December 5, 1939 — Albert Namitjira’s first solo show opens

One of the greatest of Australian painters, Albert Namitjira was 36 when his first solo show opened. It ran for about a week, at a gallery in Melbourne – far away from the rugged landscapes of the Flinders Ranges that Namitjira loved to paint. It was the first solo show by a painter of indigenous origin in Australian history, and it was a harbinger of bigger and better things to come.

Namitjira’s work blended European painting styles with the artistic traditions of his people, in a harmonious blend that showed Australians of all kinds a new way to look at their country. (And its gum trees. Namitjira loved to paint gum trees.) He died in 1959, mourned by a nation and after a too-short career that changed Australian art like no painter before or since has done.

Albert Namatjira portrait.jpg
By Unknown author – Northern Territory Library, Public Domain, Link

As mentioned in:

Native Born — Paul Kelly

October 30, 1938 – Orson Welles broadcasts “War of the Worlds”

It is probably the most infamous radio broadcast of all time: Orson Welles’ Halloween 1938 dramatisation of H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds”.

Welles transplanted the story from England to Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, and told it as a series of news reports, keeping the tension and hysteria of it all steadily rising. It terrified audiences at the time – like a hell of a lot of Welles’ work it is arguably a great work of art, and an enormous prank at once.

Whether or not there was panic during the broadcast, there was considerable outrage afterwards – how that has to do with the alleged ‘cruelty’ of it, and how much with people just hating to be fooled is an open question.

Referenced in:

Orson Welles War of the Worlds 1938.jpg
By Acme News Photos – eBay
back, Public Domain, Link

As mentioned in:

Radio Ga Ga — Queen