1919 — Walter Gropius founds the Bauhaus School

The Bauhaus school was founded in Weimar, Germany (the town, not the government) by Walter Gropius, an architect. Ironically, as first comprised, the Bauhaus lacked an architecture department, although given its project of creating a “total” work of art in which all arts, including architecture, would eventually be brought together, this was an oversight that was corrected in short order.

Bauhaus would become one of the most – if not the most – influential schools of design in the twentieth century, affecting art, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, typography and, yes, architecture. Ironically, its wide influence had much to do with its suppression by the Nazis – many Bauhaus alumni were exiled by the Nazi regime, others fled it. They spread its influence to Western Europe, Britain, North America and Israel (Tel Aviv, for example, built more than 3000 buildings influenced by Bauhaus ideas from 1933 onwards).

Referenced in:
Alma — Tom Lehrer

1956 – Béla Lugosi dies

Most famous for his stage and screen portrayals of Dracula, Béla Lugosi was born in Austria-Hungary in the region of Lugoj (in what is now Romania). Born on October 20, 1882, his real name was Béla Ferenc Dezs? Blaskó.

After a successful beginning to his film and stage career in Hungary, he was forced to flee after World War One, and entered the United States via Ellis Island in 1921. He first acted on Broadway in 1922, and made his first American film in 1923. In 1927, he began playing the role of Dracula on Broadway, and later on tour. He played the same role in the 1931 film of Dracula, and became famous the world over for his performance.

But being a foreigner most famous for playing a monster led to typecasting in Hollywood, and this, along with a variety of other factors, including the closure of Universal’s horror films division and also Lugosi’s growing drug habit. He found it harder and harder to get roles, and his appearance as Dracula in “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” was his last role in a major film.

In the final months of life, he became friends with Ed Wood and appeared in several of his films. He also entered treatment for his addiction, which he completed successfully. However, old age and lifetime of drug abuse caught up with him, and he died of a heart attack on August 16, 1956. He was buried in his Dracula costume, but has yet to rise from the grave lusting for the blood of virgins, alas.

Referenced in:
Béla Lugosi’s Dead — Bauhaus