Tag Archives: Raymond Chandler

Almanac – March 26

1814 – Joseph-Ignace Guillotin died.  French physician who proposed in  1789 the use of a device to carry out death penalties in France.

While he did not invent the guillotine, and in fact opposed the death penalty, his name became an eponym for it. The actual inventor of the prototype guillotine was Antoine Louis.

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1859 – A. E. Housman born.  English classical scholar and poet, best known to the general public for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad.

Lyrical and almost epigrammatic in form, the poems’ wistful evocation of doomed youth in the English countryside, in spare language and distinctive imagery, appealed strongly to late Victorian and Edwardian taste, and to many early 20th century English composers (beginning with Arthur Somervell) both before and after the First World War.

Through its song-setting the poetry became closely associated with that era, and with Shropshire itself.

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1923 – Sarah Bernhardt died.  French stage and early film actress, sometimes referred to as “the most famous actress the world has ever known“. She made her name on the stages of France in the 1870s, and was soon in demand in Europe and the Americas, and  developed a reputation as a serious dramatic actress.

In 1905, while performing in  La Tosca in Teatro Lírico do Rio de Janeiro, she injured her right knee when jumping off the parapet in the final scene. The leg never healed properly, and by  1915  gangrene had set in and her entire right leg was amputated; she was required to use a wheelchair for several months.

She reportedly refused a $10,000 offer by a showman to display her amputated leg as a medical curiosity and  continued her career,  often without using a wooden prosthetic limb; she had tried to use one but didn’t like it.

 She died from uremia following kidney failure in 1923;  believed to have been 78 years old.

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1950 – Teddy Pendergrass born. American R&B/soul singer and songwriter.

Pendergrass first rose to fame as lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in the 1970s before a successful solo career at the end of the decade. In 1982, he was severely injured in an auto accident in Philadelphia, resulting in his being paralyzed from the waist down.

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1959 – Raymond Chandler died. American novelist and screenwriter.

Chandler had an immense stylistic influence on American popular literature, and is considered by many to be a founder, along with Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and other Black Mask writers, of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction.

His protagonist, Philip Marlowe, along with Hammett’s Sam Spade, is considered by some to be synonymous with “private detective,” both having been played on screen by Humphrey Bogart, whom many considered to be the quintessential Marlowe.

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Almanac – July 23

1690 – Death of Richard Gibson, aged 75. He had been court-dwarf to Charles I and a miniature-painter [in every sense of the term].

His wife, Ann Shepherd, who died 19 years later, aged 89, was court-dwarf to Queen Henrietta Maria. They had 9 children, 5 of whom survived to maturity and were of ordinary stature.

1888 – Raymond Chandler born, American novelist.

1892 – Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia born. Revered as the returned messiah of the Bible, God incarnate, among the Rastafari movement  which perceives Haile Selassie as a messianic figure who will lead a future golden age of eternal peace, righteousness, and prosperity.  Haile Selassie himself was  was an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian throughout his life.

 

 

1929 – The Fascist government in Italy banned the use of foreign words.

1942 – Treblinka  Nazi extermination camp in German-occupied Poland  opened.. Approximately 870,000 died there.

1962 –  The  Telstar-1   communications satellite relayed the first publicly transmitted, live trans-Atlantic television program, featuring Walter Cronkite.

 

Telstar -1  became a victim of  Cold War technology. The day before it was launched, the USA had tested a high-altitude nuclear bomb (called Starfish Prime) which energized the Earth’s Van Allen Belt where Telstar-1 went into orbit. This vast increase in radiation, combined with subsequent high-altitude blasts, including a Soviet test in October, overwhelmed Telstar’s fragile transistors; and  it went out of service in November 1962, after handling over 400 telephone, telegraph, facsimile and television transmissions. It was restarted by a workaround in early January 1963. but the additional radiation associated with its return to full sunlight once again caused a transistor failure, this time irreparably, and Telstar-1 went out of service on February 21, 1963.

Although no longer functioning, Telstar-1 is still apparently in orbit at time of writing (July 2012).

 

Mr. Frankenstein

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