Sunday, September 15, 2019

Maybe a fetching homburg instead

According to fashion arbiters from days gone by - you should not be wearing your straw hats any longer this season -

In the early 20th Century, tradition held that a man switch from straw hats to felt ones on September 15th. If he wore “the taboo headgear” after that date, hooligans were free to smash it to bits.

In 1922, a group of men and boy, 1,000 strong from the Five Points neighborhood sparked a bizarre riot that shook New York City from the Battery to the Bronx, as they prowled the city, beating men, who refused to remove their straw hats.

September 15, 1949 -
They'll believe me citizen ...

The Lone Ranger, the masked hero rode onto the fledgling ABC network for the first time on this date

Clayton Moore sat out 52 episodes. The studio claimed it was a pay dispute, but Moore insisted up until his death that it was over creative differences. John Hart was hired to replace him, but the change did not sit well with audiences. When George W. Trendle sold the rights for the series to Jack Wrather in 1954, Wrather immediately rehired Moore.

September 15, 1965 -
This was an incredibly busy day in TV History:

The Big Valley
premiered on this date.

The series was loosely based on the Hill Ranch, which was located on the western edge of Calaveras County in California. Lawson Hill started the ranch and ran it until his death in 1861. He and his wife Euphemia had four children, three sons and one daughter. .

American started really liking Sally Fields when Gidget premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

Sally Field and Don Porter had a father/daughter-like relationship off screen as well. Sally was new to professional acting and sometimes made mistakes that caused others to laugh at her. Don not only took time to explain things to her but if he sensed she didn't know something, he would jump in beforehand and help her out so that no one would laugh at her.

Green Acres premiered on this date.

There was a false rumor going around that the cast had a luau on the final day of filming and Arnold the Pig was eaten. Years later, in an interview for a TV Land Special, Tom Lester admitted that he made up the story, because he was tired of people asking him almost continuously, whatever had happened to Arnold the Pig.

Danger Will Robinson, danger. Dr. Smith is attempting to inappropriately stimulate your young pulsing bulbous nether region!

The Robinson Family gets Lost in Space for the first time on CBS-TV on this date.

Irwin Allen was very keen to enlist the help of NASA. The space agency was equally interested in using the TV series to promote what they do. However, after several conversations with Allen, NASA realized that the producer had no interest whatsoever in scientific accuracy and so they distanced themselves from the project.

And last, but not least, the first American television drama to feature an African-American actor in a lead role, I Spy, starring Bill Cosby and Robert Culp, premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

Culp and Cosby improvised most of their banter. They also ended up rewriting much of their dialogue as they were often dissatisfied with the scripts.

September 15, 1967
-The Star Trek episode Amok Time aired on this date.  In the episode, Kirk and Spock are pitted in a fight to the death against each other by Spock’s wife-to-be when Spock suffers his first pon farr (the Vulcan time of mating).

The episode is the first in which Spock uses either the phrase “live long and prosper” and makes the “Vulcan salute” gesture for the first time.

September 15, 1971 -
Just one more thing...

The first episode of the Columbo series premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

The original character concept for Columbo was as a smooth talking, polished, suave personality. Peter Falk brought an entirely different and humorous dimension to the role with his aimless chattering, scattered mannerisms and disheveled appearance. Although the producers were uncertain if audiences would accept a police detective looking like a bum, the show's premier was an instant hit.

September 15, 1986 –
Los Angeles
law firm McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak first opened their doors to television viewer when LA Law premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

Series Creator Steven Bochco was so taken with the show being parodied on the cover of the October 1987 issue of Mad Magazine, that he staged a photo shoot with the show's actors and actresses in the exact same positions that their caricatures had appeared on the magazine's cover. Mad Magazine ran the photo in a subsequent issue.

Maybe I read the book

Today in History:
September 15, 1776
The British, led by General Howe, occupied Manhattan, capturing Kip's Bay, on this date.

Outraged by the rents, discouraged by the lack of parking and homesick for bubble and squeak and spotted dick, however, they left shortly afterwards, leaving only drunken journalists behind.

September 15, 1830
British MP William Huskisson was chatting amiably with the Duke of Wellington at the grand opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, when all at once the right honorable gentleman distinguished himself for posterity by becoming the first human being in history to be run over by a train.

Apparently, Mr. Huskisson's number was up.

(The Duke of Wellington, on the other hand, is remembered for his Beef.)

September 15, 1864 -
Thirty-four years later, on this date, another hardy British soul, the explorer John Speke, distinguished himself by becoming the first European to see Africa's Lake Victoria, and then accidentally killing himself while hunting partridges.

(conveniently, the day before he was to debate his finding with his famous exploration partner, Richard Burton - no, not that Richard Burton, the other one, the famous self circumciser, and translator of 1001 Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra.)

September 15, 1885

P.T. Barnum's prize elephant Jumbo was struck dead by a freight train in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. It took 150 men to haul the carcass up an embankment, from whence it is taken to a taxidermist.

The stuffed Jumbo became a featured attraction in Barnum's circus.

Goodbye Jumbo.

September 15, 1890 -
It's the birthday of Agatha Christie (Vanessa Redgrave), born in Devon, England. She was a Red Cross nurse during World War I. She started reading detective novels because she found they took her mind off her troubles (her husband couldn't help sleeping with other women) and soon after, started writing her own.

Her big breakthrough book was her novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which came out in 1926. It was the same year in which Christie had a fight with her husband, fled her own home, and was missing for ten days. There was a nationwide search. It was on the front pages of all the papers. And when she finally turned up, she was famous and all of her books were best-sellers.

September 15, 1928 -
Scottish bacteriologist and noted slob Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered that the mold penicillin had an antibiotic effect, on this date. Had he cleaned his laboratory every night and put all his things away like a good little boy, he never would have discovered penicillin, and half of us would be dead right now.

As I am deathly allergic to penicillin, his discovery has done little for me but I pass this along to you all.

September 15, 1954 -
In front of thousands of spectating New Yorkers at 51st and Lexington, Marilyn Monroe performed the now-famous skirt blowing scene during filming for The Seven Year Itch. The event basically boils down to a publicity stunt, as the whole thing was reshot later on a Hollywood soundstage.

Unfortunately, this event is the final straw in the Monroe - Dimaggio marriage and it soon comes undone.

September 15, 1963 -
In Birmingham, Alabama, Bobby Frank Cherry, Thomas Blanton, Herman Frank Cash and Robert Chambliss planted 15 dynamite sticks in the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church, below the women's restroom. When the dynamite exploded, four little girls in the bathroom and were killed (Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley); more than 20 other parishioners also were injured.

Chambliss was later tried and convicted of murder; he was sentenced to life in prison in 1977. Two of his accomplices also were later sentenced to life in prison (Herman Cash died in 1994 without having been charged.)

September 15, 1972 -

Indictments were brought against the seven Watergate conspirators: James McCord, Frank Sturgis, Bernard L. Barker, Eugenio R. Martinez, Virgilio R. Gonzales, E. Howard Hunt (noted spy, novelist and possible Kennedy assassin, rumored to have been the man on the grassy knoll) and G. Gordon Liddy (noted rat connoisseur), on this date.

And so it goes


Saturday, September 14, 2019

Mark your calendars

There are 142 days until the Iowa caucus,

(and 102 until Christmas.)

September 14, 1964 -
The Irwin Allen sci-fi series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, starring Gypsy's love god, Richard Basehart, premiered on the ABC-TV on this date.

This is the longest-running of all Irwin Allen-produced science fiction series. It ran for four seasons, from 1964 to 1968.

September 14, 1965 -
The end of the Civil War was near ...

F-Troop premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

The name of the tribe, to which Wild Eagle belonged, was the Hekawe. In one episode, it was explained that the name came about by two Indians falling off a cliff and one asking "Where the heck are we?" The original name of the tribe, the Fugawe (as in, "Where the Fugawe?"), was rejected by network censors.

September 14, 1965
One of the more bizarre sitcoms, My Mother the Car starring Jerry Van Dyke and Ann Sothern (as the car), premiered on this date.

Jerry Van Dyke agreed to star on the series after turning down the lead role on Gilligan's Island and an offer to join the cast of the The Andy Griffith Show.

September 14, 1967 -
Raymond Burr
cruised the San Francisco streets with his muscular bodyguard when Ironside premiered on this date (there is no word on whether or not he or any of the cast members were wearing his eponymously named nipple rouge during the shoot.)

In the show, Raymond Burr played a wheelchair-bound hero, which is ironic, since his role in Rear Window, he played a villain fighting a wheelchair-bound hero.

September 14, 1968 -
Yes kids, years before Riverdale, there was The Archies - The Archie Show, based on the comic book series, premiered on CBS-TV on this date.

