This is “Last Week, Last Century,” where I’ll take a look at some of the wacky stuff that happened over the past seven days… and the same seven days 100 years ago.
Sunday, March 23rd, 1913 – At a performance of Carmen in Madrid, Don José and Escamillo engage in their infamous third-act duel. According to the libretto, the fight is to be interrupted—but instead, a confused audience watches as the two men fight to the death. The performers had been entwined in a real-life love triangle, and agreed in advance to an onstage duel on closing night.
Sunday, March 24th, 2013 – Jim Carrey attacks 2nd Amendment activists on Twitter before releasing an anti-gun video on Funny or Die. This starts a Twitter feud with Fox News pundit Greg Gutfeld, and the two exchange petty insults for a few days until their audiences lose interest. You see, in a Twitter duel, there is no winner. Only losers.
Monday, March 24th, 1913 – A pipe ruptures in Nellie Callahan’s Columbus Avenue apartment, silently filling the parlor with gas. When Callahan’s seven-year-old daughter hears their pet parrot squawking frantically, she runs to its cage just as it falls dead from its perch. The girl is able to call for help, and the bird’s sacrifice ultimately saves both of Callahan’s daughters and their neighbor from asphyxiation.
Monday, March 25th, 2013 – In Boston, the appearance of black smoke alerts Kim Valenti to the fire blazing through her apartment building. She crawls through a thick haze to rescue her parrot, which she claims is smarter than the average toddler and loves fried food. When questioned in private, the parrot said, “You guys think I couldn’t have warned her myself? After 11 years of crab rangoon, I was ready to watch her fry.”
Tuesday, March 25th, 1913 – May C. Brooke passes away in North Adams, MA at the age of 69. She was the last surviving member of the cast that performed Our American Cousin for President Lincoln on the night that he was assassinated in 1865.
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 – Stephen Spielberg’s Academy Award winning film Lincoln is released on Blu-ray and DVD. The Blu-ray is an inanimate object and is incapable of being assassinated, ensuring that the cast will continue performing long after they’re all technically dead.
Wednesday, March 26th, 1913 – At the Progressive State Convention in Baltimore, black delegates are denied use of the elevators at the Emerson hotel. Since the committee rooms are located on the seventeenth floor, hotel management compromises with party leaders and moves the convention to the second floor.
Wednesday March 27th, 2013 – At Towson University in Baltimore County, senior Mathew Heimbach and his “White Student Union” begin to organize nightly crime patrols in response to what Heimbach calls a “black crime wave” where “black predators” prey on the “white majority student body.” The other members of the White Student Union could not be reached for comment, as all three of them transferred out of sheer embarrassment.
Thursday, March 27th, 1913 – The newly-built Palace Theatre at 1564 Broadway features Polish dancer Stacia Napierkowska, whose performance of “The Dance of the Bee” is reported to be obscene by Victorian morality advocate Anthony Comstock. The city dispatches several detectives to interrupt the show and arrest Napierkowska onstage.
Thursday, March 28th, 2013 – Patrick Trueman and his obscenity awareness group Morality in Media compile a list called The Dirty Dozen, which “exposes” the top 12 facilitators of porn in America. Facebook, Wikipedia, Barnes & Noble, and the American Library Association are among those listed. After his request to send officers to Facebook’s headquarters is denied, Trueman struggles with the decision to send a friend request to the chief of police.
Friday, March 28th, 1913 – 19-year-old Barclay Pierce and Violette Reynolds, 15, elope to Philadelphia and are wed. This marks the end of a long and tumultuous courtship that was complicated by the fact that Pierce’s 45-year-old father also had been seeking Reynolds’ hand.
Friday, March 29th, 2013 –James Keith Maskil and James Earl Maskil Jr. of Pennsylvania, Joshua Gouker and Josh Young of Kentucky, and Reinaldo Andino-Colon and Reinaldo Andino-Colon Jr. of Massachusetts are all father-son duos that face charges of violent crimes on Friday. Glad to see that dads and their boys are finally getting along.
Saturday, March 29th, 1913 – Mitchell May, Secretary of State of New York, prepares to introduce legislation that would require airplane operators to earn a government-issued license. He points out that a lack of supervision is likely the cause of the high rate of fatal aviation accidents.
Saturday, March 30th, 2013 – Tennessee officials recover the body of a man who fell 2,500 feet after being thrown from an experimental aircraft during a flying lesson. During the flight, the plane’s canopy came loose, and the student was not wearing a seat belt at the time—proving that all the supervision and licensing in the world is no match for people who skipped the vehicle safety day in kindergarten.