Sunday, 25 September 2022

7x7 (10. 165)

a tale of two times: the gift of a European mechanised clock was respectfully declined by a Japanese lord raised in a culture of variable hours, via Strange Company’s Weekend Link-Dump  

miner 2049er: Atari celebrates its fiftieth anniversary with game posters from Billy Butcher (previously)  

sequestration: a scalable carbon-capture facility is setting up in Wyoming, aiming on drawing down five million tonnes of CO2 annually  

the battle of the planets: the American syndication of the 1978 Japanese anime series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman  

skyline: a free rooftop garden in central London—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (plus lots more to explore) 

pyrotechnics: a look at how digital fireworks displays competed with the real shows—from the Tedium archives  

est: US Department of Transportation to map out time zones ahead of the permanent switch to Daylight saving time after it learned that no such comprehensive map exists

Saturday, 17 September 2022

s1:e1 (10. 140)

On this day in 1972, the CBS television network first aired its dark-comedy series—based on the 1970 feature film—about a team of doctors and ancillary staff stationed at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Uijeongbu during the Korean War. The first episodes, set in 1950, were broadcast while the US was still mired in the Vietnam War and were presented as the most careful kind of allegory, detached yet openly questioning the proxy wars of the Cold War and the value of offensive ideology. The ensemble cast included (by rank) Henry Blake McLean Stevenson (thanks, Dad), Loretta Swit, Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Gary Burghoff and Jamie Farr and the show became less political and more character-driven after 1975 and the withdrawal of US troops—also removing the controversial laugh-track of earlier seasons.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

goodnight john-boy (10. 132)

Having debuted the prior year with a Christmas Special (see also), the historical drama The Waltons was released by the CBS network on this day in 1972. Running for nine seasons until 1981, the series relates the story about a family in rural Virginia during the Great Depression and World War II (1933—1946) and is based on Earl Hamner’s semi-autobiographical novel Spencer’s Mountain. Hamner also contributes the opening and closing narration for each episode as the eldest son grown-up. After its cancellation, a rival network produced a string of made for television reunion movies before CBS reclaimed the franchise with three more specials in the mid-1990s. Below is a thirty-second synopsis of the pilot with all episodes similarly summarised.

Friday, 15 July 2022

hanoi jane

On this day in 1972, American activist and actor Jane Fonda was visiting Hanoi to survey the damage that bombing campaigns were having on civilian infrastructure—specifically the dams used to mitigate flooding by the Red River—and was photographed afterwards seated on a North Vietnamese Army anti-aircraft battery. The pictures were first published by a Polish newspaper before circulating widely and effectively ostracising Fonda from the entertainment industry and whilst pride for speaking out against the war was regretful over the bad optics of a momentary lapse of judgment that was both galvanising for those predisposed to hostility and jingoism and propaganda for the other side.

Monday, 11 July 2022

match of the century

The opening game occurring on this day in 1972, the World Chess Championship pitted US challenger Bobby Fischer against defending champion Boris Spassky of the USSR (see previously), the former after twenty-one matches played over the course of five weeks ending a twenty-four year Soviet monopoly on the title. The tournament was hosted in Reykjavรญk, and Fischer didn’t score a win until round three, most ending in a draw (the scoring convention was a bit skewed and encouraged whomever was in the lead to play for ties rather than an outright conquest)—though at 12½ to 8½, Fischer could be proclaimed as the undisputed overall victor under those rules.

Thursday, 30 June 2022

a quinquennial contemporary art exhibition

Curated and organized under the supervision of art director Harald Szeemann, the fifth edition of documenta (see previously), opening on this day and running through October (a hundred days) in Kassel, West Germany, with the theme of “Questioning Reality—Pictorial Worlds of Today” (Befragung der Realitรคt – Bildwelten heute) established the exhibition’s reputation as the most important, post war modern art show and set the model for future biennials. Wanting to liberate art and artefact from the museum setting, it strove to recontextualise work in politically critical and the provocative milieu that inspired them. documenta 5 also showcased Fluxus and happening art, which had not yet appeared by the last iteration. In all, there were over two hundred thousand visitors and dozens of participating artists and collectives including Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Adolf Wรถlfli, Marcel Duchamp and Yoko Ono.

