This Was The Week That Was

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Today On this day in 1897 Queen Victoria was most amused by the first royal command film show, consisting chiefly of shots of one's own Diamond Jubilee. In 1889 a San Francisco saloon set up the first juke box; fortunately only four people could hear it at once, via "listening- tubes".

Tomorrow Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the artist of Parisian artistes, was born in 1864. He became vertically challenged after breaking both his legs - and that was in his mid-teens, before he took up alcoholism.

Wednesday Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, starring (Lord) Dickie Attenborough, snapped shut on its first audiences way back in 1952, since when it has become the longest-running play in the world (wake up, world!)

Thursday A 1685 performance at York Buildings in London opened the first ever concert hall. It was three centuries before the joke about the musician in New York who asked how you get to Carnegie Hall. ("Practice, dear boy, practice!")

Friday In 1582 18-year-old William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, a spinster of the parish in Stratford who was some seven years older. In his will the dramatist left her his "second best bed" but she kept the cottage automatically.

Saturday Mystic and part-time nudist William Blake was born in 1757. His books incorporated hand-coloured illustrations around hand-written poems: quite a multimedia artist, in fact.

Sunday CS Lewis was born a century ago. His scholarship covered courtly love although, as the lachrymose film Shadowlands shows, he personally found marital love more tricky. His Narnia stories for children will outlive his attempts at that odd genre, Christian science fiction ("Look out - Satan's going for his blaster!")

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