Today in History: The Premiere of the “Blue Angel”

 

Today in History: The Premiere of the “Blue Angel” in 1930

90 years ago today, , the German movie Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) celebrated its premiere in Berlin and introduced the world to a new movie star, Marlene Dietrich. The opening was completely sold out, possibly helped by rumors that the movie may not have been allowed to be shown at all due to its disreputable plot: a disciplinarian professor falling for a cabaret singer.

Josef von Sternberg was brought in from Hollywood to be the film’s director; Emil Jannings, who had just won an Oscar, was hired to play the professor. But filling the role of cabaret singer Lola-Lola turned out to be more problematic. Sternberg wanted Metropolis star, Brigitte Helm but she was booked; Jannings preferred theater singer Lucie Mannheim but Sternberg considered her too serious. Author Heinrich Mann would have liked to have seen his girlfriend Trude Hesterberg in the role but she was not sufficiently well-known.

Enter Marlene Dietrich. Supposedly, Sternberg was immediately fascinated by this inexperienced woman from a local drama school. It seems that the young Dietrich embodied Lola-Lola, a seductress with the longest legs and the right smile. It is said that Dietrich did not even prepare a song for her first audition, telling Sternberg that she assumed she would not be seriously considered for the role. Her flippant behavior intrigued the director and because Dietrich was behaving like the film character Lola Lola, she was hired.

Nobody could have predicted the film’s enormous success. A new star was born and immediately following the triumphant premiere in Berlin, the blue angel and her director went off to pursue a career in Hollywood.

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Today in History: Nescafe instant coffee introduced in 1938

 

Today in History: Nescafe instant coffee introduced in 1938

Nestlé began developing a coffee brand in 1930, at the initiative of the Brazilian government, to help preserve the substantial surplus of the annual Brazilian coffee harvest. In 1938, Nestlé introduced the new soluble powdered product for the first time in Switzerland under the brand name “Nescafé” (Nestle + Cafe).

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Today in History: Dong Kingman born in 1911

Today in History: Dong Kingman born in 1911

Happy Birthday, Dong Kingman. 109 years ago today, Chinese-American artist Dong Kingman was born in Oakland, California. Kingman was a leading watercolor painter of the California Style School. He was known for his urban and landscape paintings and his graphic design work for the Hollywood film industry. Kingman produced several posters for American Airlines during the late 1960s / early 1970s. His works are included in over 50 public and private collections worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Brooklyn Museum, San Francisco’s deYoung Museum and the Art Institute in Chicago. Kingman died of cancer on May 11, 2000, in his New York City home. Source wikipedia.com.

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Today in History: The Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889

Today in History: The Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889

Happy Birthday, La Tour Eiffel, the global icon of Paris. 131 years ago today, the construction of the 324 m (1024 feet) Eiffel Tower was completed.

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Today in History: Russia sells Alaska to the United States in 1867

Today in History: Russia sells Alaska to the United States in 1867

On March 30, 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward signed the treaty finalizing the purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire for $7.2 million. Despite the bargain price of roughly two cents an acre, President Andrew Johnson was ridiculed for the purchase by both Congress and the press. The Senate ratified the treaty with a margin of only one vote on April 9, 1967. Alaska was formally handed over in October 1867. After three decades of slow U.S. settlement, the discovery of gold in 1898 brought a rapid influx of people to the territory. Alaska, rich in natural resources, has contributed to American prosperity ever since.

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Today is National Pencil Day

Today is #NationalPencilDay

Most pencils made in the United States are painted yellow. This tradition supposedly began in 1890 when the L & C Hardtmuth Company of Austria-Hungary introduced their Koh-I-Noor brand, named after the famous diamond. This pencil was intended to be the world’s best and most expensive pencil. Other companies then began to copy the yellow color so that their pencils would be associated with the high-quality brand. (www.nationaldaycalendar.com).

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Happy 90th Birthday, Günther Kieser !

Happy 90th Birthday, Günther Kieser !

Günther Kieser was born in 1930 in Kronberg, near Frankfurt. Trained at the Werkkunstschule in Offenbach, Kieser began his career as a free-lance artist in 1949 and founded a studio with Hans Michel in 1952. The two artists worked on projects for the German Mail Service and the Hesse radio network and started creating posters for Lippmann & Rau, founders of the first German Jazz concert agencies. Over the next decade, Kieser and Michel would design posters for the concerts by Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, and John Coltrane.

When his partnership with Michel ended in 1962, Kieser continued to work primarily for Lippmann & Rau, producing posters that would become fixtures in the music scene. His posters were displayed in concert halls, bars and on billboards. The artist is perhaps most famous for his 1969 Jimi Hendrix Experience poster which became a symbol for a new generation.

Kieser joined the Deutscher Werkbund (German Work Federation) in 1956 and became a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) in 1964. In 1981, he became a professor for Visual Communication at the Bergische Universität in Wuppertal, a position he held until 1992. Kieser has won numerous international awards, his work has been exhibited worldwide and his posters are part of every important museum collection..

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