Universal’s blockbuster 1931 film, directed by Tod Browning and starring the Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi. Dozens of vampire-themed movies, television shows and literature followed, though Lugosi, with his exotic accent, remains the quintessential Count Dracula. Late 20th-century examples of the vampire craze include the bestselling novels of American writer Anne Rice and the cult hit TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


    1927
    Last day of Model T production at Ford

    On this day in 1927, Henry Ford and his son Edsel drive the 15 millionth Model T Ford out of their factory, marking the famous automobile’s official last day of production.

    More than any other vehicle, the relatively affordable and efficient Model T was responsible for accelerating the automobile’s introduction into American society during the first quarter of the 20th century. Introduced in October 1908, the Model T—also known as the “Tin Lizzie”—weighed some 1,200 pounds, with a 20-horsepower, four-cylinder engine. It got about 13 to 21 miles per gallon of gasoline and could travel up to 45 mph. Initially selling for around $850 (around $20,000 in today’s dollars), the Model T would later sell for as little as $260 (around $6,000 today) for the basic no-extras model.

    Largely due to the Model T’s incredible popularity, the U.S. government made construction of new roads one of its top priorities by 1920. By 1926, however, the Lizzie had become outdated in a rapidly expanding market for cheaper cars. While Henry Ford had hoped to keep up production of the Model T while retooling his factories for its replacement, the Model A, lack of demand forced his hand. On May 25, 1927, he made headlines around the world with the announcement that he was discontinuing the Model T. As recorded by Douglas Brinkley in “Wheels for the World,” his biography of Ford, the legendary carmaker delivered a eulogy for his most memorable creation: “It had stamina and power. It was the car that ran before there were good roads to run on. It broke down the barriers of distance in rural sections, brought people of these sections closer together and placed education within the reach of everyone.”

    After production officially ended the following day, Ford factories shut down in early June, and some 60,000 workers were laid off. The company sold fewer than 500,000 cars in 1927, less than half of Chevrolet’s sales. The Model A’s release beginning in select cities that December was greeted by throngs of thousands, a tribute to Ford’s characteristic ability to make a splash. No car in history, however, had the impact—both actual and mythological—of the Model T: Authors like Ernest Hemingway, E.B. White and John Steinbeck featured the Tin Lizzie in their prose, while the great filmmaker Charlie Chaplin immortalized it in satire in his 1928 film “The Circus.”
     
    isialk, xerts1191, TexasBB and 15 others like this.
  2. Capthobo

    Capthobo NRA Endowment member Supporting Addict

    Nov 9, 2016
    Thanks LK.
    The Duke was the man! As if I didn’t know. Lol
     
    limbkiller likes this.

  3. tac45

    tac45 What me worry ? Supporting Addict

    Mar 4, 2012
    Once again I must thank you Ed ,great effort, great posts Sir .
     
    Capthobo and limbkiller like this.
  4. isialk

    isialk Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Jan 7, 2017
    Outstanding post today limbkiller! My dad loved the Duke. He was a mans man who represented all the things he (and his son) believe in.
    Also loved the Stoker read. I read his original Dracula and it got me into doing quite a bit of research on him. A lot if this was absolutely due to my maternal grandfather being born there. He wasn’t a vampire but he was a great tool and die maker lol. Thanks for the post limbkiller.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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