This Was The Week That Was

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The Independent Culture
Today On this day in 1959 the excellent, eccentric painter Sir Stanley Spencer died, leaving behind his visions of Christ preaching and being resurrected at (here he differs slightly from the New Testament) the village of Cookham in Berkshire.

Tomorrow 70 years ago Britain's first TV play, Box and Cox, was transmitted to, well, dozens of viewers. The cast of four included a cat, television's first animal performer. The same day in 1928 saw the premiere of The Jazz Stringer, featuring 'Orace the 'Armonious 'Ound and claiming to be "the first lip-synchronised cartoon".

Wednesday Glenn Miller, without whom Glenn Miller tribute bands would be at something of a loss, disappeared in 1944 on a flight from England to France.

Thursday A Christmas Carol was published, in 1843. The world's greatest spooky tale was triggered by a nightmare in which Dickens was visited by his dead sister-in-law - for whom he had harboured more than fraternal feelings.

Friday In 1946 the ashes of Damon Guys and Dolls Runyon were scattered by plane on to his favourite stony ground: Broadway.

Saturday In 1937 JRR Tolkien told his publisher he had finished the first chapter of a new story, but it was to be 15 years more before he wrote the last paragraph of The Lord of the Rings.

Sunday In 1957 Elvis Presley received a fan letter from the US government: his call-up papers. Another bad day for rock was in 1973 when Bobby Darin, whose hits included a razor-sharp version of "Mac the Knife", himself died under the knife, during an open-heart operation.

Jonathan Sale