March 10, 2022

#ThrowbackThursday – 10 March

From the birth of a martial arts legend to the debut of one of TV’s most popular shows, here are five events which went down in history on 10 March:

1862 – Making Money

In response to its reserves of gold and silver being depleted, the US Congress decided to make the switch to paper. That’s to say, paper money.

Issued on 10 March, US notes – popularly known as “greenbacks”, due to their distinctive green colour – were declared and recognised as legal tender, and would later become America’s monetary standard (as well as one of the most popular currencies in the world).

1876 – Bell Makes the Right Call

“Mr Watson, come here, I want you.”

This is the first recognisable sentence transmitted by phone in a call made by Alexander Graham Bell on this day 146 years ago. Bell had spoken these words into his prototype device to his assistant, Thomas A. Watson, who stood in the adjoining room of his laboratory in Boston, Massachusetts.

Per Bell’s journal, Watson “came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said.”

A year later, the first pair of practical telephones arrived in Great Britain; a year after that, a telephone service was set up, thus truly marking the success of Bell’s innovative invention.

1940 – Happy Birthday, Chuck Norris!

Today marks the 82nd birthday of the one and only Carlos Ray “Chuck” Norris, Jr!

Born in 1940 in Ryan, Oklahoma, Norris joined the US Air Force in 1958. While stationed at the Osan Air Base in South Korea, he began studying martial arts. After leaving the air force in 1962, he started working as a karate instructor, and opened more than 30 karate studios.

In the ‘70s, Norris began his acting career, notably appearing in 1972’s “Way of the Dragon” where he combatted the legendary Bruce Lee. Since then, he has starred in a litany of action films including “Breaker! Breaker!”, “Code of Silence” and “The Delta Force”.

In 1993, Norris shifted to the small screen as Cordell Walker in the eponymous “Walker, Texas Ranger”, which has become one of his most famous roles. These days, the actor is active in philanthropism and political activism.

1997 – “Buffy” Slays the TV Screen

A low-budget TV series that became a cult classic, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” made its television debut in 1997.

The show centered around the titular, teenage character named Buffy Summers (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar), who is chosen to protect the world against supernatural forces ranging from vampires to demons. For five seasons, Buffy must juggle her double-life as a hero and as a regular teenage girl, with the help of her friends both normal and extraordinary.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was loved by critics and audiences alike for its characterisation, plot-lines, witty writing, and its ability to address elements pertaining to female empowerment and teenage angst. It won two out of 14 Emmy Award nominations during its run, and is still hailed as one of the best TV shows in history.

2015 – Gaye Family Wins “Blurred Lines” Lawsuit

Two years after the release of hit song “Blurred Lines”, Marvin Gaye’s family won its copyright lawsuit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams.

In 2013, “Blurred Lines” – which also featured rapper T.I. on the track – proved to be a critical and commercial success. However, later that same year, Gaye’s family threatened Thicke, Willians and T.I. with legal action, claiming that the song blatantly ripped off the legendary singer’s 1977 single, “Got to Give It Up”.

Following testimonies from musicologists, the jury ruled in favour of Gaye’s family; as a result, Thicke and Pharrell had to cough up $4 million in damages, $3.3 million of the royalties that “Blurred Lines” made, and $9 000 in statutory damages. As for T.I., he was not found liable for any wrongdoing.

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