Tuesday Feb. 16, 2021’s Smile of the Day: The Cheque (or Check)
On this Day:
In 1659, the 1st known cheque (£400) was issued and is on display at Westminster Abbey. Well, except it wasn’t.
A cheque, or check (American English; see spelling differences), is a document that orders a bank to pay a specific amount of money from a person’s account to the person in whose name the cheque has been issued. The person writing the cheque, known as the drawer, has a transaction banking account (often called a current, cheque, chequing or checking account) where their money is held. The drawer writes the various details including the monetary amount, date, and a payee on the cheque, and signs it, ordering their bank, known as the drawee, to pay that person or company the amount of money stated.
A cheque is a negotiable instrument instructing a financial institution to pay a specific amount of a specific currency from a specified transactional account held in the drawer’s name with that institution. Both the drawer and payee may be natural persons or legal entities. Cheques are order instruments, and are not in general payable simply to the bearer as bearer instruments are, but must be paid to the payee. In some countries, such as the US, the payee may endorse the cheque, allowing them to specify a third party to whom it should be paid.
Cheques are a type of bill of exchange that were developed as a way to make payments without the need to carry large amounts of money. Paper money evolved from promissory notes, another form of negotiable instrument similar to cheques in that they were originally a written order to pay the given amount to whoever had it in their possession (the “bearer”).
There is early evidence of using cheques. In India, during the Maurya Empire (from 321 to 185 BC), a commercial instrument called the adesha was in use, which was an order on a banker desiring him to pay the money of the note to a third person.
The ancient Romans are believed to have used an early form of cheque known as praescriptiones in the 1st century BCE.
Beginning in the third century CE, banks in Persian territory began to issue letters of credit. These letters were termed čak, meaning “document” or “contract”. The čak became the sakk later used by traders in the Abbasid Caliphate and other Arab-ruled lands. Transporting a paper sakk was more secure than transporting money. In the ninth century, a merchant in one country could cash a sakk drawn on his bank in another country.
In the 13th century in Venice the bill of exchange was developed as a legal device to allow international trade without the need to carry large amounts of gold and silver. Their use subsequently spread to other European countries.
In the early 1500s in the Dutch Republic, to protect large accumulations of cash, people began depositing their money with “cashiers”. These cashiers held the money for a fee. Competition drove cashiers to offer additional services including paying money to any person bearing a written order from a depositor to do so. They kept the note as proof of payment. This concept went on to spread to England and elsewhere.
Although forms of cheques have been in use since ancient times and at least since the 9th century, it was during the 20th century that cheques became a highly popular non-cash method for making payments and the usage of cheques peaked. By the second half of the 20th century, as cheque processing became automated, billions of cheques were issued annually; these volumes peaked in or around the early 1990s. Since then cheque usage has fallen, being partly replaced by electronic payment systems. In an increasing number of countries cheques have either become a marginal payment system or have been completely phased out (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
My mom was trying to mail out a $150 cheque as a wedding gift…
Mom said: “This cheque is too big to fit in the envelope”
Dad replied: “Why don’t you just make it out for $100 then?”
Second, a Song:
“I Got the Sun in the Mornin’ (and the Moon at Night)” is a song from the 1946 musical Annie Get Your Gun, written by Irving Berlin and originally performed by Ethel Merman. Hit recordings in 1946 were by Les Brown (vocal by Doris Day) (No. 10 in the Billboard charts) and by Artie Shaw (vocal by Mel Torme) (No. 17).
Other singers to have recorded the song include Betty Hutton (in the 1950 movie version of Annie Get Your Gun), Bernadette Peters, Judy Garland, Dean Martin and June Christy with the Stan Kenton Orchestra.
The Cheers episode, “Unplanned Parenthood” first aired on October 24, 1991, begins with the character of Carla Tortelli opening the bar and starting the jukebox, playing “I Got the Sun in the Mornin'” to which she uncharacteristically sings and dances.
In the Hawaii Five-0 episode, “Hau’oli La Ho’omaika’i,” first aired on November 22, 2013, guest star Carol Burnett ends the show by singing the song.
Doris Day (born Doris Mary Anne Kappelhoff; April 3, 1922 – May 13, 2019) was an American actress, singer, and animal welfare activist. She began her career as a big band singer in 1939, achieving commercial success in 1945 with two No. 1 recordings, “Sentimental Journey” and “My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time” with Les Brown & His Band of Renown. She left Brown to embark on a solo career and recorded more than 650 songs from 1947 to 1967.
Day was one of the biggest film stars in the 1950s–1960s era. Day’s film career began during the Golden Age of Hollywood with the film Romance on the High Seas (1948). She starred in films of many genres, including musicals, comedies, dramas, and thrillers. She played the title role in Calamity Jane (1953) and starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) with James Stewart. Her best-known films are those in which she co-starred with Rock Hudson, chief among them 1959’s Pillow Talk, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. She also worked with James Garner on both Move Over, Darling (1963) and The Thrill of It All (1963), and starred alongside Clark Gable, Cary Grant, James Cagney, David Niven, Ginger Rogers, Jack Lemmon, Frank Sinatra, Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, and Rod Taylor in various movies. After ending her film career in 1968, only briefly removed from the height of her popularity, she starred in her own sitcom The Doris Day Show (1968–1973).
In 1989, she was awarded the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in motion pictures. In 2004, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2008, she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award as well as a Legend Award from the Society of Singers. In 2011, she was awarded the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s Career Achievement Award. Also in 2011, she released her 29th studio album My Heart which contained new material and became a UK Top 10 album. As of 2020, she was one of eight record performers to have been the top box-office earner in the United States four times (per Wikipedia).
Here is Doris Day performing I’ve Got Sun in the Morning from her Showtime album set to a series of pictures of Doris and friends. I hope you enjoy this!
Thought for the Day:
“What an author likes to write most is his signature on the back of a cheque.” – Brendan Behan
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky