Tag Archives: guillotine

Almanac – January 21

1789 –  The Power of Sympathy or the Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth published by Isaiah Thomas in Boston. American sentimental novel written in epistolary form by William Hill Brown, and widely considered to be the first American novel.

The novel mirrors a local New England scandal involving Brown’s neighbor Perez Morton’s incestuous seduction of Fanny Apthorp, Morton’s sister-in-law. Apthorp became pregnant and committed suicide, but Morton was not legally punished.

The scandal was widely known, so most readers were able to quickly identify the “real” story behind the fiction: in every essential, Brown’s story is an indictment of Morton and an exoneration of Fanny Apthorp, with “Martin” and “Ophelia” representing Morton and Apthorp, respectively.

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1793 – After being found guilty of treason by the French Convention, Louis XVI of France was executed by guillotine. 

Some accounts of Louis’s beheading indicate that the blade did not sever his neck entirely the first time. There are also accounts of a blood-curdling scream issuing from Louis after the blade fell but this is unlikely, since the blade severed Louis’s spine. It is agreed that while Louis’s blood dripped to the ground many members of the crowd ran forward to dip their handkerchiefs in it.

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1938 – Wolfman Jack born. American disc jockey.

According to author Philip A. Lieberman, the Wolfman persona “derived from his love of horror flicks and his shenanigans as a ‘wolfman’ with his two young nephews. The ‘Jack’ was added as a part of the ‘hipster’ lingo of the 1950s, as in ‘take a page from my book, Jack,’ or the more popular, ‘hit the road, Jack.'”

 In 1973, he appeared in director George Lucas‘ second feature film, American Graffiti, as himself. His broadcasts tie the film together, and Richard Dreyfuss’s character catches a glimpse of the mysterious Wolfman in a pivotal scene.

In gratitude for Wolfman Jack’s participation, Lucas gave him a fraction of a “point” — the division of the profits from a film — and the extreme financial success of American Graffiti provided him with a regular income for life.

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1942 – Edwin Starr born.  American soul music singer,  most famous for his Norman Whitfield produced Motown singles of the 1970s, most notably the number one hit “War”.

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1984 – Jackie Wilson died. American singer and performer. Known as “Mr. Excitement“, Wilson was important in the transition of rhythm and blues into soul. He was considered a master showman, one of the most dynamic and influential singers and performers in R&B and rock history.

Gaining fame in his early years as a member of the R&B vocal group Billy Ward and His Dominoes, he went solo in 1957 and recorded over 50 hit singles that spanned R&B, pop, soul, doo-wop and easy listening.

During a 1975 benefit concert, he collapsed on-stage from a heart attack and subsequently fell into a coma that persisted for nearly nine years until his death in 1984, aged 49.

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 1997 – Colonel Tom Parker died. Entertainment impresario best  known as the manager of Elvis Presley. Parker’s management of Presley defined the role of masterminding talent management, which involved every facet of his life and was seen as central to the astonishing success of Presley’s career.

“The Colonel” displayed a ruthless devotion to his client’s interests and took more than the traditional 10 percent of his earnings (reaching up to 50 percent by the end of Presley’s life).
Presley said of Parker: “I don’t think I’d have ever been very big if it wasn’t for him. He’s a very smart man.”

For many years Parker falsely claimed to have been U.S.-born, but it eventually emerged that he was born in Breda, Netherlands, real name Andreas Cornelis  van Kuijk.

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Almanac – October 16

1384 – Although a woman, Jadwiga is crowned King of Poland. She is venerated by the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Hedwig, where she is the patron saint of – ironically enough – queens.

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1793 – Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI, is guillotined at the height of the French Revolution.

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1854 – Oscar Wilde born. Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams and plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment which was followed by his early death.

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1869 – The Cardiff Giant , one of the most famous hoaxes in United States history made its appearance. It was a 10-foot (3.0 m) tall purported “petrified man” uncovered on October 16, 1869 by workers digging a well behind the barn of William C. “Stub” Newell in Cardiff, New York.

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1938 – Nico born. German singer, lyricist, composer, musician, fashion model, and actress, who initially rose to fame as a Warhol Superstar in the 1960s. She is known for both her vocal collaboration on The Velvet Underground‘s debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967), and her work as a solo artist from the late 1960s through the early 1980s. She also had roles in several films, including a cameo in Federico Fellini‘s La Dolce Vita (1960) and Andy Warhol‘s Chelsea Girls (1966), as herself.

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Almanac – September 10

1676 – Gerrard Winstanley died.  English Protestant religious reformer and political activist during The Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. Winstanley was one of the founders of the English group known as the True Levellers for their beliefs, based upon Christian communism, and as the Diggers for their actions because they took over public lands and dug them over to plant crops.

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1794 – Marie Laveau born.  Louisiana Creole practitioner of Voodoo  in New Orleans. Of her magical career there is little that can be substantiated – she was said to have had a snake she named Zombi after an African god and oral traditions suggested that the occult part of her magic mixed Roman Catholic beliefs, including saints, with African spirits and religious concepts.

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1797 – Mary Wollstonecraft died. British writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights. During her brief career, she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children’s book but is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), in which she argued that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education. She suggested that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagined a social order founded on reason. Her daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, married Percy Shelley and was the author of Frankenstein,

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1897 – London taxi driver George Smith drove into the frontage of a building on Bond Street, Mayfair, and subsequently became the first UK convicted drunk-driver. Fined one pound.

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1940 – Roy Ayers born.  American funk, soul, and jazz composer and vibraphone player. Ayers began his career as a post-bop jazz artist, releasing several albums with Atlantic Records, before his tenure at Polydor Records beginning in the 1970s, during which he helped pioneer jazz-funk

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1977 – In France, the guillotine was used as a form of capital punishment for the last time.

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Almanac – June 28th

1712 – Birth of Jean-Jaques Rousseau.

1846 – The saxophone was patented by Adolphe Sax in Paris.

1880 – The Australian bushranger Ned Kelly  captured at Glenrowan.

1905 – A French criminal named Languille was  guillotined. At the very moment his severed head tumbled forward from the blade, a Dr. Beaurieux observed movement in its eyelids and lips. Three times he called out Languille’s name in a loud voice. The first two times the eyes opened and focused on him. The third time, no reaction.

1914Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassinated in Sarajevo, setting in motion the events that led to World War I.

1924Arthur Ferguson suceeded in selling London’s Trafalgar Square to an American tourist for 6000 GBP. He later “sold” Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, before emigrating to the USA, where he was arrested trying to sell the Statue of Liberty.

1964Malcolm X forms the Organization of Afro-American Unity.

1969 Stonewall Riots begin in New York City marking the start of the Gay Rights Movement.

1975 – Death of  Rod Serling, American TV screenwriter, novelist, television producer, and narrator best known for his live television dramas of the 1950s and his science fiction anthology TV series, The Twilight Zone.

1993 –  Death of GG Allin, American singer, who I used to correspond with in the early 1980s.

 

 

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