Tuesday, 11 January 2022

night stalker

Based on the then unpublished Jeff Rice novel The Kolchak Tapes, the ABC Movie of the Week, airing on this day in 1972, features Darren McGavin as an investigative reporter researching a spate of murders in Las Vegas, coming to suspect that the serial killer is a vampire. The most popular made-for-television-movie to date and spawning a miniseries and a sequel for the franchise, remembering this event in TV history, shared by some seventy-five million households in the US, inspired Chris Carter to later create The X-Files.

Sunday, 9 January 2022

rms queen elizabeth

Whilst undergoing renovations to be re-christened as the “Seawise University,” the gargantuan ocean liner launched in 1938 and named in honour of Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, caught on fire and was capsized in Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong on this day in 1972. Tycoon and shipping magnate Tung Chao-yung had bought the decommissioned cruise ship with the intention of making her into a float international campus for a semester at sea programme two years earlier and there was some speculation that either insurance fraud or sabotage by Chinese ship-builders played a part in the destruction. The wreck was salvaged to prevent risk to other boats passing through the bay but about half of it remains at the bottom of the harbour and was the setting of a secret annex of MI6 in the 1974 Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.

Saturday, 8 January 2022

true love and apple pie

Originally the titular jingle, the lyrics were rewritten by Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway for a 1971 television commercial campaign performed by the Hillside Singers as “Buy the World a Coke,” with a message of hope, inclusivity and love—the closing tagline being “On a hilltop in Italy [Trident studios in London], we assembled young people from all over the world…” The British pop group the New Seekers (“Circles”with Harry Chapin, “Pinball Wizard” from Tommy, “Sing Hallelujah!”) recorded a full-length version of the song, dropping references to the soft-drink, which climbed to the top of UK singles charts on this day in 1972, ultimately going Gold and selling over a million copies. The Coca-Cola Company and advertising agency waived the rights to the song and instead made a substantial donation to UNICEF.

Monday, 3 January 2022

das bayerisches restaurant-stรผck

The first of two forty-five minute specials (episode number one filmed the year before) by the Python troupe were first broadcast by ARD on this day in 1972 to audiences in West Germany and the behest of visiting television producer Alfred Biolek, who felt their absurdist brand of humour would translate well, though notably absent from the domestic comedy scene. Present in Munich first for the five hundredth anniversary celebrations of the birth of artist Albrecht Dรผrer and next for the Summer Olympics, this cultural backdrop informed their sketches. Beset with timing, pacing and interpretive problems (the first episode was performed in German and a challenge for the crew—the second instalment airing in mid-December was dubbed) and a lack-lustre initial audience reception, the this pair of German episodes has an enduring charm.

Friday, 31 December 2021

3 sutton place

The Burmese diplomat appointed as United Nations Secretary-General after the unexpected death of Dag Hammarskjรถld in 1961 declining overtures for a third-term, U Thant (แ€žแ€”့်, U being an honorific title and not a first or family name) stepped down on this day in 1971, having facilitated negotiations between Khrushchev and Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, intervened to avoid a chaotic break-up of Congo, overseeing the end of colonial rule for many states in Asia and Africa and was a vocal critic of America’s actions in Vietnam. His successor taking office on 1 January 1972, Kurt Waldheim—in 1986 during some opposition research whilst running for the Austrian presidency (which he won) was revealed to have been a Nazi intelligence officer during World War II—secured the seat accidentally after several rounds of the Security Council conclave failed to produce a winning candidate and three of the four member states with veto power (the USSR backed Waldheim) failed to coordinate their override and abstained instead. After Waldheim left office, incumbency was limited to two terms.

Friday, 26 November 2021

when harry met santa

Fair warning—I thought it was too early for holiday commercials but this is a tear-jerker worth watching and it’s advisable to have some tissues handy—via World of Wonder, we are directed towards Posten Norge’s annual holiday greeting, which this year ahead of the fiftieth anniversary of Norway’s decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1972, featuring a multi-year courtship, whose brief annual encounters are finally extended a bit with the help of the Norwegian postal service. From all of us to all of you God jul!

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

he’s so simple-minded, can’t drive his module

Released on this day in 1972 as the lead single from Aladdin Sane and recorded with his backing band the Spiders from Mars, David Bowie’s composition was an inspired assortment of supposed American trappings with the song’s protagonist a reference to criminal vagabond and French existential playwright Jean Genet, beginning its development as an improvised jam session on a tour bus between Cleveland and Memphis. The title lyric became the namesake of the 1977 Glasgow band Simple Minds. He bites on the neon and sleeps in the capsule. Loves to be loved.