Thursday, 23 June 2022

scheduled territories

Also known as the above legal entity the sterling area came into being in 1931 when the pound was unpegged from the gold standard and a number of countries, mostly Commonwealth nations, either employed the £ or had a fixed rate of exchange with it, effectively came to an end on this day in 1972 when the British government unilaterally applied exchange controls to all its participants—with the exception of the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands—with the departure of forty-five members from the economic bloc in protest of UK monetary policies. Once the most robust and coherent currency areas, the realisation trade with the continent was more important that historical preferential trading with former parts of the empire prompted the UK to seek closer ties with the European Communities—the Common Market—and devalued, floated the pound ostensibly to halt outflow and flight to the US dollar but many saw it at the time as a concession to France’s objection to UK membership in the organisation that would go on to become the European Union, which repealed its veto the following year. Coincidentally, this day also marks the 2016 anniversary of the Brexit referendum.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

to each his dulcinea

Revived on Broadway for the first of four times on this day in 1972 with Richard Kiley in the role of Miguel de Cervantes and alter-ego Don Quixote, the 1965 musical by Dale Wasserman (devolved from his 1959 non-singing DuPont Show of the Month teleplay), Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion (replacing W H Auden as lyricist as his words were considered too arch) is a nest, play-within-a-play performed by the imprisoned poet and errant knight and fellow inmates awaiting their hearing before the Spanish Inquisition. A cinematic version was produced this year as well—with the main part going to Peter O’Toole. Tossed in a dungeon along with Sancho Panza, Cervante’s manservant, the other prisoners are eager to take the contents of the trunk that they brought were allowed to bring with them—to which Cervantes suggests that in his defence, he be allowed to perform a play. The room consents and Cervantes is told he can keep his property if his acting and story are judged up to muster and introduces Don Quixote and his adventures, producing make-up and costumes from his trunk for himself and supporting cast.

Monday, 20 June 2022

glastonbury fayre

The free four-day concert hosted in Pilton—the second Glastonbury festival, opened on this day in 1971 with the venue of a special Pyramid Stage, a one-tenth scale model of the one at Giza constructed of sheet metal and positioned over a water source discovered with dousing and was documented by filmmakers Nicolas Roeg and David Puttnam—released the following May. Performances included numbers by Melanie, David Bowie, Traffic, Fairport Convention, Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, Mighty Baby and Hawkwind.

Friday, 17 June 2022

oppo research

A few hours past midnight on this day in 1972, Watergate Complex (previously) security guard Frank Wills on patrol noticed tape on the hinges of some doors coming from the parking garage to office doors—preventing them from locking when closed. Removing the tape, Wills dismissed it as something innocent—perhaps janitorial staff propping the exit open—but returning upon returning to the same corridor a short time later, Wills saw the tape had been reapplied, so he called for back-up. Three officers showed up, dressed as hippies and on an undercover shift looking to arrest drug-dealers, and the look-out for the operation, staying at the Howard Johnson’s across the street failed to alert his co-conspirators, distracted by Attack of the Puppet People on the television, failing to spot the police car outside. The police apprehended five individuals who had broken into the Democratic National Committee headquarters housed in the complex, photographing documents and attempting to plant bugging devices. The Washington Post broke the story the next day, though the “White House plumbers,” charged with stopping security leaks, downplayed the failed attempt as a “third-rate and amateurish” burglary, categorically denying any involvement by the Nixon administration.

Thursday, 16 June 2022

the rise and fall of ziggy stardust and the spiders from mars

Released in the UK on this day in 1972, the loosely connected concept album presented as a rock opera relates the arc of narrative in eleven tracks of David Bowie’s titular alter ego sent to Earth to avert an impending apocalyptic event who himself falls short after succumbing to his own inflated ego. Members of the backing band include Trevor Bolder, Mick Ronson and Mick Woodmansey. Ziggy introduces himself in the third song below, Moonage Daydream, as “an exotic hybrid of rock’s past and mankind’s future” among other colourful epithets after the first two numbers present the coming doomsday and characters reacting to unavoidable disaster.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

susan superstar

Plagued with budget problems and a rather unreliable cast of actors, the project of Andy Warhol’s Factory regulars (previously), the semi-autobiographical film starring Edie Sedgwick was finally completed on this day in 1972 after five years of production. Debuting in July in Amsterdam to critical acclaim, the counter-cultural icon portrays the lure of fame and addiction through the deterioration and downfall of her on screen alter-ego. Written and directed by John Palmer and David Weisman (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Ciao! Manhattan also featured Paul America, Baby Jane Holzer, Viva and Roger Vadim.

Saturday, 21 May 2022

heads or tails

In anticipation of the fiftieth anniversary of the first pride rally in London, 1 July 1972—chosen for the nearest available date to the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots of 1969—the Royal Mint is releasing a commemorative rainbow LGBTQIA+ fifty pence coin designed by artist and activist Dominique Holmes. The obverse of course like all monies features her Majesty. More at It’s Nice That at the link above.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

