Little Bits of History

January 25

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 25, 2017

1964: Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) is founded. The company was begun by two University of Oregon track athletes, Phil Knight and his coach, Bill Bowerman. Originally, they acted as distributors for Japanese shoes made by Onitsuka Tiger (today, ASICS) and made most sales out of the trunk of Knight’s car during track meets. Another athlete, Otis Davis, claims the first pair of shoes Bowerman made were for him, regardless of what later reports indicate, but he also said he did not like them. During their first year of business, BRS sold 1,300 pair of Japanese running shoes, grossing $8,000. By the next year, they had a full time employee and more than doubled sales to $20,000. The next year, they opened their first retail store in Santa Monica, California. Sales increased and spread to the other coast.

By 1971, BRS and Onitsuka Tiger were nearing the end of their association and the owners launched their own footwear line. Along with this decision came a name change and logo update. The name they chose was Nike and on June 18, the Swoosh designed by Carolyn Davidson was first used. It was registered with the Patent Office in 1974. They hired John Brown and Partners as their first advertising agency and had their first “brand ad” aired the next year – “There is no finish line”. By 1980, Nike had 50% of the US athletic shoe market and the company went public in December of that year.

During the following decade, Nike expanded the product line to include more sports and regions of the world. Wieden+Kennedy, their current advertising agency, have created many notable print and television campaigns. It was Dan Wieden who came up with the famous “Just Do It” line in 1988. In 1990, Nike moved headquarters to an eight-building World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. While headquartered in the US, the company has over 700 shops around the world and offices in 45 countries other than the US. Their hiring practices outside the US has led to criticisms regarding what is termed Nike sweatshops where labor laws were circumvented, a practice Nike has claimed has since been halted.

Today, the multi-national company still has Phil Knight as Chairman Emeritus and Mark Parker as Chairman, President and CEO. Bill Bowerman died in 1999. Today, Nike employs over 62,000 people and in 2015 had a net income of $3,273,000,000 – more than 400,000 times the amount earned that first year. Their total assets in 2015 were $21.600 billion and total equity was $12.707 billion. Knight has been generous in philanthropic efforts, donating over $100 million to Stanford University. He has also donated generously to the University of Oregon and he and his wife have pledged $100 million to cancer research at the Oregon Health & Science University.

I don’t consider myself enigmatic, but I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my public persona.

There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.

At first, we couldn’t be establishment, because we didn’t have any money. We were guerrilla marketers, and we still are, a little bit. But, as we became No. 1 in our industry, we’ve had to modify our culture and become a bit more planned.

You can’t explain much in 60 seconds, but when you show Michael Jordan, you don’t have to. It’s that simple. – all from Phil Knight

The Guiding Light

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 25, 2015
The Guiding Light cast

The Guiding Light cast

January 25, 1937: The Guiding Light (GL) first airs. The soap opera began as a 15 minute broadcast on NBC Radio. Irna Phillips was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1901. She was an actress and writer and created many of the early American soap operas. Before GL, she worked on Painted Dreams and worked with eight others soaps later, including As the World Turns, a sister show to GL. Irna was one of ten children and her father died when she was eight. Even as a child, she longed to be an actress and made up complicated stories for her dolls. At nineteen, she found herself pregnant and abandoned by her boyfriend. She then gave birth to a still-born baby. She found comfort by listing to the radio sermons of Preston Bradley and it was these sermons that helped her create GL.

On June 2, 1947, the series moved to CBS Radio and on June 30, 1952 it finally came to the small screen on CBS TV. It remained also on the radio until June 29, 1956. The show remained a 15 minute presentation until 1968 when it went to a half hour program. Then in 1977, it became a full hour. The 15,000th CBS episode aired on September 6, 2006. The last show was broadcast on September 18, 2009 after a 72 year run. That makes it the fourth longest running program of all time. A Norwegian children’s program, Lørdagsbarnetimen, is the longest with its first airing in 1924 and running until 2010. The Grand Ole Opry and the BBC religious program The Daily Service both were on the air longer than GL.

The original premise for the radio show centered on a preacher named Rev. John Ruthledge with everyone living in a fictional Chicago neighborhood, Five Points. The plot twists of even these early shows were convoluted and involved extortion, murder, and divorce. One of the characters even managed to have an out-of-wedlock baby. During the radio years, other preachers entered and carried on being a “guiding light” to their flock. When the show’s broadcasting moved to California, so did the location of the inhabitants who next lived in Selby Flats near Los Angeles. The Bauers were a family in Chicago and they moved locations as well. In 1948, the Bauers became the focal point of the soap opera.

