Jul 31 2010

On This Day in History: July 31

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

On this day in 1948, the Broadway musical “Brigadoon” closed after 581 performances. It originally opened on March 13, 1947 at the Ziegfeld Theater. It was directed by Robert Lewis and choreographed by Agnes de Mille. Ms. De Mille won the Tony Award for Best Choreography. The show was had several revival and the movie starring Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse premiered in 1954.

Brigadoon is a musical with a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. Songs from the musical, such as “Almost Like Being in Love” have become standards.

It tells the story of a mysterious Scottish village that appears for only one day every hundred years, though to the villagers, the passing of each century seems no longer than one night. The enchantment is viewed by them as a blessing rather than a curse, for it saved the village from destruction. According to their covenant with God, no one from Brigadoon may ever leave, or the enchantment will be broken and the site and all its inhabitants will disappear into the mist forever. Two American tourists, lost in the Scottish Highlands, stumble upon the village just as a wedding is about to be celebrated, and their arrival has serious implications for the village’s inhabitants.

 30 BC – Battle of Alexandria: Mark Antony achieves a minor victory over Octavian’s forces, but most of his army subsequently deserts, leading to his suicide.

781 – The oldest recorded eruption of Mt. Fuji (Traditional Japanese date: July 6, 781).

904 – Thessalonica falls to the Arabs, who destroy the city.

1423 – Hundred Years’ War: Battle of Cravant – the French army is defeated at Cravant on the banks of the river Yonne.

1492 – The Jews are expelled from Spain when the Alhambra Decree takes effect.

1498 – On his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to discover the island of Trinidad.

1588 – The Spanish Armada is spotted off the coast of England.

1655 – Russo-Polish War (1654-1667): the Russian army enters the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Vilnius, which it holds for six years.

1703 – Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but is pelted with flowers.

1777 – The U.S. Second Continental Congress passes a resolution that the services of Marquis de Lafayette “be accepted, and that, in consideration of his zeal, illustrious family and connexions, he have the rank and commission of major-general of the United States.”

1790 – First U.S. patent is issued to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process.

1856 – Christchurch, New Zealand is chartered as a city.

1865 – The first narrow gauge mainline railway in the world opens at Grandchester, Australia.

1895 – The Basque Nationalist Party (Euzko Alderdi Jeltzalea-Partido Nacionalista Vasco) is founded by Basque nationalist leader Sabino Arana.

1913 – The Balkan States signs an armistice at Bucharest.

1919 – German national assembly adopts the Weimar constitution, which comes into force on August 14.

1930 – The radio mystery program The Shadow is aired for the first time.

1932 – The NSDAP wins more than 38% of the vote in German elections.

1936 – The International Olympic Committee announces that the 1940 Summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo. However, the games are given back to the IOC after the Second Sino-Japanese War breaks out, and are eventually cancelled altogether because of World War II.

1938 – Bulgaria signs a non-aggression pact with Greece and other states of Balkan Antanti (Turkey, Romania, Yugoslavia).

1938 – Archaeologists discover engraved gold and silver plates from King Darius in Persepolis.

1941 – Holocaust: under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Nazi official Hermann Göring, orders SS General Reinhard Heydrich to “submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired final solution of the Jewish question.”

1945 – Pierre Laval, the fugitive former leader of Vichy France, surrenders to Allied soldiers in Austria.

1945 – John K. Giles attempts to escape from Alcatraz prison.

1948 – At Idlewild Field in New York, New York International Airport (later renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport) is dedicated.

1954 – First ascent of K2, by an Italian expedition led by Ardito Desio.

1959 – The Basque separatist organisation ETA is founded.

1961 – At Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts, the first All-Star Game tie in major league baseball history occurs when the game is stopped in the 9th inning because of rain.

1964 – Ranger program: Ranger 7 sends back the first close-up photographs of the moon, with images 1,000 times clearer than anything ever seen from earth-bound telescopes.

1970 – Black Tot Day: The last day of the officially sanctioned rum ration in the Royal Navy.

1971 – Apollo program: Apollo 15 astronauts become the first to ride in a lunar rover.

1972 – Operation Motorman: British troops move into the no-go areas of Belfast and Derry, Northern Ireland. End of Free Derry.

1972 – Three car bombs are detonated in Claudy, Northern Ireland, killing nine in what is believed to be a Provisional Irish Republican Army attack.

1976 – Viking program: Viking 1 – NASA releases the famous Face on Mars photo.

1981 – General Omar Torrijos of Panama dies in a plane crash.

1981 – 42-day strike of Major League Baseball ends in the United States.

1981 – A total solar eclipse occurs.

1992 – Georgia joins the United Nations.

1999 – Discovery Program: Lunar Prospector – NASA intentionally crashes the spacecraft into the Moon, thus ending its mission to detect frozen water on the moon’s surface.

2006 – Fidel Castro hands over power temporarily to brother Raul Castro.

2007 – Operation Banner, the presence of the British Army in Northern Ireland, and the longest-running British Army operation ever, comes to an end.

1 comment

  1. TMC

    This is one of my favorite songs done very well by Adam Lambert (Yeah, that Adam Lambert)

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