Time: 8pm BST, Saturday 22nd June 2019
Place: Cambridge 105fm
Another journey back in time with original recordings from the year 1903. This episode features sounds from as far afield as Tanganyika, Moscow, Kyoto and New York, and songs about cars, ducks, and bread and marmalade. Introduced by James Errington.
Listen to the show on 105fm in Cambridge, on DAB digital nationwide, on the Cambridge 105 website here, or on any good radio apps. Or if you missed it, the show is available to hear on demand on this very page, just here –>
Félix Vallotton – The Five Painters
Edvard Munch – Dr. Linde’s Sons
C. M. Coolidge – His Station and Four Aces
Jacek Malczewski – Law
Hugo Simberg – The Wounded Angel
John William Waterhouse – Echo and Narcissus
Pablo Picasso – Portrait of Angel Fernández de Soto
Paula Modersohn-Becker – The Old Farmer
Paul Klee – Jungfrau im Baum
Margaret MacDonald – Opera Of The Winds
Henri Ottmann – The Luxembourg Station in Brussels
Wassily Kandinsky – The Blue Rider
Camille Pissarro – Self-portrait
Tom Roberts – The Opening of the First Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia by H.R.H. The Duke of Cornwall and York
…aside from The Great Train Robbery of course.
Alice in Wonderland
The Gay Show Clerk
The Kingdom of the Fairies
Life of an American Fireman
The Sick Kitten
Old London Street Scenes
Electrocuting an Elephant
The Infernal Cauldron
Desperate Poaching Affray
Mary Jane’s Mishap
The Music Lover
A Chess Dispute
1903 is a marquee year for aviation, mainly because “first flight” sounds much snappier than “first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft” – and balloon pioneers are too far back in history to fit in with the age of innovation. All the same, the Wright brothers retain their fascination, their first flight at Kitty Hawk leading inexorably to the air battles of the First World War, just over a decade later.
Here is a BBC documentary on the first days of flight
And here is an American documentary on the first powered flight
A book in which Bertrand Russell proved, for the first time, that 1 + 1 = 2.
…and he’ll still be going, and still be relevant (in quite a different way) in the 60s.
Usual high standard for this episode of the BBC’s In Our Time podcast, in which a group of historians discuss his life.
A bit of a grim story today, though it is perhaps illustrative of the golden age of Vaudeville. Just after Christmas 1903, comedian Eddie Foy was starring in a sold-out matinee performance of a musical comedy, “Mr. Bluebeard,” in Chicago’s prestigious Iroquois Theater. 2000 people, mostly children and their mothers, were crowded into the theatre. During the performance, an overhead spotlight burst into flames, setting fire to the backstage rigging. Workers attempted to beat the fire out with sticks, but this was no help.
When flaming cloth began to fall on stage, panic set in. Foy asked the band to continue playing, but the audience began a mad dash for the exits. These, however, were not properly marked, or were even blocked. In the resultant stampede and inferno, 602 people died, and its a miracle that the toll wasn’t higher.
Stuff You Missed In History Class have an episode about the fire, and the changes in the law that followed, usual provisos about excessive advertising apply.
The revolution in sound recording is obviously the main focus of this site – but as far as a standard history of popular culture is concerned, the 1900s are better-remembered for the beginnings of the film industry – not yet started in Hollywood, but already beginning to differentiate this century from the last. Up to this point the natural home for cinema is France (and possibly Britain) – but 1903 sees the emergence of the first real auteur of American cinema, Edwin S. Porter.
The Great Train Robbery is nearly as much a bold leap forward as A Trip To The Moon, and its influence if anything may be greater. Watching it you get for the first time a sense of what American film-making is going to become. Porter didn’t exactly invent composite editing, or cross cutting, or location shooting, but his use of them is the first iteration of the grammar of film-making we still have today.
Here is The Great Train Robbery – certainly worth a look.
And here is a documentary about Porter, apparently made by a long defunct website.