Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 03:14:20 EST
Subject: Blockbuster; Smiley; Sit-in

I'll separate these from my posting of business terms.


Did you see the Academy Awards? Did you see the ad for Blockbuster
Video, with that dancing little baby statuette?
The term "blockbuster" (or "block buster") dates in OED from 1942, when
WWII bombs were literally block busters.
I don't know exactly when the term applied to big movies, but this is
from the Wall Street Journal, 25 February 1959, pg. 1, col. 1:

_Films for Foreigners_
U.S. Movie Makers
Boost Efforts to Woo
Overseas Audiences
They Shoot Special Versions,
Dye Heroines' Hair, Plan
More Color "Blockbusters"
The Aim: A "Global Product"
(...) But, for the most part, U.S. film makers are trying to turn out more of
a "global product" from the start. Home-spun themes, such as stories based on
baseball or football, unless they can be made on low budgets, are giving way
to stories with wider appeal, such as those from the classics, or religious
epics. More wide-screen, color "blockbusters" are headed for U.S. screens,
because scenery and action sit better with foreign audiences than a lot of
strange-tongued talk or dubbed dialogue.


Cecil Adams has covered the history of the smiley face in his "Straight
Dope" column (an archive is on AOL). The yellow "Have a Nice Day" smiley
dates from about 1970, but there were earlier, similar ones in the 1960s.
For those who have been to Hartford, CT, you may have seen the yellow
smiley on top of a building there, just a few blocks from the Mark Twain and
Harriet Beecher Stowe houses. That smiley dates from the early 1960s.
In the Wall Street Journal, 17 November 1958, pg. 10, cols.1-2, an ad for
St. Regis Paper (it ran on other dates also) shows "THE MANY FACES OF ST.
It's a smiley. :-)


This is an historical antedate only. I visited Greensboro, North
Carolina to do some research on the authors O. Henry and Albion Tourgee; the
local museum showed the famous Greensboro sit-in of 1960. The Greensboro sit-
in's Woolworth's was then closed and, with more money, was scheduled to become
a civil rights museum. I read that Greensboro's sit-in was the first and that
other cities followed.
Not exactly.
This is from the Wall Street Journal, 12 September 1958, pg. 1, col. 4:

Negroes Score Gains
In Oklahoma Eateries
With Sitdown Strikes
Some Restaurants Desegregate
But Others Resist; Tactic
May Spread to Other Cities

I'll present more work on "sit-in" and "sitdown" later.