Welcome to ON THIS DAY! Each day, we'll look at a few moments from history and popular culture. We'll show you where you can rediscover classic movies and music, or read more about great moments in history. We'll point you to e-books, downloadable and streamable music and film, and e-audio; and of course, we haven't forgotten about physical books or DVDs.
|On this day in 1910, Jacques Cousteau was born. Cousteau was an explorer, filmmaker, scientist, and author whose focus was the underwater world. In the early 1940s, Cousteau helped to develop one of the first scuba diving systems. In his 1953 book The Silent World, his observations led him to the the correct prediction that porpoises used echolocation to navigate. Beginning in the mid-1960s, he spent thirty years making more than 100 television documentaries on various aspects of aquatic life. In his last book, The Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus, Cousteau summarizes his life's work on the importance of exploration and conservation; it's available as an e-book or e-audio at OverDrive, or in print.|
|On this day in 1926, Carlisle Floyd was born. Floyd is a composer of operas, many of which are based on novels about life in the American South -- Of Mice and Men, Cold Sassy Tree, Willie Stark -- though he has also drawn on work by Emily Brontë and Robert Louis Stevenson. Floyd's most successful opera has been the 1955 Susannah. It's based loosely on a story from the Biblical Apocrypha, and tells the tale of a young Tennessee woman persecuted by her conservative community. A recording of Susannah is available for streaming at Hoopla.|
|And on this day in 1933, Gene Wilder was born. Wilder was a comic actor and writer whose first major film role was in Mel Brooks' The Producers. Wilder and Brooks would collaborate on several more movies, including Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. Wilder would go on to co-star with Richard Pryor in several popular comedies (Stir Crazy, Silver Streak). Wilder retired from acting in 2003; in the last decade of his life, he turned to writing, publishing a memoir and three novels. Wilder stars with Harrison Ford in the 1979 comic Western The Frisco Kid, playing a naive young rabbi traveling through the Wild West with the reluctant help of a fugitive bank robber. The Frisco Kid is available for streaming at Hoopla.|