This Day in Geek History: January 29
John J. Beckley became the first Librarian of the U.S. Congress. Visit the official website of the Library of Congress.
The Edgar Allen Poe poem “The Raven” is published in the New York Evening Mirror for the first time anywhere.
In Karlsruhe, Germany, Karl Benz receives a patent for the first successful gasoline-driven car.
General Electric (GE) and the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) meet to select a format for ERMA Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) encoding on checks. The ERMA or Electronic Recording Machine – Accounting, is a system commissioned by the Bank of America, to move towards automating check handling. International Business Machines (IBM) makes a strong case for placing the encoding along the top of a checks, but GE and SRI had conducted a series of tests that demonstrated the advantage of placing the encoding along the bottom of checks.
Columbia Pictures releases the comedy Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, Slim Pickens, Peter Bull, James Earl Jones, and Tracy Reed, to U.S. theaters. The film, which is loosely based on the novel Red Alert by Peter George, satirizes the Cold War doctrine of mutually assured destruction. Produced on a budget of US$1.8 million, it will gross US$$9,164,370 domestically. IMDB listing (MPAA Rating: GP) Running Time: 1 hr 33 min
The International Business Machines (IBM) Data Processing Division (DPD) introduces the IBM System/360 Model 85, a high-end addition to the System/360 line, designed to solve complex scientific problems, and the IBM 2420 nine track magnetic tape unit, which operates at twice the speed of previous IBM tape drives.
According to Twin Galaxies, Steven Ritger scores a record-setting 7,045,000 points playing the Atari arcade game Battle Zone at the Time Out arcade in Springfield, Virginia. Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.
New World Pictures releases the science fiction film Hell Comes to Frogtown, directed by Donald G. Jackson and starring Roddy Piper, Sandahl Bergman, Cec Verrell, William Smith, and Rory Calhoun, to U.S. theaters. In it, a survivor living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland must rescue of a group of women from the harem of the mutant tyrant. IMDB listing
Spectrum Holobyte releases the puzzle game Tetris for the Commodore 64 or IBM PC in the U.S. Tetris is the first entertainment software imported into the U.S. from the Soviet Union. The game was written by Alexi Paszitnov and Vagim Gerasimov at the Computer Center of the USSR Academy of Sciences in Moscow. Visit the official Tetris website. Price: US$24.95 (Commodore 64) or US$34.95 (PC)