Orson Welles' Martian Broadcast, MUhammad Ali's Rumble in the Jungle & Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility - On This Day
It was on this day in 1938 that Orson Welles brought hysterics to an entire nation with his radio broadcast of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. The 8 PM broadcast began with an introduction that made it clear this was a radio presentation of a novel. But after the initial announcement, the production segued to a musical segment where listeners were to be entertained by orchestral music. The thing is, if you missed the introduction and tuned in to CBS while the orchestra was playing, you would not know that this was drama, not news. Welles' entire War of the Worlds broadcast is available on YouTube. But nothing captures the flavor the thing like this delightful clip from Woody Allen's Radio Days.
Ali v. Foreman - The Rumble in the Jungle
For a long time, if you were African-American, the sports arena was where you found a microcosm of black life in the larger world. Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis were not only heroes in their own right but were emblematic of the slow progress "up from slavery." With Muhammad Ali, this sentiment took on additional spin when he was stripped of his world championship boxing title after being accused of dodging the draft during the Vietnam War. George Foreman became the new champ, and seven years after losing his title - not to an actual boxer but to aggregate entities larger than he - Ali was given an opportunity to get it back. The historic match was held on this day in 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaire. Promoter Don King called it "The Rumble in the Jungle." Here are two clips, roughly 10 minutes apiece), which show the opening of the fight with all the attendant brouhaha and the climatic 8th round closing.
Jane Austen Publishes Sense and Sensibility
It was on this day in 1811 that an anonymous author known only as "a lady" visited upon the world one of literature's most beloved novels. Isn't it wonderful that her life and work are enjoying such a revival in our own time. Here's a clip from Ang Lee's 2007 film of today's birthday book.
I like big books, and I cannot lie. My background includes talk radio, newspapers and TV news. I've hosted a morning-drive classical music program on the California coast and published nationally in Reader's Digest, the Christian Science Monitor, and Playboy. I've won awards for my journalism and my fiction. One of my essays even made it into an anthology for college English courses. For real? Yes, for real.
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