7 October 1849: Edgar A. Poe, who was found delirious and raving (natch) on the streets of Baltimore three days earlier, died in Baltimore. No one knows for sure what killed him. Again I say, natch. His bloody fingerprints are all over pop culture, having either invented or greatly popularized the short story (sitcoms!), the detective story (procedurals!) and sci-fi (he would have been a fan of Lost). His life (and death) inspired Matthew Pearl's novel The Poe Shadow, as well as the upcoming detective series Poe, and film The Raven, which stars John Cusack!
|It will make you cry. It should.|
7 October 1952: American Bandstand, a music performance show most often associated with its Dorian Gray-esque host Dick Clark, premiered. Until it went off the air in 1989, anyone who was anyone performed on its stage while teenage "regulars" danced below. We're talking acts that ranged from a-ha to Barry White. The show itself became a metonym for teenage culture itself, being referenced or parodied in films like Taxi Driver, Grease, Dead Poets Society, and Can't Buy Me Love. My favorite fictional stand-in for AB has to be "The Corny Collins Show" from Hairspray.
7 October 1955: Allen Ginsberg read his era-defining poem "Howl" for the first time at Six Gallery in San Francisco. I bet it was awesome. Here's a recording of him doing it again a year or so later.