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March 11th 2007 sun
March 11th, 2007

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The American Jewish Historical Society will be hosting a special discussion of the newly published anthology series Jews and American Popular Culture. This will be at the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th St in New York City on March 14th at 7:00PM. Contribitors to the work include Harvey Pekar, who wrote an original section. I wrote the chapter on Jews in Animation. I will not be able to attend the event myself, but present to discuss the work will the series editor Paul Buhle, Senior Lecturer of Political Science at Brown University. For more info call 212-294-6160 or order your own copy on, and do a search under Paul Buhle's name.
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Birthdays: Torquato Tasso, Marius Pretipa, Raoul Walsh. Rupert Murdoch, Charlie Ruggles, Lawrence Welk, former British PM Harold Wilson, Rev. Ralph Abernathy , Bobby McFerrin, Douglas Adams, Jerry Zucker, Vanavar Bush- MIT scientist who oversaw the construction of the first electronic computers and pioneered Hypertext .

In ancient Rome this was the Festival of Hercules.

1818- Mary Shelly's great novel "FRANKENSTEIN, or the Modern Prometheus" first published. It’s considered the first true science fiction novel. The heroes are not knights or kings but modern scientists. Whether you believe 21 year old Ms. Shelly invented the story one dark and stormy night in 1816 while smoking opium with her homeboys Percy Shelly and Lord Byron is a matter of conjecture, still it's a good story.

1829- BachMania!-The Rediscovery of Johann Sebastian Bach-. Bach was little known in his time and after his death in 1750 was soon forgotten. Even his son Carl Phillip Emmanuel Bach though his dad’s music farty and old-fashioned. But a century later the stirrings of German nationalism led to the re-examination of this obscure organist. This night at the Singadakademie in Berlin musical superstar Felix Mendelsson performed The “St. Matthew Passion” and other Bach works. The musicians performed for free. The concert caused a sensation and Bach is soon being played all over Europe and influencing everyone from Berlioz to Wagner. Goethe and Hegel declared him a genius. Albert Einstein's brother said:" Bach is the only thing that could make me a Christian."

1890- Orange County carved out of L.A. County.

1927- The first Roxy Theater opens at 50th st. & Seventh Ave. in New York. Roxy was a nickname of theater owner Samuel L. Rothaphel who pioneered the movie palace and is called the father of De-Luxe presentation.

1933-THE LONG BEACH EARTHQUAKE rocks L.A.. This was the last superquake scientists measured against when scientists said Southern Cal. is overdue. At least until 1994. The first recorded earthquake in this area was 1726. In 1857 Tejon, L.A. had an 8.5

1943- The Broadway musical team of Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein opened their first collaboration “Away We Go!”

1971- Philo Farnsworth died of pneumonia at 64. As a young man he had invented a television set in 1922, but by the 1960’s he was forgotten, broke and addicted to painkillers. The only recognition he got was as a contestant on the quiz show I Got a Secret. He won an $80 check and a carton of Winston Cigarettes. Today Farnsworth is considered one of the true inventors of Television, along with Logie-Baird, DeForrest and Zworkin.

1977- Film director Roman Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown) was arrested for having sex with a 13 year old girl in Jack Nicholson’s home after he got her stoned on quaaludes. Polanski was charged with statuatory rape. He jumped bail and fled Hollywood for exile in Paris.