August 31, 1945 -
As he did not sue me last year, I will try to wish George Ivan Morrison, singer and songwriter, happy birthday again, this year.
Van the Man, is still the greatest living blue-eyed soul singer.
August 31, 1946-
Howard Hawks' version of Raymond Chandlers classic Marlowe yarn (William Faulkner was one of the screen writers), The Big Sleep, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, was put into general release on this date.
The Big Sleep is known for its convoluted plot. During filming, allegedly neither the director nor the screenwriters knew whether chauffeur Owen Taylor was murdered or had killed himself. They sent a cable to Chandler, who told a friend in a later letter: "They sent me a wire ... asking me, and dammit I didn't know either".
August 31, 1946 -
Los Angeles police arrested actor Robert Mitchum, for years the coolest cat in Hollywood, for marijuana possession.
He later received a 60-day sentence (Jack Nicholson had nothing on him.)
August 31, 1957 -
This second Looney Tunes with Rocky and Mugsy, Bugsy and Mugsy, was released on this date.
I don't know how yas done it but I know yas done it!
August 31, 1958 -
Glenn Tilbrook, singer, guitarist and with his writing partner Chris Difford, formed the pop group, Squeeze, was born on this date.
In for bingo, all the nines, A panda for sweet little niece.
August 31, 1987 -
Epic/CBS Records released the Michael Jackson album, BAD on this date.
An 18 minute video of the title song, written by novelist and screenwriter Richard Price and directed by Martin Scorsese, debuted on CBS TV on this same day, as well.
Today in History -
Gaius Caesar Caligula was born on August 31 in the year 12. Caligula succeeded Tiberius in the year 37, and his reign was most notable for its policy of Sex with the Emperor.
(Please note - this guy not only slept with the unwilling wives of senators and his sisters, he married his horse and tried to have him made a god.) This turned out to have been a weak Political Philosophy, because the Romans all had classical educations and saw right through him.
So they killed him.
August 31, 1422 -
Henry V of England, one of the great warrior kings of the Middle Ages, dies suddenly of dysentery on this date. He was 34 at the time.
At the time of his death, Henry had not only consolidated power as the King of England but had also effectively accomplished what generations of his ancestors had failed to achieve through decades of war: unification of the crowns of England and France in a single person.
In 2002 he was ranked 72nd in the 100 Greatest Britons poll. And yet, lack of proper sanitary conditions carried him away. Let this be a lesson to us all - wash your hands after visiting the rest room.
August 31, 1919 -
"Workers of the world unite!"
In Chicago, journalist John Reed established the American Communist Labor Party, on this date.
providing entertainment for Joseph McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover for decades.
August 31, 1879 -
Alma Maria Schindler, noted in her native Vienna for her beauty and intelligence, was born on this date.
In her youth she was an aspiring composer. But that not why I bring her up. She was the wife, successively, of the composer Gustav Mahler, architect Walter Gropius, and novelist Franz Werfel, and lover to the painter Oskar Kokoschka. Rather than try to encapsulate the story of this very busy woman,
Listen to Tom Lehrer's song Alma, which nicely gives you the gist of her life.
August 31, 1976 -
George Harrison was found guilty of unintentionally plagiarizing My Sweet Lord .
Those damn Beatles could never come up with an original tune.
August 31, 1977 -
Ian Smith, espousing racial segregation, won the Rhodesian general election with 80% of overwhelmingly white electorate's vote.
August 31, 1997 -
A couple of day previously in 1997, My wife and I were coming out of the revolving doors at the Ritz Hotel in Paris and a very famous couple were coming in. A few days later on this date, a charming, slightly addled, beautiful divorcee with two children decides to take a car ride with her very rich Middle Eastern boyfriend and his very drunk driver. She makes the fatal mistake of not buckling her seat belt and pays a very heavy toll.
So ends the glamorous and controversial life of Diana Spencer Mountbatten-Windsor.
Kids, if you don't want to end up dying in the backseat of a black 1994 Mercedes-Benz W140 in a road tunnel in Paris - BUCKLE UP.
And so it goes