Sunday, 7 November 2021

facce di bronzo

Via the always superb Everlasting Blรถrt, we are not only introduced to the sensational discovery of the so-called Riace bronzes in the early 1970s but how the Italian mayor of the namesake town is planning a museum and further excavations on the fiftieth anniversary of their recovery from the waves off the Calabrian coast to see if there are more Greek warrior statues yet to be uncovered. Made in the fifth century BCE using the lost wax casting technique are among the few surviving examples of Greek artistry, most being melted down, and were found by accident by a snooping chemist called Stefano Mariottini in 1972 and are conjectured to be either anonymous Delphic soldiers as part of an ensemble monument to the Battle of Marathon or possibly as depictions of Erechtheus, foster son of Athena and legendary king of Athens, and Eumolpus, son of Poseidon and inventor of viticulture.

Friday, 15 October 2021

lieutenant pigeon

Topping the UK charts this week in 1972, the novelty band’s song “Moldy Old Dough” (a play on the flexible jazz-era phrase vo-dee-o-doe) featured Rob Woodward and his mother Hilda respectively on keyboard and piano, not only making this short, endearing tune the only number one hit to feature mother and son but also the eldest woman to earn that distinction, aged fifty-eight at the time. The band from Coventry was the second incarnation of a project called Stavely Makepeace and subsequent recordings included “Desperate Dan,” “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen,” “Grandfather Clock,” and “Disco Bells.”

Saturday, 7 August 2021


From the start of the Space Age and ensuing Space Race, adjacent stamp collecting became a serious pursuit with commemorative cover depicting every mission and milestone (see previously) with the bubble inflated to bursting with the scandal surrounding Apollo 15, returned to Earth on this day in 1971 with a payload of four hundred postage stamps sent to the Moon and back.

The astronauts had been compensated, bribed for sneaking the unauthorised souvenirs on board by West Germany dealer Hermann Sieger. The story broke the following year and though the money was returned and most of the remaining covers (the postal term for decorated, signed pre-stamped and cancelled envelops) were retained by the agency, museums or given as gifts, the astronauts were reprimanded for ethics violations and never flew on a mission again, reassigned to other departments within NASA. Such mementos were considered contraband for future missions.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

that weren’t no dj—that was hazy cosmic jive

Performing his new single Starman—his first charting hit since Space Oddity in 1969, David Bowie in the persona of Ziggy Stardust and band, the Spiders from Mars composed of Mick Ronson, Mick Woodmansey and Trevor Bolder, appeared on Top of the Pops on this day in 1972. Let all the children boogie.

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

saut de seconde

Introduced for the first time on this day in 1972 and originally delegated to the Bureau International de l’Heure (BIH, the International Time Bureau at the Paris Observatory) to schedule their addition or subtraction, leap seconds (see also) are a way to adjust Universal Coordinated Time and synchronise the invariable atomic clocks that informs most civilian timekeeping with observed solar time, the Earth’s rotation prone to go off-kilter a bit due to geological, climatic changes or meteor impacts. Though implemented as a means to ensure accuracy and uniformity in an increasing interconnected and networked world and announced six months in advance, the irregularity of leap seconds can also reveal flaws in underlying programming, the pictured time-stamp causing Linux-based systems to crash back on that date.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

the rose mary stretch

While later reviewing tape recording of a conversation held on this day in 1972 between White House chief-of-staff H.R. Haldeman and Richard Nixon three days after the Watergate break-in occurred, presidential secretary Ms. Woods admitted to a terrible clerical error during replay when she took a telephone call and held the combination of buttons and pedals that caused a portion of the tape to be re-recorded. Obliging Ms. Woods later demonstrated the pose that would have allowed for this accident to happen to a doubtful press, making her story all the more incredulous once it was revealed that the gap in the transcript was not the five-minute duration of the call but rather eighteen and a half minutes long. Three days after those lost conversations were held, the “smoking gun” reel documented—between the same two interlocutors—the plans to cover-up the bungled burglary and to curtail investigations by directing the Central Intelligence Agency to falsely assert to the FBI and local police that it was a matter of National Security. Once this tape became public, all remaining political support for Nixon, including fifteen Republican senators favouring acquittal, evaporated—though Nixon resigned in lieu of impeachment.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

deep throat

Written and directed by Gerard Damiano and starring Linda Lovelace—though later reframed by the actress as coercion and sexual assault, considered one of the first pornographic films to include a plot and character development and heralded, along with Behind the Green Door, as “porno chic,” seen as a normalising, legitimising force for the subject matter for conservative US audiences, with many prominent celebrities, public figures and journalists admitting to having watched it, including Truman Capote, Spiro Agnew, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson and Barbara Walters, the title piece premiered on this day in New York City’s New World Adult Theatre, the use of the film as a culture reference and touchstone was cemented almost immediately when the managing-editor of the Washington Post chose “Deep Throat” as the code name for the secret Watergate insider (see also) who informed on Nixon—revealed thirty years later as assistant FBI director W. Mark Felt (*1913 - †2008).

