May 13, 1999

The Sleepy Giant

by Charles E. Carryl

Broadcast Date: THURSDAY: May 13, 1999

Poem: "The Sleepy Giant," by Charles E. Carryl (1841-1920).

It's the birthday in Washington, D.C., 1944, of ARMISTEAD MAUPIN, author of Tales of the City, a series of novels about life in a San Francisco rooming.

It's the birthday in 1940, Boston, of short-story writer and novelist, RACHEL INGALLS, author of The Pearlkillers, The End of Tragedy, and her best-known book, Mrs. Caliban, about a woman who escapes her deteriorating marriage for an affair with an amphibious creature named Larry.

DAPHNE DU MAURIER was born in London this day in 1907, the author of the 1938 novel Rebecca, a romance set in a Cornwall mansion, as well as Jamaica Inn, Frenchman's Creek, and her short story "The Birds".

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, outside the nation's capital, opened up on this day in 1864 on property once belonging to the Civil War general Robert E. Lee. When Lee refused command of the Union army and sided instead with the Confederacy, Northerners seized his home, and Arlington was set aside as a burial ground for Union soldiers.

The MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR began on this day in 1846, a dispute that actually began the year before when the U.S. annexed Texas. Mexico viewed the annexation as a land grab, and immediately severed relations with the U.S.. President James Polk sent an emissary to Mexico City, but the Mexicans refused to see him, and Polk then ordered the U.S. army southward. Shooting started in April, 1846, and when it ended about two years later, Mexico ceded to the U.S. the land now in New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Texas, and western Colorado.

It's the birthday in London, 1842, of SIR ARTHUR SULLIVAN, one-half of the operetta-writing team of Gilbert and Sullivan. Sullivan tried his hand at comic opera when he was in his mid-20s, and had a little success at it, which led him to hook up with the writer W.S. Gilbert in 1871. Their first collaboration, Thespis, flopped on opening night. Four years passed before they worked together again, and their next operetta, Trial by Jury, was a hit, and they went on to create H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, Patience, Iolanthe, Princess Ida, The Mikado, Ruddigore, and others — about one a year through the 1870s and '80s.

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