Today in Hystery March 23rd

On this day in 1153, the Treaty of Konstanz was signed between the German Holy Roman Emperor, Frederik the First and Pope Eugene the Third. Frederik was also known as Barbarossa, which was why the Pope was so eager to sign. Imagine his disappointment when he found out it wasn’t Barbarella.

On this day in 1743, George Frideric Handel’s now-famous oratorio “Messiah” was first performed in London England. If you’ve been at a performance of “Messiah” you’ll know that when they start into the Hallelujah Chorus, the audience stands up. Here’s why. At that first performance in London in 1743, for some reason, the King, who was watching the performance, stood up, and when the king stood up, everybody stood up. You just followed what the king was doing and that’s how that tradition got started. What I discovered, though, was that the King stood up to scratch his butt. Historians missed that part, otherwise when the Hallelujah Chorus is being sung today, the audience should be standing and scratching their butts through the whole thing. I think that might kill Christmas as we know it.

On this day in 1839, in Boston, the first known use of the term ‘OK’ happened. This, apparently, is how it happened; during the 1830s there was a joke played by Boston newspapers where they would reduce a phrase to just initials and supply an explanation in parentheses. Sometimes the abbreviations were misspelled to add to the humor. OK was used in March 1839 as an abbreviation for ‘all correct’, the joke being that neither the O nor the K was correct. Boy! Talk about knee slappers, eh? Laugh, I thought I’d never start the car!

On this day in 1901, opera singer Dame Nellie Melba revealed to the world the secret of her now famous toast. As you can see, it was a quiet news day on March 23rd, 1901.

On this day in 1923, Foster Hewitt, Canada’s ‘Voice of Hockey’ announced his first hockey game over the Toronto Star’s radio station. Foster Hewitt was the man who coined the phrase, “He shoots! He scores!” Everybody has used it since then, hockey play-by-play announcers…Bill Clinton.

If your birthday is March 23rd, you share it with comedian Marty Allen who was born on this day in 1922. He was best known from the TV show “Allen and Rossi”. He really didn’t have to work hard at being a comedian. He would walk onto the stage, say “Hello Dere” and the audience would explode with laughter. Two little words and he’s a star! Go figure.

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