Jack are you out of your mind? We’ll never get away with it.
Jack “Murph the Surf” Murphy visited the American Museum of Natural History on the 29th in 1964. While walking around the museum he visited one of the restrooms and unlocked a window. Later that evening, Murph the Surf, accompanied by Alan Kuhn and Roger Clark returned to the museum after it had closed for the day. The 565-carat Star of India sapphire was the only gem protected by an alarm. Murph the Surf was pleasantly surprised to discover that the battery that powered the Star of India’s alarm was dead. He took the gem and some others, most notably the Eagle Diamond and the de Long Ruby. The trio was arrested two days later. The Star of India was recovered from a locker in a Miami, Florida bus station. The Eagle Diamond was never recovered.
On the 28th in 1886, 1936 and 1986 celebrations were held in New York Harbor marking, respectively, the dedication, 50th anniversary and 100th anniversary of the statue Liberty Enlightening the World, popularly known as the Statue of Liberty. President Grover Cleveland mc’d in 1886. President Franklin Roosevelt did the honors in 1936. By 1986, the statue must have been downgraded to the B list because President Reagan was a no-show. Although in Reagan’s defense, there was a sign posted on the podium stating “No shoes, no shirt, no service,” and it was a Tuesday and The Gap probably wasn’t open yet.
On the 27th in 1946, the television show Geographically Speaking debuted. Not terribly earthshaking news and I doubt if you will find it running on cable or broadcast television at any time in the near future. Why, then, am I sharing this meaningless bit of trivia? However, I suppose that my use of the adjective meaningless is redundant concerning trivia. What sets Geographically Speaking apart from a zillion other television shows is that it has the distinction of being the first commercially sponsored television program. Bristol-Meyers was the sponsor. Carveth Wells, intrepid rich guy and explorer traveled the globe extensively with his wife, Zetta. Mrs. Wells was in the habit of lugging a 16mm motion-picture camera on these jaunts across the surface of the planet and used it often, basically every day I would guess. At some point Carveth and Zetta must have become travel weary and their travels were curtailed. Mrs. Wells’ home movies were put to good use and supplied the material for the show, which ran 15 minutes. When Mrs. Wells ran out of new material for the show, the show was cancelled. Re-runs would not be invented for a good ten years.
Eric Edgar Cooke was born on February 25, 1931. He was born with a cleft lip and was routinely bullied as a child. He rather consistently got “Does not play well with others” noted in his school records. As an adult Cooke’s behavior tended to be a bit, how shall I put it, testy? He would randomly run people over with his car; knock on strangers doors and when someone opened the door he would shoot them. His inter-personal skills were pretty much limited to random acts of senseless violence and mayhem, qualities not much in demand at the time. He was eventually caught, tried, convicted and sentenced to death. I’m not certain but I would guess that his wife and seven children breathed a collective sigh of relief when the verdict was read. On the 26th in 1964, Cooke was hanged at Fremantle Prison in Australia. He was the last person in Western Australia to be executed. In what I find to be a charmingly ironic event, Cooke was buried in the very same grave as Martha Rendell. Rendell has her own claim to fame: she was hanged on October 6, 1909 and was the last woman to be hanged in Western Australia.
It don’t mean a thing (if it ain’t got that swing)
On the 25th in 1938 Francis J. L. Beckman, Archbishop of Dubuque, denounced Swing music as “a degenerated musical system turned loose to gnaw away at the moral fiber of young people.” In addition, the good Archbishop stated with authority that Swing “leads down a primrose path to hell.” Fortunately, for the rest of the listening public, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald chose to throw caution to the wind despite such dire warnings.
Walt Disney, after a series of labor disputes in the late 1940s, was not a happy camper. He offered to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). His offer was accepted and Disney testified on the 24th in 1947. Walt told the HUAC that a number of Disney animators were communists and singled out Herbert Sorrell, David Hilberman and William Pomerance. Walt anticipated the directive, so popular today, that “If you see something, say something.” The Screen Actors Guild wasn't overlooked either. SAG was chock full of Communist agitators. I just knew that there had to be a reason Mickey always wore red. Or should that be Red?
According to the calculations of James Ussher (January 4, 1581 to March 21, 1656), the 23rd in 4004 BC was the first full day that the universe was in existence, it having been created in the evening of the preceding day. Ussher used as his frame of reference the proleptic Julian calendar. There are faults in the standard Julian calendar and those faults are amplified in the proleptic version because of pesky things like leap seconds, minutes and years, all of which add up over the span of a couple of millennia. Ussher however was supremely confident in his calculations and in the 17th century world in which Ussher worked minor details such as leap thingys, questionable logic, etc. could be confidently brushed aside if a person possessed academic credentials which were sufficiently brilliant. Ussher had those in spades. He was a gifted academician and theologian. In the 1620s, he was made Anglican Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland, although I am certain that he was also a primate when he visited England. In fact, I feel confident in stating that he was a primate wherever he went. I wish I knew why the articles I have read about him refer to him as the Primate of all Ireland. Weren’t all the other people there primates as well? Why make such a big deal about Ussher? Is this an example of early species profiling? Ussher’s calculations sit comfortably alongside of those made by the Venerable Bede, and Bede worked in the 9th century so he probably had access to more first hand reports and got to check out his facts before all the souvenir shops went up, and things were all jumbled up.