19 April 1927

Mae West is sentenced to ten days in jail for obscenity for her play Sex.

Mae West, a bold and charismatic figure in American entertainment, faced legal challenges due to her 1926 play titled “Sex.” West wrote, directed, and starred in this play, which was performed on Broadway. The play’s content, considered risqué and overtly sexual for its time, led to public controversy and legal scrutiny.

The authorities deemed the play obscene, and in 1927, West was prosecuted. She was convicted of producing an obscene performance, which resulted in a sentence of ten days in jail. Interestingly, Mae West’s time in jail did not dampen her spirit or career; instead, it boosted her public persona and fame. West served eight days of her ten-day sentence, reportedly receiving preferential treatment and even dining with the warden and his wife.

This incident exemplified her fearless approach to social norms and censorship, playing a pivotal role in her becoming an iconic figure who continually pushed the boundaries of acceptability in entertainment. West’s career flourished after this event, with her transitioning into Hollywood, where she became a major film star known for her witty one-liners and sexual innuendos, further cementing her legacy as a trailblazer in challenging and reshaping societal norms about sexuality and censorship.

10 January 1927

Fritz Lang’s futuristic film Metropolis is released in Germany

“Metropolis” is a classic German expressionist science-fiction film directed by Fritz Lang. Released in 1927, it is one of the most iconic and influential films in the history of cinema. The screenplay was written by Lang and his wife, Thea von Harbou.

The film is set in a dystopian future where society is sharply divided between the wealthy elite who live in luxury above ground and the oppressed working class who toil in harsh conditions below ground to operate the vast machinery that sustains the city. The narrative follows Freder Fredersen, the son of the city’s ruler, Joh Fredersen, who becomes aware of the harsh conditions faced by the workers. Freder decides to explore the depths of the city to understand their plight and discovers the rebellious Maria, who becomes a pivotal figure in the struggle for social justice.

One of the most notable aspects of “Metropolis” is its groundbreaking and visually stunning production design. The film’s art direction, led by Otto Hunte, Erich Kettelhut, and Karl Vollbrecht, created a futuristic and grandiose cityscape with towering skyscrapers, expansive sets, and intricate special effects for the time. The film’s visuals have left an indelible mark on the science fiction genre and continue to influence filmmakers to this day.

“Metropolis” is also known for its pioneering use of special effects and innovative filmmaking techniques. The use of miniatures, matte paintings, and other visual effects was groundbreaking for its time and added to the film’s epic and otherworldly atmosphere.

Despite its visual brilliance, “Metropolis” faced challenges upon its initial release due to its length and complex narrative. The film was heavily edited, and significant portions were removed, leading to confusion among audiences. Over the years, efforts have been made to restore and reconstruct the film to its original form, and various versions have been released.

While “Metropolis” was not an immediate commercial success, it has since gained recognition and acclaim for its artistic and cinematic achievements. It is considered a landmark in the history of science fiction cinema and a timeless classic that continues to be studied and celebrated for its contributions to filmmaking and storytelling.

4 July 1927

First flight of the Lockheed Vega.

The Lockheed Vega was a popular single-engine aircraft produced by the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in the 1930s. It was designed as a high-performance, all-metal monoplane suitable for various purposes, including private, executive, and commercial aviation. The Vega quickly gained recognition for its speed, range, and reliability, and it played a significant role in aviation history.

The Lockheed Vega was designed by John Knudsen “Jack” Northrop and Gerard Vultee, who later founded their own aircraft companies. The aircraft’s construction featured a sleek, streamlined monocoque fuselage made of metal, which was a departure from the traditional wood-and-fabric construction methods of the time. This innovative design contributed to the Vega’s exceptional performance.

The Vega was powered by a radial engine and had a low-wing configuration. It featured retractable landing gear, which improved its aerodynamics and allowed for higher speeds. The cockpit accommodated a pilot and a small number of passengers or cargo, depending on the model and purpose.

