The squawking, red-nose prince of slapstick named Mr. Punch made his first recorded debut on May 9, 1662 in the diary of English naval administrator Samuel Pepys. After a party at London's Covent Garden, he recorded that he enjoyed "an Italian puppet play that is within the rayles there, which is very pretty, the best that ever I saw." At the time, Mr. Punch was a stringed marionette called Pulcinella, but has since evolved into the stick-wielding puppet we know today. Puppeteers call him the lord of misrule, classic gallows humor, and in-tune with the social climate.
Paramount Pictures, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, was founded 100 years ago today as Famous Players Studios. Currently owned by Viacom, it is the third oldest film studio in the world and the last major film studio headquartered in Hollywood. The studio was founded by Hungarian-born Adolph Zukor, who saw that movies appealed to working-class immigrants. He sought to offer feature-length films that would appeal to the middle class.
The Battle of the Coral Sea was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval and air forces from the United States and Australia. It was noteworthy for being the first action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other, as well as the first in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other. Attempting to strengthen defensive positioning in the South Pacific, Japanese forces decided to invade Port Moresby in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Alice Liddell was born on May 4, 1852 (and died November 16, 1934). She's best known for inspiring the children's classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Soon after her father became the Dean of Christ Church in Oxford, she met Charles Ludwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) photographing a cathedral. Carroll became family friends and entertained her with fanciful stories and riddles. As a young woman, she toured Europe with her sisters and became romantically involved with Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany. She married Reginald Hargreaves, a cricketer, and had three sons.
We're all busy planning our Cinco De Mayo / Kentucky Derby parties this weekend, and you'll probably be watching the Derby on television... Today marks the 60th anniversary of the first nationally televised Kentucky Derby, which was broadcast on WHAS, the then-CBS affiliate out of Louisville. That year, Hill Gail took the prize at 2:01.60. He was raced by the renowned Calumet Farm of Lexington. An injury kept him from racing Preakness and Belmont Stakes. This year, the show will be broadcast on NBC at 6:23 p.m. EST.
The Jack Benny Program, starring Jack Benny, is a radio-TV comedy series that ran for more than three decades and is generally regarded as a high-water mark in 20th-century American comedy. Benny first appeared as a guest of Ed Sullivan in 1932, and was given his own show later in the year with Canada Dry Ginger Ale as the sponsor on the NBC Network, continuing for six monts until moving to CBS. The program utilized a show-within-a-show fomat, where the main characters played versions of themselves.
Martha Jane Cannary Burke was born on May 1, 1852 (and died August 1, 1903). She was an American frontierswoman and professional scout better known as "Calamity Jane." She was an acquaintance of Wild Bill Hickok and famous for having fought Native Americans. She's said to have also exhibited kindness and compassion, especially to the sick and needy. A popular belief is that she acquired her nickname as a result of her warnings to men that to offend her was to "court calamity."
Even though Louisiana is a popular target for natural disasters, it's not hard to see why people have been drawn to the beautiful, rugged wetlands of the Bayou State for thousands of years. First, the Native Americans, then French and West African slaves formed the Creole culture, then the Cajun culture was brought by Spanish immigrants.
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States, following his dominant role in the Civil War. Under Grant, the Union Army effectively ended the Civil War with the surrender of Robert E. Lee's army at Appomattox. As General, he led the Army through Kentucky and most of Tennessee, earning a fierce reputation for combat at the Battle of Shiloh and later the Battle of Chattanooga.
Frederick Law Olmsted was born on April 26, 1822 (and died August 28, 1903). He's popularly considered to be the father of American landscape architecture. His legacy of design includes Central Park in New York City, the Buffalo park system in New York, Niagara Reservation in Niagara Falls, the Emerald Necklaces in Boston and Rochester, the Grand Necklace in Milwaukee, Cherokee Park and the park system for Louisville, America's first wading pool in Massachusetts, Chicago's parks for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, landscaping around the Capitol Building in D.C.