Today in Hystery May 21st

On this day in 1602, Captain Bartholomew Gosnold first sighted Martha’s Vineyard, off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. These days it is a playground for the rich and famous. Folks on the Vineyard are mighty suspicious of anyone who moves there. That’s why they call people who’ve moved from the mainland to the island ‘wash-ashores’. Not exactly the Welcome Wagon is it?

On this day in 1819, the first bicycles were introduced to the United States in New York City. Back then, they were known as Swift Walkers because they had no pedals, you just sat on the seat and pushed with your feet. They didn’t really catch on, after all, who wants to go down the street looking like a total goofball?

On this day in 1908, the first horror movie premiered in Chicago. It was the silent film “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. People at the premiere said that during the scene where Mr. Hyde kills his first victim, you could hear a pin drop.

On this day in 1914, the Greyhound Bus Company began. It had one of the most obvious slogans in advertising. “Go Greyhound and leave the driving to us.” Uh, yeah!!

On this day in 1936, one of Japan’s most notorious scandals came to light with the arrest of a woman named Sada Abe. Sada was so mad at her lover’s infidelities that she cut off his genitals, put them in her purse and then walked around Tokyo for days until the police finally arrested her. When they caught her she was probably humming “Cuts Like a Knife”.

On this day in 1966, the song “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen came back on American music charts. It had been a hit in 1963, and then was investigated by the FBI after someone complained that the lyrics were obscene. The FBI checked it out and came to the same conclusion as the rest of us. This is what they said; “We cannot find that the song is obscene because it is unintelligible at any speed.” I wished I knew back then that the FBI had a department that spent all day listening for obscenities in rock and roll songs. There’s a career!

If your birthday is May 21st, you share it with actor Raymond Burr who was born in New Westminster, B.C. on this day in 1917. His two best-known roles were as a tough lawyer in “Perry Mason” and a tough cop in “Ironsides”, interesting roles for a guy who, in real life, cultivated orchids.

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