Mar. 23, 2000

The Moon Was A-waning

by James Hogg

Broadcast Date: THURSDAY: March 23, 2000

Poem: "The Moon Was A-waning," by James Hogg.

It's the birthday of poet and novelist DAVID R(ytman) SLAVITT, born in White Plains, New York (1935). Author or editor of more than 60 books, including The Exhibitionist (1967), a best seller he wrote under the pen name Henry Sutton.

It's the birthday of amateur track star ROGER BANNISTER, born in Harrow on the Hill, England (1929), the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes. On May 6, 1954, despite a cold cross wind and poor track conditions, he ran the mile in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds, collapsing at the tape.

It's the birthday of children's author ELEANOR CAMERON, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba (1912). Her adult fiction was published to good reviews but poor sales. When she was 42, her son David asked her to write "a story about himself and his best friend and how they would build a spaceship and go off and find a planet just their size, just big enough to explore in a day or two." The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet was a huge success. In 1974, Cameron won the National Book Award with The Court of the Stone Children.

It's the birthday of teacher and cookbook author FANNIE (Merritt) FARMER, born in Boston (1857). At 30, she entered the Boston Cooking School, and eventually became its headmistress. In 1896 she published the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, which revolutionized the field by stressing standard measurements right down to one-eighth of a teaspoon instead of a pinch of this and a dash of that. Although the publisher was skeptical about the salability of the venture, and made her pay all printing costs, the cookbook went on to sell 4 million copies in 4 languages, and made Fannie Farmer a household name.

On this day in 1743, GEORGE FRIEDRICH HANDEL'S MESSIAH ORATORIO WAS GIVEN ITS FIRST PERFORMANCE, at the Covent Garden Theatre in London. When the Hallelujah Chorus began, King George the Second leaped to his feet, and everyone else followed suit giving rise to a tradition that is still observed.

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