Broadcast: 11/2/96

We've been reminded recently, quite often, that this year is the centennial of the international olympics. But there were a great many other events taking place that year.

Just looking at the first six months in 1896 we find -

On January 6th, the first woman's bicycle marathon began in New York City's Madison Square Garden. It was won, six days later, by Frankie Nelson, who pedaled and puffed a total of 418 miles.

On March 4th, Joseph Conrad's An Outcast of the Islands was first published.

On April 23rd, Koster & Bial's music hall in New York City presented the first American showing of a motion picture.

On May 4th the London Daily Mail, England's first popular newspaper, was published.

And on the 18th of that same month, the Lehigh Valley Railroad's Black Diamond passenger express began runs between New York City's old Pennsylvania Station and Buffalo.

On the 4th of June, Henry Ford conducted the first successful test of a gasoline powered automobile, slinking through the streets of Detroit after dark. Two days later George Harbo and Frank Samuelson became the first to row across the Atlantic Ocean, arriving from New York City, at England's Isles of Scilly [silly], after a 56-day voyage.

These six months also saw the premiere of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Grand Duke, or The Statutory Duel and John Philip Sousa's El Capitan .

Sometimes events juxtapose themselves, so as to delight the compiler of timelines. These six months make the point.

On January 20th, comedian George Burns, whom we lost recently, was born in New York City.

Same town, April 30th, the first horseless carriage death was recorded - making George Burns older than the automobile fatality. Could that be one reason Henry Ford chose to test his car after dark?

© 1996 David Minor / Eagles Byte