Intl. Notebook Sep 30 2013
LIFE'S RICH PAGEANTS
Smiles, everyone, big smiles.

The above images show Micheline Bernardini, the former Casino de Paris nude dancer who debuted the garment known as a bikini at a 1946 Paris beauty contest. Technically, hers was not the first. Similar garments appear on figures adorning classical Greek urns—but hey, that stuff is ancient history. The modern bikini is credited to Bernardini and designer Louis Réard. Beauty contests are an interesting phenomenon, don’t you think? They’re ultimately about sex, but nobody is supposed to say they’re about sex. It's a subject we've explored in detail before. But as weird and anachronistic as beauty contests are, we find the photos fascinating, so today we’ve dug up some vintage beauty contest pix. Among the participants below you’ll see Miss Italy winner 1951 Isabella Valdettaro (second photo). The dates on these range from mid-1940s to mid-1950s, except for the final shot which is from around 1935.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 16
1942—Blimp Crew Disappears without a Trace
The two-person crew of the U.S. naval blimp L-8 disappears on a routine patrol over the Pacific Ocean. The blimp drifts without her crew and crashes in Daly City, California. The mystery of the crew's disappearance is never solved.
1977—Elvis Presley Dies
Music icon Elvis Presley is found unresponsive by his fiancée on the floor of his Graceland bedroom suite. Attempts to revive him fail and he's pronounced dead soon afterward. The cause of death is often cited as drug overdose, but toxicology tests have never found evidence this was the case. More likely, years of drug abuse contributed to generally frail health and an overtaxed heart that suddenly failed.
August 15
1969—Woodstock Festival Begins
The Woodstock Music & Art Fair, which was billed as an Aquarian Exposition, takes place on a 600 acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York. It would run for three sometimes rainy days and feature thirty-two acts performing at all hours of the day and night. Today the festival is regarded as one of the greatest events in popular music history.
1977—Radio Signal Arrives from Deep Space
An unidentified radio signal, nicknamed the WOW Signal for the notation a scientist made on a computer readout, is briefly detected by the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) project's Big Ear radio telescope. Despite a month of searching the same section of space, the signal is never found again.
August 14
1912—U.S. Invades Nicaragua
United States Marines invade Nicaragua to support the U.S.-backed government installed there after José Santos Zelaya had resigned three years earlier. American troops remain for eleven years.
1936—Last Public Execution in U.S.
Rainey Bethea, who had been convicted of rape and murder, is hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky in what is the last public execution performed in the United States.
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