There was a time when the US Government planned to save the population from nuclear war with 20 billion crackers. The giant tins of “Civil defense All Purpose Survival Crackers” raise questions about food, history, and how long food lasts before it becomes history. The History Guy recalls the history of a famous item on his set.
In 1950, freshman U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver took the stage against organized crime, at the head of a special committee. The Kefauver hearings, as they became known, were held in major cities across the country. The ones that were televised live became a sensation, and were how much of the country heard about the mob for the first time. The Kefauver Committee is history that deserves to be remembered.
Harry Houdini, one of the most famous magicians in history, died October 31, 1926 from a ruptured appendix. And yet this seemingly mundane cause of death still resulted in mystery. Had the magician and escape artist, in fact, been murdered? The History Guy recalls the strange circumstances of the death of Houdini.
Ludwig II of Bavaria was, by any standard, eccentric. He built fairy-tale castles in the nineteenth century, had imaginary conversations with Marie Antoinette, and liked poetry more than politicians. But whether he was actually mad was a mystery, as were the circumstances of his death. And his legacy has long outlived him. The History Guy recalls the mystery and tragedy of Mad King Ludwig.
One extraordinary illustration of the breadth and diversity of the British empire is the fact that the first Black man to be awarded the Victoria Cross was a Canadian child of former American slaves fighting in India. The History Guy recalls a story of adventure in the Age of Empire.
A close associate of both Washington and Hamilton, in his short life John Laurens was both an accomplished diplomat and soldier. But he is nearly forgotten because he did what many other, more famous, patriots did not. He died for the cause. The History Guy recalls the man of whom Washington said “he had not a fault that I ever could discover.”
The strange story of what happened to three famous people, Oliver Cromwell, Catherine Parr and George ‘Big Nose’ Parrot, after they had shuffled off their mortal coil, illustrates our convoluted history of, and reaction to, mortal remains.
Halley’s comet has been orbiting the sun and passing by the earth for probably all of human history. Its regular return was, for millennia, seen and interpreted as an omen. But in its 1910 passage, new technology promised closer study of the object than ever before – and sparked a panic that life on earth was about to end.
Sparta held undisputed the position of the strongest city in Greece, only to be toppled suddenly and decisively. The very things that had given them their strength would bring them down. The History Guy recalls the surprisingly fast decline of a powerful city-state with a legendary reputation. For 10% off MOVA Globes, go to http://bit.ly/TheHistoryGuyMOVAGlobes and use code HISTORY
Field Marshal Sir Evelyn Wood was the type of officer upon whom the growth and maintenance of the British Empire depended. Nearly suicidally brave, he distinguished himself in numerous conflicts of the Victorian era, despite chronically suffering “face-ache.” From being stepped on by a giraffe to being bitten by a horse and a literal nail in his heart, Sir Evelyn Wood persevered to become one of the most famous officers of his era.