Saturday, July 30, 2011

Holy Bat Irony

July 30, 1966 -
The Dynamic Duo make the jump from the TV scene to the movie scene - Batman, The Movie, premiered in Austin, Texas on this date.

Originally planned as the pilot film for the Batman TV series, the movie was instead produced between the show's first and second seasons. The producers took advantage of the larger budget to have a number of new Bat-gadgets constructed, such as the BatBoat.

Louis CK was very funny on Letterman the other night

July 30, 1982 -
One of Ron Howard's early movie directorial efforts Night Shift, premiered on this date.

Both Kevin Costner and Shannen Doherty make their screen debuts: Costner as a frat boy in the morgue party scene (a non-speaking bit part); Doherty plays a "Blue Bell" (liken to a "Girl Scout") in an elevator scene (with one line).

Today in History:
Prague has always been a tough town for elected officials.

On July 30, 1419, Jan Zelivsky, a Hussite priest at the church of the Virgin Mary of the Snows, led his congregation on a procession through the streets of Prague to the Town Hall. The town council members had refused to exchange their Hussite prisoners, and an anti-Hussite threw a rock at one of the protesters. Enraged, the crowd stormed the town hall and threw seven of the council members from the windows onto the spears of the armed congregation below. Thus, the First Defenestration of Prague occurred.

Less you think that was the only defenestration in that tough old town, at Prague Castle on May 23, 1618, an assembly of Protestants tried two Imperial governors, Wilhelm Grav Slavata (1572 - 1652) and Jaroslav Borzita Graf Von Martinicz (1582 - 1649), for violating the Letter of Majesty (Right of Freedom of Religion), found them guilty, and threw them, together with their scribe Philip Fabricius, out of the high windows of the Bohemian Chancellery. They landed on a large pile of manure and all survived unharmed. Philip Fabricius was later ennobled by the emperor and granted the title "von Hohenfall" (lit. translating to "of Highfall").

Apparently, the streets of Prague were literally full of crap.

But what there were more, a defenestration (chronologically the Second Defenestration of Prague) happened on September 24, 1483, when a violent overthrow of the municipal governments of the Old and New Towns ended with throwing the Old-Town portreeve and the bodies of seven killed aldermen out of the windows of the respective townhalls.

Sometimes, the name the Third Defenestration of Prague is used, although it has no standard meaning. For example, it has been used to describe the death of Jan Masaryk, who was found under the bathroom window of the building of the Czechoslovakian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 10, 1948, allegedly murdered by Communists, though the official Communist line claimed this to be a suicide.

It's tough to be an elected official in Prague.

So, here are some quick rules for avoiding defenestration:

7. Don't throw stones at angry mobs.
6. Watch out for Catholics.
5. Watch out for Protestants.
4. Don't piss off really powerful people.
3. Surround tall buildings with piles of manure.
2. Never go to Prague.

And, of course,

1. Never go indoors.

Again, it's a tough town for politicians but it's the gravy train for glazers.

It's Emily Bronte's birthday.

The Brontes were three hideous sisters who dwelt in a cave and had to share a single eyeball between them. They were eventually outwitted and slain by wily Odysseus. (Unless that was the Gorgons, in which case the Emily Brontes were three Englishwomen who wrote poetry and novels in the middle nineteenth century.)

Women were not allowed to write books at the time because novels were still being written in the formal style, and it was feared that women would corrupt that classic form with their penchant for multiple climaxes. The Brontes therefore wrote under the pseudonyms Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Charlotte got to be Currer and this made the other girls jealous: Currer was the handsome and swarthy sailor, while Ellis was the stuttering librarian and Acton was the simpleminded shepherd.

As authors, the Emily Brontes were heavily influenced by the Romantics (That's What I Like About You), but most scholars contend that Emily's Wuthering Heights owes more to the Meteorologists.

She is perhaps best known for her invention of Heathcliff, most recently popularized by American cartoonist George Gately.

July 30, 1729 -
Happy Birthday Crab Cake Capital of the World

The city of Baltimore was founded on this date and is named after Lord Baltimore (Cecilius Calvert).

Flowers and Trees is a 1932 Silly Symphonies cartoon produced by Walt Disney, directed by Burt Gillett, and released to theatres by United Artists on July 30, 1932. It was the first commercially released film to be produced in the full-color three-strip Technicolor process, after several years of two-color Technicolor films.

Flowers and Trees was a commercial and critical success, winning the first Academy Award for Best Short Subjects: Cartoons.

July 30, 1938 -
In his Dearborn, Michigan office Henry Ford proudly accepts a Nazi medal on his 75th birthday. The Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle is the highest award the Reich can bestow on foreigners. The medal arrives with a note of personal greetings from Adolf Hitler.

A rabid anti-semite, Ford paid for copies of the racist hoax Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion to be deposited in major U.S. libraries.

Hopefully, there isn't a Ford in your future.

July 30, 1947 -
The last shot at the German dream of the perfect Aryan nation - Arnold Schwarzenegger was spawned on this date.

I'm not quite sure that an overly greased muscle man in a speedo (who would become the governor of a bankrupt US state and fathered children out of wed-lock ) was what Hitler had in mind but who knows.

July 30, 1975 -
Where have you gone Jimmy Hoffa, the nature turns it jaundice eyes to you?

Jimmy Hoffa was or wasn't killed on this date.

Jimmy is or isn't buried somewhere in the Meadowlands or a horse farm or was made into ground meat and consumed at some very unfortunate barbecue.

And so it goes.

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