[TDIH] Fantasia

On November 13, 1940, the Walt Disney Motion Picture “Fantasia” is premiered in a theater. Contrary to popular belief it’s not the first but the 3rd film. It is, however one of the outliers when you think about Disney movies: it’s basically a classical concert, for which short features were made to go along with the music. As such, it’s the first movie with multiple audio tracks in the room, mixed for multiple speakers. Who needs stereo when you can have an 8-tracks?


[TDIH] Bay Bridge Opens

On November 12, 1936, the Bay Bridge opened to actual traffic. It took a bit over 3 years to build and immediately caused “the greatest traffic jam in the history of S.F.”. Nowadays, it carries almost 300 000 vehicles a day. It resembles closely its sibling the Golden Gate Bridge, which is one of the most famous suspension bridges in the world.

Handy recognition tips:

  • if it’s red, it’s probably the Golden Gate (the Bay Bridge being grey)
  • if it’s next to Alcatraz, it’s the Golden Gate
  • if traffic goes only one way it’s the Bay Bridge (top side goes eastwards)
  • if it’s split in two, with an island in the middle, it’s the Bay Bridge

[TDIH] Olympe de Gouges Is Executed

On November 3, 1793, Olympe de Gouges is guillotined on what is today the Place de la Concorde, in Paris. The exact reason of the execution would take a while to explain, but the main thrust of it is that she disagreed with the way France was governed post-Revolution, and was advocating a return to one of the classical forms: republic, federation, or constitutional monarchy.

She is considered today to be one of the most modern feminists of that era: she was politically engaged and quite vocal about total and absolute equality between men and women, at a time when it was unthinkable (and would remain so for a few more centuries, sadly). She was also a staunch anti-slavery proponent.


[TDIH} The Sistine Chapel Is Open To Public

On November 1, 1512, the Sistine Chapel is opened to the public for the first time. Michelangelo has been working of it for 4 years at this point, and it’s considered today to be one of the greatest pieces of religious art in the Christian world.

Its 40m x 13m surface is viewed by tens of thousands of people every year, and may have to be protected in the future from atmospheric degradation, by either limiting the number of people in the room, or coating the surface with a preservative.


[TDIH] Don Giovanni Debut

On October 29, 1787, the first performance of Don Giovanni is performed in Prague. Mozart has been working on it since earlier that year, and it has changed score and ordhestration several times, which is somewhat uncharacteristic of Amadeus.

Don Juan (or Don Giovanni) is a darker story in this version than most: the famous seducer (and also sexual predator / rapist) starts off by killing the Commendatore, the father of one of his victims, in a duel, then wanders around trying to “seduce” (or actually rape, most of the times) the fiancée of another man, being thwarted at every turn by the fantastical amount of enemies he has made, and finally gets dragged to Hell by the ghost of the Commendatore, animating his own graveyard statue. Yikes.