July 13, 2020
Day 195 of 366
July 13th is the 195th day of the year. It is Statehood Day in Montenegro, commemorating the day in 1878 on which the Berlin Congress recognized Montenegro as the twenty-seventh independent state in the world.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National French Fry Day, National Beans ‘N’ Franks Day, and National Delaware Day.
Historical items of note:
- In 1793, journalist and French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat was assassinated in his bathtub by Charlotte Corday, a member of the opposing political faction.
- In 1814, the Carabinieri, the national gendarmerie of Italy, was established.
- In 1863, The New York City draft riots began. Opponents of conscription began three days of rioting which will be later regarded as the worst in United States history.
- In 1919, the British airship R34 landed in Norfolk, England, completing the first airship return journey across the Atlantic in 182 hours of flight.
- In 1923, the Hollywood Sign was officially dedicated in the hills above Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. It originally read “Hollywoodland” but the four last letters were dropped after renovation in 1949.
- In 1926, director, producer, and production manager Robert H. Justman was born. He worked on many American TV series including Lassie, The Life of Riley, Adventures of Superman, The Outer Limits, Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, and Then Came Bronson.
- In 1940, English actor, director, activist, and producer Patrick Stewart was born.
- In 1942, actor and producer Harrison Ford was born.
- In 1951, actress and singer Didi Conn was born.
- In 1956, the Dartmouth workshop commenced, being the first conference on artificial intelligence.
- In 1977, New York City, amidst a period of financial and social turmoil, experienced an electrical blackout lasting nearly 24 hours that led to widespread fires and looting.
- Also in 1977, actress Ashley Scott was born.
In 1985, the Live Aid benefit concert took place.
Live Aid was a benefit concert that became an ongoing music-based fundraising initiative. The original event was organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for the relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine. This “global jukebox” event was held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London, England (attended by about 72,000 people) and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (attended by exactly 89,484 people).
On the same day, concerts inspired by the initiative were held in other countries, such as the Soviet Union, Canada, Japan, Yugoslavia, Austria, Australia, and West Germany. It was one of the largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time, with an estimated audience of 1.9 billion across 150 nations who watched the live broadcast.
When organizer Bob Geldof was persuading artists to take part in the concert, he promised them that it would be a one-off event and would never be seen again. Therefore, the concert was never recorded in its complete original form and only secondary television broadcasts were recorded. ABC erased its own broadcast tapes, but copies were donated to the Smithsonian Institution before being presumed lost. MTV decided to keep recordings of its broadcast, but many songs in these tapes were cut short by MTV’s ad breaks and presenters.
An official four-disc DVD set of the Live Aid concerts was released in November 2004, using BBC video sources. Videos from the 1985 event can be found on the YouTube Live Aid channel.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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