In a small, dimly lit back room of the Onondaga Historical Association in Syracuse, New York, is a unique and priceless treasure…a civil-war era decorative eagle. [It is] made entirely out of hair, contributed by leading politicians, and their wives, most notably…President Abraham Lincoln and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. The artifact came about when the US Sanitary Commission, a volunteer agency working for the health of Union soldiers during the war, needed money for its efforts. [They] reached out to President Lincoln soliciting, a lock of hair as large as he [could] spare. Lincoln communicated the request to other members of the parliament and a surprisingly large number of politicians, and their wives, responded positively. [They donated] their hair for the Brooklyn jewelers Spies & Champney to weave a national symbol out of it.
The large showpiece, nicknamed the Hairy Eagle, featured an American eagle, perched on top of half a globe, spreading its wings and, surrounded with swirls and flowers. The eagle’s head was made from Lincoln’s hair, its back, from Vice President Hannibal Hamlin’s hair, its beak, from Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase’s hair and, its wings, from the various senators’ hair. The wives’ hair, meanwhile, was used to create the floral arrangement, surmounted by the eagle and globe. The eagle became an immediate attraction when it was debuted at Metropolitan Sanitary Fair, organized to raise funds for the benefit of Union soldiers. Running for three weeks in April 1864, the fair featured events, attractions, auctions, raffles and more. For the entry fee of $2, visitors could view spectacular floral arrangements in the Temple of Flora, watch dances performed by the Fair’s Native American Troupe, enjoy Dutch cuisine at the Knickerbocker Kitchen and even buy a piece of Plymouth Rock. Tens of thousands of people visited the Hairy Eagle during this time. Underneath it, a small visitor book was kept, in which guests were able to sign their name on the payment of one dollar. The goal was to raise $1,000.
It’s not known whether the goal of $1000 and 1000 signatures was reached but, reports of the fair compiled three years later noted that the book was so popular that, 400 signatures and $400 were collected within the first three days of the Fair. The Hairy Eagle was meant to be presented to the Lincolns as a gift after the fair ended but, the wreath never made its way to the White House. Instead, it hung in the window of the Champney & Smitten shop in Brooklyn for many years before disappearing for decades. In the 1920s, F.T. Champney’s wife Ida donated the eagle to Onondaga Historical Association, where it has remained ever since.
Civil War Era Eagle Sculpture (Smithsonian Magazine/Jason Emerson/September 23, 2021)
Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round One pick. I will be posting these per decade.
Having grown up on the East Coast/Mid-Atlantic, one thing my state is known for is shagging (for the Brits, no, that is not what it means). While my grandparents did the Jitterbug as youths, my parents shagged (a descendant of the Jitterbug), as did my classmates and I. This song, in particular, was my favorite to shag to, though I enjoyed many beach music songs. ~Vic
Released either in May (per Rolling Stone Magazine) or April 24, 1959 (per Wikipedia), it was written by Benjamin Nelson (Ben E. King), Lover Patterson and George Treadwell. Produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the song hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B chart (July) and, #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 (August).
This is the second version of The Drifters under Treadwell’s management, crafted from the Five Crowns: Ben E. King, Charlie Thomas, Doc Green and Elsbeary Hobbs with James “Poppa” Clark being rejected for alcohol issues. With this line-up, There Goes My Baby was their first single and King’s debut as lead singer. It was unusual for its time, being the first commercial R&B/Soul recording with strings, arranged by Stan Applebaum, and a Brazilian Baiãon groove. Phil Spector studied the production style under Leiber & Stoller.
Ben E. King and The Drifters (The Vocal Group Hall of Fame Foundation/Inducted 2000)
John Gilliland’s Pop Chronicles (The Drifters & Ritchie Valens/Track 2/University of North Texas Digital Library)
There Goes My Baby (The Art of Rock Music Listening Guide/University of Albany/PDF)
Things You Didn’t Know About The Drifters (Pop, Rock & Doo Wopp/Joe Mirrione/April 10, 2020)
Sixty years ago, today, the 17th annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony was held and aired on KTTV in Los Angeles (an independent station in 1960). The Globes are given by members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the first gathering in 1944. Recognition is for excellence in film (American and International) and television (American). The 1960 ceremony was honoring work done in 1959.
