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Diving back into history may be delightful or dismaying. KNKX's Nick Morrison delivers a daily dose of it with his signature humor and skepticism. Here's what happened on this day.

March 1: A "Mad" birthday, Seattle's Paramount Theatre opens and The Everly Brothers' mega-hit

An older man with white hair, a beard and glasses leans on his desk, resting his hand on his cheek. Behind him are illustrations and colorful books.
David Cantor
William M. Gaines, publisher of MAD magazine, poses in his New York office, May 16, 1990.

MARCH 1— There is a small contingent of our fellow citizens who would like to see this day consecrated as a national holiday. That’s because it’s the birthday of William M. Gaines who, in 1952, became the founder and long-time publisher of Mad magazine—the satire rag that set up bullshit-detectors in the minds of many young Americans.

Many parents objected to their children wasting their time reading the self-proclaimed ‘trash’ that Mad published, but the magazine was virulently anti-smoking, anti-hypocrisy, anti-corporate con jobs and, in the Vietnam era, overtly anti-war.

Under Gaines, Mad jubilantly skewered all aspects of American life. The magazine also loved to stick its finger in the eyes of Madison Avenue advertising agencies. Under Gaines, Mad accepted no advertising, so as to be able to satirize all comers. Gaines’ tenure at the magazine lasted from its inception until the day he died in 1992.

Today is also the date that Seattle’s beloved Paramount Theatre opened its doors in 1928. (Well, actually when those doors opened, the place was known as "The Seattle Theatre" but changed its name to "The Paramount" in 1930.)

A brick building on an empty street with a tall vertical sign that reads "PARAMOUNT." On the marquee below it says "One Year Closed 3/11/20 - 3/11/21."
Ted S. Warren
In this photo taken March 15, 2021, the Paramount Theatre's marquee marks the one year anniversary of the date the venue closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Seattle.

It was originally conceived as a movie and vaudeville palace, but that didn’t last long. It had to close for a while in the early '30s due to the Depression, and when it reopened it was primarily a film venue. In the early 1970s, though, it became "Paramount Northwest," a venue for touring rock, soul and jazz performers, which breathed new life into the old place.

In doing research for this tidbit, I noticed that progressive Seattle women have made their way into The Paramount’s history. The theatre’s opening night festivities in 1928 were convened by then mayor, Bertha Knight Landes. Ms. Landes only served for two years but she was the first female mayor of a major city in America—and the only female mayor of Seattle until the election of Jenny Durkan in 2017.

Fast forward to 1993: The Paramount was looking a wrecking ball right in the eye until ex-Microsoft executive, Ida Cole stepped in and bought it. Others stepped in behind her to help finance renovations.

Two years and about 37 million bucks later, The Paramount was restored to its original resplendence and beyond. And there it sits, 95 years old, still in its place on the corner of 9th and Pine, hosting just about every form of art that takes place on a stage.

Here’s a great example of how to get right down to business when you get a job:

On this day in 1957, the then-unknown Everly Brothers signed a recording contract with Cadence Records and then basically went into the other room and recorded their first mega-hit record, "Bye-Bye Love." A good day’s work all around, I’d say. It certainly seems to have been a simpler time, doesn’t it?

Corrected: March 7, 2023 at 10:40 AM PST
Spelling of Bertha Knight Landes' last name.
Nick began working at KNKX as a program host in the late 1980’s and, with the exception of a relatively brief hiatus, has been with the station ever since. Along with his work as a Midday Jazz host, Nick worked for several years as KNKX’s Music Director. He is now the station’s Production Manager and also serves as a fill-in host on KNKX’s jazz and blues programs.