Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Today -100: January 7, 1914: The family that Wagners together

The German royal family puts on a show of unity, implicitly denying that there is a rift between the kaiser and the crown prince, by appearing in the same theatre box to watch Parsifal. Family bonding through Wagner, the German way.

Obit of the Day -100: Duke Alain Charles Louis de Rohan, Prince de Leon, a member of France’s Chamber of Deputies since 1876 and, as the titles might suggest, a Royalist. In 1876 there was still a chance that some version of the monarchy might be re-established, so the past 37 years must have been a bit of a disappointment to him.

The president of the French National Aerial League orders aviator Jules Vedrines to fight a duel with the associate of another aviator who he hit in the face (something about monopolizing petrol along a route). Vedrines had refused the man’s seconds, but says he will fight... the president of the Aerial League.

Pancho Villa has a personal bugler (not a euphemism). He has also made a deal with Harry Aitken of the Mutual Film Corp. to make movies of the war. Eight filmmakers will be sent to his camp. Aitken (who later produced Birth of a Nation) commented, “It’s a new proposition, and it has been worrying me a lot all day. How would you feel to be a partner of a man engaged in killing people, and do you suspect that the fact that moving picture machines are in range to immortalize an act of daring or of cruel brutality will have any effect on the war itself?” It is an exclusive deal: Villa is required to keep other moving picture cameramen off the field during his battles.

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