On This Day , November 23rd
1. 1936: First issue of Life Magazine published
It was on this date in 1936 that the first issue of Life magazine was published and hit newsstands all over the country. Henry Luce, who had already been quite successful publishing Time magazine, purchased the rights to Life and re-launched it as more picture based. See Life magazine had been published previously but as a weekly humor publication similar to what the New Yorker is today. But just as the Great Depression began it folded and that’s when Luce acquired the rights to the name. He wanted to use his magazine Time to tell the news, and he wanted Life to show the news to the American people. The new Life magazine was an instant success and it continued running weekly until 1972 when television became the go-to form of media for the average American to receive their news.
2. 1889: First coin operated phonograph installed in San Francisco
The Palais Royale Saloon located in San Francisco was the location where what many people feel to be the first jukebox was used on this date in 1889. It was a coin operated phonograph that would play when you put a nickel in the slot, and it was actually named “nickel in a slot” at first. The name would eventually be shortened to “nickelodeon” which makes me wonder if there’s any connection to the popular Children’s cable television network. A man named John Gabel improved upon the nickelodeon in 1906 when he invented the “automatic entertainer” which replaced the wax cylinder used to play the music with several different 78-rpm records. This allowed the user to choose a specific song versus whatever was already there. There was another major improvement in 1927 when the amplifier was invented. Soon there was a jukebox in almost every bar in the country.
3. 1990: Children’s novelist Roald Dahl passed away
If you grew up in the ’80s and ’90s the name Roald Dahl will immediately ring a bell as the author of many books read either for school or just because. With hit titles like James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, and Matilda, Roald Dahl won the heart of children all over the world. A great majority of his books have been adapted to feature length films with enormous success. Dahl was a fighter pilot in WWII for the Royal Air Force so you wouldn’t think he would be the type of guy that could write such fascinating children books. His first release was The Gremlins in 1943 which was also adapted to a Hollywood film when Steven Spielberg directed a film by the same name which was said to be loosely based off the characters created by Dahl. Many know of the books he wrote, but not many know that Dahl was also a writer for screenplays and television on hit shows like Dick Van Dyke and films like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and even the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. Unfortunately it was on this date in 1990 that Roald Dahl passed away.