The Who2 Blog

This Week in Biography: From Mozart to Mitty

Happy Monday to you. What do we have to look forward to in biographies this week?

December 5th: The Salzburg Stallion, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, died on this day 220 years ago.  Was it poison? Or just strep throat?  We’ll never know the truth: his bones were scattered 10 years after his death.

December 6th:  Happy 66th birthday to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, born in Peoria on this day in 1945. Two years ago Mr. LaHood made the truest statement ever spoken about air travel: “There’s no such thing as five minutes, never, ever.”

December 7th:  Everyone knows December 7th, the day that will live in infamy: the day that bloodthirsty monster, Woodrow Wilson, declared war war on Austria-Hungary.

December 8th: Humorist James Thurber was born on this day in 1894.  He was a mainstay at The New Yorker in its early days and with a single short story created the nebbishy dreamer Walter Mitty. Thurber died 50 years ago this year, after a stroke in 1961.

December 9th: A Charlie Brown Christmas premiered on this day in 1965.

Kids over 40 will remember the show being sponsored by Dolly Madison cupcakes, but the original show had a built-in sponsorship for Coke:

In the original airing, immediately following Charlie Brown crashing into the tree during the opening sequence, Linus got tossed at a Coca-Cola billboard, and the end credits used to close with a subtitle reading “Merry Christmas from your local Coca-Cola bottler.”

Charles Schulz, bless him, never shied away from putting good ol’ Charlie Brown to work for money. Or from repeating a good thing: This very successful show was the first of 43 prime-time Peanuts TV specials, with titles like It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown, It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown and the all-too-topical He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown. 

But you can’t beat the magic (and music) of the original, which airs on ABC tonight.

Still not satisfied?  Discover the pope, the general and the cartoon king who were born on this day.

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