Neil Armstrong’s Parents Appear on the Classic American TV Show “I’ve Got a Secret,” 1962

"I've Got a Secret" was an American game show aired by CBS. By asking a series of questions, a panel had to determine the secret of contestants. On September 17, 1962, Stephen Koenig Armstrong and Viola Louise Engel Armstrong came on the show and harbored this secret -- their son was one of nine men made an astronaut that very day. Almost seven years later, on July 20, 1969, Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon. This is why host Garry Moore's question is all the more amazing: “Now, how would you feel, Mrs. Armstrong, if it turned out - of course nobody knows - but if it turns out that your son is the first man to land on the moon? How would you feel?"

Neil Armstrong died on August 25, 2012 in Cincinnati, at the age of 82. Here is NASA's tribute to his life and achievements.

By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.

Hollywood by Helicopter, 1958

"This movie is going to be pretty obvious." That's not the best way to get the viewer's attention. And the rest of the script, read by Bob Crane, is not much better: "Hey Kitty, look ... Kitty, you didn't look hard enough ... See the thing that looks like a building? That's a building!" Nor is the premise of the film very good: Kitty is a novice actress, and, before appearing in her first movie, she gets an aerial tour of Hollywood and its landmarks.

But from a historical perspective, this 1950s footage of the Los Angeles movie industry has its intriguing moments. It's particularly interesting to see how much space there still was around some of the studios and movie theaters. Just compare the image of Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard taken from the film with a Google Earth shot from today:

By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.

Historic Barn Etchings Tell Tale of Hard-Working Children

Since Canadian Confederation, it was the policy of the Canadian government to provide education to Aboriginal peoples through a system of church-run Residential Schools. The idea was that by separating the children at an early age from their parents' influence, they might be more easily assimilated into white Canadian society, including the Christian religion. (A very similar fate befell Australian Aboriginal children after 1931.) The Methodist and Presbyterian churches, and the United Church of Canada, explicitly supported the goals of assimilation and Christianization.

Mount Elgin Industrial School, operating near London, Ontario between 1851 and 1946, was one such institution. Apart from attending school itself, the native children had to work day and night at a nearby barn. Recently, scholars discovered words and drawings all over the barn walls left behind by some of the 1,200 children forced to work there. Described as the "Dead Sea Scrolls" of this dark chapter in Canadian history, the words tell a moving tale of children isolated from friends and families, working very hard under less than ideal circumstances.

On June 20 2012, a monument to the survivors of Canadian residential schools will be unveiled on the site of Mount Elgin Residential School.

Here are some historical photos of Mount Elgin Residential School.

By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.

Five Historical Misconceptions Debunked

Viking helmets had horns, Napoleon was quite short and Lady Godiva rode through Coventry naked. Most of us accept these tales as facts because they've been told for many generations. But C.G.P. Grey took a closer look and compiled this short video in which he debunks not only these historical misconceptions but also two myths surrounding the Roman "Vomitorium" and Columbus.

Bonus material:

By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.

The Anatomical Drawings of Renaissance Man, Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci, the archetype of the Renaissance Man, received some formal training in the anatomy of the human body. He regularly dissected human corpses and made very detailed drawings of muscles, tendons, the heart and vascular system, internal organs and the human skeleton. A great number of these drawings can now be seen in the largest exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s studies of the human body, "Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist," at The Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace, London. In this video, Senior Curator Martin Clayton explores three of these drawings and shows that Leonardo's medical discoveries could have transformed the study of anatomy in Europe, had they not languished unpublished for centuries. Clayton has also published his findings in "Nature". And the BBC has looked into the question of just how accurate Leonardo's anatomical drawings really were.

Bonus links:

  • The Guardian has a fascinating story about Leonardo da Vinci's notebook, including his 'to-do' list.
  • Here's a wonderful 360° panoramic view of Santa Maria delle Grazia in Milan with Leonardo's "Last Supper".

By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.

Rome Reborn – An Amazing Digital Model of Ancient Rome

What did ancient Rome look like in A.D. 320? Rome Reborn is an international initiative to answer this question and create a 3D digital model of the Eternal City at a time when Rome's population had reached its peak (about one million) and the first Christian churches were being built. The result is a truly stunning bird's-eye and ground view of ancient Rome that makes you feel as if you were actually there. There are also some high-resolution images that lend themselves perfectly to being used as wallpaper for your computer. HT @amishare

Related Content:

How the Egyptian Pyramids Were Built: A New Theory in 3D Animation

Building The Colosseum: The Icon of Rome

Visit Pompeii (also Stonehenge & Versailles) with Google Street View

By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.

Trotsky, Russian Revolutionary, Makes Debut Performance Before Microphone (1932)

Many moons ago, we featured a speech by Leon Trotsky given in his Mexican exile in 1937. Turns out recordings of his television addresses go back even further. The short clip above was recorded in Denmark in 1932 and is titled "Trotzky makes debut performance before microphone". (A little aside: The clip was produced by Fox Movietone News, a newsreel that ran in the U.S. from 1928 to 1963. Would Fox still show something like this today?) In November 1932, Trotsky left his exile in Turkey to accept an invitation by the Danish Social Democratic Students' Association to come to Copenhagen and speak about the Russian Revolution. You can read the text of the speech called "In Defence of October" held on November 27 here. There are also two impressive photos secretly taken by a photojournalist. There was a lot of commotion surrounding Trotsky's trip to Denmark: the Danish Communist Party, controlled by Stalin, staged demonstrations and the Royal Family protested against his visit - they held Trotsky responsible for the violent deaths of their relatives, the Tsar and his family. Nevertheless, Trotsky delivered his speech before an audience of about 2,500. The video address was recorded in English two weeks later, on December 10, 1932.

To see other famous leaders making their debut performances, check out Mahatma Gandhi in his First Recorded Video and Nelson Mandela’s First-Ever Interview.

By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.

 

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