Almanac – September 19

1882 – Christopher Stone born. The first disc jockey in the United Kingdom, Stone had approached the BBC himself with the idea for a record programme, which the corporation initially dismissed. He managed to convince them, though, and on 7 July 1927 he started playing records on air. His relaxed, conversational style was exceptional at a time when most of the BBC’s presentation was extremely formal, and his programmes became highly popular as a result. He wore a dinner jacket and tie when he presented…but of course.

In 1934 Stone joined the commercial station Radio Luxembourg and was barred by the BBC in consequence. Three years later, as “Uncle Chris”, he presented the first daily children’s programme on commercial radio,  Kiddies Quarter Hour on Radio Lyons. He later rejoined the BBC and caused a major row in 1941, when on 11 November he wished King Victor Emmanuel of Italy a happy birthday on air, adding “I don’t think any of us wish him anything but good, poor soul.” This good wish towards the head of a state Britain was at war with at the time led to the sacking of the BBC’s Senior Controller of Programmes and tighter government control over all broadcasts.

Stone was an avid record collector; in the mid 1930s he already owned over 12,000. When he turned 75 in 1957 the magazine Melody Maker praised his pioneering work: “Everyone who has written, produced or compered a gramophone programme should salute the founder of his trade.”

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1893 – New Zealand became the first country in the World to give women the vote in parliamentary elections.

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1942 – Freda Payne born. American singer and actress best known for her million selling, 1970 hit single, “Band of Gold”. She was also an actress in musicals and film, as well as the host of a TV talk show. Also  the older sister of former Supreme Scherrie Payne.

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1945 – Lord Haw-Haw [William Joyce] sentenced to death. He’d broadcast propaganda programmes against the UK from Nazi Germany in WW2.

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1952 – The United States barred Charlie Chaplin from re-entering the country after a trip to England. During the era of McCarthyism, Chaplin had been accused of “un-American activities” as a suspected communist and J. Edgar Hoover had instructed the FBI to keep extensive secret files on him.
Chaplin decided not to re-enter the United States, writing: “Since the end of the last world war, I have been the object of lies and propaganda by powerful reactionary groups who, by their influence and by the aid of America’s yellow press, have created an unhealthy atmosphere in which liberal-minded individuals can be singled out and persecuted. Under these conditions I find it virtually impossible to continue my motion-picture work, and I have therefore given up my residence in the United States.”

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1961 – Betty and Barney Hill claimed  they saw a mysterious craft in the sky and that it tried to abduct them. The couple’s story  was the first widely-publicized claim of alien abduction, adapted into the best-selling 1966 book The Interrupted Journey and the 1975 television movie The UFO Incident.
Its importance is such that many of Betty Hill’s notes, tapes, and other items have been placed in a permanent collection at the University of New Hampshire. The site of the alleged craft’s first close approach,  just south of Lancaster, New Hampshire, is marked by a state historical marker.

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1970 – The first Glastonbury Festival was held at Michael Eavis’s farm in Glastonbury,  Somerset.  The original headline acts were The Kinks and Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders but these were replaced at short notice by Tyrannosaurus Rex.Tickets were £1. Other billed acts of note were Quintessence, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull fame and Al Stewart.

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