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The Independent Online
Today In 1669 Samuel Pepys stopped writing his diary; unlike most of us, who give up on 5 January, he had kept it for over nine years. The first TV panel game was Spelling Bee, a six-a-side quiz presented by Freddie Grisewood in 1938; later came Tactile Bee, Tasting Bee and Musical Bee.

Saturday Joseph Pujol, alias Le Petomane, was born in 1857; thanks to his musical anus, he gave windy recitals at the Moulin Rouge in Paris. The winner of the 1927 Derby was the BBC, broadcasting the first ever horse-race commentary. Acoustic fans booed Bob Dyan at the Royal Albert Hall in 1966 when he strummed an electric guitar.

Sunday A century ago Marconi was granted patent No 12039 for a system of communication via electro-magnetic waves - radio, in other words. In 1938 Britain's first children's zoo, Regent's Park, was opened by young Robert and Edward Kennedy. A rainy day in 1953 saw Queen Elizabeth II crowned - our last coronation?

Monday Insurance executive Franz Kafka died in 1924; in his first lucky break ever, his deathbed instructions, to destroy The Trial, were ignored. No Sex Please, We're British opened in London in 1971; closing 16 years later, it was the world's longest-running comedy.

Tuesday Giovanni Casanova, Italian stud and kiss 'n' tell writer, died, worn out, in 1798. The Suffragette Derby was in 1913; Emily Davidson was trampled to death after hurling herself in front of the King's horse.

Wednesday Sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska was killed in 1915, and in 1921 it was curtains for French farceur (A Flea in Her Ear) Georges Feydeau.

Thursday In 1683 Elias Ashmole opened Britain's first museum, the Ashmolean in Oxford. In 1727 James Figg walloped Ned Sutton in the first boxing title fight. In 1908 England played their first football international against a foreign country, a 6-1 away win against Austria. In 1933 Wife Beware was the first film shown at a drive-in cinema, the 400-car Camden Automobile Theatre in New Jersey.

JONATHAN SALE

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