Sunday, 11 April 2021


Via the forever engrossing Everlasting Blรถrt, we are directed towards a screen-test for the haberdashery of Alex DeLarge and his gang of droogs for the 1971 cinematic adaptation of the dystopian, delinquent novel from Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange (previously) trying on different hat styles before settling on the bowler variety. More images and reactions on the thread that are well worth checking out.

Saturday, 3 April 2021


treasureland adventures: an arcade game made for McDonald’s that’s a lot better than most licensed vehicles—see also  

campfire tales: Haunted Tik-Tok (see also) and the art of the scary narrative in new media  

self-defence for cowards: our social skills have atrophied but we still bid our time before we get back to old, awkward habits  

die frankfurter kรผche: more on the modern kitchen designed by Margarete Schรผtte-Lihotzky—see previously  

cave ร  vins: incredible wine collection hidden beneath a chicken coop 

look at me: heretofore unseen footage of John Lennon and Yoko Ono 

catch it if you can: a McDonald’s employee training video from 1972

Wednesday, 10 March 2021


Occupying a liminal space between 2001: A Space Odyssey and the juncture that went with cosmic opera in one direction and dread aliens in the other, the environmental-themed, weakly-endorsing techno-utopia Silent Running by Douglas Trumbull—released on this date in 1972—does resound with our times and the bleak climate catastrophes we are facing, nearly fifty years on. The film follows a resident botanist (Bruce Dern) on board a greenhouse just beyond the orbit of Saturn, maintaining specimens of Earth’s plant life for its eventual reseeding the planet after all native trees and crops went extinct. Disobeying an order from the corporate headquarters that sponsored the space ark project to jettison their living cargo and return to commercial services, the botanist with his three service robots try to save the last biosphere.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

and there’s no one there to raise them—if you did

Released as a single on this day in 1972 from the studio album Honky Chรขteau, the song parenthetically titled I think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, the narrative lyric was inspired by elements of the eponymous short story by Ray Bradbury in his The Illustrated Man collection and David Bowie’s 1969 “Space Oddity,” the pieces all triangulating on the lament that astronauts were no longer heroes and that space travel was becoming routine, mundane.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021


While perhaps not as celebrated as its more charismatic follow-on missions of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, Pioneer 10, launched on this day in 1972, was the first space probe travel beyond the asteroid belt and went on to study Jupiter and became the first object to achieve escape velocity to leave the Solar System and wander the interstellar medium. As foundational as the mission was, the Pioneer programme is overshadowed by its successors partly as it went silent in 2003. Designed by Carl Sagan, Linda Salzman Sagan and Frank Drake, Pioneer and its sister probe bear the pictured plaque, should it ever be discovered by intelligent extra-terrestrials. If left undisturbed (canonical Star Trek has Klingons destroying it as target practise), Pioneer is on a trajectory to pass the star system Aldebaran in Taurus in about two million years, which is believed to host a super-Jupiter exoplanet.

Friday, 1 January 2021

muddlemore manor

The seventeenth and final episode airing on this day in 1972 that brought arc of narrative of this last iterative trope of a trio of teens (one, the brainy ginger, portrayed by Micky Dolenz of the Monkees) solving para-paranormal (most had a non-supernatural explanation) mysteries with the help of a sidekick and readily mobile back to its original premise, “Ghost Grabbers,” taking our friendly spirit, the titular Funky Phantom, an colonial rebel from the US Revolutionary War called Johnathan Wellington “Mudsy” Muddlemore and voiced by Daws Butler, repurposing his affectations developed for the character Snagglepuss (which is perfectly acceptable because we didn’t get enough Snagglepuss, also the talent behind Yogi Bear, Cap’t Crunch, Fred Flagstone, Quisp, Chilly Willy, Wally Gator and Huckleberry Hound).
Seeing two British Redcoats infiltrating the premises, Mudsy and his now ghost cat named Boo, hide in the housing of a large grandfather clock but are trapped inside, eventually expiring. The pair are released in the first episode when the teens happen on the estate on a dark and stormy night and reset the hands of the clock to the correct time, thus releasing their spirits. On suspicion that the Redcoats were hiding looted treasure, two recurring schemers disguise themselves as ghosts of the British soldiers to try and scare information out of Mudsy.