♥ Best Drama Film: Ben Hur
♥ Best Comedy Film: Some Like It Hot
♥ Best Musical Film: Porgy & Bess
♥ Best International (Understanding) Film: The Diary of Anne Frank
♥ Best Drama Actor: Anthony Franciosa
♥ Best Drama Actress: Elizabeth Taylor
♥ Best (Comedy/Musical) Actor: Jack Lemmon
♥ Best (Comedy/Musical) Actress: Marilyn Monroe
♥ Best Supporting Actor: Stephen Boyd
♥ Best Supporting Actress: Susan Kohner
♥ Best Director: William Wyler
♥ Best Original Score: Ernest Gold
♥ Cecil B.deMille Award: Bing Crosby
♥ Television Achievement: Edward R. Murrow
♥ Henrietta Awards (World Film Favorite): Doris Day & Rock Hudson
♥ Samuel Goldwyn Award: Room at the Top
♥ Special Award (Silent Film Star): Ramon Novarro
♦ Two and a half years later, on August 4, 1962, Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her Los Angeles home.
♦ On June 5, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was shot three times inside the Ambassador Hotel and died 26 hours later.
Additional Reading & Sources:
17th Golden Globe Awards (Wiki)
Winners & Nominees (Golden Globes site)
17th Annual Golden Globes (IMDb)
1960 Awards (IMDb)
Marilyn Monroe (Wiki)
Robert F. Kennedy (Wiki)
Video clips are few and rare. ~Vic
Sixty years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop charts was Stagger Lee. The song references a murder that took place on December 27, 1895 (though some accounts say Christmas night). “Stag” Lee Shelton, born in Texas on March 16, 1865 (the same year John B. Stetson started his famous cowboy hat company), owner of the Modern Horseshoe Club, shot William “Billy” Lyons at the Bill Curtis Saloon after an argument.
From the St. Louis Globe-Democrat December 28, 1895:
William Lyons, 25, a levee hand, was shot in the abdomen yesterday evening at 10 o’clock in the saloon of Bill Curtis, at Eleventh and Morgan Streets, by Lee Sheldon [sic], a carriage driver. Lyons and Sheldon [sic] were friends and were talking together. Both parties, it seems, had been drinking and were feeling in exuberant spirits. The discussion drifted to politics, and an argument was started, the conclusion of which was that Lyons snatched Sheldon’s [sic] hat from his head. The latter indignantly demanded its return. Lyons refused, and Sheldon [sic] withdrew his revolver and shot Lyons in the abdomen. When his victim fell to the floor Sheldon [sic] took his hat from the hand of the wounded man and coolly walked away. He was subsequently arrested and locked up at the Chestnut Street Station. Lyons was taken to the Dispensary, where his wounds were pronounced serious. Lee Sheldon [sic] is also known as ‘Stag’ Lee.
Quote from Cecil Brown (author of Stagolee Shot Billy):
“Lee Shelton belonged to a group of pimps known in St. Louis as the ‘Macks’. The Macks were not just ‘urban strollers’. They presented themselves as objects to be observed.”
Shelton’s first trial in July, 1896, ended in a hung jury. The second trial in October 1897 returned a guilty verdict and a sentence of 25 years in prison at Jefferson Penitentiary. Shelton was pardoned and released from prison by Governor Folk on Thanksgiving in 1909. He returned to prison in May of 1911 for robbery & assault. He was granted an additional parole by Governor Hadley on February 8, 1912 but, died in the prison hospital of tuberculosis in March as Missouri’s Attorney General, Elliot Major, objected.
[I grew up dancing to this song. It was a shagging staple. Have you ever seen Shag: The Movie? ~Vic]
Shag: The Movie
Fellow blogger Badfinger always lists lyrics. I will take his lead.
The night was clear and the moon was yellow
And the leaves came tumblin’ down…
I was standin’ on the corner
When I heard my bull-dog bark.
He was barkin’ at the two men
Who were gamblin’ in the dark.
It was Stagger Lee and Billy,
Two men who gambled late.
Stagger Lee threw a seven,
Billy swore that he threw eight.
“Stagger Lee,” said Billy,
“I can’t let you go with that.
You have won all my money,
And my brand-new Stetson hat.”
Stagger Lee went home
And he got his. 44.
He said, “I’m goin’ to the ballroom
Just to pay that debt I owe.”
Go, Stagger Lee
Stagger Lee went to the ballroom
And he strolled across the ballroom floor.
He said “You did me wrong, Billy.”
And he pulled his. 44.
“Stagger Lee,” said Billy,
“Oh, please don’t take my life!
