March 3, 2015

It Happened on March 3rd

Bonza Bottler Day (One of 12)
Bonza Bottler Day is one of those made-up "just because" holidays. It occurs whenever the day of the month is the same as the number as the month: January 1st, February 2nd, March 3rd, and so on. The holiday was invented in 1985 by Elaine Fremont who thought that it was a great excuse for having a party. "Bonza Bottler" is an Australian term that apparently means something like "Great!" or "Excellent!" Since Fremonth's death in 1995, the website has been carried on by her sister, Gail Berger, and the tradition has been carried on all over the world. 

The neat thing about celebrating Bonza Bottler day is that you're assured of at least one party a month. It makes a great gimmick for those monthly birthday parties that a lot of offices celebrate, or for a monthly classroom celebration. The mascot of Bonza Bottler day is a dancing groundhog -- especially appropriate since Groundhog's Day (February 2nd) is a Bonza Bottler Day. 

The Star Spangled Banner sheet music, 1862
National Anthem Day
March 3rd is National Anthem Day, commemorating the day The Star Spangled Banner was adopted as our National Anthem by a congressional resolution in 1931. The lyrics of the song are from the poem "Defence of Fort McHenry," written in 1814 by Frances Scott Key, after watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Navy. 

The melody comes from a popular British drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven." Considering that our National Anthem is notoriously difficult to sing -- it has a range of one and half octaves -- I can't even imagine attempting it if I'd been drinking. Apparently, that was part of its charm: if you were sober enough to get through it, you were ready for another round. 

George Pullman's Birthday, 1831
George Pullman was the inventor of the railroad sleeping car, the Pullman Sleeper. He designed the car based on the design of packet boats that he'd seen on the Erie Canal in his youth. His first car was completed in 1864. In 1865, he achieved national publicity for the design by arranging to have President Lincoln's body transported by Pullman Car from Washington D.C. to his burial site in Springfield, Illinois. 

George Pullman
Pullman staffed his cars with African-American porters, many of them former plantation house slaves, and he became the largest American employer of African Americans in the post-Civil War era. Although the porters were essentially servants, the work was well-paid and considered prestigious, and many Pullman porters became leaders in their communities. The Brotherhood of Pullman Porters was the first labor organization run by African-Americans to receive a charter from the American Federation of Labor. 

Watch Mr. Wizard Television Premiere, 1951
Watch Mr. Wizard was a tremendously popular TV show that introduced children to the principles of science through simple experiments that could be easily duplicated at home. The show aired for 15 years, and was probably the best-known science show on television. Nearly 700 episodes were produced. 

Mr. Wizard in 1961
After being cancelled in 1965, the show was briefly reinstated in 1971 and 1972. In 1983, a newer version called Mr. Wizard's World, was produced for Nickelodeon, ran until 2000, and then went into reruns. 

Moonlighting Premiere, 1985
Before Die Hard, before The Sixth Sense, before Armageddon, there was Moonlighting. It was certainly the first time I'd ever heard of Bruce Willis, and I was enthralled. The show starred Willis and Cybill Shepherd as battling and bantering detectives, and was smart, quick, and funny. The show was known for its clever repartee and for its breaking of the fourth wall. If you're too young to have caught this show when it aired, I urge you to check out the DVD.

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