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100-year anniversaries in 2022
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100-year anniversaries in 2022

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Betty White was a national treasure and fans everywhere were praying she would celebrate her 100th birthday on Jan. 17. Sadly, she passed away on Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve, and the world lost a multi-talented actor, author and a very dedicated animal welfare advocate.

It would have been a true Hollywood celebration if Betty had made it to 100, and I’m sure plans were in the works for parties. We’ll miss her, but we’re fortunate to be able to enjoy her comedic talent repeatedly, thanks to TV land and Hollywood capturing decades of her work, especially all the reruns of the fabulous “Golden Girls.”

The year 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of some familiar companies and here are just a few that may be of interest:

For example, “Reader’s Digest” and “Time” magazine are celebrating their 100th anniversary. By the 1940s, “Reader’s Digest” had become the best-selling publication in the country — only outsold by the Bible. Over the years, it published groundbreaking and influential pieces on just about everything. Now, 100 years later, “Reader’s Digest” is published in 22 countries, and still going strong in paper and online.

Time Inc. was founded in 1922 by Henry Luce, and the first issue of “Time” magazine was published on March 3, 1923. The company went on to create iconic magazines, such as “Fortune” (1930), “Life” (1936) and “Sports Illustrated” (1954).

My personal favorite streaming channel is the British Broadcasting Company, and it, too, was founded in 1922. It started airing daily radio broadcasts out of a small London studio, but today it still has a strong radio presence in the U.K., with numerous channels dedicated to sports, music, news, several TV channels, award-winning podcasts through its BBC Sounds app, and a website.

State Farm is also celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Founded by retired farmer and insurance salesman George Jacob “G.J.” Mecherle, it was originally a single-line auto insurer which has grown into a major conglomerate.

Right on the heels of State Farm, the United Services Automobile Association serves millions of members as “one of the few fully integrated financial services organizations in America.” The group has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1922, when 25 army officers in San Antonio decided to insure one another’s vehicles.

Jumping back to Hollywood, according to the National Film Preservation Foundation, artificially added color was somewhat commonplace in films even in the 1920s, though its effects have been lost over time. The Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation works hard to preserve film and the first successful Technicolor movie, “The Toll of the Sea,” which premiered in 1922 at the Rialto Theatre in New York City, has been fully restored and celebrating its 100th birthday. The film’s color is a bit limited, however, since it was processed using just two-color primaries: orange-red and green-blue hues.

The adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” must have been a constant in the brain of Ralph Samuelson, an 18-year-old from Lake City, Minnesota. Samuelson was determined that man should be able to not only ski on snow but on water, too, and in the summer of 1922, he succeeded in doing so. It took him, however, lots of trial and error and plenty of perseverance to master the proper equipment for water skiing.

First, he tried regular snow skis, then staves of a barrel, but he ultimately had success with two 8-foot-long planks of wood. He curved the planks’ ends upward, used a leather strap to hold his feet in place, fashioned an iron ring and sash for his makeshift connecting rope, leaned back with the ski tips pointing up, and he could finally ski on water. Sadly, Samuelson didn’t think to patent his invention, so while he gets the credit, he didn’t get much of the money associated with the leisure sport so popular today.

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., will celebrate its formal dedication 100 years ago in May 1922. The ceremony was officiated by former U.S. president and chief justice of the Supreme Court William Howard Taft, with Robert Todd Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln’s son), Robert Morton (president of the Tuskegee Institute), President Warren G. Harding and Vice President Calvin Coolidge in attendance. Happy anniversary, Abe!

Although many attempts were made by many groups of archaeologists, King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt wasn’t discovered until 1922, marking its 100th anniversary this year. While British Egyptologist Howard Carter and his wealthy backer, Lord Carnarvon, started exploring the mostly intact chambers in November 2022, it wasn’t until a few months later in February 1923 that they opened the last chamber and found the sarcophagus of the boy king, the burial chamber and its many treasures — virtually untouched for 3,000 years.

And to end this column on a very serious, but enormously grateful note, this Jan. 11, 2022, marks the anniversary of the first time insulin was used in the treatment of diabetes. While it had been discovered in 1921, it wasn’t usable until the following year, when it was “purified” by James B. Collip. Before this, those with Type 1 diabetes rarely lived more than a year or two, and today, insulin is still the only effective treatment for people with this condition.

Peg DeMarco is a Morganton resident who writes a weekly features column for The News Herald. Email her at pegdemarco@earthlink.net.

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