For the four years the show was on both TV and radio, the cast would have to record their performances twice, once for each venue. When Irna Phillips left GL for As the World Turns, Agnes Nixon became the chief writer. She left in 1967 to work at Another World. In that same year, GL was first broadcast in color. During the 1960s, the first African-Americans were introduced to the script. More characters, more plot twists, more escapades could not keep the ratings up and on April 1, 2009 it was announced the show would come to an end. The final taping was on August 11 with the show airing the next month. On October 5, 2009, CBS replaced GL with Let’s Make a Deal hosted by Wayne Brady.

In the next 43 years, she [Irna Phillips] would create or co-create 18 radio and television serials; four were still on the air when she died, including Guiding Light and As the World Turns, the two longest-running daytime dramas on television. – Lynn Liccardo

If you have to be in a soap opera try not to get the worst role. – Judy Garland

Soap opera seems to be a dirty word, but actually they are the most popular shows we have. People want to know what happens next, people hate the villains and love the lovers. It’s good, fun TV.  – Dan Stevens

They’re getting me involved in intrigue again, and I think it follows a classic formula in a soap opera. – Michael Zaslow

Also on this day: Moscow University – In 1755, Moscow University was established.
Rebellion – Shays’s Rebellion attacked an arsenal.
First Winter Olympics – In 1924, International Winter Sports Week opened in Chamonix, France.
Payola – In 1960, punishments for those involved in the payola scandal were issued.
Tragedy Strikes – In 2005, hundreds were killed at a stampede near a holy shrine in India.

Tragedy Strikes

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 25, 2014
Mandhradevi temple

Mandhradevi temple

January 25, 2005: Hundreds are killed during a stampede at the Mandhradevi temple. The temple is dedicated to Shakti, a Hindu goddess. She is the personification of the divine feminine and is sometimes called The Great Divine Mother. Hinduism has a more fluid canon and a panoply of gods and goddesses. Shakti has four Adi Shakti Pith and 51 different centers of worship are located in the Indian sub-continent. The Mandhradevi temple is located near Wai in the Satara Discrict of Maharashtra in India. It is located about 12.5 miles away from Satara, a larger city in the region.

The temple itself is located on a hill that is 4,650 feet above sea level and overlooks Purandar Fort which has existed in one form or another for nearly 1000 years. According to folklore, the temple is about 400 years old and was built during the Shivaji’s Maratha rule. The title to the land is held by Lord Mandashwar and Kaleshwari Devi. During most of the year, the temple sees little traffic. The Kalubai idol has two silver masks and wears silken clothes. During processions, members of the Gurav family carry the masks since they are seen as the hereditary keepers of the shrine. Since rituals must be carried out, family members are also in charge of these and rotate amongst themselves to make sure the proscribed ceremonies take place.

Once a year, the temple becomes a popular site. Those undertaking the ten-day Kalubai Jatra pilgrimage in January make a stop here. The main event is a 24-hour long festival held on the day of the full moon. Animal sacrifices are carried out as well as other food gifts. Nivad of puran poli and curd rice are offered. Devotees also offer the goddess green sari. The goddess is carried through the village sitting in a silver palkhi. The festival took place on January 16 this year.

On this day, about 300,000 people were at the temple to worship. Since the temple is high atop a hill, stone steps have been carved into the hill to make the ascent easier. These steps were slick with coconut water that had been spilled from fruit offerings to the goddess. Someone slipped on the slick steps causing a chain reaction. The pandemonium caused as people were crushed together was exacerbated by fires which broke out in nearby shops. The fires set off explosions of gas cylinders. Many were crushed by the mob as people panicked and tried to get away from the fires. More people were burned by the fires themselves. Over 300 people died in the stampede.

No matter what cause one defends, it will suffer permanent disgrace if one resorts to blind attacks on crowds of innocent people. – Albert Camus

I get panic attacks in big crowds. – Liev Schreiber

For solving a surprisingly large and varied number of problems, crowds are smarter than individuals. – Michael Shermer

I get very anxious and am scared in crowds and things like that. – Daniel Johns

Also on this day: Moscow University – In 1755, Moscow University was established.
Rebellion – Shays’s Rebellion attacked an arsenal.
First Winter Olympics – In 1924, International Winter Sports Week opens in Chamonix, France.
Payola – In 1960, punishments for those involved in the payola scandal were issued.

Twice a Rebel

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 25, 2013
Daniel Shays

Daniel Shays

January 25, 1787: Daniel Shays finds taxation with representation isn’t so hot, either. Shays was a captain during the American Revolutionary War, fighting for freedom from overseas rule and its crushing taxation. Shays was an officer of distinction. He worked his way up through the ranks and was awarded a sword for valor bestowed upon him by the great Lafayette. After the war, he returned to his western Massachusetts farm.

