Sep. 19, 2000
In 1973 on this day, author Paul Theroux pulled out of London's Victoria Station at 3:30 in the afternoon, headed for Folkestone and Paris, starting his 4-month railroad odyssey across Europe and Asia, which he would write up as The Great Railway Bazaar (1975). He wrote,
"Extensive traveling induces a feeling of encapsulation, and travel, so broadening at first, contracts the mind."
It's the birthday of novelist Thomas H. Cook, born in Fort Wayne, Alabama (1947). He's written police mysteries--Blood Innocents (1980), Tabernacle (1983)--to buy time for writing his serious novels such as The Orchids (1982) and Elena (1986).
The first talking cartoon had its premiere on this day in 1928, at the Colony Theater in New York City. "Steamboat Willie" was also the first appearance of Mickey Mouse, with Mickey's voice provided by Walt Disney himself.
It's the birthday of pathologist Elizabeth Stern, born in Cobalt, Ontario (1915)--who was among the early specialists in the study of diseased cells. In 1963, she published the first case report connecting a specific virus to a specific cancer; it linked the herpes simplex virus to cervical cancer.
It's the birthday of novelist Sir William Golding, born near Newquay, Cornwall (1911). A schoolmaster before World War Two, he joined the Navy in 1940 and commanded a rocket-launching craft on D-Day. He went back to teaching after the war, and stayed at it until 7 years after Lord of the Flies (1954) came out and brought him great fame. The story--of proper British schoolboys, marooned on an island, who quickly revert to savagery--came, he said, from his own war experiences.
It's the birthday of illustrator Arthur Rackham, born in London (1867). He made his breakthrough with a 1905 version of Rip Van Winkle. Producing lush, sensual, often sinister designs, he illustrated works of Shakespeare Dickens, Swift, Milton, Washington Irving, and Edgar Allan Poe.
On this day in 1783, the first hot air balloon with live passengers was set aloft in Annonay, France. The Mongolfier brothers, Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne, loaded their craft with a sheep, a rooster, and a duck. After floating for 8 minutes, they landed 2 miles from its launch site and its unhurt passengers disembarked.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®