The Archies was a totally fictitious group derived from this cartoon series. They were made up of studio musicians (including Ron Dante, Toni Wine and Andy Kim). One of the songs from the show, Sugar, Sugar became a big pop hit and, more than 40 years later, is still a part of the normal rotation on "oldies" radio stations.

September 14, 1972 -
went up Walton's Mountain to visit with The Waltons on CBS-TV for the first time on this date.

In this episode, the family gathers around their new radio to listen to the Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show. This was a nod to Bergen, who played the original Grandpa in the series' pilot movie, The Waltons: The Homecoming: A Christmas Story.

September 14, 1978 -
The TV show that helped launch Robin Williams career, Mork & Mindy, premiered on this date.

Many of the gags seen on the show were on-the-spot improvisations by Robin Williams, and later by Williams and Jonathan Winters. The improvisations proved so effective and popular that the series' writers soon included specific sections in the scripts where Williams was allowed to perform freely, marked as "Robin goes off here." If you pay attention to Pam Dawber, you can often see her having difficulty not laughing at the ad libs.

September 14, 1985 -
Everybody started hanging out on the lanai when NBC premiered The Golden Girls on this date.

Betty White was the oldest of the four main actresses. Ironically, with the death of Rue McClanahan, she became the last surviving member of the cast.

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

Today in History:
September 14, 1814 -
Francis Scott Key
had composed the lyrics to The Star-Spangled Banner after witnessing the massive British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812, on this date. Key, an American lawyer and social worker, watches the siege while under detainment on a British ship, and pens the famous words after observing that the US flag over Fort McHenry had survived the 1,800-bomb assault.

The lyrics were alter adopted to the British tune To Anacreon in Heaven, which had also served as Irish drinking song and a number of other songs. The Star-Spangled Banner was officially recognized as the national anthem in 1931.

The 40 feet long flag had been made by Baltimore widow Mary Young Pickersgill and her 13-year-old daughter just a month before the attack. In 1907 the flag was donated to the Smithsonian.

September 14 1849 -

Ivan Pavlov was born on this date. Pavlov was a Russian scientist who discovered that dogs drooled whenever bells were rung. Only after his death were his ideas discredited by a group of Swedish scientists who determined that dogs also drooled when a nice juicy steak was dangled in front of them.

In the decades since, science has repeatedly and conclusively demonstrated that dogs will sometimes drool and sometimes not drool.

September 14, 1812 -
army invaded the city of Moscow, on this date. He began the invasion of Russia in June of that year, hoping to continue his "One Europe, One Cuisine" Tour. The Russian forces kept retreating, burning the farmland as they went so the French wouldn't be able to draw provisions from the land.

The troops were exhausted and hungry by the time they reached Moscow on this day, in 1812. The gates of the city were left wide open. And as the French came through, they noticed that all over the city small fires had begun. The Russians had set fire to their own city. By that night, the fires were out of control.

Napoleon watched the burning of the city from inside the Kremlin, and barely escaped the city alive. The retreat began across the snow - covered plains, one of the great disasters of military history. Thousands of troops died from starvation and hypothermia. Of the nearly half million French soldiers who had set out in June on the invasion, fewer than 20,000 staggered back across the border in December.

September 14, 1901
President William McKinley succumbs to his gunshot wound, on this date - the third American president to be assassinated. He had won a landslide victory in the election of 1900. He had gone on a tour of the country, a victory tour, which he ended in Buffalo, New York, where the Pan-American Exposition was being held near Niagara Falls.

McKinley was shaking hands with a long line of people on September 6, when a 28-year-old anarchist from Cleveland named Leon Czolgosz came up to shake his hand. Czolgosz's right hand was wrapped in a handkerchief which concealed a gun. He shot the president twice, hitting him in the abdomen. At first it seemed as though the wound was minor and that McKinley would recover, but he died on this day in 1901. He died, historians believe, because he needed an infusion of fluids and nutrients, and the IV had not been invented yet.

It didn't help matters that Teddy Roosevelt kept peeking into his hospital room, shouting, "Is he dead yet? Am I president yet? Bully, bully!!!"

September 14, 1927 -
Kids, remember what Gertrude Stein said, "affectations can be dangerous and Alice, where the hell is my hash pipe?"

Legendary dancer Isadora Duncan was killed in Nice, France when her long silk scarf got tangled in the rear wheel of the convertible she's riding in on this date. Her neck was broken and an artery severed. Some accounts have her thrown against the pavement and dragged for 100 feet. The freak accident occurred in full view of a number of friends.