็“ฆๅฐ”็‰นไฟๅซ่จๆ‹‰็ƒญ็ช

A cinematic masterwork in its own right, the film by director Hajrudin Krvavac, premiering just over a half century ago in mid-April, Walter Defends Sarajevo, stands on its own merits with intrigues, betrayals, complex characters, action sequences and an overarching message of triumph and defiance aligned with the Yugoslav ideal of harmony and inclusion in a multi-ethnic state, the film tells the story of heroic resistance to occupation in a plot to foil the Nazi forces 1945 attempt to withdraw from the Balkans and regroup, based loosely on the sacrifice of partisan leader Vladimir Peric who fought under the code name and whose real identity was unknown to the enemy, and has the distinction of being a real contender for the most viewed production of all time. Its release coinciding with the gradual introduction of foreign films and during a time of tensions between the Soviet Union and China, the censors began admitting select works—mostly documentaries from Romania, Hungary and the Yugoslav Republics—but Walter Defends Sarajevo was unique among this class and unlike what most in China had experienced beforehand. Previewed as a radio-play a generation committed the dialogue to heart before the screenings began, playing to a billion individuals over the course of a year in theatres, schools, factories and village squares. Spoiler alert: the operative of the Sicherheitsdienst deployed to capture and kill ‘Walter’ muses during the film’s iconic ending why he was never able to find his nemesis and comes to the realisation—“Sehen Sie dieses Stadt? Das ist Walter!” Still shown to the this day, its influence can be seen in the Chinese film industry.

Sunday, 24 April 2022

the snake in the tunnel

Following a referendum in France the day before that admitted the UK, Ireland and Denmark into the Common Market, on this day in 1972 at a summit in Basel the members of the European Economic Community agreed to install an exchange system to limit fluctuations in rates in order that the basket of European currencies would be consistent with the US dollar. With the titular nickname (Schlange im Tunnel, le Serpent monรฉtaire europรฉen), the arrangement was the first attempt to peg the Mark, the Franc and the Pound Sterling to one another that ultimately led to the creation of the euro and was precipitated by the Nixon Shock of the previous year with the repeal of the Bretton Woods system. This coordination, cartel was a method to control appreciation and depreciation and retain relative stability until the following year when the dollar began to float freely and member nations diverged in their response.

Monday, 28 February 2022

guernica

Whilst on tour, displayed in the Museum of Modern Art, Pablo Picasso’s 1937 painting was vandalised on this day in 1972 by art dealer and gallerist Tony Shafrazi—ostensibly to protest the announcement of the release on his own recognisance of the junior commander responsible for the brutal 1968 Mแปน Lai massacre. Apprehended by security after spray-painting “Kill Lies All” on the canvas—a reference to the conceit in James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake where the phrase could be read in either direction, Shafazi whom had previously participated in other protests against the war recoiled, “Call the curator. I am an artist!” The paint was easily removed with no damage to the work. With clients including the Shah of Iran and Donald Trump, Shafazi during his subsequent career is responsible for cultivating and promoting the talents of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Keith Haring and David LaChapelle.

Monday, 21 February 2022

the week that changed the world

Having arrived the night before with an audience of sixty million viewers in the US alone (despite the time difference with the three main broadcast networks pooling resources to cover the eight-thousand dollar per hour cost of satellite usage for the eight day event), Richard M. Nixon (see previously here and here) became the first US president to visit the People’s Republic of China, signalling a thaw in almost a quarter-century of hostile relations with his strategic outreach and overture. Normalising trade with the capitalist West, the summit with Mao Zedong and other senior leadership had the immediate result of straining cooperation between communist China and the Soviet Union.

Saturday, 19 February 2022

sammy’s visit

The highly acclaimed and impactful American television sitcom based on the BBC programme Till Death US Do Part from Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin, All in the Family, was pioneering for its depiction and discussion of controversial topics not before shown on network television including racism and antisemitism, infidelity, homosexuality, cancer, abortion, rape and Vietnam and aired one of its most memorable episodes on this day in 1972. Moonlighting as a taxi cab driver, one of Archie Bunker’s passengers turns out to be Sammy Davis Jr.

Thursday, 17 February 2022

chess ‘72

Via Weird Universe we are treated to this over-the-top piece of presidential memorabilia touted as the invitation to invest in America history through art in this rather ghoulish game board commemorating the year in politics with Republicans versus Democrats and portraying personages (by internationally famous sculptor Alexander Silveri for the low price of $32.45) such as Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Henry Kissinger (as Queen) pitted against Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Edward Kennedy and Sam Yorty. There was a second version released the following year dedicated to the Watergate scandal. More at the link up top.

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

>>>

Though antecedents exist especially with opening captioning on the BBC and PBS for episodes of The French Chef, closed-captioning technology that would become commercially available by the end of the decade was first demonstrated on this day in 1972 to students a Gallaudet College (the day before the anniversary of the prestigious school for the deaf and hard-of-hearing’s founding in 1864 in Washington, DC). A unit separate from the television set interpreted and displayed the embedded code for an episode of the ABC police procedural drama The Mod Squad.