On this memorable day, April 21st, here in the UK we are celebrating the Queens 90th birthday and the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare and this evening there will be 1,000 beacons being lit in major towns and cities all over the land. Outside Windsor Castle crowds have been amassing since the early hours to get that prime position for a glimpse of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on her royal walkabout.
As all the latest news is on TV, radio and in the press, I thought I would focus on the past and take a look back at what was happening in the world 90 years ago in 1926.
10 notable events in 1926
1. Television is unveiled
Building on technology of several inventors, John Logie Baird is credited with the invention of the first television. On January 27th he demonstrated his first “television” to members of the Royal Institute and a reporter from The Times. His moving images were merely a grainy grayscale but his vision of bringing live pictures was truly a world changing invention.
2. Notable 1926 births
David Attenborough, the famous writer and broadcaster on the natural world, was born on May 8th in Isleworth to the west of London. He is best known for his 9 Life series.
Fidel Castro, born on August 13th, held office in Cuba for over 30 years as its Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as its President from 1976 to 2008.
Actress and heartthrob, Marilyn Monroe was born on June 1st and
Hugh Hefner, philanthropist, activist and famous founder of Playboy, on April 9th
3. 40-hour week at Ford Motor Company
Almost 20 years old, Ford Motor Company were in their hay day and 1926 introduced the 40-hour for the princely weekly wage of just $5.00.
4. First female cross Channel swim
August saw the first woman Gertrude ‘Trudy’ Ederle to swim across the English Channel with a time of 14 hours and 34 minutes. She swam from Cap Griz-Nez, France to Dover. And was only the 6th person to achieve this feat.
5. Treaty of Berlin
International relationships were still strained after the 1st World War. The Treaty of Berlin signed on April 24th, the treaty pledged neutrality between Germany and the Soviet Union in the event of an attack by another country for the next five years.
6. General Strike in the United Kingdom
For 9 days between May 4th and May 13th, some 1.7 million workers went on strike in protest at the threat of lowering miners’ wages and the lockout of 1.2 million miners.
7. Entertainer and escapist Harry Houdini died
The escape artist Harry Houdini died at the age of 52 after a career creating eye watering escape tricks. Born in Wisconsin, Houdini moved to New York where, after a failed attempt at making a career as a magician, he became a trapeze artist and vaudeville player, later becoming the highest paid performer on the US vaudeville circuit. His most famous ‘escapes’ include the ‘Chinese Water Torture Cell’, the Suspended straitjacket escape, the Overboard box escape and the Buried alive stunt.
8. Get your kicks on Route 66
Route 66 is 2,448 miles (3,940kms) long and runs between Chicago and Los Angeles via Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending at Santa Monica, California. It is the inspiration for the song “Get your Kicks on route 66” which has been covered by numerous artists including the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Nat King Cole and Depeche Mode.
9. The Launch of the National Broadcasting Company
NBC, the famous National Broadcasting Company, was launched by RCA (Radio Corporation of America) on November 15th.
10. Valentino’s death caused mass hysteria
The heart throb film actor Rudolph Valentino died at the age of 31 to the anguish of thousands of adoring fans. His breakthrough role was in ‘The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ which was released in 1921 and grossed an amazing $4.5 million. A full list of his appearances can be found here: Rudolph Valentino roles