May 20, 2021

#ThrowbackThursday – 20 May

From the creation of your dad’s (and your grandpa’s, and your great-grandpa’s) favourite clothing item, to the birth of a pop goddess, take a look at these five memorable events that went down in history on 20 May:

1873 – The Debut of Jeans

One hundred and forty-eight years ago, modern blue jeans were born.

That’s because Levi Strauss – a US-based businessman who owned the eponymous denim brand – and Jacob Davis, a Nevada tailor who was a regular customer of Strauss, were given a patent to create the iconic garment.

The patent was issued for the metal rivet process, which was used to strengthen the pockets of the denim jeans, then known as “waist overalls” or work pants. Strauss and Davis’ garment was an instant success among male workers, and it has since become a fashionable staple of men and women’s wardrobes.

1927 – “Lucky Lindy” Makes History

One rainy day in 1927, a 25-year-old American pilot named Charles Lindbergh embarked on a historic feat: the first solo, non-stop transatlantic flight from New York City to Paris, France.

Piloting his monoplane, “The Spirit of St. Louis”, Lindbergh lifted off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, New York. He would travel for 33 hours and 30 minutes, with no co-pilot or navigator for company, before he landed at Le Bourget Airport in Paris a day later.

The event made “Lucky Lindy” an instant celebrity; it also mentally and physically exhausted him, for he had not received any sleep at all during the flight. Spectators who greeted him at the airport reportedly carried his fatigued form around above their heads for “nearly half an hour” before he was whisked off to safety by the French authorities.

1946 – The Birth of a Pop Goddess

Born Cherilyn Sarkisian, Cher has reached a milestone as she turns 75 today!

The aspiring singer was just 19-years-old when she and her then-husband, Sonny Bono, released their hit pop song, “I Got You Babe”, in 1965. During the ‘70s, her solo music career flourished, and the “Goddess of Pop” released hits like “Dark Lady” and “Half-Breed”.

In the ‘80s, Cher ventured into the world of film acting and directing, which includes a lauded turn in the 1987 flick, “Moonstruck.” To date, she has won a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, an Academy Award and three Golden Globe Awards, among other accolades.

Today, Cher is considered one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

1956 – Every Doolittle Has Her Day

As any hardcore musical theatre aficionado will tell you, the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain – and that 20 May is Eliza Doolittle Day.

Eliza Doolittle is the name of a fictional Cockney girl who features in George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play, “Pygmalion”. It sees Doolittle, who aspires to become a “lady in a flower shop”, taking speech lessons from a phonetics professor.

The play was retooled into a Broadway musical called “My Fair Lady” – one of the songs, “Just You Wait”, sees Doolittle having an imagined conversation with the King of England, who tells her: “Next week on the 20th of May, I proclaim Eliza Doolittle Day.”

Although it’s not an official holiday, no doubt “My Fair Lady” fans and other theatre-goers will be singing Doolittle’s praises today!

1990 – Hubble Telescope Shoots its Shot

Less than a month after its launch into space, the Hubble Space Telescope took its first photograph.

Using a Wide Field/Planetary Camera, the telescope captured an image of stars located in the Carina cluster. Although the image was much sharper than those made by ground-based telescopes, it was discovered by scientists that the telescope was flawed.

Its primary mirror proved to be too flat, meaning that the telescope could not complete its photographic mission. Despite this error (which was fixed three years later), scientists – as well as ordinary citizens – were able to catch a glimpse of the vast universe in which we live.

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