Friday

Mar. 31, 2000

Hooked

by Orval Lund

Broadcast Date: FRIDAY: March 31, 2000

Poem: "Hooked," by Orval Lund, from Casting Lines (New Rivers Press).

On this day in 1968, PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON STUNNED THE NATION BY ANNOUNCING HE WOULD NOT RUN FOR RE-ELECTION.

In 1943 on this date, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical OKLAHOMA! OPENED ON BROADWAY at the St. James Theater. It had been in previews for three weekends in New Haven, Connecticut, under the title Away We Go! But its producer, Richard Todd, was not optimistic: "No legs, no laughs, no chance," was his terse prediction. He may have been depressed because Richard Rodgers, who for years had written the music for the recently deceased lyricist Lorenz Hart, was now teamed up with a man named Oscar Hammerstein II, and Oklahoma! was their first project together. Actually, it didnít work out so badly, for them or their producer. Oklahoma! won a special Pulitzer Prize (1944), set all sorts of box office records, and came to be seen as a landmark in musical theater history.

On this day in 1933, CONGRESS ORGANIZED THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORP the CCC each man was paid a dollar a day to plant trees, build flood barriers, fight forest fires and maintain forest roads. At the peak of its activity, the CCC employed half a million workers.

In 1930 on this date THE MOTION PICTURE CODE WAS ACCEPTED BY HOLLYWOOD PRODUCERS: The Code mandated that only twin beds could be shown in a bedroom; if a man and woman were seated together on a bed, they had to have at least one foot touching the floor; and no kiss could last longer than three seconds.

On this day in 1905, the fictitious hero SHERLOCK HOLMES WAS RESURRECTED. Arthur Conan Doyle had created the detective in 1887, then wrote a string of novels the British snapped up as soon as they were published. But Doyle tired of writing his formulaic thrillers; in 1893 he had Holmes fight the evil Professor Moriarity at the lip of the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland. Holmes apparently went over the falls the end of a man and a glorious career. For 12 years Doyle ignored requests for yet another sequel. But finally he relented and came out with The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1905).

In 1836 on this date, CHARLES DICKENS BEGAN PUBLISHING HIS FIRST NOVEL, THE PICKWICK PAPERS. The book came out in monthly serial form: the first run of 400 copies sold quickly. By the time Dickens reached the final section, 15 months later, 40,000 copies had to be printed.

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