United States and American History: 1927

About the history of the United States in 1927, the Jazz Singer is the first talkie, first television transmission, Babe Ruth bats, Lingbergh flys across the Atlantic, first Iron Lung.


--A major bill before Congress was one authorizing government funds for building a huge dam, to be known as the Boulder Canyon Project, on the Colorado River to provide for flood control, irrigation, and electrical power. This bill, introduced by California Senator Hiram Johnson, was vigorously opposed by the State of Arizona. The issue set off a historic 28 1/2-hour filibuster and the bill was defeated.

--The motion picture industry was revolutionized this year by the production of the 1st important all-talking motion picture, The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson.

--The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was established. Two years later it would begin to present annual awards, the "Oscars," for outstanding achievements in the art of the motion picture.

Apr. "Hello, General, you're looking fine. I see you have your glasses on." This comment was provoked by television's 1st successful transmission--the image of Gen. J. J. Carty, vice-president of American Telephone and Telegraph. He was in Washington, D.C., and the receiving set was located in the Bell Telephone Laboratories in Manhattan. Because early television equipment was bulky and expensive, it was to be decades before TV would become commonplace in the home.

May 21 Lindbergh reached Paris! The 25-year-old aviator landed his Spirit of St. Louis in Paris 33 hours and 29 minutes after taking off from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, N.Y. During the 3600-mi. flight he averaged 107 1/2 mph. Upon emerging from his airplane, the tousle-haired Lindbergh laconically remarked:

"Well, here we are. I am very happy."

Novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald said this of Charles Lindbergh:

In the spring of '27 something bright and alien flashed across the sky. A young Minnesotan who seemed to have nothing to do with his generation did a heroic thing, and for a moment people set down their glasses in country clubs and speakeasies and thought of their old best dreams.

June 30 In the fiscal year ending on this date the income of some 6,300,000 American farmers averaged only $548. For many, their financial situation was so hopeless they sold their farms and farm tenancy became widespread.

July 29 Bellevue Hospital in New York City installed the 1st electric respirator, later called the iron lung.

Sept. 22 More than 150,000 boxing fans jammed into Soldiers Field in Chicago to see Gene Tunney defend his Heavyweight Championship against ex-Champ Jack Dempsey. Then in the 7th round, in the words of Tunney himself, "With all his speed and accuracy, Dempsey hit me flush on the jaw, the button. I was knocked dizzy." In fact, Tunney slumped to the canvas, unconscious. Above him, Dempsey hovered, waiting to smash Tunney if he got up. But the referee, following a special Illinois law, refused to start counting until Dempsey retired to a neutral corner. The 4 seconds which intervened were all that Tunney needed. He regained consciousness at the count of 2. "What a surprise! I had 8 seconds in which to get up....I thought--what now? I'd take the full count, of course. Nobody but a fool fails to do that." Tunney regained control of the fight and won a 10-round decision--10 people died of heart attacks listening to Graham McNamee describe the fight and the Long Count over the radio.

Sept. 30 Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run in the 8th inning in a New York game against Washington. Baseball pitchers dared not walk Ruth because he was followed in the batting order by another consistent hitter, Louis Gehrig.

Dec. 27 Show Boat, a new kind of musical comedy, opened in New York City. It was based on Edna Ferber's novel; music and lyrics were by Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern.

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