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Today The French army officer who composed the "Marseillaise" was born in 1760; Claude de Lisle's anthem was so called because it was originally sung by soldiers from Marseilles - although, oddly enough, it was entitled "Song of the Army from the Rhine". Saturday In 868 the Chinese published the first printed book, the Diamond Sutra. The Retreat, York, was opened in 1796, the first mental home; they didn't know about care in the community then. The first scheduled television service dates back to 1928, when a New York station offered a half-hour programme three days a week: "Only the faces of men talking, laughing or smoking will be broadcast."

Sunday John Bull, a best-selling publication which made the Sun look unbiased, was launched in 1906, and Pravda, - ditto - came out in 1912. The first monarch to appear on television was George VI, during his coronation; in 1937 there were 2,100 TV sets.

Monday In 1868, more than 10 years before before the arrival of white cricketers, a team of native Australians came to Britain and played 47 matches. Daphne du Maurier, grand-daughter of George (his novel Trilby featured Svengali) was born in 1907; her Rebecca inspired Hitchcock's film and Susan Hill's sequel, Mrs De Winter.

Tuesday The British Local Defence Volunteers, later the Home Guard, later Dad's Army, were set up in 1940. Atlantic Records began spinning in 1948, founded by Ahmet Ertegun; son of the Turkish ambassador to the United States, he brought us Aretha Franklin, Led Zeppelin and the Bee Gees.

Wednesday In 1930 a former nurse became the first air hostess, welcoming 11 passengers aboard a Boeing 80A at Oakland airport, California; duties included refuelling and pushing the planes in and out of hangars.

Thursday Sir James Ogilvie sent the first known envelope 300 years ago. The first Academy Awards were presented in 1929; two years later the Secretary of the Academy remarked that "the Statuette" looked like her Uncle Oscar.

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