There are few things more intriguing than realizing how much of a day we never recognize for what it is worth. So often, we bop ourselves on the forehead, wondering how we could have missed such an opportunity or something so valuable and obvious at the same time. It appears to be an archetype spanning all manners of people, through virtually every demographic. Innovation is great at exposing this paradigm by uncovering something seemingly so obvious that one must wonder why it took so long for us to have whatever it is. Electronic technology is a great example. Once they saw the scope of possibility within the digital technology, they created all these amazing gadgets and software. The thing is, it’s most likely they’ve but scratched the surface and we have so far to go with our computers, cell phones, and whatever else. Surely, innovation and imagination will expose even more treasure buried but inches out of sight. Another example is the comic book movie. Didn’t that take them long enough to tackle? It isn’t as if the comic book is a new thing.
Innovation and imagination are two bright lights in this miasma of mystification, but they’re in the direction of the future, so at least people know what direction to wander. When it comes to history, well, that is behind us, isn’t it? Sure, your scholars and philosophers like wandering around back there, but based on what’s been going on and how we love to repeat our unfortunate history, it doesn’t seem to make much sense to send too many great minds into that darkness, does it? There is fairness in that assumption, but let’s exhaust the line of reasoning.
Now that this series of articles has, in but a few articles preceding this one, demonstrated how each and every day harbors so much noteworthy history, it seems so apparent that each day allows a cache of valuable lessons just skim by under the radar of our unawareness. Now, of course there is no way for us to expose the gamut of human history within the limited format of something like a monograph of this sort, but suffice it to say that the illustration of possibility is fair enough to provide the concept of ready opportunity.
In the past few articles, we’ve exposed a select few moments in time that may mean something to us in one sense or another, either as a lesson to behold or a moment for posterity to merely see as enriching. This series will continue down this path in one way or another, as there is no reason to bore the readership with page after page of dreary tales of wars gone by, nor does it seem proper to point out every little instance, regardless of the magnitude. This article will focus on the 22nd of January, but do you absolutely need to know that on this day in 1971 John and Yoko recorded ‘Power to the People’? It’s nice trivia to know if you’re a Lennon fan, but otherwise it tends to slip by scantly noticed. However, music is so much a part of our lives regardless of who we are that noticing history keeps record of instances such as this can be important somewhere along the line. Truthfully, there have been numerous musically historical moments your humble author has overlooked for sake of space and time. It seems that history receives and loses composers just about every single day. But then, the realm of music we refer to today as Classical spans more than a millennium. So, have you ever thought about the scope of music out there that’s been written over the ages before you opened this article? Ah, hence our objective.
To make a quick example of something taking place on this date in history that seemingly enters our daily lives, particularly when it’s time to vote, is the issues recurring as a result of Roe v. Wade. On this date in 1973, the Supreme Court gave allowance to certain forms of abortion and it has been a heated subject of ethical debate ever since. It is an interesting subject, since there appears to be reasonable arguments on both sides, yet those taking a strong stance could never see the logic in such a statement. Either the act of abortion is murder or a choice given by a free society…we could go on for pages.
Let’s calm down from heated debate and give rise to another sort of escalation in temperature, shall we? On this date in 1943 in Spearfish, South Dakota, a location physically but a few miles from the geographic center of the United States and therefore prone to climactic variation, saw a record rise in temperature. At about 7:30 in the morning, the temperature was -4 degrees Fahrenheit. Then due to a sudden climactic occurrence known as a Chinook (strong Midwestern winds battling with higher, arctic winds), the temperature rose 49 degrees in two minutes to 45 degrees, but by 9:00 that morning the temperature climbed to 54 degrees. Then this Chinook effect died off and within 27 minutes, the temperature plummeted back down to -4 degrees. While this unique instance is intriguing on its own, the little town of Spearfish is also known to have Spearfish Creek that runs south to North, and so quickly that it never freezes except from the bottom of the creek, where the water is slowed by friction because of the ground. The water continues to flow even through the cold, and because the creek freezes from the bottom up, sometimes flooding occurs because the ‘bottom’ of the creek rises but the flowing water loses no volume. Frank Lloyd Wright, the first time he witnessed the region, wondered how he made it all that time without knowing of such a beautiful place in our country.
Historical instances by the hoard took place on this day, good and bad, and we can say the same for births. January 22nd is the birthday of so many historically noteworthy people, particularly in the world of sports. Born on this day was football players Joe Perry, Carlton Haselrig, Brian Jones, Vinnie Clark, Keith Wagner, Bucky Brooks, Toddrick McIntosh, Vincent Bradford, and Reggie Barlow, pointing out this is a good day for football players to show up. Several well-known musicians were born on this day, too, such as Willa Ford, Jazzy Jeff Townes, Teddy Gentry, Sam Cooke, Steven Adler, Steve Perry, J.J. Johnson, and several classical composers over the centuries.
