January 29, 1845: After wallowing in obscurity for years, Edgar Allan Poe is catapulted to literary stardom with the publication of The Raven in the New York Evening Mirror.
January 30, 1969: Although they knew it was over, the Beatles attempt to “get back” to their roots as a working rock band by performing on the roof of the Apple building at 3 Saville Row, London.
The 42-minute, nine-song set would be their last live performance together.
And then they were gone.
January 30, 1933: The Lone Ranger debuts on Detroit’s WXYZ radio with George Seaton voicing the title character and John Todd playing Tonto. Remarkably, the show ran until 1955. Even if you’re not a fan, 22 years (almost 3000 episodes) is an impressive run.
The legend is that the term “Kemosabe” used by Tonto to address the Ranger was the name of a summer camp owned by producer James Jewell’s father-in-law. Maybe, maybe not. The radio program spawned a series of books, comic books, a movie serial, a TV show, feature films, and mega merchandising.
“If you want to read a book by a man who knows exactly what he is writing about and has written it marvelously well, read Appointment in Samarra,”.said Ernest Hemingway about John O’Hara, born January 31, 1905 in Pottsville, PA. Many people haven’t read him, but he’s damn good.
Matt Bruccoli swore that O’Hara was one of the greats. Believe him.
Happy birthday to the great John Ford, born John Martin Feeney in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, February 1, 1894.
Ford apparently had the odd habit of chewing the corners of handkerchiefs while he worked. He pocketed a new one every morning before leaving for location and after chomping on it all day while directing by the time he went home again he’d essentially eaten it!
February 2, 1882: John and May Joyce welcome the birth of their first child, James Augustine Aloysius Joyce, at 41 Brighton Square in Dublin’s Rathgar suburb. I’ll bet he was a real pip as a kid.
Birthday greetings to James Dickey, born February 2, 1923 in Atlanta. I met him once on a visit to the University of South Carolina not long before his death, but already he was losing his battle with cancer and had difficulty speaking. Still glad to have seen him.
Birthday greetings to Gertrude Stein, novelist, poet, patron of the arts, and den mother of the Lost Generation, born February 3, 1874 in Alleghany, PA.
From everything I’ve read, I imagine her to be a huge pain in the ass, but the one person I’ve ever talked to who met Stein said she was actually quite nice. I still bet she was a pill.
Michael Rogers (email@example.com) is a Jesse H. Neal Gold Award-winning freelance writer, editor, reviewer, and photographer. He is also former Media Editor and audiobook reviewer at Library Journal.