One of the most famous users of the Lockheed Vega was the aviator Amelia Earhart. In 1932, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, piloting a custom-built Lockheed Vega 5B named the “Friendship.” This achievement helped solidify the Vega’s reputation as a reliable and capable aircraft.

In addition to its role in aviation history, the Lockheed Vega also had a significant impact on the commercial aviation industry. It was employed by various airlines and transport companies for passenger and cargo operations. Some Vega models were also converted for military use, serving as reconnaissance aircraft or light bombers during conflicts such as World War II.

26 June 1927

The Cyclone roller coaster opens on Coney Island.

The Cyclone roller coaster, located on Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, is one of the most notable and iconic roller coasters in the world. The Cyclone was built in 1927, making it one of the oldest operating roller coasters in the United States. It is considered a national landmark and holds a special place in the history of amusement park attractions.

The Cyclone is renowned for its intense and thrilling ride experience. It features a wooden track, steep drops, sharp turns, and high speeds, providing riders with an exhilarating and heart-pounding experience. The Cyclone has gained immense popularity and has been enjoyed by millions of riders over the years. It has been featured in numerous films, television shows, and documentaries, further enhancing its fame. Despite being nearly a century old, the Cyclone has undergone extensive restoration and preservation efforts to maintain its original design and character. The roller coaster has been carefully maintained to ensure the safety and enjoyment of riders while preserving its historical significance.

The Cyclone has become an enduring symbol of Coney Island and a cherished part of New York City’s cultural heritage. It represents the rich history of amusement parks and the nostalgia associated with traditional wooden roller coasters.

26 June 1927

The Cyclone roller coaster opens on Coney Island, NY.

The Coney Island Cyclone is a historic wooden roller coaster that opened on June 26, 1927, in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York City. On June 18, 1975, Dewey and Jerome Albert – owners of Astroland Park – entered into an agreement with New York City to operate the ride. Despite original plans by the city to scrap the ride in the early 1970s, the roller coaster was refurbished in the 1974 off-season and reopened on July 3, 1975. Astroland Park continued to invest millions over the years in the upkeep of the Cyclone. After Astroland closed in 2008, Carol Hill Albert, president of Cyclone Coasters, continued to operate it under a lease agreement with the city. In 2011, Luna Park took over operation of the Cyclone. It was declared a New York City landmark on July 12, 1988, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 26, 1991.

When it opened on June 26, 1927, a ride cost only twenty-five cents, about $3.50 when adjusted for inflation in 2012 compared to the actual $9 per ride for the 2015 Season.

In 1978, the Cyclone was featured in the film version of The Wiz as the home of its version of the Tinman, and its size compared with the rest of Ozraised to enormous proportions.

4 October 1927

Gutzon Borglum begins the sculpting work on Mount Rushmore.


On this day in 1927, sculpting begins on the face of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota. It would take another 12 years for the impressive granite images of four of America’s most revered and beloved presidents—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt–to be completed.

The monument was the brainchild of a South Dakota historian named Doane Robinson, who was looking for a way to attract more tourists to his state. He hired a sculptor named Gutzon Borglum to carve the faces into the mountain. According to the National Park Service, the first face to be chiseled was George Washington’s; Borglum first sculpted the head as an egg shape, his features added later. Thomas Jefferson’s image was originally fashioned in the space to the right of Washington, but, within two years, the face was badly cracked. Workers had to blast the sculpture off the mountain using dynamite. Borglum then started over with Jefferson situated on the left side of Washington.

Washington’s face was the first to be completed in 1934. Jefferson’s was dedicated in 1936–with then-president Franklin Roosevelt in attendance–and Lincoln’s was completed a year later. In 1939, Teddy Roosevelt’s face was completed. The project, which cost $1 million, was funded primarily by the federal government.

Borglum continued to touch up his work at Mount Rushmore until he died suddenly in 1941. Borglum had originally hoped to also carve a series of inscriptions into the mountain, outlining the history of the United States.