Almanac – October 06

1854 –  The Great fire of Newcastle and Gateshead started shortly after midnight, leading to 53 deaths and hundreds injured.

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1914 – Thor Heyerdahl born. Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer with a background in zoology and geography. He’s best known  for his Kon-Tiki expedition, in which he sailed 8,000 km (5,000 mi) across the Pacific Ocean in a self-built raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands in 1947. The expedition was designed to demonstrate that ancient people could have made long sea voyages, creating contacts between apparently separate cultures.

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1946 – Millie Small born.  Jamaican singer-songwriter, probably best known for her 1964 cover version of “My Boy Lollipop”, (originally  by Barbie Gaye in late 1956.) Released in March 1964,  Small’s cover was a massive hit, reaching number two both in the UK  and US Singles Charts.

“My Boy Lollipop” was doubly significant in British pop music history, as it was the first major hit for Island Records, although it was actually released via Fontana Records because Chris Blackwell, Island’s owner, did not want to overextend the label’s then-meagre resources; and Small was the first artist to have a UK hit that was recorded in the bluebeat style. 

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1962 – Tod Browning died. American motion picture actor, director and screenwriter, his  career spanned the silent and talkie eras. Best known as the director of the now- lost early vampire film London After Midnight (1927),  Dracula (1931), the cult classic Freaks (1932), and classic silent film collaborations with Lon Chaney, Browning directed many movies in a wide range of genres. His  final film was the murder mystery Miracles For Sale (1939).

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