May 26, 1916
Louis T. Hardin, a musician and composer who adopted the name “Moondog” and became known for living on Manhattan streets dressed as a Viking and beating a drum, was born in Maryville, Kansas. Hardin lost his sight as a teenager when a dynamite cap exploded, but he was able to play drums in the high school band. He learned to play the piano in Batesville (Independence County) when his father became rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. After study at the Memphis Conservatory of Music, Hardin moved to New York where he met influential and prestigious musicians such as Igor Stravinsky, Arturo Toscanini, and Leonard Bernstein. His music was played by jazz, classical, and rock musicians alike.