Today in History: June 30

Macmillan Publishers ordered a first printing of 10,000 copies of Gone with the Wind, which was published 80 years ago today. Ten thousand copies was a large number for a 1000-page novel bearing a high cover price ($3 in the Great Depression) and written by a first-time novelist, Margaret Mitchell. Within two months, Macmillan needed to order a second and a third printing, and by the end of the year 100,000 copies were in peoples’ homes.

Gone with the Wind was an instant bestseller, and it was a rarity among bestsellers: one that most of those who purchased it that year actually took the time to read.

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London’s Tower Bridge, one of that city’s iconic structures, was opened by HRH The Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII), and his wife, The Princess of Wales (Alexandra of Denmark). (Pictured above.)

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U.S. patent No. 1,544,156 was granted to Charles Francis Jenkins on this date in 1925. The patent is titled “Transmitting Pictures over Wireless,” and it is the earliest patent related to television. Jenkins had been researching the possibility of sending pictures and sound simultaneously over radio for years and had published articles dating back to 1913; his patent application was filed in 1922 but his first public demonstration of his technology had not been made until June 1925.

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The Johnny Carson Show, a prime-time half-hour starring Johnny Carson, debuted 60 years ago today. Seven directors and eight writers took turns at trying make the show a hit and launch Carson’s career, but it lasted one season and was quickly forgotten. Only ten kinescopes remain, and these were only discovered in the last decade by his former wife Joanne Carson in a forgotten closet.

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Chet Atkins died 15 years ago today.

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Czesław Miłosz was born on this date in 1911. Lena Horne was born in 1917 on this date. Harry Blackstone, Jr. was born on this date in 1934. Dave Van Ronk was born in 1936 on this date.

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Nancy Dussault is 80 today. Robert Ballard is 74. Stanley Clarke is 65. David Alan Grier is 60. Vincent D’Onofrio is 57. Yngwie Malmsteen is 53. Mike Tyson is 50. Michael Phelps is 31 today.

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