February 5: Highlights of this day in history
In 1937 President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed increasing the number of United States Supreme Court justices after the court rejected some of his New Deal measures. Congress did not approve, and Roosevelt suffered his first defeat in Congress . . . In 1994 Byron De La Beckwith was convicted of murdering civil rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963. Beckwith received life in prison, and died 7 years later. . . . In 1914 William S. Burroughs, famed writer during 1950’s Beat movement, was born. . . . In 1967 The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour premiered on CBS. . . . In 1934 Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron was born in Mobile, Alabama. . .
Today in history – February 5:
Examining events of the past to find trends in history
Of Lights And Moving Pictures
It turns out February 5th is connected to visual entertainment. Motion pictures. Television. Some very amazing things happened on this day in history.
Let’s start in 1817, in Baltimore, Maryland. That is where the very first United States gas company was incorporated. The stated use of coal gas was for street lights.
The year 1861 was pretty significant for motion pictures. It was the year when Samuel Goodale from Cincinnati patented his mutoscope, or peep show machine. It was also the year Coleman Sellers of Philadelphia patented his kinematoscope. The two machines used the same principle. You take a lot of photos of something moving – a lady dancing, for example. When you flip through the still pictures rapidly, it looks like the images move. Coleman Sellers invented a small version with stereoscopic viewing. Samuel Goodale’s larger box also used stereo vision. It became know as a peep show machine.
In 1870, also in Philadelphia, Henry Renno Heyl demonstrated his “phasmatrope” to a theater audience. Like Goodale and Sellers, Heyl used a series of posed photographs. His unique addition was to project enlarged images on a screen. Thus he was the first to show a moving picture show to a theater audience.
In 1879, Joseph Swan invented a lightbulb that used carbon glow. It would shine for only a short time. Other reasons would prove this method not very valuable. Especially in light of what Thomas Edison would soon produce – a longer lasting incandescent electric lightbulb.
Fast forward to 1927 and motion picture history: Buster Keatons “The General” is released to theater audiences. It was not well received when it was first shown. It did not contain the kind of comic gags that would split sides with laughter. Nevertheless, “The General,” a parody of an actual event that happened during the Civil War, is considered a classic in film making.
More motion picture history was made in 1937 with the release of Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times.” As with many of Charlie Chaplin’s films, his genius is on display as his character wanders from adventure to adventure with the advancing technology of modern times as the backdrop. What makes this comedy so different is it was the first time Charlie Chaplin used sound – “Modern Times” was a talkie.
Advance to 1967 and television: February 5, 1967 is listed as the evening “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” debuted on CBS. Containing a bit of sarcasm directed at political leaders, the show was a bit different from television’s normal fare of situation comedies and variety shows.
February 5 turned out to be a good day for lights AND cameras AND action. Joseph Swon
experimented with light bulbs, while Samuel Goodale, Coleman Sellers, and Henry Renno Heyl worked on moving pictures.
More events that shaped the world on this day in history:
- In 1631 – Rhode Island, founder, Roger Williams arrives in Boston from England
- In 1904 – American occupation of Cuba ends
- In 1917 – Congress overrides Wilson’s veto, curtailing Asian immigration
- In 1929 – Jimmy Hatlo’s “They’ll Do It Every Time” cartoon debuts in San Francisco
- In 1930 – Fifth Aliyah to Israel begins
- In 1962 – Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn within 16 degrees
- In 1971 – Apollo 14, 3rd U.S. manned Moon expedition, lands near Fra Mauro Alan Shepard and Edward Mitchell (Apollo 14) walk on Moon for 4 hours
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