This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
April 22 is the 112th day of the year (113th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 253 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1978, The Blues Brothers make their world premiere on Saturday Night Live.
It was Marshall Checker, of the legendary Checker brothers, who first discovered them in the gritty blues clubs of Chicago’s South Side in 1969 and handed them their big break nine years later with an introduction to music-industry heavyweight and host of television’s Rock Concert, Don Kirshner. Actually, none of that is true, but it’s the story that Saturday Night Live’s Paul Shaffer told on April 22, 1978 as he announced the worldwide television debut of that night’s musical guest, the Blues Brothers-the not-quite-real, not-quite-fake musical creation of SNL cast members Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.
The genesis of the Blues Brothers was a January 17, 1976, Saturday Night Live sketch. In it, “Howard Shore and his All-Bee Band” play the Slim Harpo song “I’m a King Bee”, with Belushi singing and Aykroyd playing harmonica, dressed in the bee costumes they wore for the “Killer Bees” sketch.
Following tapings of SNL, it was popular among cast members and the weekly hosts to attend Aykroyd’s Holland Tunnel Blues bar, which he had rented not long after joining the cast. Dan and John filled a jukebox with songs from many different artists such as Sam and Dave and punk band The Viletones. John bought an amplifier and they kept some musical instruments there for anyone who wanted to jam. It was here that Dan and Ron Gwynne wrote and developed the original story which Dan turned into the initial story draft of the Blues Brothers movie, better known as the “tome” because it contained so many pages.
It was also at the bar that Aykroyd introduced Belushi to the blues. An interest soon became a fascination and it was not long before the two began singing with local blues bands. Jokingly, SNL band leader Howard Shore suggested they call themselves “The Blues Brothers.” In an April 1988 interview in the Chicago Sun-Times, Aykroyd said the Blues Brothers act borrowed from Sam & Dave and others: “Well, obviously the duo thing and the dancing, but the hats came from John Lee Hooker. The suits came from the concept that when you were a jazz player in the 40’s, 50’s 60’s, to look straight, you had to wear a suit.”
The band was also modeled in part on Aykroyd’s experience with the Downchild Blues Band, one of the first professional blues bands in Canada, with whom Aykroyd continues to play on occasion. Aykroyd first encountered the band in the early 1970s, at or around the time of his attendance at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and where his initial interest in the blues developed through attending and occasionally performing at Ottawa’s Le Hibou Coffee House.
238 – Year of the Six Emperors: The Roman Senate outlaws emperor Maximinus Thrax for his bloodthirsty proscriptions in Rome and nominates two of its members, Pupienus and Balbinus, to the throne.
1500 – Portuguese navigator Pedro Alvares Cabral becomes the first European to sight Brazil.
1529 – Treaty of Saragossa divides the eastern hemisphere between Spain and Portugal along a line 297.5 leagues or 17° east of the Moluccas.
1809 – The second day of the Battle of Eckmuhl sees the Austrian army defeated by the First French Empire army led by Napoleon I of France and driven over the Danube at Regensburg.
1836 – Texas Revolution: A day after the Battle of San Jacinto, forces under Texas General Sam Houston capture Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
1863 – American Civil War: Grierson’s Raid begins – troops under Union Army Colonel Benjamin Grierson attack central Mississippi.
1864 – The U.S. Congress passes the Coinage Act of 1864 which mandates that the inscription “In God We Trust” be placed on all coins minted as United States currency.
1889 – At high noon, thousands rush to claim land in the Land Run of 1889. Within hours the cities of Oklahoma City and Guthrie are formed with populations of at least 10,000.
1898 – Spanish-American War: The United States Navy begins a blockade of Cuban ports and the USS Nashville captures a Spanish merchant ship.
1906 – The 1906 Summer Olympics, not now recognized as part of the official Olympic Games, open in Athens.
1912 – Tsinghua University, one of mainland China’s leading universities, is founded.
1911 – Pravda, the “voice” of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, begins publication in Saint Petersburg.
1915 – The use of poison gas in World War I escalates when chlorine gas is released as a chemical weapon in the Second Battle of Ypres.
1930 – The United Kingdom, Japan and the United States sign the London Naval Treaty regulating submarine warfare and limiting shipbuilding.
1944 – World War II: Operation Persecution is initiated – Allied forces land in the Hollandia (currently known as Jayapura) area of New Guinea.
1945 – World War II: Prisoners at the Jasenovac concentration camp revolt. 520 are killed and 80 escape.
1945 – World War II: Fuehrerbunker: After learning that Soviet forces have taken Eberswalde without a fight, Adolf Hitler admits defeat in his underground bunker and states that suicide is his only recourse.
1954 – Red Scare: Witnesses begin testifying and live television coverage of the Army-McCarthy Hearings begins.
1964 – The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair opens for its first season.
1969 – British yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston completes the first solo non-stop circumnavigation of the world.
1970 – The first Earth Day is celebrated.
1972 – Vietnam War: Increased American bombing in Vietnam prompts anti-war protests in Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco.
1983 – The German magazine Der Stern claims that the “Hitler Diaries” had been found in wreckage in East Germany; the diaries are subsequently revealed to be forgeries.
1992 – In an explosion in Guadalajara, Mexico, 206 people are killed, nearly 500 injured and 15,000 left homeless.
1993 – Version 1.0 of the Mosaic web browser is released.
1997 – Haouch Khemisti massacre in Algeria – 93 villagers killed.
1997 – The Japanese embassy hostage crisis ends in Lima, Peru.
1998 – Disney’s Animal Kingdom opens at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, United States.
2000 – In a pre-dawn raid, federal agents seize six-year-old Elian Gonzalez from his relatives’ home in Miami, Florida.
2000 – The Big Number Change takes place in the United Kingdom.
2000 – Second Battle of Elephant Pass, Tamil Tigers capture a strategic Sri Lankan Army base and hold it for 8 years.
2004 – Two fuel trains collide in Ryongchon, North Korea, killing up to 150 people.
2005 – Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi apologized about Japan’s war records.
2006 – 243 people are injured in pro-democracy protest in Nepal after Nepali security forces open fire on protesters against King Gyanendra.
2008 – The United States Air Force retires the remaining F-117 Nighthawk aircraft in service.
2010 – Deepwater Horizon, an oil rig owned by BP and Transocean, sinks to the bottom of the Gulf Of Mexico after having a blowout two days earlier. The well then created the largest oil spill in U.S. history by constantly gushing oil through the damaged wellhead.
*Christian Feast Day:
Acepsimas of Hnaita and companions (Catholic Church)
Epipodius and Alexander
April 22 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
*Discovery Day (Brazil)
*Earth Day (United States), and its related observances:
International Mother Earth Day (International)