What Happened – September 23

It was on this day in 1779 John Paul Jones responded to a demand to surrender by saying “I have not yet begun to fight!” He was in command of the USS Bonhomme Richard, and was engaged in a battle off the coast of England against two British ships. His ship was aflame when the demand for surrender was given, but three hours later the young Captain won the battle and took command of the Serapis, a 44-gun Royal Navy frigate, after they surrendered.


The earliest event that Wiki says happened on this day is “1122 – Pope Calixtus II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V agree to the Concordat of Worms to put an end to the Investiture Controversy” and the most recent is “2008 – Kauhajoki school shooting: Matti Saari kills 10 people before committing suicide.


A couple other things that also took place on this day are:

1806 – The Lewis & Clark expedition return to St. Louis from their explorations.

1962 – First episode of The Jetsons. It is also the first TV series that ABC broadcasts in color.


Happy birthday to Jason Alexander, Bruce Springsteen,  Neal Smith, Julio Iglesias, and Mickey Rooney.

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One Response to What Happened – September 23

  1. kim says:

    Hey! I think I remember the thrill of that first Jetsons cartoon show in color. I know we had a color TV. As a youngster, I remember being thoroughly thrilled to watch more and more Saturday AM cartoons and shows for the younger set in color. Can you imagine ‘The Monkees’ show in B&W? Nah. But we did see shows which began in B&W and made the switch to filiming in color. Gunsmoke and Bonanza are two which readily come to mind. Some of Perry Mason’s cases absolutely had to be B&W, given the subject matter.
    Maybe it wasn’t so silly to buy a color TV when the old one finally bit the dust and color was still not quite ready to become the “norm” for movies and broadcasting to homes. At the beginning, there just was not enough color footage to fill air time. Soon, every show was filmed and broadcast in color. Television were in households and the people were not about to abandon it. At least, however, if you still didn’t have a color TV, you could still watch shows filmed in color, you just saw it in B&W. You didn’t see a silent blank screen. Whew!
    Occasionally, our home was like a bomb shelter. Instead of everyone fighting to fit in for fear the big one, larger than our bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was about to drop on the USA, everyone was there fighting for the best seat in the living room to watch the BIG game in color, wait for the BIG play of the game in color, watch the BIG play re-runs — all IN COLOR! Instead of concerning themselves that the world, as we know it, was being destroyed just above their heads, they only had to worry about running out of beer and arguing over who had to go do a beer run.
    I think such friend and neighbor TV get-togethers did much to increase the sales of new color TVs because color broadcasts were just so much more exciting than that “outdated and of no value” B&W. But now, decades later, we also realize the appeal, even the value, of B&W more than ever before. For certain series, as well as certain movies — mainly horror flicks — B&W was, and is, really best for viewing, and even added to the viewers’ sense of fright or other emotion(s) director/producers, such as “Hitch,” wanted his viewers to experience.
    I am one who is aware Ted Turner tried (and failed, tee-hee), to colorize every old show and movie in his huge catalog. OK idea, until viewers became a bit more savvy in the cold war of B&W v. color. We, the viewers, bought color TVs knowing we’d be able to watch both color and B&W shows, depending on how they were meant to be aired. No one was going to move backward with this technology, though there was still value in B&W. But Turner also didn’t do an acceptable job of colorization.
    ‘The Wizard of Oz’ might be the very best example. The tornado scene in color would have ruined that movie and changed the tone from the very beginning. It, in B&W, made the beginning of that epic movie more scary than any of the dialogue. It was a perfect way to begin that movie. Later into the movie, as it was originally shot and released, color came to the screen at precisely the perfect time for the viewers and they continued watching the extraordinary parts filmed in color. Then, the closing scene of the movie is back to B&W, when Dorothy awoke in her bed surrounded by those who loved her, Mama at her bedside wringing out a cloth to replace on Dorothy’s forehead. All the farmhands (who played dual roles) were at her window hoping she’ll pull through.
    Dorothy’s reality was B&W and her dreams in color — another technique being explored by director/producer to convey a message, another technique to use in this still-emerging medium of news and entertainment brought into households so nobody had to suffer the weather to see a movie at a theater or (better still) drive-in.
    Another great example: Think of a colorized version of Janet Leigh’s shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho.’ Nope. It just would not work the same, not give the viewers the heightened sense of fright old ‘Hitch’ was hoping to inspire in his viewers. He was also a master of the use and value of B&W and/or color in his films.
    Color wasn’t really a totally new concept. There is much color footage in government vaults (under perfect conditions, I hope) of WWII combat footage deemed too shocking to broadcast to the general public. Bringing color to TVs in an ever-growing number of households, was an entirely different animal, and not only because not many households had color TVs — yet. It was much more expensive than filming in B&W.
    Other than the military, who wasn’t/isn’t going to release such images anyway, not much color footage for home viewing existed. More radio soap operas and shows were being retooled for television, (and brought, ‘I Love Lucy’ and George Burns with Gracie Allen, among others into homes everywhere and were generally filmed in B&W because of the increased cost of color technology, as well as the estimated number of households with color TVs.
    But now we’re finding color home movies of Hitler frolicking with his dogs and some friends on the patio of his home and headquarters (purloined from a widow) in Bavaria, as well as WWII combat footage that have recently been broadcast for the first time in color. As for concentration camps being liberated, and the dead heaped here and there, I think B&W reminds the viewer of the stark and true horror of Hitler’s Germany. The camp survivors, and the dead, are best viewed in the starkness B&W provides. Either no one filmed such sights in color (doubtful), or they have not yet been released to the general public (probable), those conditions and sights, I think, are/were best viewed in the images B&W provides.
    Thank you for the opportunity to comment. It is much appreciated. Have a perfect day.

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