November 18, 2021

#ThrowbackThursday – 18 November

What do teddy bears, One Direction and Mickey Mouse all have in common? 18 November, of course! Here are five events that went down in history on this particular day:

1872 – Susan B. Anthony Takes a Stand

The 19th century saw the rise of the women’s suffrage movement, resulting in changes for women that many people would take for granted today. One American woman was notably arrested for her endeavours to bring about those changes.

Susan B. Anthony was a social reformer and women’s rights activist who – along with 14 female companions – cast their votes in the US presidential election on 5 November 1872, a time when women were not allowed to vote at all. On 18 November, she was arrested at her home in Rochester, New York, and was put on trial without a jury.

Eventually, Anthony was ordered to pay a fine of $100, to which she responded: “I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty.” And she held true to her words when the court found nothing of value among her possessions to seize in order to pay off the fine, so they stopped pursuing the matter.

In the aftermath, women’s suffrage was brought to the forefront in the US, and Anthony was venerated for her bravery and forward-thinking. Through her efforts, and those of the women who came before, during and after her, the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was certified in 1920, allowing both men and women the right to vote.

1902 – The Tale of “Teddy’s Bears”

Many politicians have a lot of things named after them: hospitals, roads, national holidays and the like. But only one statesman can claim to have one of the world’s most popular toys named after him.

During an unproductive hunting trip in Missouri, US President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt and his posse came across a defenseless bear. Despite his aides urging him to shoot the bear and claim it as a trophy, Roosevelt refused to do so. News of his kindly act quickly spread across the country, with cartoonist Clifford Berryman drawing a cartoon based on the event

In Brooklyn, New York City, a toy store-owner named Morris Michtom saw Berryman’s cartoon – as a result, he was inspired to sell “Teddy’s Bears”, plush bear toys bearing Roosevelt’s nickname (with the president’s permission, of course!). Marketed at $1.50, the bears soon became a sensation. Today, we know these cuddly cubs as “teddy bears”.

1928 – “Steamboat Willie” Makes its Debut

1928 marked two life-changing instances for a young man named Walt Disney: the success of his animating company, and the introduction of his most famous creation.

Premiering at the Colony Theatre in New York City, “Steamboat Willie” – an eight-minute animated short with a syncronised soundtrack, one of the first cartoons to do so – revolved around a round-bellied mouse named Mickey, who gets up to all sorts of hijinks on a steamboat. Notably, this included trying to impress a female mouse named Minnie with a musical act.

“Steamboat Willie” took over two months to produce on a $5 000 budget (a hefty sum for Disney’s company, which was near bankruptcy). Three animators, led chiefly by Ub Iwerks, were assigned to hand-draw each frame and also provide the music using basic instruments. The unintelligible dialogue was performed by Disney himself.

To Disney and his team’s delight, “Steamboat Willie” became a critically-acclaimed darling among cinemagoers. Mickey Mouse was adored by audiences across America who laughed heartily at his antics. Commercially, the income generated by the short enabled Disney’s company to create more shorts and later full-length films, all of which made them the animated juggernaut that they are today.

1948 – KFCG (Kentucky Fried Couple Goals)

It sounds like something out of a romance story – a waitress and her married boss fall in love, have an affair, and later get married, all the while presiding over a fast-food chicken empire.

Claudia Price was in her 30s when she began working at the Sanders Cafe in Corbin, Kentucky sometime in the 1930s. Her boss, “Colonel” Harland Sanders – a married man in his 40s – engaged in an affair with her. In 1948, Sanders divorced his wife Josephine to marry Price, who by then was the manager of the restaurant.

Four years later, Sanders franchised his fried chicken business, which featured his trademark “secret recipe” chicken. Before he knew it, Kentucky Fried Chicken – or KFC – had expanded across the USA, with hundreds of outlets in every state. For years, Price, alongside her husband, helped to promote the food chain by making appearances at restaurants and packaging food to be transported via train.

The couple remained married until Sanders passed away from leukemia at age 90 in 1980. Price outlived her husband by 17 years before passing away at age 94.

2011 – One Direction Albums Turns 10

Diehard Directioners, rejoice! Today marks the ten-year anniversary of One Direction’s debut album, “Up All Night”.

With a 13-song tracklist, “Up All Night” featured popular singles such as “What Makes You Beautiful”, “More Than This’”, and “Gotta Be You”. Needless to say, fans were taken by the fresh-faced fivesome and their smooth, hot vocals.

“Up All Night” became the third-best selling album of 2012 worlwide, selling nearly five million copies and reaching the top of the charts in sixteen countries. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 – One Direction became the first group from Britain to achieve this feat. Since then, the boys enjoyed global fame and success before embarking on an indefinite hiatus in 2015.