January 7, 2020
Day 7 of 366
January 7th is the seventh day of the year. It is celebrated as Tricolour Day in Italy in honor of its iconic flag.
Historical items of note:
- In 1610, Galileo Galilei made his first observation of the four largest moons orbiting Jupiter: Ganymede, Callisto, Io, and Europa. They would later be called the Galilean moons in his honor.
- In 1894, William Kennedy Dickson received a patent for motion picture film.
- In 1904, the “CQD” distress signal was established, using land telegraph code “CQ” to identify a message of interest to all followed by “D” for distress. It was replaced two years later by the “SOS” signal.
- In 1924, Gene L. Coon was born. He is best remembered for his work as a writer and producer on the original Star Trek series.
- In 1927, the first transatlantic telephone service was established between New York City and London.
- In 1948, American singer and songwriter Kenny Loggins was born.
- In 1999, the Senate trial in the impeachment of U.S. President Bill Clinton began.
In 1903, Alan William Napier-Clavering was born. Known professionally as Alan Napier, he was born in England and spent a decade performing in West End theatres before entering a long film career in both British and American entertainment.
His West End career spanned 1929 to 1939, during which he expressed a particular affinity for the work of George Bernard Shaw. He didn’t have much success in film before he connected with the British expatriate community in Hollywood. His career accelerated afterward, and he added television to his résumé in the 1950s.
In 1965, he was the first actor cast in the live-action Batman television series. Despite never having read comics, he spent three seasons as Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s butler and keeper of the Caped Crusader’s secret identity. He became an icon of the series and a benchmark for portrayals of the character.
Having lived a full and prosperous life, Alan Napier died on August 8, 1988. He was 85.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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