Tag Archives: history

Kirk Douglas broke the Hollywood blacklist single-handedly – according to Kirk Douglas

The end of the blacklist took more than a decade, and involved a lot of people, including President John F. Kennedy. The process also weakened the production code and dissolved the studio system. Afterward, some victims of the blacklist struggled to move on. www.youmustrememberthis…

Lucille LeSueur Goes to Hollywood

Lucille LeSueur, raised in midwestern poverty, was brassy and beautiful, tough and smart. She traded sexual favors on the path to becoming movie star Joan Crawford. When she arrived in Hollywood, the town was ruled by a king and queen: Lucille’s future future in-laws Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. www.youmustrememberthis…

Book review: America’s other Gilded Age

You often read political commentary comparing today’s America to the late 19th Century — the Gilded Age. “The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age,” by Richard White, amzn.to/2BXtnMC isn’t primarily a political book — it’s primarily history. But it makes the case that the parallels between now and that period aren’t just political hype.

Then as now, we had great wealth side-by-side with poverty. Then as now, we have wonderful technological advances. Then as now, we have the federal government in disarray, with one weak President following another. Then as now, advances in racial equality hard-won in recent decades were being rolled back. But there are also differences of course. Today, racism has to hide behind coded language and denials; back then it was out in the open and mainstream.

“The Republic for Which it Stands” is tough reading, both because it’s very long and detailed, and also because it’s bleak. Racism and income inequality were so prevalent then that it’s hard to read the book without thinking how much worse things can get in the US today. But it’s also hopeful, because during the Gilded Age, progressives laid the groundwork for the American Golden Age of the 20th Century.

“Madame Abomah” traveled the world in the late 19th Century as the world’s tallest woman

Why People Still Use Fax Machines [Sophie Haigney/The Atlantic]

Fax machines are still in widespread use in law enforcement and medicine.

An early facsimile message was sent over telegraph lines in London in 1847, based on a design by the Scottish inventor Alexander Bain. There is some dispute over whether it was the first fax: Competing inventors, including Bain in the United Kingdom and Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell across the Atlantic, sought to father facsimile technology, which was a kind of white whale for inventors. Telegraphs already allowed messages to be passed across distances, one letter at a time using Morse code. But the dream of transmitting copies of messages and images instantly over wires was very much alive. Writing in 1863, Jules Verne imagined that the Paris of the 1960s would be replete with fax machines, or as he called them, “picture-telegraphs.”

The technology did eventually lead to a revolution in communication, though it didn’t happen until years later. It first became known to many Americans after the 1939 New York World’s Fair, where a fax machine transmitted newspaper images from around the world at a rate of 18 minutes per page—lightning speed for the time.

“In an age of instantaneous information and images, it is hard to appreciate the magic that millions in the 1930s experienced upon seeing photographs of distant disasters appear the next day in their newspapers, or the excitement in the 1980s of watching an exact copy of a letter emerge line by line from a machine connected to the telephone network,” Jonathan Coopersmith writes in his book Faxed: The Rise and Fall of the Fax Machine.

Faxing really took off in the ’80s, in offices around the world. It caused major changes in the speed of business transactions, allowing individuals and companies to disseminate materials quickly and broadly—someone in an office building in Japan could fire off a document to the United States instantly. It also served as a precursor to today’s digital-image culture: Fax allowed for the speedy dissemination of pictures of all kinds. This gave rise to so-called creative faxers who, Coopersmith writes, faxed “pizza orders, song requests, party invitations, greeting cards, ski reports, amniocentesis results, baby footprints, children’s drawings, and vows of eternal love.” People faxed Santa Claus. They faxed God, via the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

But its reign was short-lived.

Cheryl Crane – Wikipedia

Cheryl Crane is a retired real estate broker and writer. She married her partner of 40 years, Joyce LeRoy, in 2014. Crane is most famous for something she did as a teen-anger. Crane killed her mother’s abusive lover to protect her mother. Crane’s mother was Lana Turner and the lover was small-time gangster Johnny Stompanato.

George H.W. Bush, 41st President, Dies at 94 [John Gruber/Daring Fireball]

By far and away — I mean it’s not even close — my favorite Republican president since Eisenhower. I respect him deeply: from his lifelong commitment to public service, to his genuine bipartisanship. The collapse of the Soviet Union could have gone very, very wrong under less steady U.S. leadership.