1951

Movie Monday: Leisurely Pedestrians 1889

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Leisurely Pedestrians Image One
Image Credit: wikipedia.org

I am going WAY back this time…back to the days of moving pictures and short films. Sticking with my five year increments, one-hundred & thirty years ago, William Friese-Greene, an English inventor, and professional photographer, shot a silent, actuality film in the Autumn of 1889. It was titled Leisurely Pedestrians, Open Topped Buses and Hansom Cabs with Trotting Horses.

From Wikipedia:

[…] shot by inventor and film pioneer William Friese-Greene on celluloid film using his ‘machine’ camera, the 20 feet of film […] was shot […] at Apsley Gate, Hyde Park, London. [It] was claimed to be the first motion picture [but] Louis Le Prince successfully shot on glass plate before 18 August 1887 and on paper negative in October 1888. It may, nonetheless, be the first moving picture film on celluloid and the first shot in London.

It is now considered a lost film with no known surviving prints and only one possible still image extant.

Leisurely Pedestrians Image Two
Image Credit: wikipedia.org

An article in This Is Bristol UK from December 17, 2009, (via The Wayback Machine) has an interview with David Friese-Greene, the great-grandson. From the article:

My great-grandfather was an idealist and a brilliant inventor, with 71 patents to his name but, he was a dreadful businessman. He died without ever having made a penny out of his inventions. He married his first wife Helena Friese when he was just 19 and incorporated her surname with his, because he felt it sounded more impressive. Tragically, Helena died at the age of 21 […].

It was during the late 1880s, shortly after Helena’s death, that Friese-Greene first began to experiment with the idea of creating moving pictures. […] in 1890, he patented [a] new device, which he dubbed the chronophotographic camera. Unfortunately, he was so pleased with his creation that, he wrote to the great American inventor, Thomas Edison, telling him what he had come up with and, even, included plans and designs […]. William never heard back from the inventor of the electric light bulb, though, the following year, Edison patented his own version of a movie camera and went down in many history books as the inventor of cinema.

In fact, William died a pauper but, [was] still passionate about his most famous creation. He was at a cinema industry meeting in London, which had been called to discuss the poor state of the British film industry in 1921. He had got to his feet to speak about his vision of how film could be used to create educational documentaries when he fell down dead. It is said he had just 21 pence in his pockets when he died.

In 1951, the movie The Magic Box was released. Starring Robert Donat, it was a biographical piece about Friese-Greene’s life.

There is additional information on this WordPress blog: William Friese-Greene & Me

Wayback Wednesday: Paul Harvey’s Espionage Charge 1951

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Paul Harvey Image
Photo Credit: charismanews.com

Sixty-eight years ago, today, radio legend Paul Harvey did something no one expected and got into a bit of trouble over it. In the wee hours of February 6, 1951, without any authorization, Harvey trespassed on the Argonne National Laboratory grounds, engaging in what reporters term as participatory journalism.

From the laboratory:

Conducting classified research, the laboratory was heavily secured; all employees and visitors needed badges to pass a checkpoint, many of the buildings were classified, and the laboratory itself was fenced and guarded. Such alluring secrecy drew visitors both authorized […] and unauthorized. Shortly past 1 a.m. on February 6, 1951, Argonne guards discovered reporter Paul Harvey near the 10-foot (3.0 m) perimeter fence, his coat tangled in the barbed wire. Searching his car, guards found a previously prepared four-page broadcast detailing the saga of his unauthorized entrance into a classified ​“hot zone.” He was brought before a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to obtain information on national security and transmit it to the public, but was not indicted.

From Wikipedia

Harvey’s “escapade” prompted the U.S. attorney for Illinois to empanel a grand jury to consider an espionage indictment; Harvey “went on the air to suggest he was being set up”; the grand jury subsequently declined to indict Harvey.

From The Washington Post’s Joe Stephens:

Previously confidential files show that Harvey […] enjoyed a 20-year friendship with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, often submitting advance copies of his radio script for comment and approval. […] the real twist, suitable for one of Harvey’s signature “Rest of the Story” vignettes, is how they met…on opposite sides of an espionage investigation.

The news is contained in nearly 1,400 pages of FBI files, released to The Washington Post in response to a one-year-old Freedom of Information Act request.

The Cold War beginning of the Harvey-Hoover bond was an incident from 1951, when Harvey was 32. He routinely hammered officials for being lax on security, in particular those in charge of the Argonne National Laboratory, which conducted nuclear testing 20 miles west of Chicago. After wrapping up his television broadcast on the evening of Feb. 5, 1951, Harvey set out to prove his case and make some career-enhancing headlines for himself.

Harvey guided his black Cadillac Fleetwood toward Argonne, arriving sometime past midnight. He parked in a secluded spot, tossed his overcoat onto the barbed wire topping a fence, then scampered over. […] seconds after Harvey hit the ground, security officers spotted him, documents show. Harvey ran until, caught in a Jeep’s headlights, he tripped and fell. As guards approached, Harvey sprang to his feet and waved.

Guards asked whether Harvey realized he was in a restricted area. “Harvey replied no, that he thought he might be at the airport because of the red lights,” one report says. Under questioning, Harvey eventually dropped his cover story but refused to elaborate, saying he wanted to tell his tale before a congressional committee.”

Two months after the incident, a federal grand jury officially declined to indict Harvey. Nothing in Harvey’s file suggests Hoover did anything to help. But Harvey appears to have been grateful for something.

It’s a long, in-depth article and, apparently, Harvey intended to lie to the audience about ‘how it went down’.

So. There you have it…the rest of the story. ~Vic

Tune Tuesday: October 9, 1963

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Bobby Vinton Image
Photo Credit: popularmusicofthefiftiesandsixties.blogspot.com

We are traveling back to 1963! Fifty-five years ago, today, the #1 Billboard Hot 100 song was Bobby Vinton‘s version of Blue Velvet.

The song was written and composed by Lee Morris and Bernie Wayne (whom also wrote “There She Is”, The Miss America song).

Tony Bennett recorded the first version in 1951 with Percy Faith‘s Orchestra. It’s highest rank was on Cash Box Top 50 at #12. The Clovers (Love Potion No. 9) recorded a version in 1955 that reached #14 on Billboard’s R&B chart.

Though there have been many, many versions of the song recorded, including versions from Bobby Rydell, Brenda Lee, Pat Boone, Sammy Davis Jr., The Lettermen, Isabella Rossellini and Barry Manilow, Bobby Vinton‘s version was the most popular…and my favorite. ~Victoria


 

The #1 Billboard Hot Country song was Abilene (Kansas, not Texas) by George Hamilton IV.


 

The #1 Billboard R&B song was Heat Wave by Martha and The Vandellas. And, I’m pretty sure everyone knows about Linda Ronstadt‘s remake in 1975. It was a great version, too but, it never made it to a #1 position on any chart.

Tune Tuesday: Tommy Edwards 1958

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Alright, kiddies, we are traveling back to the past, again, for some more music. The #1 song sixty years ago, today, was a piece composed by Charles G. “Hell and Maria” Dawes in 1911, the future Vice President of Calvin Coolidge. It’s original name was “Melody In A Major”. Carl Sigman added lyrics in 1951 and Tommy Edwards recorded it. It was a so-so hit, then and, he re-recorded it in 1958. It is the only known #1 single in the U.S. to have been co-written by a U.S. Vice President and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Here is…It’s All In The Game.

And, the original 1951 version: