Saturday, June 23, 2018

Take a deep breath

Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.  - Hermann Hesse

Today is Let It Go Day - the day when you should put down all of the baggage that you have been carrying around from the past. Perhaps you can donate your old cares and woes and donate them to your favorite charity.


June 23, 1965 -
One of Frank Sinatra's best performances on film, Von Ryan's Express, premiered on this date.



The leather jacket that Frank Sinatra wore in Von Ryan's Express, was later worn by Bob Crane in Hogan's Heroes. It was later worn by Greg Kinnear in Auto Focus.


June 23, 1965 -
One of the classic Motown singles, Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, was released on this date.



When he first recorded this song with The Miracles, Robinson left out the last chorus, fading it out on the "I need you, I need you" line. He was convinced to end on the chorus when he played the song at one of the famous Monday morning meetings at Motown, where songs were scrutinized by their team.


June 23 1979 -
The rock group, the Knack released the ear worm, My Sharona on this date.



In an interview with the Washington Post, Doug Fieger said: "I was 25 when I wrote the song. But the song was written from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy. It's just an honest song about a 14-year-old boy."


June 23, 1989 -
Tim Burton's dark and brooding retelling of Batman, was released on this date.



In order to combat negative rumors about the production, a theatrical trailer was hastily assembled to be distributed to theaters. To test its effectiveness, Warner Brothers executives showed it at a theater in Westwood, California to an unsuspecting audience. The ninety-second trailer received a standing ovation. Later, it would become a popular bootleg at comic book conventions, and theater owners would report patrons paying full price for movie tickets just to have an opportunity to see the trailer, and leaving before the feature began.


June 23, 1994 -
Life may or may not be a box of chocolate but Forrest Gump premiered in Los Angeles, on this date.



Tom Hanks was not paid for this film. Instead, he took percentage points which ultimately netted him in the region of forty million dollars.


June 23, 2000 -
Aardman Animations and DreamWorks Studios released the stop-motion film, Chicken Run, directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park (of Wallace and Grommit fame) and featuring the voices of Julia Sawalha, Mel Gibson, Timothy Spall, and Miranda Richardson, on this date.



Mel Gibson's kids played a major part in convincing Gibson to take the part, because they were very impressed with the Wallace and Gromit shorts.


Don't forget to tune into The ACME Eagle Hand Soap Radio Hour today.


Today in History:
June 23, 1611
-
The mutinous crew of Henry Hudson's fourth voyage sets Hudson, his son and seven loyal crew members adrift in an open boat in what is now Hudson Bay; they are never heard from again.

So much for loyalty.


June 23, 1868 -
Christopher Latham Sholes
received a patent (US patent #79,265)for an invention he called a "Type-Writer" on this date.

His typewriter included the QWERTY keyboard format still used today. Others had invented typewriter machines, but Sholes invented the only one that became a commercial success.


June 23, 1894 -
Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, briefly Edward VIII, King of England and later to be known as the Duke of Windsor (making him both brother and uncle to successive monarchs), who abdicated his throne to marry American divorcee (and possible transvestite) Wallis Simpson, was born on this date.



Sometimes, it's very complicated to be the king.


June 23, 1931 -
Pilot Wiley Post (at the time in full possession of both his eyes) and navigator Harold Gatty took off from Roosevelt Field in New York, in the Winnie Mae, on this date, attempting to be the first to fly around the world in a single-engine plane.



The trip (which was 15,474 miles,) completed when the pair landed back at Roosevelt Field on July 1st, took a total of eight days, 15 hours and 51 minutes. Wiley later became the first pilot to fly around the world solo, beating the record he and Gatty originally set.


June 23, 1950 -
Northwest Airlines Flight 2501, a DC-4 propliner operating its daily transcontinental service between New York City and Seattle, crashed into Lake Michigan killing 58 people.



The wreckage has never been discovered and the accident was, at the time, the worst commercial airliner accident in American history.


June 23, 1953
Frank J. Zamboni was issued a patent (#2,642,679) for his ice resurfacer on this date. Mr Zamboni invented his Ice Resurfacing Machine in 1949.

The Olympic medal-winner Sonja Henie was one of his first customers.


June 23, 1972  -
Someone might want to introduce the president to the joys of a pitcher of very dry martinis (Nixon's problem: he did not take his martinis bone dry) and have him listen to this clip:

President Richard Nixon and White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman discussed a plan to use the CIA to obstruct the FBI's Watergate investigation. Revelation of the tape recording of this conversation sparked Nixon's resignation in 1974.



In the “smoking gun" tape Pres. Nixon told H.R. Haldeman, to tell top CIA officials that “the president believes this (in reference to Watergate) is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again." Nixon counseled Haldeman on how to use deception to thwart an FBI investigation on how Watergate was financed.

But then again, the president insisted that there are no tapes.


And on a personal note:

Happy Birthday David


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Friday, June 22, 2018

There's a red moon rising

Today is the anniversary of Cleveland, Ohio’s Cuyahoga River catching fire in 1969.





If that is too disturbing a holiday to commemorate, it's also National Chocolate Eclair Day.

While the eclair is a delicious dessert, their charms escape me. Maybe it's the fake vanilla pudding most bakeries use rather than Bavarian cream.


June 22, 1946 -
Another of the classic 40s Daffy Duck cartoons, Hollywood Daffy, was released on this date.



The director of the cartoon was an uncredited effort by Friz Freleng.


June 22, 1955 -
Disney's first film about dog breeding, The Lady and the Tramp, was released on this date.



Peggy Lee later sued Disney for breach of contract claiming that she still retained rights to the transcripts of the music used in the film. She was awarded $2.3 million dollars, but not without a lengthy legal battle with the studio which was finally settled in 1991.


June 22, 1961 -
A great old-fashion thriller, The Guns of Navarone, was released on this date.



There was some surprise that Stanley Baker, who along with Dirk Bogarde in 1960 was considered the most popular British movie star, accepted the relatively small supporting role of Private "Butcher" Brown. Baker revealed that he wanted to be in the movie because he was impressed at how anti-war the screenplay by the blacklisted writer Carl Foreman was.


June 22, 1966 -
Mike Nichol's first film, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, opened on this date.



Every credited member of the cast received an Academy Award nomination.


June 22, 1966 -
The first screenplay of Woody Allen that was produced, What's New Pussycat?, starring Peter O'Toole, Peter Sellers (and co-starring Woody Allen) premiered in the US on this date.



During shooting in Paris, Paula Prentiss climbed up to the catwalk and started walking the beams. She loudly called down to everyone on the set, "I'm going to jump." She did, but a French technician grabbed her, and saved her life. She was transferred to a clinic in New York for recuperation.


June 22, 1968 -
This Guy's in Love with You by Herb Alpert topped the charts on this date.



Alpert sang this to his first wife in a 1968 TV special called The Beat of the Brass. The sequence was taped on the beach in Malibu. The song was not intended to be released, but after it was used in the TV special, thousands of telephone calls to CBS asking about it convinced label owner Alpert to release it as a single two days after the show aired.


June 22, 1984 -
Another underdog story directed by John G. Avildsen, The Karate Kid, starring Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, and Elisabeth Shue, was released by Columbia Pictures on this date.



The yellow classic automobile that Daniel polishes in the famous "wax-on/wax-off" training scene, then later offered by Mr. Miyagi as Daniel's birthday gift, was actually given to Ralph Macchio by the producer, and he still owns it. The car is a 1948 Ford Super De Luxe.


June 22, 1984 -
The atmospheric black-comedy, The Pope of Greenwich Village, starring  Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Daryl Hannah, and Geraldine Page, premiered on this date.



Michael Cimino was asked to direct this film but didn't think it was a good film for him. As a favor to the producers, who were on a deadline, he went to New York and did all the pre-production. When they were set to begin shooting, the producers again tried to get Cimino to direct but he told them he thought, considering the budget, they needed someone who could work faster than he was used to working and so they hired Stuart Rosenberg.

All the festivities at my home have come to an end (and am I exhausted.)


Today in History:
June 22, 1633
-
The Holy Office in Rome strong-armed Galileo Galilei into recanting his scientific view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe.



This was the second time he was forced to recant Earth orbits Sun by the Pope. Almost immediately, on October 31, 1992, the Vatican admitted it was wrong.


June 22, 1906 -
Billy Wilder was born on this date. Not surprisingly, Mr. Wilder would go on to produce Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, all of whom frolicked giddily on the beach in bikinis. Mr. Wilder, you see, was comfortable in his season.



Not like some people. Some people had to force it. Some people had to prove something. Some people were like Brian Wilson, who was born the day before summer (June 20) in 1942, and subsequently became a "Beach Boy" and released an album called Endless Summer.


June 22, 1918 -
The worst circus train wreck in history occurred just outside Hammond, Indiana on this date. A seriously over-tired engineer, Alonzo Sargent, fell asleep at the throttle of a trainload of empty Pullman cars and slammed into the rear of the 26-car Hagenbeck-Wallace circus train.



85 of the 400 performers and workers on board were killed. There were no reports on whether or not the crowd at the previous days performance was greater than the gawkers at the scene of the wreck.


June 22, 1933
-
German chancellor Adolf Hitler banned every political party on this date, except his own Evil Nazi Bastards from winning elections.



The Evil Nazi Bastards swept the next elections, demonstrating the public's strong support for this measure.


June 22, 1940 -
Eight days
after German forces overran Paris, France was forced to sign an armistice on this date; hilarity ensues.



Adolf Hitler forces the instrument of surrender to be signed in the very railcar in which the French inflicted the humiliating World War I Treaty of Versailles upon the Germans. (In a bizarre co-incidence, it was also the anniversary of Napoleon's second abdication in 1815.)


June 22, 1941
-
The German Army invaded Russia on this date, quickly destroying five Russian armies and one fourth of the Red air force. At completion of the war in 1945, nearly 27 million Soviets were dead.



Thus ended the German- Soviet "Peace and Friendship" Treaty.

(Let's not discuss Hitler for the rest of the week.)


June 22, 1949 -
According to our president, one of the most over-rated actresses of her generation, Mary Louise Streep, was born on this date.



She originally applied to Law School but slept in on the morning of her interview and took it as a sign she was destined for other things.

Imagine if she applied herself, how far her career would go.


June 22, 1969 -
The patron saint of bachelors of a certain age, Judy Garland died of a barbiturate overdose in her London apartment, either by accident or suicide.



Folks, she did not do a header into the toilet and drown.


June 22, 1993 -
All lives have triumphs and tragedies, laughter and tears, and mine has been no different. What really matters is whether, after all of that, you remain strong and a comfort to your loved ones. I have tried to meet that test....



The patron saint of long suffering political wives and good Republican cloth coats, Thelma Catherine "Pat" Ryan Nixon died on this date.



And so it goes.



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Thursday, June 21, 2018

I'm more than a little verklempt today

Today SOS graduates from her High School (it took 1386 days to get here from the start of High School, 5029 days since the start of Pre-K.)

I do know where the time goes.


And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer. - F. Scott Fitzgerald



Today is the first day of Summer, also known as the Summer Solstice. It's the longest day of the year (and the shortest night).



The actual moment of the solstice occurred at about 6:07 A.M. EDT, while the sun sat directly above the Pacific Ocean to the west of Hawaii.  Don't brag about the good weather tomorrow; remember that it's the beginning of Winter in Australia.  (The naked run is optional - please.)


June 21,1955
-
The David Lean movie, Summertime starring Katharine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi premiered in New York on this date.



Despite being set in summer, as its title suggests, some of the scenes were shot in winter. This is particularly clear during Katharine Hepburn's visit to San Marco's Square: whilst watching the clock tower, she sees a parade of wooden statues coming up of the clock and marching around it; those statues are actually the Three Wise Men, and they appear only once every year, on January 6th.


June 21, 1977
-
Martin Scorsese's homage to movie musicals - New York, New York, premiered on this date.



Originally four and a half hours long. Director Martin Scorsese cut it to two hours and thirty-three minutes, then to two hours and sixteen minutes. In 1981, some material (mainly the "Happy Endings" sequence) was restored, and the film became two hours and forty-three minutes long.


June 21, 1985
-
Walt Disney released the only directorial effort of film editor Walter Murch, Return to Oz, starring Nicol Williamson, Jean Marsh, Piper Laurie, and Fairuza Balk, on this date.



Fairuza Balk actually performed most of the film barefoot, as she found her black shoes uncomfortable, and the ruby slippers were very fragile and easily damaged. Thus, the actress only wore shoes when they would be visible on camera.


June 21, 1988 -
Robert Zemeckis' incredible advance in animation, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, opened in NYC on this date.



Bob Hoskins said that, for two weeks after seeing the movie, his young son wouldn't talk to him. When finally asked why, his son said he couldn't believe his father would work with cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny and not let him meet them.


Another moment crystallized in time


Today in History:
June 21, 1877
-
The Molly Maguires, ten Irish immigrants who were labor activists, are hanged at Carbon County Prison in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.



Author and Judge John P. Lavelle of Carbon County said of this, "The Molly Maguire trials were a surrender of state sovereignty...A private corporation initiated the investigation through a private detective agency. A private police force arrested the alleged defenders, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them. The state provided only the courtroom and the gallows."


June 21, 1893
-
The first Ferris wheel debuted at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, on this date. The Ferris wheel was designed by George W. Ferris, a bridge-builder from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.



The exposition commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's landing in America. The Chicago Fair's organizers wanted something that would rival the Eiffel Tower. Gustave Eiffel had built the tower for the Paris World's Fair of 1889, which honored the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.


June 21, 1905 -
It would have been the 113th birthday of Jean-Paul Sartre today.
https://youtu.be/l2KmnZSnqIs


But what the hell does he care; he's dead and it doesn't mean anything anyway.


June 21, 1913 -
Georgia 'Tiny' Broadwick  was the first woman to make a successful paracgute jump from an aircraft on this date. Glenn L Martin flew her up to 2000 feet above Griffith Park in Los Angeles, CA.



In 1914, she demonstrated parachutes to the U.S. Army, which at the time had a small, hazard-prone fleet of aircraft. The Army, reluctant at first to adopt the parachute, watched as Tiny dropped from the sky. On one of her demonstration jumps, the static line became entangled in the tail assembly of the aircraft, so for her next jump she cut off the static line and deployed her chute manually, thus becoming the first person to jump free-fall.


June 21, 1982 -
Using an innovative Jodie Foster defense, John Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, on this date.

Nobody was impressed by this verdict.


June 21, 1989 -
The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Texas v. Johnson that flag burning is indeed protected speech under the Constitution,



prompting Congress to put forth an endless series of amendments to ban the activity.



And so it goes.


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