Strange but true fact - the mother of famed 40s comedy director Preston Sturges, who was known for her friendship with Isadora Duncan, gave her the very scarf that led to Duncan's freakish death.

September 14, 1936 -
Surgeons Walter Freeman and James W. Watts performed America's first prefrontal lobotomy on a depressed, 63-year-old Kansas woman in Washington, D.C. They successfully create a lethargic dullard, and the duo hails the result for years to come as a medical triumph, despite the fact that two of their next twenty lobotomy subjects end as fatalities.

Here's a easy way you can remember this, "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy."

September 14, 1938 -
Graf Zeppelin II
, world's largest airship, (LZ 130) was the sister ship of the Hindenburg (LZ 129). Her design and construction were nearly identical to her predecessor: at 804 feet in length, these two ships remain the largest flying craft in history. By the time the Graf Zeppelin was completed, it was one of the largest flying craft in history. The ship was christened and made her first flight on this date.

The Graf Zeppelin ultimately flew a total of thirty missions, many for the Luftwaffe. She touched down on her last flight at 9:38 p.m. on August 20, 1939, ending the age of rigid airships.

September 14, 1952 -
Years ago I realized that maybe I made mistake, politically, when I turned a lot of that stuff down. I would go off to obscure places and make movies that six people went to see.

Philip Andre Mickey Rourke, actor, boxer, and small dog fancier, was born on this date.

September 14, 1982 -
Grace Kelly
, American-born princess of Monaco, died after a high speed car crash the previous day. She and daughter Princess Stephanie were badly injured when their British Rover 3500 plunged into a ravine, tumbling 45 feet.

In the official version of events, Grace suffered a mild stroke while driving; however, although rumors persist that 17-year-old Princess Stephanie was actually behind the wheel. There is no truth to the rumor that she was engaging in an unnatural act with club-footed Portuguese ballroom dancer with a speech impediment, a three legged farm animal and a silicone-based lubricant.

So dammit, please stop printing these lies.

And so it goes


Friday, September 13, 2019

Not to worry you but ...

It's Friday the 13th. And there's a full month tonight as well.

In most large cities in the United States, many building don't have 13th floors. In Japan, they don't have 4th floors, because the word for four sounds similar to the word for DEATH! Some say that the modern basis for Friday the 13th phobia dates back to Friday, October 13, 1307.

On this date, the Pope Clement in conjunction with the King Philip of France secretly ordered the mass arrest of all the Knights Templar in France. The Templars were terminated with extreme prejudice (burned to a crisp) for apostasy, idolatry, heresy, "obscene rituals" and homosexuality, corruption and fraud, and secrecy, never again to hold the power that they had held for so long.

Those wacky Knights were such party animals.

Nathaniel Lachenmeyer, author of 13: The Story of the World's Most Popular Superstition, suggests in his book that  references to Friday the 13th were practically nonexistent before 1907; the popularity of the superstition must come from the publication of Thomas W. Lawson's successful novel (of it's day,) Friday, the Thirteenth. In the novel, a stock broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on Friday the 13th.

If it gives you some comfort, today is the last Friday the 13th of the year.

September 13, 1965 -
The Beatles
released the single Yesterday in the US on this date (Act Naturally was on the B side.)

Paul McCartney wrote this song and was the only Beatle to play on it. It was the first time a Beatle recorded without the others, and marked a shift to more independent accomplishments among the group. While John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote The Beatles early songs together, by 1965 most of their songs were primarily written by one or the other, although they continued to credit all their songs Lennon/McCartney.

September 13, 1969 -
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
made its CBS network debut on this date.

Shaggy is the only character (apart from Scooby himself) to be in every incarnation of the series.

September 13, 1974 -
The science fiction/ horror series Kolchak: The Night Stalker premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

Darren McGavin is often incorrectly considered to be, and listed in many official references guides, as the show's Executive Producer. In fact, he never held the position, although he unofficially assumed many of the duties. This put him at odds with Paul Playdon and then Cy Chermak, the official producers appointed by Universal.

September 13, 1974 -
The first regularly scheduled episode of The Rockford Files, starring James Garner, premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

The character of Rockford's father was named Joseph; he was named after writer Stephen J. Cannell's father, but rather than Joseph or Joe, he was most often called "Rocky," a nickname derived from his last name, not his first. The name of Rockford was used after Cannell found the name listed in the Universal Studios employee directory.