Shays was not finished fighting for his country. He led an armed resistance of about 4,000 men. The men came from all economic classes. Their goal was to decrease the taxes levied to pay off the war debt. The crushing debt caused by the regressive tax during a depressive economic time was causing families to lose their farms and many men ended up in debtor’s prison. On this day, an arsenal was attacked.

Shays’s Rebellion is often misunderstood and new information is causing historians to rethink the Rebellion that raged for two years. It was seen until recently as only poor men wishing to avoid debtor’s prison. In fact, the discontent spread further and involved men of all economic means. George Washington himself wrote letters to Shays and other influential participants. Some of the Founding Fathers saw some merit in the Rebellion. Thomas Jefferson wrote in support of it.

Over the months of confrontation, a new concept was brought forth for the infant nation. A stronger central government was needed. The Articles of Confederation, written ten years earlier, were seen as too weak. In the light of the Rebellion, a new, stronger, more centralized government was seen as the answer to the young nation’s problems – a new path for the Founders to follow. At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, all this was taken under consideration as the United States Constitution was written.

“Democracy [is] when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers.” – Aristotle

“…nothing in this world is certain but death and taxes.” – Benjamin Franklin

“The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.” – William H. Borah

“The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least possible amount of hissing.” – Jean-Baptiste Colbert

This article first appeared at in 2010. Editor’s update: Daniel Shays was born in 1747 in Massachusetts and was one of six children born to his Irish immigrant parents. He joined the 5th Massachusetts Regiment and fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Battle of Lexington, and the Battle of Saratoga. He was wounded during the war and resigned, without pay. He returned home to his farm and found that not only were taxes high, but local businessmen were raising prices on commodities needed by the farmers in order for the shopkeepers to pay their own taxes. He later sold his ceremonial sword to help pay off his debt. He was eventually given a pension from the Federal Government to help pay for his five years of service during the Revolutionary War for which he was never paid. He died at the age of 78 after years of heavy drinking, living in poverty, and working a small parcel of land in Sparta, New York.

Also on this day: Moscow University – In 1755, Moscow University was established.
First Winter Olympics – In 1924, International Winter Sports Week opens in Chamonix, France.
Payola – In 1960, punishments for those involved in the payola scandal were issued.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 25, 2012

Alan Freed

January 25, 1960: The National Association of Broadcasters issues punishments for those involved in the payola scandal. The American music industry is governed by a set of laws including 47 U.S.C. § 317 which covers specifics for sponsored airtime. According to law, record companies are permitted to pay radio stations to give airtime to specific recordings but only if the sponsorship is identified. They may not pay disk jockeys themselves. If songs are played for monetary consideration and not advertised as such, a crime is committed. Payola is the term for the money secretly paid.

Alan Freed, a rock and roll supporter and DJ, along with Dick Clark, perpetual teenager, were both affected by the payola scandal, along with many others. Some propose that playing records on the radio is advertising for the LP or CD in itself. It is permissible to pay for billboard space and print ads. It is thought that payments given directly to the DJ will permit an uneven playing field where one song or record company will get an unfair advantage and greater airtime.

Payola isn’t just for rock and roll or even radio. Claims have been made stating forms of payola have existed since vaudeville in the 1920s. However, the 1950s saw a special convergence of circumstances. Radio went to Top 40 formats because television took over drama and comedy entertainment. Teens had expendable cash and the new 45 RPM records were cheap and easy to buy. Rock and roll was emerging and what a great way for teens to rebel against Big Band parents. But what was the “best” record to buy? The one with the most radio airtime, of course.

The punishment set forth for the crime of receiving payment for airtime was set at $500 and one year in prison. Some DJs admitted receiving tens of thousands of dollars. The Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission began investigating. Alan Freed, who coined the term “rock and roll,” was arrested and pleaded guilty. He lost his show and was blacklisted. He was fined, but not imprisoned. He died broke and bitter in 1965. Dick Clark was castigated but managed to survive his day in court by selling off his interests in several record companies. With so many of today’s radio stations owned by huge conglomerates, the practice of payola is no longer as plausible. Maybe.

