Happy Returns to James Bond, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Nylons, Rock'n'Roll and the Credit Card
For anniversary collectors, 1980 was a treasure trove. While some years nothing much is worth commemorating—the big dates in 1981 are the 100th anniversaries of Billy the Kid’s death and publication of The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew—1980 was rife with remembrances of things past. It was the 200th anniversary of Benedict Arnold’s treachery, the 150th of the Mormon Church, the 70th of Mother’s Day and the 25th of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ only World Series win. There were also the celebrations noted here.
Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, once said he aimed for “the total stimulation of the reader…even to his taste buds.” Notice the “his.” Suave MCP Bond first appeared in 1950 in Casino Royale—and shot, kissed and wisecracked his way through 12 more spy adventures. Sean Connery, above, appeared in 006 Bond films, epitomizing the British agent who never worried about losing his towel even in crucial situations.
When Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man—and got arrested—in Montgomery, Ala. on Dec. 1, 1955, she wasn’t crusading. She was just fed up. It catalyzed the civil rights movement. Four days later Martin Luther King Jr., pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, came to national prominence urging black citizens to boycott Montgomery’s segregated buses.
Alice Paul, above, led the women’s vote drive. It was a state senator’s mother urging him to “help Mrs. Catt [feminist Carrie Chapman Catt] put the ‘Rat’ in Ratification” that prompted the “yes” vote making Tennessee the 36th, decisive state to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1920.
Thomas A. Edison, who slept little and perfected the electric lamp so he could read at night, opened his first incandescent bulb factory on Oct. 1, 1880. The bulbs it made (above is a replica) provided cheap, convenient light for the first time.
In 1930 Mrs. Ruth Wakefield, co-proprietor of the Toll House Restaurant near Boston, was tired of pecan cookies. Adding a broken-up chocolate bar to brown sugar dough, she accidentally created the chocolate chip cookie. Famous Amos and the rest of us thank her.
Founded by William Booth (seated, center) in London in 1865 under the name East London Christian Mission, the Salvation Army invaded the U.S. March 10, 1880. Commissioner George Scott Railton and seven women landed at the Battery in New York City and knelt, claiming America for God. The first Christmas kettle appeared in 1896 in San Francisco.
Leg persons should celebrate May 15, 1940, when nylon stockings hit the market nationwide. (Actress Adele Mara modeled a pair with built-in purse in 1947, above.) Despite the advent of pantyhose, 71 million pairs of nylons were sold last year in the U.S.
A few billion out-of-focus snapshots and 100 years ago, George Eastman’s company went into business. (The original Kodak camera above appeared in 1888.) On Aug. 1, 1930 General Electric put into production its foil-filled “Photoflash Lamp,” right. The first flash-lit celeb was Herbert Hoover signing 1932’s Unemployment Relief Bill.
Twenty-five years ago Bill Haley and the Comets’ recording of Rock Around the Clock clattered to No. 1 on the pop charts and stayed there eight weeks. At the time it seemed like a fluke for Haley, a 28-year-old hyperactive kid with a spit curl. To history it was the beginning of rock’n’roll.
Conceived in 1940, the United Service Organization (USO), like Lucky Strike Green, went to war. It has provided close to a billion American servicemen and women with everything from doughnuts to drug rehabilitation. The USO’s most famous ambassador is, of course, Bob Hope, jiving some GIs in 1943, below.
Diner’s Club, the first independent charge card operation, opened in 1950 in a three-room suite in the Empire State Building. Its client list consisted of 22 New York restaurants and one hotel. Now that computerization has contributed to the credit card epidemic, the average American adult, you should excuse the expression, doesn’t leave home without at least four.
Introduced by Chic Young on Sept. 15, 1930, Blondie Boopadoop and Dagwood Bumstead married in 1933. The births of Alexander in 1934 and Cookie in 1941 caused sensations. The kids are still in puberty; Dagwood hasn’t gotten to work on time yet either.