Sunday, October 10, 2010

It's 10/10/10

It really doesn't mean anything but get the kids all excited about it.

October 10, 1941 -
The last movie W C Fields starred in, Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, premiered on this date.

In the soda-shop scene, Fields turns to the camera and announces that the scene was supposed to have been filmed in a saloon "but the censor cut it out". He was telling the truth.

October 10, 1957 - Guy Williams gallops across TV screens as the masked hero, when Zorro, debuted on ABC-TV on this date.

Although Zorro was the most popular show in its Thursday evening slot, the series was pulled in 1959 due to legal wrangling between the Disney Studios and the ABC network. Disney tried to keep the character before the audience by shooting four one-hour episodes for another anthology series, but by the time the lawsuit was settled, the studio had decided the public had lost interest in the character and the series was canceled.

October 10, 1961 - Elia Kazan's bittersweet romance, Splendor in the Grass, starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty, premiered on this date.

Even though they were supposed to be playing teenagers, Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty were approximately 23 and 24 respectively at the time of filming. As a result, Elia Kazan decided that the other actors who were to play teenagers in the film should be in their early to mid-twenties as a way to make it easier for the audience to accept Wood and Beatty as teenagers rather than as adults playing teens.

October 10, 1964 -
The Shangri-Las released their operatic hit, Leader of the Pack, on this date.

Billy Joel, in 1964, a young session musician, claimed he played piano on Leader of the Pack, but this has been denied by Ellie Greenwich, one of the writers of the tune.

Today in History: October 10, 1780 -
Over 48 hours, a slow-moving hurricane decimates Barbados, killing 4,326 (however according to the island's governor, "fortunately few people of consequence were among the number").

Over the next week, the catastrophic storm system moves on to Martinique (9,000 dead) and St. Eustatius (4-5,000). The unprecedented Great Hurricane of 1780 remains the deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record.

October 10, 1910 -
Tau Epsilon Phi (TEF, commonly pronounced "TEP") is a predominantly American fraternity with approximately 40 active chapters, chiefly located at universities and colleges in the Northeastern United States. The organization was founded on October 10, 1910, by ten Jewish men at Columbia University, as a response to the existence of similar organizations who would not admit Jewish members. The national headquarters is currently located in Voorhees, New Jersey and the official colors of the organization are lavender and white (although most chapters use purple instead of lavender).

Why is this important?

Several of the readers and I (and well as George Stephanopoulos) are members of this fraternity. And you thought "The Skull and Bones" Society rules this country.

October 10, 1911 -
The Chinese revolution began in Hankow, on this date.

The revolution spread rapidly, resulting in the abdication of six-year-old Henry Pu-Yi, the Academy Award-winning "Last Emperor" of China.

October 10, 1913 -
Two years later, President Woodrow Wilson was bored and wandering around the White House. He started fiddling aroung with things on his desk and pressing an electric button on his desk.

This triggered a blast which exploded the Gamboa Dike down in Panama and somehow the Panama Canal was completed on this date and a popular palindrome was born.

October 10, 1956 -
George Steven's sprawling epic, Giant, premiered in NYC on this date.

Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor went for get-to-know-you drinks one night at the very start of the production. They both got exceedingly drunk, finishing the evening at 3:00 am. Their call-time was 5:30 am. Fortunately the scene being shot that morning was a wedding scene with no dialog, so instead of talking, all they had to do was look lovingly at each other. The two actors were concentrating so hard on not being sick that they were quite surprised when some of the people on-set started to cry, so convinced were they of their supposed looks of adoration at each other.

October 10, 1962 -
The British Broadcasting Company bans Monster Mash -- the Halloween-themed novelty tune by Bobby "Boris" Pickett -- for being "offensive."

The BBC never specifies precisely what it is about the song that's problematic.

October 10, 1968 -
One of the silliest movies Jane Fonda (or anyone else for that matter) ever made, Barbarella, lands in US theatres on this date.

The film's missing scientist character famously inspired the band name of pop stars Duran Duran.

October 10, 1969 -
King Crimson releases their debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King, considered by many to be the first progressive rock album.

Turn it up loud, spark it up and don't bogart that joint.

October 10, 1973 -
Bribe-happy Vice President Spiro T. Agnew finally resigns, after pleading Nolo contendere to federal income tax evasion.

In addition to his venality, Agnew is chiefly remembered for this offhand remark during the 1968 campaign: "What's the matter with the fat Jap?"

It should be noted that humorist Dave Barry points out that one can rearrange the letters in "Spiro Agnew" to spell "Grow A Penis."

October 10, 1985 -

As to all, cheap wine hawker, voice-over whore and movie legend Orson Welles, whose remarkably innovative Citizen Kane was named the best American-made picture of all time in a 1998 American Film Institute poll, died of a heart attack at the age of 70.

Yul Brynner, Russian-born, Academy Award-winning Broadway and Hollywood actor died on October 10, 1985 (the same day as Orson Welles, his co star in The Battle of Neretva) in New York City. The cause of death was lung cancer brought on by smoking. Throughout his life, Brynner was always seen with a cigarette in his hand. In January 1985, nine months before his death, he gave an interview on Good Morning America, expressing his desire to make an anti-smoking commercial.

The clip from that interview was made into just such a public service announcement by the American Cancer Society, and released after his death; it includes the warning "Now that I'm gone, I tell you, don't smoke."

If only he listened to himself.

And so it goes

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