Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hey did you know?

The 82nd annual Academy Awards are on ABC TV tonight.

Hopefully, you're not a Cablevision customer in New York.

March 7, 1936 -
Walt Disney's Mickey's Grand Opera, premiered on this date.

I'm not a big Disney fan (especially Mickey Mouse) but this one is pretty funny

March 7, 1962 -
Alain Resnais' enigmatic masterpiece, L'année dernière à Marienbad (Last Year in Marienbad), opened in the US on this date.

I'll tell you the plot - a man meets a woman at a European spa and tries to convince her (and himself) that they met one year ago. You'll have to see it over and over ago to try to understand it.

March 7, 1964 -
John Frankenheimer's under appreciated almost documentary-like thriller set set during WWII, The Train, premiered on this date.

Burt Lancaster took a day off during shooting to play golf when the shooting was about half completed. On the links, he stepped in a hole and re-aggravated an old knee injury. In order to compensate for the injury, Frankenheimer had Lancaster's character shot in the leg, thus enabling him to limp through the rest of the shooting.

March 7, 1986 -
This was a Red Letter Day for Daniel Day Lewis. The stars somehow aligned for him and both My Beautiful Laundrette and A Room With A View, opened in NYC on this date.

Lewis was relatively unknown in the US at that time and critics raved about how great the range of his talent was to play such vastly different characters. (It's called acting)

Today in History:
The Monopoly board game is 87 years old today. Thank your rich Uncle Pennybags.

(Quite truthfully, the history of the Monopoly game is so complicated, for legal reasons, just go with this date, don't ask about Elizabeth Magie's 'The Landlord Game' and her patent of March 23, 1903).

March 7, 1945 -
Gen. George Patton urinates in the Rhine after the U.S. Third Army takes the bridge at Remagen.

So remember, you can't slap a soldier for cowardice but you can piss in your enemy's river.

March 7, 1955 -
Peter Pan, the first full-length Broadway production broadcast in color, (starring Mary Martin and the show's original cast) was shown on this date.

It was so well received that the musical was restaged again live for television on January 9, 1956. Both of these broadcasts were produced in color, but only black-and-white kinescope recordings survive.

March 7, 1988 -
Transvestite actress Divine, who appeared in several John Waters films, dead from sleep apnea. Divine was about to join the cast of Married with Children when she unexpected died.

The producers of Married With Children sent flowers to the funeral, along with a humorous card that read, If you didn't want to do the show, you could have just SAID something!

The Crazy Mixed-Up Russian Revolution
March 7, 1917 -
Russia's 1917 February Revolution began on March 7, which was then the middle of February, in the city of St. Petersburg, which was then Petrograd, in what was then Russia, but would soon be the Soviet Union.

Tsar (or Czar) Nicholas II of the Romanov (or Romanoff) line had been away from St. Petersburg (or Petrograd) most of the winter, leading his army against the German Empire's Eastern Front (or Russia's Western Front).

Russia's peasants and workers had become exhausted by the war and its attendant famine and were exasperated by the Tsarina's indifference to their suffering. They were furious with the government, which had become two governments and therefore twice as bad. And they were tired of all this nonsense about March being February, St. Petersburg being Petrograd, the Czar being Tsar, and all those crazy, mixed-up fronts.

In short, the peasants were revolting. And so these poor bastards began a series of riots and strikes that eventually led to what is now known as the February Revolution.

With her usual delicate touch, the Tsarina tried to assuage the rioters by having them shot, but her soldiers refused to fire on the crowds. She therefore ordered the soldiers to shoot themselves and was disobeyed again.

It was a bleak moment for the House of Romanov, which like most monarchies had endured through the centuries largely as a result of its soldiers' willingness to shoot people.

On March 7, 1918 the Bolsheviks changed their name to the Russian Communist Party.

Bolsheviks is Russian for majority, as opposed to Mensheviks, which means minority. The Mensheviks, however, were in fact the majority party in 1918, and the Bolsheviks the minority, so the name change helped ease the work of journalists, who had become so confused they'd begun writing stories about children and ducks.

And so it goes.

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