#TodayInHistory – October 313 min read
October 31 – Some important events on this day.
1517 👉🏼 Martin Luther sends his 95 Theses to Albrecht von Brandenburg, the Archbishop of Mainz, precipitating The Protestant Reformation
1541 👉🏼 Michelangelo Buonarroti finishes painting “The Last Judgement” in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City.
1756 👉🏼 Giacomo Casanova escapes from prison in Venice by climbing onto the roof.
Giacomo Casanova is remembered for his love affairs and, in popular culture, his name is now synonymous with “womanizer”.
However Casanova was the epitome of the eighteenth century gentleman, learned, adventurous and a great traveller. Throughout his life he worked as a spy, professional gambler and librarian. His biography “Story of My Life” was published after his death.
1837 👉🏼 Collision of river boat Monmouth & Trement on Mississippi. 300 die
1876 👉🏼 Great Backerganj Cyclone of 1876 ravages British India (Modern-day Bangladesh), over 200,000 killed
1917 👉🏼 World War I: Battle of Beersheba in southern Palestine – “last successful cavalry charge in history” performed by the 4th Australian Light Horse
1918 👉🏼 Spanish Flu kills 21,000 people in the US in a single week
1926 👉🏼 Celebrated magician Harry Houdini dies
1950 👉🏼 Earl Lloyd becomes first black player in the NBA
1962 👉🏼 “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” horror film released directed by Robert Aldrich, starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, based on novel by Henry Farrell
1964 👉🏼 London’s notorious Windmill Theatre closes.
Basically, not even wartime bombs could force London’s Windmill Theatre to shut its doors and it gloried in the slogan, “We never closed.” Unfortunately, on this day, it did. Changing times and fortunes had taken their toll on an establishment famous for its naked women.
Originally a small theatre that could accommodate about 300 patrons, it began in 1932 to put on what it called a Revudeville. Singers, dancers, showgirls and other acts would perform continuously from 2.30pm until 11pm.
Daringly, the management decided to go further and, taking the lead of the Folies Bergères and Moulin Rouge in Paris, introduced glamorous nude females, the so-called the Windmill Girls, on stage.
In those days, theatre performances were subject to censorship by the government, and the man responsible for keeping a censorious eye on it all being the Lord Chamberlain, who had the power to stop a show or even close a theatre.
But the Windmill, convinced it was on to a good thing, took up the challenge by presenting its nudes in motionless poses as living statues or “tableaux vivants”. So It persuaded the Lord Chamberlain there was nothing obscene about it because nobody could be offended by a nude statue.
The argument was accepted, provided the naked female did not move. In any case, the audiences loved it and the venture became highly profitable.
But by the 1960s this once-fashionable Soho area filled with shops and family restaurants had turned into a seedy, if not notorious district, awash with strip clubs and massage parlours.
The Windmill became the victim of its own success: other theatres in the area copied the formula, pulling patrons away and, unable to compete against its new neighbours, it accepted its inevitable fate. Bowing to the jesters who changed its slogan to “We never clothed,” it eventually shut its doors.
2011 👉🏼 The world population reaches 7 billion inhabitants according to the United Nations
2018 👉🏼 Worlds biggest statue, the Statue of Unity is unveiled of Indian independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at 182 meters in Gujarat state