Today in History: April 1th Edition

Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne on this date 40 years ago. Jobs and Wozniak are justly celebrated in business history for their roles in founding and building the legendary company; Wayne’s role was short-lived.

Ron Wayne knew Jobs at Atari and was brought on board Apple to be the grown-up in the room—he was more than a decade older than the two young engineers—and he wrote the Apple 1 technical manual, drew up the partnership agreement, and even drew the company’s first logo, which featured Isaac Newton sitting under a tree with an apple dangling above his head, plump with the weight of a great moment about to happen. (Pictured at top.)

Wayne sold his interest in the company less than two weeks later, on April 12, 1976, for $800. (Because he was older, he had a business history and he owned real assets which could have been lost should Apple have failed.) He has never expressed anything other than pride in having had a role in helping Apple Inc. get off to its start.

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Today is April 1, April Fools’ Day, and Geoffrey Chaucer is often given credit for our association between the day and light-hearted pranks and jokes, as he is with Valentine’s Day and amour. In “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale,” one story in his epic “The Canterbury Tales,” a line appears, “Since March had gone, thirty days and two,” which may or may not be a joke (March 32nd). The Nun’s Priest tells a story of a vain rooster being tricked by a sly fox. “The Canterbury Tales” was composed in the late 1380s or 1390s, and copies began to be circulated in the next half-century.

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The film “The Blue Angel,” starring Marlene Dietrich, debuted on this date in 1930 in Germany. An immediate international sensation, an English-language version was released in America several months later. (An English version was filmed at the same time as the German-language one—scenes were filmed multiple times, in various languages, back-to-back when producers thought foreign language prints would be needed.) Dietrich sings what became her signature song, “Falling in Love Again.” The scene, in English:

 
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Marvin Gaye was murdered by his father 32 years ago today. John McSherry died 20 years ago today. Cynthia Lennon died on this date last year.

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Sergei Rachmaninoff was born on this date in 1873. Toshiro Mifune was born on this date in 1920. William Manchester was born 94 years ago today. Anne McCaffrey would be 90 today. Gil Scott-Heron was born 67 years ago today.

 
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Governor Brendan Byrne is 92 today. Jane Powell is 87. Milan Kundera is 87 today. Debbie Reynolds is 84. Ali MacGraw is 77. Phil Niekro is 77. Samuel R. Delany is 74 today. Rusty Staub is 72. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is 66 today. Rachel Maddow is 43 today.

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