September 13, 1986 -
allowed a strange, pale man, in an ill-fitting suit to come into their viewers homes (to scream really loud) when Pee-Wee's Playhouse premiered on this date.

Throughout the entire series run, the closing credits have never credited Paul Reubens as Peewee Herman, but instead would display the other cast and guest stars first and then would display "and Peewee Herman as Himself". The theme song was sung by Cyndi Lauper, but is listed in the credits by a stage name, Ellen Shaw.

September 13, 1996 -
The family comedy based on the stand-up routines of Ray Romano, Everybody Loves Raymond, starring Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton  Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle, premiered on CBS-TV on this date.

Peter Boyle claims that he was aided in getting the part of Frank Barone by events prior to his audition in New York City. He had gotten lost and couldn't find the location of the audition, so when he showed up, he was agitated and sarcastic.

September 13, 2000 -
Cameron Crowe's
autobiographic film, Almost Famous, was released on this date.

When Cameron Crowe's mother appeared on the set for a cameo, Crowe made every effort to keep her away from Frances McDormand, who was playing a character based on her, so McDormand's interpretation of the part wouldn't be swayed. When he left the set for a few minutes on the first day of shooting, he returned to find McDormand and his mother having lunch together.

Not to frighten you but ...

Today in History:
September 13, 1848
A 13-pound tamping iron is blown through the head of railroad construction foreman Phineas P. Gage, entering beneath the left cheekbone and exiting the top of his head. The metal bar landed 30 yards away, taking with it much of his left frontal lobe.

Gage never loses consciousness, even while the doctors examine his wound. Two months later, he was well enough to return home and resume an active life of work and travel.

The steel rod, along with a cast of Gage's head, and his skull, are now on display at Harvard Medical School's Warren Anatomical Museum.

September 13, 1899 -
Henry M. Bliss
was coming home from work today and never came back. Mr. Bliss was enjoying his ride home near Central Park and 74th Street, when he stepped out of a streetcar and into the street and was struck by a taxicab. Bliss was rushed to a hospital but died from his injuries the next morning.

The cab driver Arthur Smith was arrested and charged with manslaughter. The charges were dropped after it was determined that Bliss’ death was unintentional. Bliss became the first pedestrian to be killed by an automobile in the United States.

On September 13, 1999, a hundred years to the day, Citystreets unveiled a historical marker at the site of the first "American Pedestrian Fatality".

September 13, 1916
Mary the circus elephant was publicly executed in the Erwin, Tennessee rail-yard, after killing a drifter named Walter "Red" Eldridge the previous day.

The five-ton animal was hanged from a derrick car in front of 3,000 onlookers, and left hanging for half an hour.

Give the people what they want ... (Please folks, I am not encouraging the execution of any animal, especially mammals weighing over five tons.)

September 13, 1916 -

Roald Dahl was born on this date in Llandaff, South Wales. He was sent off to private boarding schools as a kid, which he hated except for the chocolates, Cadbury chocolates. The Cadbury chocolate company had chosen his school as a focus group for new candies they were developing. Every so often, a plain gray cardboard box was issued to each child, filled with eleven chocolate bars. It was the children's task to rate the candy, and Dahl took his job very seriously. About one of the sample candy bars, he wrote, "Too subtle for the common palate." He later said that the experience got him thinking about candy as something manufactured in a factory, and he spent a lot of time imagining what a candy factory might be like.

Today, he's best known for his children's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and for the fact he ran off with his children's nanny after his wife, the actress Patricia Neal, recovered from a stroke. But even more interesting, a recently published biography of Dahl, purports that he was a spy for the British government during World War II, paid to sleep with wealthy U. S. women to gain information for the British government.

And you thought only 007 had a way with women.

September 13, 1940 -
The German Luftwaffe directly targeted Buckingham Palace during 'the Blitz' and dropped a bomb into the palace courtyard and detonated on impact on this date. The force of the explosion blew out all the inside windows of the palace. No one was seriously hurt and had the unintended effect of bonding the Royal Family with the people of England, as the Windsors did not evacuate London.

Queen Elizabeth (the queen's mother) narrowly averted serious injury and when asked about the incident said, "I am glad we have been bombed….it makes me feel like I can look the [heavily bombed] East End in the face."

September 13, 2001 -
While the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were still smoldering, President Bush asked Congress for powers to wage war, following the 911 attack, against an unidentified enemy.

Bush called the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington "the first war of the 21st century" as his administration labeled fugitive Osama bin Laden a prime suspect.

And so it goes