Berlin Knowles (1889 - 1977)



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Berlin Knowles Biography & Family History

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Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida

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1889 - In the year that Berlin Knowles was born, on April 20th, Adolf Hitler was born in Austria-Hungary - now Austria. In his early 30's, he began his rise to power in German politics, eventually becoming the leader of the Nazi Party and Führer of Nazi Germany. He presided over the death of millions of civilians as well as leading Germany through World War II.

1903 - By the time she was just 14 years old, the United States Department of Commerce and Labor was created by President Theodore Roosevelt to control the excesses of big business. Renamed the Department of Commerce 10 years later, many departments concerned with workers were transferred to the Department of Labor at that time. Another spin-off, the Bureau of Corporations, became the Federal Trade Commission.

1930 - Berlin was 41 years old when as head of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, William Hays established a code of decency that outlined what was acceptable in films. The public - and government - had felt that films in the '20's had become increasingly risque and that the behavior of its stars was becoming scandalous. Laws were being passed. In response, the heads of the movie studios adopted a voluntary "code", hoping to head off legislation. The first part of the code prohibited "lowering the moral standards of those who see it", called for depictions of the "correct standards of life", and forbade a picture from showing any sort of ridicule towards a law or "creating sympathy for its violation". The second part dealt with particular behavior in film such as homosexuality, the use of specific curse words, and miscegenation.

1938 - By the time she was 49 years old, on October 30th, a Sunday, The Mercury Theatre on the Air broadcast Orson Welles' special Halloween show The War of the World's. A clever take on H.G. Wells' novel, the show began with simulated "breaking news" of an invasion by Martians. Because of the realistic nature of the "news," there was a public outcry the next day, calling for regulation by the FCC. Although the current story is that many were fooled and panicked, in reality very few people were fooled. But the show made Orson Welles' career.

1977 - In the year of Berlin Knowles's passing, on May 25th, Star Wars premiered in theaters. Eventually, it became the highest-grossing film of all time - until E.T. surpassed it a few years later. It was an immediate hit with theatergoers.

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Berlin Knowles died in June 1977 at age 87. There is no listed cause of death. She was born on December 22, 1889. We have no information about Berlin's family. We know that Berlin Knowles had been residing in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida.


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