1872 – Buffalo Bill is in his first Wild West show

William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody didn’t start at the top of his profession. He worked his way up through the ranks, mostly by having a better head for business and marketing than anyone in his way. When Cody first trod the boards in Ned Buntline’s Wild West show “Scouts of the Prairie” in Chicago, it’s unlikely anyone realised where it would lead to.

Cody would become a divisive figure, outspoken in his accusations that it was the broken promises of successive US governments that led to trouble with the Indians, that women should receive equal pay to men, and that hunting was a barbaric sport. He would also become one of the great celebrities of his age, as would many members of his show, including Annie Oakley, Wild Bill Hickok, Tom Mix and Will Rogers.

It would be ten years before Cody would found his own Wild West show, and in so doing, become the name best known in all of history for Wild West shows. On that winter’s night in the Windy City, 1872, Cody was probably just glad to have the work.

Referenced in:

Lydia the Tattooed Lady – Groucho Marx

1770 — Ludwig van Beethoven born

Generally acknowledged to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of the classical composers, Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, in what is now Germany. However, most of his early creative life was spent in Vienna, where he studied music under the tutelage of Joseph Haydn. Exposed to works by other composers of Vienna (notably Mozart and Bach), Beethoven nonetheless developed his own distinctive style.

At the age of 26, Beethoven began to develop tinnitus, an affliction which would slowly rob him of his hearing entirely. Undaunted, he continued to compose, play and conduct music, and many of his greatest works were written at a time when he was either partially or completely deaf.

The date given here for his birth is actually that of his baptism – no conclusive record exists of his actual birth date, although it is unlikely to have been more than a week or so earlier.

Referenced in:

Green Onions — The Blues Brothers