Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Today in Pop Culture History: Introducing Bilbo and Perry

Fair warning: won't be last Hobbit post of the week.

21 September 1937: The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, was first published. It goes without saying that the book's first line, "In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit," was the beginning of a pop culture juggernaut. The Lord of the Rings, the book's high fantasy tour-de-force "sequel" followed in 1954, and changed the world forever (that might be overstating it a bit, but hey, I'm a fan). Geek god Peter Jackson is as we speak filming a two-part adaptation of this novel. And it's going to OWN.

21 September 1957: The television series Perry Mason debuted on CBS. The legal drama, starring Raymond Burr as a defense attorney, was based on a series of novels by Erle Stanley Gardner, and was so influential that prosecutors began to complain that jurors would not convict without a confession on the stand, a very rare occurrence that happened just about every week when Perry was doing the cross-examining of the real killer. The "Perry Mason effect" is now better known as the "CSI effect," which in itself traces the line of influence from this influential show to the glut of procedural dramas on television today.

An Upper at the time, now depressing
21 September 1996: John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette surprised just about everyone by getting married in a top-secret ceremony on Cumberland Island, Georgia. They had actually faked a fight in New York the week before to throw off the tabloids. That's pretty rock star. Three years later, they'd both be dead in a plane crash over Martha's Vinyard. Told you it was depressing. But this picture captures all the happiness I hope they had in their short life together.

1 comment:

  1. Bummer! (But wow, was Carolyn beautiful in that Grace-Kelly-way!)