Death of Duane Allman

On October 29, 1971, the world lost one of the great Rock guitarist, Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers Band. In Macon, Georgia he was killed when he lost control of his motorcycle while trying to swerve to avoid a tractor-trailer. The motorcycle bounced into the air, landed on Allman and skidded another 90 feet with Allman pinned underneath. He was three weeks shy of his 25th birthday.

Allman began his career as a session guitarist and worked with many artists, including Clarence Carter, King Curtis, Aretha Franklin, Laura Nyro, Wilson Pickett, Otis Rush, Percy Sledge, Johnny Jenkins, Boz Scaggs, Delaney & Bonnie, Doris Duke and jazz flautist Herbie Mann.

Slowly during 1969 he joined his brother, Gregg, to create the Allman Brothers Band. The brothers were joined by Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks, and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson (drums

The video is of the Allman Brothers Band preforming Whipping Post on 9/23/1970 at Fillmore East.

Republic of West Florida

Photo: 1806 John Cary map shows West Florida (including Pensacola, which was not part of the U.S. claim) in the hands of Spain, separate from the U.S.-held Louisiana Purchase.
1806 John Cary map shows West Florida (including Pensacola, which was not part of the U.S. claim) in the hands of Spain, separate from the U.S.-held Louisiana Purchase.
On October 27, 1810 President James Madison declared parts of the region known as West Florida as part of the United States. His reason for the annexation was he claimed it was part of the Louisiana Purchase. This ended the 90-day existence of the Republic of West Florida.

Beginning in the 17th century through 1763 the French, the Spanish and the English each laid claim, at different times, to the region that now includes parts of the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

At the conclusion of the French and Indian War (also known as the Seven Year War) Great Britain received from the French portions of Louisiana between the Mississippi and Perdidio Rivers and the Spanish Colony of Florida. The British divided the region into East and West Florida. Boundaries of West Florida were the Mississippi to the Chattahoochee Rivers and North at the 31st parallel. The Gulf of Mexico was the Southern Boundary.

The colony had been invited to the 1st Continental Congress, but did not send representatives. They were one of 5 continental colonies that did not send representatives, the others being East Florida, Quebec, St. John’s Isle, and Nova Scotia.

The Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolution, the British set the American Boundary at the 31st Parallel and ceded the both Florida Colonies to the Spanish. This was just the beginning of a number of border disagreements between the United States, Spain and France.

In 1810, Americans who had settled in the region resented the Spanish Rule. This lead to a rebellion On September 23 the rebellion took the Spanish fort at Baton Rouge and the Republic of West Florida was born and lived for 90 days.

Vaudeville Becomes Less Vulgar

Photo: A promotional poster for the Sandow Trocadero Vaudevilles (1894), showing dancers, clowns, trapeze artists, costumed dog, singers and costumed actors
A promotional poster for the Sandow Trocadero Vaudevilles (1894), showing dancers, clowns, trapeze artists, costumed dog, singers and costumed actors.
Vaudeville was a style of entertainment, popular in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, that took the form of a series of separate, unrelated acts. The performance could include all or some of the following; musicians, dancers, comedians, animal acts, magicians, impersonators, acrobats, one-act plays or scenes from plays, athletes, lecturing celebrities, minstrels, or later short films.

Prior to 1880 Vaudeville was thought to be vulgar. Tony Pastor cleaned it of its obscenity to make it more wholesome to the general public. On October 24, 1881 he staged the self-proclaimed “clean” vaudeville in New York City. It was an effort to lure more women into the male dominated saloon and variety halls.

Vaudeville’s popularity increased when B.F. Keith built a chain of Vaudeville stages in various east coast cities. This was the beginning of the Vaudeville Circuit, a single booking system contracting acts for regional and national engagement that could be from a few weeks to two years.

It was common for the performers to term a theatre by how much they were paid to perform at them. The three most common were the “small time”, the “medium time,” and the “Big Time”. When a performer reached the “Big Time” they were considered the best and most famous. The Big Time found its home in 1913 at New York City’s Palace. The Palace featured the best and brightest on its bill and many would consider playing there to be the apotheosis of their careers.

While Vaudeville never really died it just seemed to fade away as cinemas and radio gain popularity. Many of the early radio and cinemas stars, such as Marx Brothers, Three Stooges, Bob Hope, Edgar Bergen and Abbott and Costello began on the Vaudeville circuits

Even though vaudeville as entertainment is dead, it lives on in popular culture and entertainment. Many of the ‘entertainment slang’ came from vaudeville, such as “a flop” (an act that does badly) and “the limelight” (from the lime-green color of phosphorus lights). It’s not unusual to see common techniques and gags of vaudeville on television and in films today.

