Wednesday, July 11

Posted on 11th Jul 2012 by ian under On This Day | No Comments »

On this day in 1776, Captain James Cook began his third and final voyage.

Captain James CookThis one ended with him finding himself on the wrong end of a spear in the Sandwich Islands – would have been far nicer to be on the right end of a sandwich in the Spear Islands.

I got to wondering if these old seafaring explorers had ‘normal’ lives back home seeing they spent months and years at sea in very claustrophobic conditions… Well, James had a wife, Elizabeth, and they had six children… “So… anything happen while I was away, lass?”  “Oh aye, Jimmy, his name’s Nathanial…” “Right, let’s get to it then…”

Sadly none of the children were touched with a longevity gene – one child lived to the ripe old age of 31, two died aged 17, one aged 4 and two died as babies.

donald bradmanAn Australian who also kept going back to England to score was Donald Bradman… and on this day in 1930, The Don scored a world record 309 runs in one day in a Test Match against the Poms – he went on to make 334 in that innings – his personal highest knock…

Harper Lee only wrote one novel, and it was a beauty!  In 1960 on this day, Atticus Finch was officially ‘born’ when To Kill a Mockingbird was first published

Also born on this day – in 1916, Australia’s 21st Prime Minister, Edward Gough Whitlam and On The Buses star, Reg VarneyYul Brynner was born on this day in 1920 and singer, Suzanne Vega in 1959.

George GershwinThose departing on this day include composer George Gershwin who started decomposing in 1937 (sorry), Lord Laurence Olivier who faced the final curtain in 1989 and, in 2007, in her 95th year, Lady Bird Johnson checked out.  She was the First Lady who went ‘all the way with LBJ’ way before Harold Holt coined the phrase.

George Gershwin was born Jacob Gershowitz, the son of immigrants from Russia  He left school at 15 and began writing tunes for Broadway musicals and folk operas (Funny Face, Porgy & Bess). He wrote the wonderful Rhapsody in Blue when he was 25. He was 38 when he died of brain tumour.  I wonder if London can top the opening Olympics ceremony in Los Angeles 1984 when Rhapsody in Blue was performed on 84 grand pianos!

Hmm… all a tad on the serious side today, so from a pod of pianos to…

A flock of Segals