US

Let’s Censor Hollywood

The Production Code Administration – which policed standards of decency on all US cinema releases for twenty years – was established on 13th June, 1934, following a patch of unconvincing Hollywood self-censorship. ‘Excessive or lustful kissing’ and ‘sex perversion’ were no longer allowed – but nor was ‘depictions of safe-cracking’, ‘childbirth,’ and ‘dynamiting’. In this […]

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The Production Code Administration – which policed standards of decency on all US cinema releases for twenty years – was established on 13th June, 1934, following a patch of unconvincing Hollywood self-censorship. ‘Excessive or lustful kissing’ and ‘sex perversion’ were no longer allowed – but nor was ‘depictions of safe-cracking’, ‘childbirth,’ and ‘dynamiting’. In this

Killing Lincoln’s Killer

John Wilkes Booth was on the run for twelve days before being tracked down to a tobacco barn at Garrett’s Farm in Port Royal, Virginia, and shot in the neck. He died of his injuries on 26th April, 1865 – after several agonising hours bleeding out.  Despite numerous witnesses to his death, it continued to

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John Wilkes Booth was on the run for twelve days before being tracked down to a tobacco barn at Garrett’s Farm in Port Royal, Virginia, and shot in the neck. He died of his injuries on 26th April, 1865 – after several agonising hours bleeding out.  Despite numerous witnesses to his death, it continued to

The Band of Gold Mystery

Freda Payne’s banger ‘Band Of Gold’ sounds like a Motown record, but actually isn’t. Although written by Berry Gordy’s hit-making trio Holland-Dozier-Holland, it was released on their breakaway label, Invictus, on 25th April, 1970. Ever since, fans have speculated as to the meaning of its lyrics and the nature of the crumbled relationship within. “That

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Freda Payne’s banger ‘Band Of Gold’ sounds like a Motown record, but actually isn’t. Although written by Berry Gordy’s hit-making trio Holland-Dozier-Holland, it was released on their breakaway label, Invictus, on 25th April, 1970. Ever since, fans have speculated as to the meaning of its lyrics and the nature of the crumbled relationship within. “That

Frank Sinatra: Boxing Photographer

Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier’s ‘Fight of the Century’ at Madison Square Garden on 8th March, 1971 had the attention of the world – including multiple celebrities. But the photographer LIFE magazine had hired for the event was, nevertheless, a coup: Frank Sinatra.  “I’m so mad I could chew nails and spit tax”, wrote former

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Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier’s ‘Fight of the Century’ at Madison Square Garden on 8th March, 1971 had the attention of the world – including multiple celebrities. But the photographer LIFE magazine had hired for the event was, nevertheless, a coup: Frank Sinatra.  “I’m so mad I could chew nails and spit tax”, wrote former

Trashing the White House

When Andrew Jackson was inaugurated on 4th March, 1829, large crowds of recently emancipated, enthusiastic voters turned up to the Capitol to watch the former Army commander become President. But the event soon spiraled out of control, descending into, at best, chaos; and, at worst, a brawl.  Eyewitness Margaret Bayard Smith wrote: “No arrangements had

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When Andrew Jackson was inaugurated on 4th March, 1829, large crowds of recently emancipated, enthusiastic voters turned up to the Capitol to watch the former Army commander become President. But the event soon spiraled out of control, descending into, at best, chaos; and, at worst, a brawl.  Eyewitness Margaret Bayard Smith wrote: “No arrangements had

Inventing the Sweatshirt

Russell Athletic, the company that created the sweatshirt, began life as The Russell Manufacturing Company on 3rd March, 1902 in Alexander City, Alabama. Its founder was entrepreneurial polymath Benjamin Russell, and they specialized in women’s undershirts. It wasn’t until decades later – when Russell’s son returned from college with a concept for college-based sportswear –

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Russell Athletic, the company that created the sweatshirt, began life as The Russell Manufacturing Company on 3rd March, 1902 in Alexander City, Alabama. Its founder was entrepreneurial polymath Benjamin Russell, and they specialized in women’s undershirts. It wasn’t until decades later – when Russell’s son returned from college with a concept for college-based sportswear –

Eva Tanguay: Cyclonic Comedienne

Eva Tanguay, vaudeville megastar, was arrested in Louisville, Kentucky on 1st March, 1910 after stabbing a stagehand three times with a hat pin. At the police station, she reportedly produced a roll of bills and cried, “take it all. And let me go, for it’s now my dinner time.” It was neither the first violent

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Eva Tanguay, vaudeville megastar, was arrested in Louisville, Kentucky on 1st March, 1910 after stabbing a stagehand three times with a hat pin. At the police station, she reportedly produced a roll of bills and cried, “take it all. And let me go, for it’s now my dinner time.” It was neither the first violent

Dord: The Ghost Word

Webster’s New International Dictionary (Second Edition) was the largest book to be mass produced, but – as was revealed on 28th February, 1939 – it contained an embarrassing error: on page 771, between the entries for Dorcopsis (a type of small kangaroo) and doré (golden in colour), was the word ‘dord’. Which doesn’t exist.  The

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Webster’s New International Dictionary (Second Edition) was the largest book to be mass produced, but – as was revealed on 28th February, 1939 – it contained an embarrassing error: on page 771, between the entries for Dorcopsis (a type of small kangaroo) and doré (golden in colour), was the word ‘dord’. Which doesn’t exist.  The

The Dress That Launched Google Images

When Jennifer Lopez turned up on the Grammys’ red carpet wearing a green Versace dress on February 23rd, 2000, there was such a rush from the public to see the image that it became the most searched-for term in Google’s history.  As a result – Eric Schmidt later confessed – Google Images was developed and

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When Jennifer Lopez turned up on the Grammys’ red carpet wearing a green Versace dress on February 23rd, 2000, there was such a rush from the public to see the image that it became the most searched-for term in Google’s history.  As a result – Eric Schmidt later confessed – Google Images was developed and

The Night of 206 Stars

The Rockettes kicked off a celebrity line-up including Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minelli, Jimmy Stewart, Al Pacino and Miss Piggy at ‘The Night of 100 Stars’, a benefit for the Actors Fund of America recorded on 14th February, 1982 at Radio City Music Hall, New York.  A night of sheer glitz and excess, the true tally

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The Rockettes kicked off a celebrity line-up including Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minelli, Jimmy Stewart, Al Pacino and Miss Piggy at ‘The Night of 100 Stars’, a benefit for the Actors Fund of America recorded on 14th February, 1982 at Radio City Music Hall, New York.  A night of sheer glitz and excess, the true tally