It’s not easy. Payola is something that is not readily identified because it can take so many forms. – Brian Schmidt

I believe this payola scandal may represent the most widespread and flagrant violation of any FCC rules in the history of American broadcasting, … Mr. Spitzer’s office has collected a mountain of evidence on the potentially illegal promotion practices of not only Sony BMG, but also other major record companies, independent promoters and several of the largest radio station groups. – Jonathan Adelstein

I don’t set trends. I just find out what they are and exploit them. – Dick Clark

More than any other man, he brought us rock ‘n’ roll. – Paul Ackerman, about Alan Freed

Also on this day:

Moscow University – In 1755, Moscow University was established.
Rebellion – Shays’s Rebellion attacked an arsenal.
First Winter Olympics – In 1924, International Winter Sports Week opens in Chamonix, France.

First Winter Olympics

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 25, 2011

Poster for the Winter Games at Chamonix, France.

January 25, 1924: International Winter Sports Week opens in Chamonix, France. The competitions were held at the foot of Mont Blanc and were organized by the French Olympic Committee. They were held in association with the 1924 Summer Olympics. After the fact, the International Olympic Committee renamed them I Olympic Winter Games. From 1924 until 1992, winter games would be held in the same year as the Summer Games. Beginning in 1994, the Winter Games were held two years before the Summer Games.

Figure skating had been an Olympic event in London and Antwerp while ice hockey had been an event only at Antwerp. Winter sports were limited by the climate during the Summer Games. In 1921, the IOC began discussing a more equitable way to showcase winter sports. The results were these games held in France. Opening ceremonies were held on this day with the closing ceremony held on February 4 although the official end date is February 5. Medals were not awarded until February 5 and many athletes had already gone home, others collected their medals for them.

There were 16 events held in nine sports. The first gold medal was awarded for the 500-meter speed skate and went to American Charles Jewtraw. Sonja Henie from Norway was 11-years-old and came in last place in the ladies’ figure skating. She would go on to become a gold medalist for the next three Winter Olympics as well a six-time World Champion (1927-1936). She also became a movie star, based on her skating. The Canadian hockey team was awesome. They finished their qualifying round with 4 wins and scored 110 points through the four games. Their opponents, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, and Great Britain scored 3 points, total.

Norway took home 17 medals, four of them gold. Finland also got four gold medals and a total of 11 medals. The US and Great Britain each got four medals total (one gold each). There had been 258 athletes competing in the games, 11 women and 247 men. Anders Haugen, of America, competed in the ski jump. He should have received a bronze medal for his efforts. There was, however, an error in the marking. He pled his case and was eventually given the bronze – in 1974 when he was 83 years old.

“A good athlete always mentally replays a competition over and over, even in victory, to see what might be done to improve the performance the next time.” – Frank Shorter

“An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.” – Emil Zatopek

“An athlete who tells you the training is always easy and always fun simply hasn’t been there. Goals can be elusive which makes the difficult journey all the more rewarding.” – Alberto Salazar

“And as a true athlete, mistakes haunt you forever.” – Jim Otto

Also on this day:
Moscow University – In 1755, Moscow University was established.
Shays’s Rebellion – In 1787, the Shays’s Rebellion heats up.


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Moscow University

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 25, 2010

Moscow State University main building

January 25, 1755: M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University is established at the instigation of Ivan Shuvalov and Mikhail Lomonosov by a decree of the Russian Empress Elizabeth. It is the largest and arguably the oldest university in Russia. [The other candidates have not been in continuous use.] Shuvalov was a leader of the Russian Enlightenment and became the first Russian Minister of Education. Lomonosov was a Russian polymath, scientist, and writer with important work in literature, education, and science. He was involved in natural science, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, history, art, philology, optical devices and more. He was a poet and created the basis for modern Russian literary language.

Their current website (2010) states, there are approximately 4,000 staff with 40,000 undergrads and 7,000 post-grads at the university. There are another 5,000 researchers working there and 15,000 ancillary staff. Each year, 2,000 international students come to study in one of 26 different departments. Back in the 18th century there were three departments: philosophy, medicine, and law.

The campus is sprawling. Sparrow Hill, once at the outskirts of Moscow, is the home of many of the department buildings. Moscow has grown and now the buildings are about midway between the Kremlin and the city limits. Today there are over 600 buildings and facilities making up the campus for this impressive university.

The main building was designed by Lev Vladimirovich Rudnev. Stalin ordered seven huge tiered neoclassic towers built around Moscow and the main building of Moscow University was by far the largest. It contains 20.5 miles of corridors and 5000 rooms. The star on top of the tower weighs 12 tons.

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” – Plutarch

“Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain.” – John F. Kennedy

“But if you ask what is the good of education in general, the answer is easy: that education makes good men, and that good men act nobly.” – Plato

“Education…has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.” – G. M. Trevelyan

Also on this day, in 1787 the Shays’s Rebellion heats up.