Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Jukebox, Caruso & LIFE

This Day in History

November 23, 1889The 'Jukebox' Made its Debut

The Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco
The "nickel-in-the-slot-player" was an overnight sensation making its debut at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco on this day in 1889. For a nickel (the buying power of $1.08 today), one could hear a single recording with the quality of sound resembling the peep-show nickelodeon. Different from the photo above, the first jukebox built by the Pacific Phonograph Co. consisted of an Edison Class M Electric Phonograph inside a free-standing oak cabinet to which were attached FOUR stethoscope-like tubes. Each tube operated individually, thus, each required the insertion of a nickel to activate the sound. This allowed four people to hear the same song simultaneously. Hey! Don't knock it...It had to start somewhere! 

For a nickel apiece a thrilled group tunes in on a screechy jukebox of the 1890s.
Photo: Bettmann/Corbis

November 23, 1903Caruso Sings in America 

In 1903, Enrico Caruso made his American debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, appearing in “Rigoletto.” Italian tenor Caruso's debut in La Scala (1900) was a disaster, yet he went on to become an international star from 1903 - 1920. He appeared in various silent films and participated in the first U.S. public radio broadcast in 1910. Caruso's love letters reveal a life of epic operatic drama.

"I suffer so much in this life. That is what they [the audience] are feeling when I sing, that is why they cry. People who felt nothing in this life cannot sing." —Enrico Caruso

November 23, 1936First Issue of Life Magazine
Cover of first issue of Life magazine, featuring a story on the new
Social Security Board. Courtesy of Clark Bane Hutchinson.
LIFE began as an American humor, light-entertainment, general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. The LIFE Magazine we are mostly familiar with debuted with Volume 1, Number 1 dated November 23, 1936. Margaret Bourke-White had the honor of the cover photo, the Fort Peck Dam, on that inaugural issue. 

With every past issue of Life Magazine one will find pages upon pages of history to devour in any single sitting! Along with Look Magazine, Life would become one of the two major magazines of the era. Both Life and Look magazines popularized photojournalism in the 1930s.

"Embrace the past of word and song for the present is empowered to keep both alive as enrichment for the future."