April 23, 1936 -
Allow yourselves to wallow in the voluptuousness of despair!
Roy Orbison, the coolest singer in sunglasses,was born on this date.
April 23, 1958 -
Orson Welles' noir thriller Touch of Evil, starring Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh, was released on this date.
When Orson Welles discovered that his film was recut, he wrote a letter to the production house with specifics on how he would have wanted the film to be released. This memo, thought to be lost, was found to be in the possession of star Charlton Heston and was the basis for the re-edited 1998 re-release.
Today in History -
Today is believed to be the birthday of William Shakespeare, born in Stratford-on-Avon, England (1564). He was a playwright and poet, and is considered to be the most influential and perhaps the greatest writer in the English language. His tragedies have been celebrated for centuries. For example, there’s the Tragedy of Julius Caesar, in which a Roman general thinks he’d like to be emperor, other people disagree, and everyone dies in the end. There is the Tragedy of Macbeth, in which a Scottish Thane thinks he’d like to be king, other people disagree, and everyone dies in the end. There is the Tragedy of Richard III, in which a hunch-backed noble thinks he'd like to be king, other people disagree, and everyone dies in the end. There is even the Tragedy of Hamlet, in which a young prince thinks and everyone dies in the end.
(That last is naturally set in Denmark, where the relationship between thinking and dying has been most famously chronicled by Soren Kierkegaard, who called life itself the sickness unto death. He was a very happy fella.)
He gave us many beloved plays, including Romeo and Juliet (1594), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595), Gay Boys in Bondage (1601), Othello (1604), and King Lear (1605). Only a few scattered facts are known about his life. He was born and raised in the picturesque market town of Stratford-on-Avon, surrounded by woodlands. His father was a glover and a leather merchant; he and his wife had eight children including William, but three of them died in childbirth. William probably left grammar school when he was thirteen years old, but continued to study on his own.
He went to London around 1588 to pursue his career in drama (or to sleep with actresses or men who dresses like women) and by 1592 he was a well-known actor. He joined an acting troupe in 1594 and wrote many plays for the group while continuing to act. Scholars believe that he usually played the part of the first character that came on stage, but that in Hamlet he played the ghost.
Some scholars have suggested that Shakespeare couldn't have written the plays attributed to him because he had no formal education. A group of scientists recently plugged all his plays into a computer and tried to compare his work to other writers of his day, such as Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, and the Earl of Oxford. The only writer they found who frequently used words and phrases similar to Shakespeare's was Queen Elizabeth I, and although Shakespeare had been seen in women's clothing several times, the Queen was eventually ruled out as well.
Shakespeare used one of the largest vocabularies of any English writer, almost 30,000 words, and he was the first writer to invent or record many of our most common turns of phrase, including foul play, as luck would have it, your own flesh and blood, too much of a good thing, good riddance, in one fell swoop, so is your mother, play fast and loose, up your nose with a rubber hose, dyn-o-mite, I know you are but what am I and in the twinkling of an eye.
Shakespeare wrote a lot of other plays and died in the end—on April 23, 1616. His accomplishments are all the more remarkable when you consider that he died on the same day he’d been born.
April 23, 1616 -
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra died the very same day as Shakespeare. Mr. Cervantes was a brilliant Spanish humorist, best known for his novel Don Quixote, in which an old man suffering from acute mental illness rides around the Spanish countryside hallucinating, then dies.
Sometimes that's all there is.
April 23, 1967 -
The USSR launched Soyuz One on this date.
The next day, forced to return to earth, cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov became the first casualty of space flight when his capsule's parachute opened improperly.
April 23, 1988 -
... There is no dark side in the Moon really... matter of fact it's all dark ...
Pink Floyd's album Dark Side Of The Moon, after spending the record total of 741 consecutive weeks (over 14 years) on the Billboard 200, left the charts for its first time ever.
How did they ever make ends meet?
And so it goes