Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Another modest proposal

We need to stop watching Fox News

So now we know, Jon Stewart's funny little show is indirectly funding international terrorism; News Corp, on the other hand, is directly involved with it.

August 24, 1937 -
The crime-drama film, Dead End, premiered in NYC on this date.

When producer Samuel Goldwyn visited the huge set constructed for the film (a very detailed depiction of a New York City slum) he shouted, "Why do directors always want these slums to be so dirty? Clean it up!" He was eventually persuaded by director William Wyler that very few people lived in clean slums and that it would hurt the picture's credibility if a slum were depicted as a nice place to live.

August 24, 1966 -
Another one of the defining films of the 60's, Alfie, opened in the US on this date.

Several well-known actors (including Richard Harris, Laurence Harvey and Anthony Newley) turned down the title role due to the then taboo subject matter of abortion. Despite having played Alfie on Broadway, Terence Stamp categorically declined to reprise the role on film, thus giving his good friend and then roommate Michael Caine the breakthrough role of his career.

August 24, 1966 -
The (still surprising good) sci-fi film, Fantastic Voyage, premiered on this date.

When filming the scene where the other crew members remove attacking antibodies from Ms. Peterson for the first time, director Richard Fleischer allowed the actors to grab what they pleased. Gentlemen all, they specifically avoided removing them from Raquel Welch's breasts, with an end result that the director described as a "Las Vegas showgirl" effect. Fleischer pointed this out to the cast members - and on the second try, the actors all reached for her breasts. Finally the director realized that he would have to choreograph who removed what from where, and the result is seen in the final cut.

It is believed that the original potato chip recipe was created by chef George Crum, at Moon's Lake House near Saratoga Springs, New York, on August 24, 1853.

He was fed up with a customer (the popular myth wrongly identifies him as Cornelius Vanderbilt) who continued to send his fried potatoes back, claiming that they were too thick and soggy. Crum decided to slice the potatoes so thin that they couldn't be eaten with a fork, nor fried normally in a pan, so he decided to stir-fry the potato slices. Against Crum's expectation, the guest was ecstatic about the new chips. They became a regular item on the lodge's menu under the name Saratoga Chips. They soon became popular throughout New York and New England.

You don't want to know how Crum got the vinegar flavor for that damn chip.

Today in History:
August 24, 79
The entire city of Pompeii was fired by Mount Vesuvius. Vesuvius, ever the vengeful volcano god buried that happening spot by the sea, Pompeii, apparently to punish the debauchery that made the town famous. Tens of thousands of people perished only to have plaster casts made centuries later of the hollows their bodies once occupied.

Once again, people, this is what happens when a city goes on the cheap and starts scarifying any old whore rather than a proper virgin.

August 24, 410
In what was possibly the largest layoff in history,

all of Rome was sacked (again).

August 24, 1572 -
Troops loyal to the French crown alongside Catholic civilians massacre the Protestant Huguenots of Paris, estimates range between 20,000 and 100,000 deaths. At news of this carnage of this St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, a gleeful Pope Gregory XIII ordered celebrations and a medal to be struck.

Sometimes, you just have to be embarrassed to be a Catholic.

August 24, 1814 -
The White House and other public buildings in the District of Columbia are torched by the British.

The President's wife, Dolley Madison and Paul Jennings, her husband's enslaved manservant, are torn away from Mrs. Madison's ice cream and candy making duties to save a couple of chairs

and an unfinished portrait of some dead Virginian Slave holder, Masonite and dope smoker.

August 24, 1958 -
Red China commences the shelling of the islands of Quemoy and Matsu, which hold one-third of Chiang Kai Shek's troops. The United States threatens nuclear retaliation for this, but the American people do not support the stance. A very strange compromise is worked out, permitting China to shell the islands on odd dates and Chiang Kai Shek's troops to resupply the islands on even dates.

August 24, 1968
France explodes its first hydrogen bomb, thus becoming the world's fifth nuclear power.

The Germans break out in an ever slight sweat. (The 1998 film Godzilla uses this particular test as the basis for the monster Godzilla, an infant green iguana mutated by the fallout from the blast.)

Another reason to hate the French.

August 24, 1989 -
Pete Rose is suspended from baseball for life for gambling

Remember, Pete just gambled, he didn't take any damn steroids.

And so it goes.


zoe said...

the world is so strange...

and this one:
'and an unfinished portrait of some dead Virginian Slave holder, Masonite and dope smoker."

Joan said...

Man, August 24th was an eventful day. And to think that so much of this history took place without the comfort of potato chips . . .

Jim H. said...

Pompeii isn't by the sea. That would be Herculaneum (the locals insist on calling it Ercolano), which Vesuvius also destroyed, but with lava and not ash. That's why Ercolano is much less visited -- there's less to visit.