I’ve got three hungry children,
And a very sickly wife.”
Stagger Lee shot Billy
Oh, he shot that poor boy so hard
That a bullet went through Billy
And broke the bartender’s bar.
Go, Stagger Lee, go, Stagger Lee!
Go, Stagger Lee, go, Stagger Lee!
Sixty years ago, today, the most popular film at the box office was Sleeping Beauty.
☆ Mary Costa…….Princess Aurora
☆ Bill Shirley…….Prince Phillip
☆ Eleanor Audley…….Maleficent
☆ Verna Felton…….Flora/Queen Leah
☆ Barbara Luddy…….Merryweather
☆ Barbara Jo Allen…….Fauna
☆ Taylor Holmes…….King Stefan
☆ Bill Thompson…….King Hubert
After a beautiful princess, Aurora, is born in to royalty everyone gathers to exchange gifts. Everything is perfectly fine until an unwanted guest appears, Maleficent. Maleficent casts a spell on the young princess and announces that she will die by pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel on the evening of her 16th birthday. Fortunately, one of the good fairies, Merryweather, changes the spell so Aurora will fall asleep, and that the only way to wake her from her sleep is true love’s kiss. Finally the day comes.
The Sleeping Beauty story has many variations and has deep, medieval roots. Disney’s movie was based on French author Charles Perrault’s La Belle Au Bois Dormant (German: Dornröschen or Little Briar Rose) or, in English, The Sleeping Beauty in the Woods, written in the late 1600s.
Other Perrault works include Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood), Cendrillon (Cinderella), Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots) and Barbe Bleue (Bluebeard). Perrault’s literary tales predate the Brothers Grimm material by 100+ years but, The Sleeping Beauty, in particular, was based on the Sun, Moon & Talia (Sole, Luna, e Talia) piece by Italian writer Giambattista Basile, published, posthumously, in the early 1600s. This would NOT be a good children’s fairy tale.
♦ Princess Aurora’s long, thin, willowy body shape was inspired by that of Audrey Hepburn.
♦ The prince is named after Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, as well as Prince Philip of Belgium (now King Philip).
♦ This is the only Disney movie with square trees.
♦ Famed Warner Bros. animation director Chuck Jones worked on the film, briefly, when Termite Terrace closed temporarily during the late 1950s. He found the atmosphere at Walt Disney Productions oppressive because everything anyone did there had to be approved by Walt Disney before, during and, after the process of production. He was more than happy when Warner’s animation department re-opened, where he stayed until it closed again in 1964.
A song you like by an artist no longer living…
I’ve already posted some Prince videos and I will have to work hard to keep this post trimmed down.
Can’t do a post like this without The King of Rock and Roll…Elvis. I grew up with this music.
Next up, The Queen of Disco…Donna. Her music covered my life from 10 years old to 18.
The Beatles were never played in my house. Their music was just not part of my childhood. I discovered who they were after they split up and I liked a lot of solo stuff that came out. My favorite was George. I liked his scratchy, squeaky voice. Paul came in second.
This one covers two that have left us…Freddie and Bowie. This song spoke to me at 15 and still does to this day (and I was extraordinarily annoyed when Vanilla Ice ripped it off).
This came out after I started college. Teena was the Ivory Queen of Soul.
Ok. I’m stopping at seven (I could be here all night). I grew up with this music, as well and still remember all the words. I previously posted my favorite of his songs related to the Gold Rush of 1896. So, I will post my second favorite. I give you Johnny Horton.
Michael Joseph Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana, the seventh of nine children, to Joseph Walter “Joe” and Katherine Ester (née’ Scruse). [Note: In birth order, he was eighth of ten children as his older brother Marlon’s twin, Brandon, died at birth.]
Nearly a decade has passed since his death. He was an incredible performer and had a stunning voice. He was a humanitarian and was recognized for his work with an award from President Ronald Reagan on May 14, 1984. He co-wrote We Are The World with Lionel Richie that won grammys in 1985 for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
He had a hard time as a child and it affected his adult life. He was plagued with scandal after scandal, his marriages were short and his last few years were tangled with financial troubles. On June 25, 2009, Michael passed away at the age of 50 from a drug overdose. The whole world mourned his loss. He would have been 60, today.
I was 16 when Thriller came out. I was 12 when Off The Wall came out. His music is a large part of the tapestry of my younger years. He definitely was the King of Pop. Happy Birthday, Michael. ~Victoria