Frozen in Time | Glacier City Gazette
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Frozen in Time

Frozen in Time

A look back at the week that was…

By Emily Maxwell
Associate Editor

October 6 – The Fort Wrangle post office is established. The name is later changed to Wrangell. In 1943 the federal Treasury Section of Fine Arts commissions artist Austin Mecklem and his wife, Marianne Greer Appel, to paint a mural, Old Town in Alaska, intended for the Wrangell post office. The work is completed at their studio in New York state, transported via railway on Oct 19, 1943, arrives in Wrangell in December 1943 and is installed in early 1944. – 1869

October 7 – Poet Allen Ginsberg reads his epic Howl for the first time at Six Gallery in San Francisco. The poem is considered to be one of the great works of American literature and the most well-known poem of the Beat Generation. It earns an obscenity trial and the arrests of City Lights Bookstore manager Shigeyoshi Murao and fellow poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the latter of which was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. In 1957, Judge Clayton Horn rules that the poem is of “redeeming social importance.” – 1955

October 8 – Jerry Lee Lewis records “Great Balls of Fire” at Sun Records in Memphis. The recording takes several hours more than anticipated as Christian-raised Lewis repeatedly argues with record producer and Sun Records founder Sam Phillips that the material is too sinful for him. The record becomes Lewis’ second smash-hit after “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On,” but his stardom and success never fully quiets his religious self-doubt. – 1957

October 9 – Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara is assassinated the day after being captured by the U.S.-military-backed Bolivian army. Fidel Castro’s right-hand man, Guevara strongly opposed U.S. domination in Latin America and favored peasant-based revolutions to combat social injustices in Third World countries. Guevara’s body is buried in an unmarked grave until 1997, when his remains are found and transported back to Cuba. – 1967

October 10 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower offers his apology to Ghanian Finance Minister Komla Agbeli Gbdemah after Gbdemah is refused service at a Delaware restaurant, the first of many such incidents in which visiting African and Asian diplomats are the victims of racism. Such incidents continue into the 1960s when diplomats face housing discrimination while visiting Washington, D.C. – 1957

October 11 – Lorne Michaels’ Saturday Night Live (SNL) debuts on NBC, featuring John Belushi, Chevy Chase and Gilda Radner as well as many other comedians whose careers are launched by the show. The show goes on to become the longest-running, highest-rated show on late night television fame and contributes a slew of references to pop culture history with memorable characters and catchphrases such as “Daaaaaaaaa bears” and “More cowbell.” – 1975

Courtesy photo
Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi in 1980’s The Blues Brothers, the first feature-length movie inspired by Saturday Night Live. The movie earned over $115 million on a $27 million budget.

October 12 – University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard dies after being brutally attacked by two anti-gay bigots. After robbing and beating Shepard, his attackers take him to a remote spot outside of town and tie him to a fence, leaving him to die in freezing temperatures. Shepard’s death sparks national outrage and President Bill Clinton implores Congress to pass the Hate Crimes Prevention Act which expands on the 1969 federal hate-crime law and includes protection for victims of crime motivated by gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. The Act is signed into law in 2009 by President Barack Obama. – 1998