12:25 p.m. As tens of thousands of people greeted President Kennedy in downtown Dallas, Abraham Zapruder filmed two of his employees waiting near a grassy knoll just a block from Jennifer Juniors, Zapruder’s clothing company. Receptionist Marilyn Sitzman waved to the camera as payroll clerk Beatrice Hester sat with her husband, Charles, on a nearby bench. “Mr. Z” then climbed atop a concrete abutment and waited. Sitzman supported him in case Zapruder became dizzy. He stood 65 feet from the center of Elm Street.
12:30 p.m. Zapruder filmed the Kennedy limousine after it turned onto Elm Street and captured the entire assassination—the only photographer to do so. He used a Bell & Howell Model 414PD Zoomatic Director Series camera with a Varamat 9-27mm f1.8 zoom lens, set for full close-up. Its 8mm Kodachrome II color film moved through the camera at an average speed of 18.3 frames per second, as determined by later tests.
Zapruder continued filmed after the shooting, which took less than 10 seconds. He and Sitzman jumped down and walked into the shelter of a nearby pergola as the Hesters crouched on the grass. Zapruder and Sitzman soon became separated.
Scott Carpenter, the fourth American astronaut to fly in space and the second to orbit earth, died on Thursday. He was 88.
Carpenter’s 1962 flight was just five hours and his mission was to determine how well humans could function in weightlessness. His capsule circled the earth three times before returning for a parachute landing.(NPR)
Sure, color film existed in 1963. And sure, there are probably color photos of this day in history. But the vast majority of the imagery we’re used to seeing is black-and-white — such as, for example, the digitized photos in the Library of Congress (LOC).
But what if we could see them in color?
The act of colorizing photographs is as old as photography itself. Magic lanterns, autochromes, etc.: It was all done by hand. For some reason, though, my jaw dropped when a coworker directed me to a group on Reddit called Colorized History. Only a few months old, it has about 16 regular contributors — and approximately 24,000 subscribers. Their work has been circulating around the web a lot lately, and they’re not the only people doing this, but they’re really good. (The Picture Show : NPR)
The first Ferris Wheel (for the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893) under construction.
The cars were the size of city buses, making the first one constructed the largest ever made. Passengers fainted left and right from the shock of being up so high… by 19th century standards it was wild.
"We sometimes joked, ‘You don’t climb into the Mercury spacecraft, you put it on.’ You squeeze past all the gear that is mounted inside, like a man sliding under a bed."
-John Glenn, 1962
Here’s John Glenn being inserted into the Friendship 7 spacecraft on the day of his launch as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit earth. February 20, 1962.
Described as a claustrophobic’s nightmare, the Mercury capsule had just barely enough room for its pilot. The capsule’s escape tower had a solid rocket motor. In case of an explosion during the launch, that rocket would fire, lifting the capsule (with the astronaut) away from the explosion. The capsule would then parachute into the ocean.
The base of the capsule was covered with a heat shield to protect it from the 3000-degree (Fahrenheit) heat of reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The capsule sat on top of the Atlas 6 rocket (95 feet tall, and 10 feet in diameter) which boosted the Friendship 7 into space.
SSHHHHHHH, The Ramones are in the Library of Congress
The Ramones’ 1976 eponymous debut album — which brought us “Blitzkrieg Bop,” "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue," and "I Don’t Wanna Go Down to the Basement" — is among the 25 recordings added Thursday to the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress.
The LOC says*:
"The band’s first album captured the incandescence of guitarist Johnny Ramone’s speedy no-nonsense playing, Dee Dee Ramone’s propulsive bass and the surfy sonorities of Tommy’s drums. The youthful tone of Joey Ramone’s singing voice was equally influenced by Iggy Pop and bubblegum rock. When combined with the backing vocals and lyrics portraying teen love and anxiety, it gave the album a strong pop flavor despite its heavy sound and the disturbing aspects of other songs dealing with drug use, Nazism and male prostitution."
Rocket engines that may have powered the flight of the first man to walk on the moon have been recovered off the coast of Florida from a depth of nearly three miles beneath the ocean’s surface.
Well, parts of some of them have been found and hauled up, according to Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos. He and an “A-team” of experts were in search of the historic F-1 engines used on Apollo 11. Whether they found them, or engines from another Apollo flight, isn’t clear. A forthcoming restoration effort may answer that question. (NPR)
On February 27, 2013, a statue of Rosa Parks commissioned by Congress was unveiled in National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol, approximately 100 years after her birth on February 4, 1913. Rosa Parks, whose arrest in 1955 for refusing to yield her seat on a segregated bus to a white passenger helped ignite the modern American civil rights movement. This bronze statue depicts Parks seated on a rock-like formation of which she seems almost a part, symbolizing her famous refusal to give up her bus seat. The statue is close to nine feet tall including its pedestal. It weighs 600 pounds and its granite pedestal, partially hollowed out inside, weighs 2,100 pounds. The pedestal is made of Raven Black granite and inscribed simply with her name and life dates, “Rosa Parks/1913–2005.” (Architect of the Capitol)
“We know instinctively that not everything we come to believe as history is true. But we want it to be.”
Gwen Ifill explores the untold stories of Rosa Parks, who would have turned 100-years-old this week, before and after the bus boycott of 1955. She talked with Jeanne Theoharis whose book, “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks” brings to light moments of Parks’ life, not in the history books. Watch the interview here.
A little of this I knew, but there was a lot here I did not know. — tanya b.
In the unlikely scenario that you one day find yourself delivering an inaugural address, there are a few things you should know. Our systematic and scientific analysis of past inaugural addresses has yielded 11 easy steps to the perfect speech.