1866 Black Crook premiered in New York City.
1880 H. l. Mencken was born. (See December 28th entry.)
1913 Jesse Owens was born. (See August 9th entry.)
1953 Nikita Khrushchev became Soviet Russia’s Premier. (See April 17th and October 30th entries.)
This was the day, in 1866, when a new form of American entertainment premiered in New York City. The show was entitled The Black Crook. It was the first American presentation to feature beautiful showgirls. The idea spread like wildfire after that.
Back in 1953, this was the day when Nikita Khrushchev became the First Secretary of the U. S.S. R.’s Communist Party, a position which automatically brought him front and center. Khrushchev loved to talk, and in one of his famous public appearances, he brought a new technique to the public forum. He pounded his shoe on the table to add emphasis to a point in the course of a United Nations discussion.
On December 28, 1917, the long-defunct New York Evening Mail ran an article purporting to give the history of the bathtub. It was an obvious spoof. It discussed the invention of the bathtub at length, alleging that the tub was invented in Cincinnati in the 1840s, that Millard Fillmore had been the first U. S. President to take a bath in the White House, and an entire litany of other absurdities. The trouble was, the article’s author, H. L. Mencken, had written the article so convincingly that even after he printed an explanation of the hoax, his article continued to be quoted by medical men, professional journals and societies as a factual study on the advancement of personal hygiene. Today is the anniversary of his birth which occurred in 1880. Bits and pieces of the myth he created still exist as fact and custom. The pen can be mightier than the sword, especially since its message can have a long-lasting effect whether it depicts the truth or simply a hoax.