This Was The Week That Was

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The Independent Culture
Today In 1844 the first detective story hit Britain, in a magazine that included "The Purloined Letter". It was by Edgar Allen Poe but `tec stories were later killed off as a classy genre by lesser breeds (it was Agatha Christie who dunnit).

Tomorrow In 1939, Gone with the Wind was premiered in New York. Although lasting nearly four hours, it is like a trailer compared with the longest movie, The Cure for Insomnia, which clocked up a massive 85 hours - only 80 in the shortened version.

Wednesday Edmond Rostand died in 1918, having written the play Cyrano de Bergerac, which spawned a film with Gerard Depardieu and his nasal extension. The real Cyrano de B. was himself a playwright with a nose which launched a 1,000 fights.

Thursday The good news for literature in 1926 was that Agatha Christie mysteriously disappeared from her Surrey home; the bad news was that she turned up 10 days later under an assumed name in a Yorkshire hotel.

Friday In 1988 Beethoven's nine symphonies were played at the Royal Festival Hall, with three orchestras - and one conductor.

Saturday Walt Disney was born in 1901. Laugh-O-Gram, his first company, went bankrupt but he soon conquered the (Disney)world when he started again with brother Roy and an animator with a name like something out of The Jungle Book, Unb Iwerks. In 1791, Mozart died from typhus and was buried in an unmarked grave - but he was spared the humiliation of seeing himself portrayed in the play and film, Amadeus.

Sunday First recording of the human voice made by Thomas Edison in 1877, when he recited "Mary had a Little Lamb" into his phonograph. The jazz pianist, Dave Brubeck, who singlehandedly - well, double-handedly - justifies the invention of the gramophone, was born in 1920.

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