The silver screens both big and small saw many greats come to the world on this day, such as Matt McHugh, Curly Howard, Piper Laurie, Graham Kerr, Bill Bixby, John Hurt, Linda Blair, Olivia d’Abo, Robert Mailhouse, Brian Gaskill, Beverley Mitchell and Kevin Sheridan, just to name a few obvious faces to so many of us. Perhaps since Robert Mailhouse and Brian Gaskill are Soap stars, they’re more recognizable by the ladies than the gents, but most know of John Hurt and Bill Bixby, especially those who grew up in the sixties and seventies.
Francis Bacon was born on this day in 1561, known in history as one of the founding fathers of modern science. In his young career, he rose quickly in the British ranks, particularly after he was knighted in 1604, he eventually reached a position of Lord Chancellor by 1618, but was convicted of bribery and his political career was over.
The disgraceful fall from politics gave the world a beneficial moment, since Bacon was pushed into other disciplines that history favored far more than mere politics, such as his writing. Most notable is the continuing rumor that Francis Bacon carried a very hefty pseudonym, or pen name, being William Shakespeare. Numerous groups and organizations over the years claim Bacon was Shakespeare, but others staunchly argue this was far from true. Bacon did write ‘The New Atlantis’, which was a Utopian science fiction novel that was published after Bacon’s death, but never finished. He was known to write great volumes of philosophical work over his later years. Also, he was known for being a great in literature in his day, but often accused of being very verbose.
Philosophically, Bacon intended that all knowledge be his province and he said he would commit so much of his life to the reorganization and restructure of learning and intellectual reform. Much of this effort was outlined in his ‘Great Instauration’ and ‘Novum Organum’. His philosophical works were broad and wide-ranging, and today’s Rosicrucian Order claims he was a former Imperator of their centuries-old Order. He is credited as being a genuine Renaissance Man.
There were notable losses on this date, too. Walter Sickert died at the age of 81 in the year 1942. He is the man Patricia Cornwell claims was Jack the Ripper.
A far more modern loss was the death of Lyndon B. Johnson, who died of a heart attack on this day in 1973. His Presidency was marked by great ambitions, including the Civil Rights Bill, but also the Vietnam War. Great momentum took place within space exploration during his time as President, as well as ambitious moves within social issues, such as poverty and the 1965 Medicare amendment to the Social Security Act.
Another loss taking place on this date was the death of Greek-American actor, Aristotelis Savalas, or Telly, in 1994. Best known for his role in the TV series, Kojak, and his penchant for lolly pops, he was also in several prominent movies and even nominated for his supporting role in ‘Birdman of Alcatraz’. He starred in the very first Bond movie, ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’, playing the villain, and also starred in ‘The Battle of the Bulge’, and ‘The Dirty Dozen’.
Telly Savalas was born in Long Island, New York, but didn’t learn English until much later in life, and grew up speaking only Greek. When learning English he was also taking courses in radio, where his love for performing developed. He started out as an executive within ABC’s news division, but moved to sports and eventually gave Howard Cosell his first job in sports broadcasting. Savalas performed numerous acting positions as an extra in many TV shows and movies, but was discovered and recognized for his talent by Burt Lancaster. Telly starred in three movies with Lancaster, earning an Oscar nomination for his role in ‘Birdman of Alcatraz’. His acting career escalated from there.
Savalas shaved his head for his role as Pontius Pilate in ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ in 1965 and remained bald from there on, making this a signature look for him. The TV movie, ‘The Marcus Nelson Murders’ brought us Theo Kojak and it was history from there with this very successful drama series, earning Savalas several Emmy nominations and a win in 1974.
Some little-known stuff of Savalas was that he was great friends of fellow Greek-American actor John Aniston and became Godfather to John’s daughter, Jennifer. Also, Savalas had a son with actress Sally Adams, who had a daughter known as Nicolette Sheridan, now of ‘Desperate Housewives’ fame. Telly Savalas died from complications of bladder cancer on the 22nd of January, 1994 at the age of 72.
Obviously, when we consider the far-reaching corollaries of how so many seemingly unrelated moments come together in history, we recognize how history must be known, appreciated and understood. This must be done just for the good of society if nothing else. Sure, they say that if we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat it, but beyond that, history shows us how each of us contribute to the Butterfly Effect and how our actions affect the world and how the world affects our actions. So, the more we know of why things are the way they are, the more we can affect how things will be by what we do. There is a greater lesson for supporting the importance of history.