Three hundred, twenty years ago, yesterday, Scottish Sea Captain William Kidd was hanged at Execution Dock in London at low tide:
[P]roceedings against [Kidd] had been long and notorious. The actions for which he was tried had been still more notorious, one involving murder and five [involving] piracy. His career had been brief, brilliant in the beginning [but], catastrophic at the end. The general excitement at the time of his execution and, all during his imprisonment in London, had been at [a] fever pitch. Gossip went to work and, the wildest of tales of Kidd’s wickedness and wealth were believed. […] Upon his death, numerous accounts, both factual and fictitious, appeared.
William Hallam Bonner
University of Buffalo
American Literature, Vol. 15, No. 4, Jan. 1944
Kidd was commissioned by King William III (William of Orange) as a Privateer and carried a license to hunt pirates, reserving 10% of any bounty acquired for the Crown. His murder charge was the result of the killing of crew member William Moore, his gunner, during a near mutiny.
Of all the things written and expressed, the ballad Captain Kid’s Farewel to the Seas (or the Famous Pirate’s Lament) was the only thing to survive. It was quite popular in the Colonies where the Captain had a home and may be considered America’s first folk legend. There is a British version and an American version, which changed the Captain’s first name to Robert for some strange reason and, several contemporary covers. The last website, below, has his name as John. He had to be hanged, twice, as the rope broke the first time. ~Vic
Captain Kidd Lyrics (David Kidd Website/Wayback Machine)
Captain Kidd Song (Wikipedia)
The Ballad of Captain Kidd (Chivalry Website Archive)
Wizard of the Seas (Ex-Classics Website)
Five years ago, today, the #1 film at the box office was Captain America: Civil War. Directed by the Russo Brothers and produced by Kevin Feige, the all-star cast is extensive (and well known). If you are unaware of this blockbuster film, it took in $1.15 billion.
The basic plot is one that weaves thru much of the Marvel Comics (and DC Comics, as well) regarding mutant and superhero discrimination and the government wanting to register and track them. The idea was alluded to in the Uncanny X-Men issue #141, published in January of 1981 and the specific words “Mutant Control Act“ showed up in the Uncanny X-Men issue #181, published in May of 1984. It was featured prominently in the movie X-Men (2000).
In Civil War, the Sokovia Accords is a United Nations version of a registration act to monitor or control the superheroes. Tony Stark (Ironman) agrees with this registration out of remorse for Ultron and the destruction of Sokovia. Steve Rogers (Captain America) disagrees and wants no part of political intervention or any form of registration. Complicating matters, Rogers’ childhood friend Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier) is responsible for the death of T’Challa’s (Black Panther) father and Stark’s parents. The Avengers split along ideological and loyalty lines. Unlike the comics, Captain America isn’t killed off but, he does walk away from the job. He returns during Infinity War & Endgame.
I find all of the above quite prophetic considering recent insane events taking place. Society, once again, finds itself being driven towards more discrimination, tracking/registration with vaccine passports (shall we return to gold stars on lapels and “your papers, please?”) and possible civil war? Please…wake up. ~Vic
♦ The film coincides with the 75th anniversary of Captain America, the 10th anniversary of the original Civil War comic book and Black Panther’s 50th anniversary.
♦ This is the live-action debut of T’Challa, the Black Panther, one of the first black superheroes in American comic books, which debuted in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966).
♦ By the end of the movie, The Avengers logo on Captain America’s arm is no longer there, representing the fact that The Avengers are no longer his.
One-hundred, ten years ago, today…
The Duigan […] biplane was an early aircraft which made the first powered flight by an Australian-designed and built machine when it flew in Victoria in 1910. The aircraft was constructed by John Duigan, with help from his brother Reginald, on their family farm at Mia Mia. The effort was especially significant in that the brothers built the aircraft almost entirely by themselves and without input from the pioneering aviation community. [A] photo-postcard of the Wright Flyer inspired the design and Sir Hiram Maxim‘s book Artificial and Natural Flight provided the theoretical basis. The only components not built by the Duigans themselves were the engine, made by the J. E. Tilley Engineering Company of Melbourne and the propeller. However, both of these components were extensively modified by John before they could be used.
The aircraft flew for the first time on July 16, 1910, taking off under its own power and flying [24 feet] (7 meters). Within two months, this had been extended to [300 feet] (90 meters) and, soon thereafter, to [590 feet with an altitude of 12 feet] (180 meters [with] an altitude of 3.5 meters). By the end of the year, Duigan had made a flight of [nearly a mile] (1 km) at an altitude of [100 feet] (30 meters).
Duigan informed the Department of Defence of his achievements, hoping to claim a £5,000 prize that had been offered in September 1909 for the construction of an aircraft suitable for military purposes. Duigan was ineligible for the prize, which had expired at the end of March 1910 but, was asked to demonstrate his aircraft for the military anyway. He also flew it in a public demonstration in front of a crowd of 1,000 spectators at Bendigo Racecourse in January 1911. In 1920, Duigan donated the aircraft to the Industrial and Technological Museum of Victoria, which was later absorbed into Museum Victoria.
Museum Victoria also preserves a flying replica of the Duigan biplane built by Ronald Lewis and flown in 1990. It was donated to the museum in 2000.
Additional Reading & Sources:
John Duigan Truths Uncovered (Australian Flying)
A Flying Life (Museums Victoria)
Australian Aviator (Trove: National Library of Australia)
Duigan Biplane (Web Archive)
Duigan Centenary Of Flight (Web Archive)
Flight Global Archive (Web Archive)
Genesis of Military Aviation (Web Archive)
Duigan Pusher Biplane (Wikipedia)