Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's International Moment of Laughter Day

Sorry, if you've come here to get it you've been misinformed.

Enjoy your day.

April 14, 1883 -
Leo Delibes' opera Lakme, premieres in Paris on this date.

The only reason you've probably even know this opera is because, Viens, Mallika, les lianes en fleurs (The Flower Duet) in Act 1 has become widely used in ads, as well as in films.

April 14, 1945 -
Tex Avery rethinks his Warner Brother cartoon, Dangerous Dan McFoo, and remakes it for MGM as The Shooting of Dan McGoo. It's released on this date.

This is probably the better version but what do I know.

Today in History:
April 14, 73 -
With the 10th Roman Legion about to breach the gates of their mountaintop fortress, 960 Sicarii Jews commit mass suicide at Masada. According to Josephus, the radical cult selected ten swordsmen by lottery to perform the killing.

Then they held a second lottery to choose one man to kill the remaining nine. Finally, the last one fell on his sword.

I believe Mega Millions is a tad easier to play.

April 14, 1828 -
Noah Webster published his American Dictionary of the English Language. He was a man who'd grown up in America at a time when Americans from different states could barely understand each other, because they spoke with such different accents and even different languages.

Americans in Vermont spoke French, New Yorkers spoke Dutch, and the settlers in Pennsylvania spoke German. All these different languages were influencing American English, and there were no standards of spelling or meaning.

Please note: the word "blogger" was not in that edition of the dictionary.

April 14, 1865 -
President Abraham Lincoln receives a cranial gunshot wound from well-known actor, John Wilkes Booth, while attending a performance of the play, Our America Cousin at the Ford Theatre. Booth shouted out “sic semper tyrannis” (thus always to tyrants), Virginia’s state motto, after shooting Pres. Lincoln. He leaped to the stage, breaking his left leg on impact, and escaped through a side door. Lincoln dies the following day, primarily from ill-advised attempts to extract the bullet lodged in his brain.

So, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?

On April 14, 1894, a public Kinetoscope parlor was opened by the Holland Bros. in New York City at 1155 Broadway, on the corner of 27th Street—the first commercial motion picture house. The venue had ten machines, set up in parallel rows of five, each showing a different movie. For 25 cents a viewer could see all the films in either row; half a dollar gave access to the entire bill. The machines were purchased from the new Kinetoscope Company, which had contracted with Thomas Edison for their production; the firm, headed by Norman C. Raff and Frank R. Gammon, included among its investors Andrew M. Holland, one of the entrepreneurial siblings, and Edison's former business chief, Alfred O. Tate.

The ten films that comprise the first commercial movie program: Barber Shop, Bertoldi (mouth support) (Ena Bertoldi, a British vaudeville contortionist), Bertoldi (table contortion), Blacksmiths, Roosters (some manner of cock fight), Highland Dance, Horse Shoeing, Sandow (Eugen Sandow, a German strongman), Trapeze, and Wrestling. As historian Charles Musser describes, a "profound transformation of American life and performance culture" had begun.

They were sure to have plenty of kleenex on hand.

April 14,1910 -
President William Howard Taft began a sports tradition by feebly throwing out the first pitch on baseball’s Opening Day.

Taft threw to Washington Senator pitcher Walter Johnson, who went on to hurl a shutout win, allowing the Philadelphia Phillies just one hit and ending the day with a 3-0 victory for Washington.

April 14, 1912 - 11:40 pm.
The Unsinkable RMS TITANIC hits an iceberg causing damage to six of her sixteen 'water tight' compartments. (Lat. 41° 46' N. and Long. 50° 14' W.)

Jack and Rose witness the horrific events after Jack to sketch Rose in the nude, wearing only the Heart of the Ocean, an engagement present from Cal (afterwards, they entered William Carter's Renault and had sex) ...

but that's another story.

April 14, 1924 -
Imagination is the greatest of man’s single working powers - and the trickiest; as the intellect is the frailest, the most subject to derangement, the most given to cowardice and betrayal, unless it be held steady and sane by the power of instinct.”

Louis Henri Sullivan, America's greatest 19th and early 20th century architect died on this date.

His autobiography was entitled The Autobiography of an Idea.

April 14, 1939 -
William Wyler's Wuthering Heights, starring Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier, premiered in New York, on this date.

Vivien Leigh wanted to play the lead role, alongside her then lover and future husband Laurence Olivier, but studio executives decided the role should go to Merle Oberon. They later offered Leigh the part of Isabelle Linton, but she declined and Geraldine Fitzgerald was cast.

April 14, 1941 -
Julie Frances Christie, famous beauty and renown actress and Peter Edward "Pete" Rose, Sr. (Charlie Hustle) were born on this date.

One of them has a better chance of getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame than the other.

And so it goes.

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