May 23, 1966 -
The Beatles released the single Paperback Writer on this date
Written in the form of a letter from an aspiring author to a publisher, Paperback Writer was the first UK Beatles single that was not a love song.
And now, Conversation with Bert -
This needs to become a new series on PBS.
It's World Turtle Day today. Turtle Day is celebrated worldwide in a variety of ways, from dressing up as turtles to saving turtles caught on highways, to research activities.
The purpose of World Turtle Day, sponsored yearly since 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue, is to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive.
May 23, 1980 -
Stanley Kubrick's classic horror thriller The Shining, opened on this date (I remember seeing it at the midnight showing on this date in Time Square.)
At the time of release, it was the policy of the MPAA to not allow the portrayal of blood in trailers that would be approved for all audiences. Bizarrely , the trailer for The Shining is comprised entirely of the shot of blood pouring out of the elevator. Stanley Kubrick had convinced the board the blood flooding out of the elevator was actually rusty water.
May 23, 1984 -
Steven Spielberg/ George Lucas' theme park thrill ride film, Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom, opened on this date.
While filming the whipping scene, the crew played a practical joke on Harrison Ford. While he was chained to a large stone, Barbra Streisand appeared, dressed in a leather dominatrix outfit. She proceeded to whip him, saying "That's for Hanover Street, the worst movie I ever saw." She continued whipping him for Star Wars, and making all of that money. Carrie Fisher then threw herself in front of Ford to protect him, and Irvin Kershner chided director Steven Spielberg. "Is this how you run your movies?"
May 23, 1997 -
Steven Spielberg's sequel monster movie, The Lost World: Jurassic Park opened nationally, on this date (this date must be a lucky day for Steve.)
The Japanese tourists running from the rampaging T-Rex in the San Diego scene (an obvious homage to Godzilla movies) are saying in Japanese: I left Japan to get away from this?!
Today in History -
May 23, 1430 -
The French, they are a strange race.
A little french shepherdess goes out into a field for a picnic. And instead of getting food poisoning, which was common, hears the voice of God, which is not.
Joan, heeding God's command, heads the army of France to rout the England and help crown a new French King. And for her troubles, Joan of Arc captured by Burgundians today at Compiegne, who sell her to the British. The British, known for their sense of humor, give Joan the ultimate hot foot.
This is what comes from being the messenger of God.
May 23, 1498 -
What a day for an auto da fe...
Religious fundamentalist Girolamo Savonarola was executed in Florence on this date, Italy for his many heresies, after being excommunicated by Pope Alexander VI. The Catholic Church had already excommunicated the Dominican friar the year before, but Savonarola continued to preach for radical reforms. Among other things, he held bonfires of the vanities for his parishioners' worldly possessions, because they competed with the word of God for attention.
Brother Savonarola was first hanged along with two accomplices and their bodies burned.
This is what comes from trying to follow your own understanding of God's words.
May 23, 1618 -
In what is later called the Second Defenestration of Prague, (yes there was a First) three men representing the soon-to-be Emperor Ferdinand II are thrown from a window in the Hradshin Palace by Protestant noblemen.
Luckily for the imperial emissaries, they land on a large pile of manure and survive (Catholics immediately proclaimed that God’s angels had saved them from certain death.) But when Ferdinand assumes the throne the following year, all hell breaks loose in Europe, starting with Bohemia.
Thus begins the horrific religious conflict that comes to be known as the Thirty Years War. Shockingly, given the European sense of time, the war actually lasted 30 years. It is generally agreed that the war set back the continent a full century.
May 23, 1701 -
Captain William Kidd was hanged in London on this date. After the first attempt fails when the rope snaps, Kidd is brought right back to the gallows and the process repeated. After death, the body is slathered in tar, chained up, and suspended over the Thames where it remains for years as an example to others considering a life of piracy.
Again, the British and their sense of humor.
May 23, 1734 -
Friedrich Anton Mesmer was born on this date.
Mr. Mesmer was a physician and hypnotist who developed a peculiar method of therapy-by-suggestion that bears his name to this day: Antonism.
(Antonism should not be confused with antonyms, an antonym for synonyms. Synonyms should not be confused with cinnamon, which is used on hot buns. It will spare embarrassment at the breakfast table if hot buns are confused with hot buns.)
May 23, 1934 -
200 years later, a group of FBI agents and police officers from two states ambush Bonnie and Clyde on a highway near Gibsland, Louisiana.
The men open fire as the bank robbers drive past the concealed posse, unloading hundreds of rounds into the car.
You make the connection.
May 23, 1911 -
More than one million books were set in place for the official dedication of The New York Public Library (on Fifth Avenue on the site of the old Croton Reservoir) on this date – exactly 16 years to the day since the historic agreement creating the Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations had been signed.
The ceremony was presided over by President William Howard Taft and was attended by Governor John Alden Dix and Mayor William J. Gaynor.
Please, all of you who forgot to return your books from the opening day, return them. All is forgiven.
No questions asked.
May 23, 1969 -
... Tommy, can you hear me?
Tommy, can you hear me?
The Who release Tommy, the first rock opera on this date.
Somehow this may or may not be connected with the fact that the BBC gave the go-ahead for 13 episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus on this date as well.
And so it goes.