Englebert Humperdinck - March 5, 2014

Born in Madras, India in 1936, and transplanted to Leicester, England at a young age, Arnold George Dorsey developed a love of music at a young age, learning saxophone and playing in clubs while still a student.  Succumbing to peer pressure at the age of 17, his first effort to sing was in a pub contest.  It was enough to get Arnold to record a song, "I'll Never Fall In Love Again." Nobody bought it.  In 1961, he contracted tuberculosis.  Bad times.

Then, in 1965, a friend encouraged Arnold to change his name - they chose that of Englebert Humperdinck, borrowed from a 19-century German composer whose descendants did NOT approve  - and created the lounge persona that gained Humperdinck international acclaim.  His song "Release Me" was so successful in 1967 that it blocked the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" from reaching #1 in the UK!  When "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" was re-released to the now-famous musician with a different name, it too proved a smash success.  After the Lovin, the song and the album, proved another success for Humperdinck upon its 1976 release, both in the UK and the United States, and Arnold continues to make music to this day, with a new album anticipated later this year!  And a whole slew of his older works on display in the ATT Music Room....

QUESTION:

In the 1970's, Englebert Humperdinck bought a mansion in Hollywood known as the 'Pink Palace' (along with properties in Hawaii and Mexico, among others).  What famous performer owned the 'Pink Palace' before he bought it?

a)  Johnny Carson

b)  Marilyn Monroe

c)  Jack Paar

d)  Jennifer Lawrence

e)  Jayne Mansfield

Answer Below

HISTORY TODAY:

Today, we 'celebrate' a public relations disaster from 1770.  Things were not going too well between Massachusetts Colony and England already, but when colonists started taunting the British soldiers keeping watch outside the State House in Boston, throwing ice at them and saying mean things, bad turned to worse.  Soldiers shot civilians and five people died, including Crispus Attucks.  The British called it self-defense, the Americans called it the Boston Massacre. A prominent lawyer named John Adams defended the soldiers and got them acquitted, but the tragic event was still exploited by proponents of independence from England.  We won't spoil how it turned out.

A 22 year-old, innovative man from upstate New York saw something horrible:  two trains were on a collision course: moving towards one another on the same track.  The engineers saw what was about to happen and tried to stop their trains, but their brakes were too slow to prevent the accident.  The devastation must have been terrible.  From this incident, George Westinghouse, Jr., the gifted son of a machine-shop owner, was inspired to invent the air brake that was patented on this day in 1868.  He revolutionized brake technology, and his creation was so relevant that it is still in use today.  Westinghouse would go on to rival Edison as a great innovator of the turn of the twentieth century.

BIRTHDAYS:

On March 5, 1853, Howard Pyle was born in Wilmington, Delaware.  Although his name might not be recognizable to too many people outside the region, the names of some of his students may be, as he either directly taught or influenced the Brandywine School of artists.  An illustrator himself, Pyle trained N.C. Wyeth, the patriarch of the Wyeth clan, in painting, as well as a number of other important, if lesser-known, regional artists.  Pyle's illustrations tended towards the patriotic or the adventurous, with his most famous work being 1883's The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood.   Love Robin though we might, we at the blog love pirates just a little bit more, which is why we have included an image of one of Pyle's pirate works on today's blog.

We are keeping the birthdays in the Delaware Valley today, as our second honoree is Louis Kahn, the celebrated Philadelphia-based architect, born in 1901.  Kahn's style defied the modernism of the 1950s and his large, heavy buildings inspired arguments that he was one of the most important architects of the mid-twentieth century.  His story was turned into an exploratory documentary, made by his son in 2003, called My Architect, A Son's Journey.   

QUOTE:

If someday they say of me that in my work I have contributed something to the welfare and happiness of my fellow man, I shall be satisfied. - George Westinghouse

Answer:  e)  Jayne Mansfield