Chuck Berry’s “My Ding-a-Ling

1972 saw a number of artists who began charting during the infancy of Rock and Roll in the 1950’s. Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson and Chuck Berry. Berry’s ‘My Ding-A-Ling’ was the only Number 1 by the 50’s rocker. It began a two week run at Number 1 on the US singles chart on October 21, 1972. It was his first and only US and UK No.1, 17 years after his first chart hit.

Also on October 21, 1972, Curtis Mayfield soundtrack to the movie “Superfly began a a four-week run at No.1 on the US album chart.

The Louisiana Purchase

Department of the Interior. General Land Office. Surveying Division 1903 Map of the Louisiana Purchase. - National Archives
Department of the Interior. General Land Office. Surveying Division 1903 Map of the Louisiana Purchase. – National Archives
President Thomas Jefferson was unsure whether the United States Constitution gave him the right to negotiate with a foreign government for the purchase of territorial rights in the area west of the 1803 United States. In fact he was under the impression that it didn’t, but he did understand the value of the Port of New Orleans and wish for it to be part of the United States.

The American negotiators, Robert Livingston and James Monroe were allowed to offer as much as $ 10 million dollars for New Orleans. France under the rule of Napoleon had at one time a plan to build a new French Empire in America, but with a defeat of his armies in present day Haiti and a possibility of war against Great Britain were in need for monetary resources. Livingston and Monroe were offered the entire region for $ 15 Million.

A treaty was signed on April 30, 1803 and the process began for what has become known as the Louisiana Purchase. The territory would double the size of the United States for a cost of less than 3 cents per acre. The total area was 529,911,680 acres with 523,446,400 acres of land and the rest water.

The ratification of the Louisiana Purchase treaty was by the Senate vote of 24 to 7 on October 20, 1803. On December 20, 1803 France formally turned New Orleans over to the United States at Cabildo, the seat of the colonial government in New Orleans. A ceremony at St Louis transferred the entire territory over to the United States.

Most of the territory was populated by Native Americans and in reality all that was accomplished with the treaty was the transfer of European territorial rights from France to the Unite States.

In the end the total paid to the French was $ 23,213,568. This figure included interest. The original cost was $ 11,2500,000 plus the cancellation of debts worth $ 3,750,000.

A Vanishing Scene

Photo by SG Atkinson: Old Barn in Middletown

The Delmarva Peninsula has an agriculture heritage. But even with that heritage when traveling throughout the peninsula one will see many old barns that have been discarded, let to degrade and some even being fully coverage by foliage.

This old barn can be seen among the current construction in the middle of Middletown Delaware. One wonders how much longer it’ll be there.

A Delmarva Scene photograph. This photograph is one of the photographs in the 2019 Delmarva Scenes Calendars by SG Atkinson.

An American Playwright – Eugene O’Neill

Alice Boughton -  from the United States Library of Congress
Alice Boughton – from the United States Library of Congress
Recently I was talking with an old college friend discussing Historical Figures. We had taken a number of theater classes, both of us are still doing theater work and while in that conversation we discussed who we may want to do a history theater performance. He would want to be Abraham Lincoln. I mentioned that I had always thought about working on a play with the Playwright Eugene O’Neill narrating the story of his life. He was an American Playwright, who many felt was the Shakespeare of the American Theater of the first part of the 20th Century. In the ’70’s Jason Robards Jr was in a few revivals of his plays.

O’Neill was born into show business. His father James O’Neill was considered a matinee idol as a stage actor in the later half of the 19th Century, his most famous role was that of The Count of Monte Cristo. Eugene O’Neill was born in a hotel room on October 16, 1888, the third of three children of James O’Neil and his wife, Mary Ellen Quinlan O’Neill.

It wasn’t until after he spent much of 1912 and 1913 in sanatorium recovering from tuberculosis that he decided to write plays. Prior to this he had spent time at sea. Quite a few of his early plays cold be classified as Sea Plays.

His career as a playwright can be seen as divided in 2 parts. The first from 1914-1936. His plays were a standard on Broadway during this period winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1920, 1922, 1928,) and in 1936 the Nobel Prize for Literature, the second American to win. The second part begin in 1946 after a 10 year period where no new plays of his were produced. Then Ice Man Cometh an autobiographical play was produced. It was the first of a number of autobiographical plays he wrote during this second phase of his career. Long Day”s Journey into Night is thought by many to be his best.

