Volkswagen, the manufacturer who brought us the beauty you see above, affectionately dubbed “the Beetle”, launched its second offering on this day in 1950. With the Transporter, an icon of the American 60s counterculture was born.
Volkswagen was originally founded with the help of Adolph Hitler to provide vehicles to the masses as part of his infrastructure goals. While I have never owned a VW Beetle or bus, I do have fond memories of one similar to the Beetle picture. One of my best friends in high school often drove one that belonged to his parents. I remember the summer before my junior year. The radio station we listened to was giving away 4 packs of tickets to see the Violent Femmes at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach. All you had to do to get them was be the first correct answer to their lunch time trivia question. This is where my friend’s genius plot was hatched. He would win Monday’s pack of tickets easily. He would then go on to win 3 more sets over the course of the week, using the rest of our names. This gave us 16 tickets, leading to a convoy of teens heading for the coast for a night of music and fun before school would commence in a couple of weeks. I can still smell the salty air and hear the music of that night. It was an awesome experience, even for a shy introvert like myself. I wish I had managed to capture some of that night on film, none of us had cellphones in those days. Ah well.
In other news, it was on this day in 1971 that Muhammad Ali returned to the ring for the “Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden versus then champion Joe Frazier. The celebrity filled stadium would see the charismatic Ali dance his way to his first loss of his professional boxing career when Frazier won by unanimous decision after knocking Ali down in the 15th round. The two would face each other two more times in 1974 and 1975, with different results. Ali would come out the better of those two match-ups. The two’s fierce rivalry never died. After the 1996 Olympics, where Ali lit the ceremonial flame, Frazier reportedly said “If I had the chance, I would have pushed him in.”
From one flame to a duo obsessed with fire.
On this day in 1993, MTV launched a show my 11year old self probably never should have been allowed to watch, but I managed to see my fair share of episodes.
That’s right kiddo’s. Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butthead made its primetime debut to audiences everywhere on this day. Between crude humor and dubious intelligence, Beavis and Butthead introduced music videos to an ever growing audience, garnering the highest ratings in MTV history, to that point. Compared to some of the stuff on TV these days, they weren’t all that controversial, in my humble opinion. They even managed to launch a spinoff, Daria, about their nerdy female classmate. Judge would later go on to give us King of the Hill and Office Space.
Well Gentle Readers, we will wrap up here for today. Until next time. Live well, write well, be well.