The Thing About Today – March 24

March 24, 2020
Day 84 of 366


March 24th is the eighty-fourth day of the year. It is National Tree Planting Day in Uganda. It is also World Tuberculosis Day and American Diabetes Association Alert Day.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day and National Cheesesteak Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1199, King Richard I of England was wounded by a crossbow bolt while fighting in France. He died from his wound on April 6th.
  • In 1721, Johann Sebastian Bach dedicated six concertos to Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg-Schwedt, now commonly called the Brandenburg Concertos, BWV 1046–1051.
  • In 1765, Great Britain passed the Quartering Act, which requires the Thirteen Colonies to house British troops.
  • In 1820, French physicist Edmond Becquerel was born.
  • In 1829, the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, allowing Catholics to serve in Parliament.
  • In 1874, Hungarian-Jewish American magician and actor Harry Houdini was born.
  • In 1882, Robert Koch announced the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium responsible for tuberculosis.
  • In 1896, A. S. Popov made the first radio signal transmission in history.
  • In 1930, Steve McQueen was born.
  • In 1944, 76 Allied prisoners of war began breaking out of the German camp Stalag Luft III. The event was later dramatized in the movie The Great Escape.
  • In 1970, actress Lara Flynn Boyle was born.
  • In 1973, actor Jim Parsons was born.
  • In 1974, actress Alyson Hannigan was born.
  • In 1977, actress Jessica Chastain was born.
  • In 1989, the Exxon Valdez spilled 240,000 barrels of crude oil after running aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska.
  • In 1999, The Matrix premiered.


In 1911, animator, director, and producer Joseph Barbera was born. Together with William Hanna, he co-founded Hanna-Barbera.

Joseph Barbera was born in the Little Italy area of Manhattan, New York, and lived in the city until after high school. He displayed a talent for drawing from childhood. He married his high school sweetheart and had four children together before they separated in 1963. He married his second wife and stayed with her until his death.

His work was published in RedbookSaturday Evening Post, and Collier’s before joining Fleischer Studios. He moved to Van Beuren Studios and then Terrytoons before finally landing at MGM’s cartoon unit in 1937. There, he met William Hanna and developed a partnership that lasted for over sixty years.

By 1940, they started development on Tom and Jerry, their famous series about a cat chasing a mouse, after their success with Puss Gets the Boot. Over the next 17 years, Barbera and Hanna worked exclusively on Tom and Jerry, directing more than 114 popular cartoon shorts.

MGM closed their cartoon division in 1957, so Hanna and Barbera ventured out on their own. Together, they developed The Huckleberry Hound ShowThe Yogi Bear ShowThe Flintstones, and The Jetsons. By the late 1960s, Hanna-Barbera Productions was the most successful television animation studio in the business, producing over 3000 animated half-hour television shows.

Among the more than 100 cartoon series they produced were The Quick Draw McGraw ShowTop CatJonny QuestThe Magilla Gorilla ShowThe Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel ShowScooby-DooSuper Friends, and The Smurfs. The company also produced animated specials based on Alice in WonderlandJack and the Beanstalk, and Cyrano de Bergerac, as well as the feature-length films Charlotte’s Web and Heidi’s Song.

By December 1966, the company was sold to Taft Broadcasting (renamed Great American Communications in 1987), and the pair remained at the head of the company until 1991. The company was sold to Turner Broadcasting System, giving rise to Cartoon Network in 1992 and shows like Dexter’s Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls.

In 1996, Turner merged with Time Warner and Hanna-Barbera was absorbed into Warner Bros. Animation.

Joseph Barbera died in Los Angeles, California on December 18, 2006, at the age of 95.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.




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