He was married 3 times; Kathleen Jenkins (1909–12), Agnes Boulton (1918–29) and Carlotta Monterey (1929–53). He had three children, Eugene Jr with Jenkins and with Boulton Shane and Oona. Oona married Charlie Chaplain at the age of 18. Chaplain was 54. O’Neill disapproved of the marriage and he never saw her again.

After a long illness, which for many years made it difficult to write, O’Neill died in Room 401 of the Sheraton Hotel on Bay State Road in Boston, on November 27, 1953. It is said that while he was dying he whispered “I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room and died in a hotel room.”

Ben – Michael Jackson

During the week of October 14, 1972 “Ben” sung by Michael Jackson reached Number 1 on the Billboard Charts. Even though he had had a number of Number 1’s along with his brothers as the Jackson 5 this was was first solo number 1. Only two performers had a Billboard Number 1 at a younger age. Stevie Wonder, “Fingertips” and Donny Osmond with “Go Away Little Girl”.

Ironically Donny Osmond was offered the song, but since he and his brothers were on tour at the time, he was unable to record it.

Don Black and Walter Scharf wrote the song as the title song for the movie “Ben”, a sequel to “Willard”. Both Ben and Willard are rats.

The song was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song. This video was of his performance at the ceremony in 1973. “Ben” lost to “The Morning After” by Maureen McGovern from The Poseidon Adventure.

The song also reached number one on the Australian pop chart, spending eight weeks at the top, but only reached number seven on the British pop chart.

Lillian Gish

When Lillian Gish died on February 27, 1993, at the age of 99, the world lost a great actress. She was born in Springfield, Ohio on October 14, 1893 with the birth name of Lillian Diana de Guiche.

Miss Gish’s career started on the stage when she was just six years old. She had a very successful stage career before she found herself making films. She would have a second stage career beginning in the late 1920’s where she was well received by critics and the public.

In 1912 she met D.W. Griffith. Her first film was the Griffith directed The Unseen Enemy. She played the older of two orphaned sisters. The younger sister was played by her real life sister, Dorothy Gish. In 1912 alone she would appear in 12 films for Griffith. By 1915 she had become one of the top stars in the industry and was the star for two of Griffith’s most ambitious projects, The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance.

Miss Gish, from the beginning of ‘sound’ movies until her last film appearance in The Whales of August released in 1987, would appear in many films. Her appearances were always of quality but would be irregular, with long gaps between appearances.

She would receive only one Academy Awards nomination. Her major work was prior to their first ceremony. That nomination came in 1946 for Actress in a Supporting Role in Duel in the Sun. She lost to Anne Baxter in The Razor’s Edge. She would receive a Honorary Award in 1970.

On June 11, 1976, Bowling Green University dedicated The Gish Film Theater and Gallery. Lillian Gish accepted the honor in person for herself and her sister. Bowling Green University is in Ohio near where the two sisters were born. Lillian Gish received on the next day the honorary degree of Doctor of Performing Arts. Upon her death items from her estate were set to the University, where they are on display.

# ## #
Author’s Note:
When it comes to doing things one enjoys, it’s often said that ‘Life gets in the way’. I would say that is exactly what has happened with View From the Shore and 6 Things to Consider. I have been very busy these past couple of months and often doing only the things that I have blocked off time to do on my calendar.

I have now blocked off time for this blog and hope you enjoy. I know that 6 Things to Consider will continue. And I am also looking to post a Photo of the Week of my View from the Shore on Thursday.

Steve Atkinson

A Fellowship Published

The classic book by J.R.R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings was first published as three volumes; The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King on July 21, 1954, on November 11, 1954 and on October 20, 1955 respectively in the United Kingdom.

The book was created as a single volume and was broken up into sections by the publisher.

When The Fellowship of the Ring was published, an index was promised. However that complete Index and Appendices were not complete until the 1966 revised edition was printed. These Appendices gave a view of the World of Middle-Earth and it’s three Ages that Tolkien began in 1917.

While recovering from “Trench” fever in 1917 Tolkien began work on a tale he called The Fall of Gondolin part of a larger project he would name The Book of Lost Tales. The Lord of the Rings would become part of this world.

While his children were young he began telling them a fairy tale of a Hobbit by the name of Bilbo Baggins who lived in a hole in the ground. With the encouragement of his friend C.S. Lewis, (Lewis would later create his own children tales The Chronicles of Narnia), Tolkien finished The Hobbit tale in 1933. In 1936 the manuscript was shown by a family friend to publisher Stanley Unwin. The Hobbit was published in 1937.

The Lord of the Rings was begun as its sequel in 1937 and took until 1953 to complete. Tolkien was exacting in the writing of his tales and would work his Middle-Earth mythology his entire life, with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit being the only major works of this mythology published during his life.