Sunday, October 30, 2011

Today in Pop Culture History: Orson Welles punks America

30 October 1925: John Baird, Scottish engineer and inventor, broadcast the first television signal in London. Though his system was almost immediately obsolete (some things never change), we can, by extension thank Baird for the BBC. Without him, we wouldn't all be able to say at cocktail parties that the British (Office, Being Human, Prime Suspect, take your pick) is better.

30 October 1938: Orson Welles broadcast his radio production of H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds. He sold it so fierce that a nationwide panic ensued, as many thought the alien invasion had really happened.

And he did it while smoking a pipe and giving the studio audience complimentary tickets to the gun show.
Do yourself a favor this all Hallows Eve Eve and give it a listen. I'll get you started with the first part:

30 October 1974: Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in Zaire in the much hyped (Don King was involved--'nuff said) "Rumble in the Jungle." Not only did this bout produce the splendid documentary When We Were Kings, it also featured Ali's "rope-a-dope": a move wherein he crouched on the ropes, protecting himself while letting the larger and stronger Foreman tire himself out before Ali's eighth round KO. Remember when Hugh Jackman refused to punch Zeus back when he was "shadowing" Atom in Real Steel? Got it straight from Ali.

Don't call it a comeback.

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