Friday, August 12, 2011

My stuff is sure 'nuff set your stuff on fire

I stopped at the bank this morning to pick up some money for the weekend (in case the rioting in London spreads to NYC, you never know) and this was playing in the background.

How can your day not be better after hearing this?

August 12, 1927
The only silent film to win an Oscar for best picture, Wings, opened in NYC on this date.

With the thousands of extras battling on the ground, dozens of airplanes flying around in the sky and hundreds of explosions going off everywhere, the only two injuries on the entire picture were incurred.

August 12, 1939 -
The Bugs Bunny everyone knows takes another step forward when Hare-um Scare-um premiered on this date.

This is the third of four appearances by the rabbit character who later evolved into Bugs Bunny.

August 12, 1939 -
Considered one of the highlights of the Golden Age of Hollywood, The Wizard of Oz premiered on this date in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

Since it's release, it is possibly the most-watched film ever made.

August 12, 1941 -
MGM premiered their version of Robert Louis Stevenson's famous novel, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, starring Spencer Tracy, in NYC on this date.

Spencer Tracy's performance as Hyde was judged by the critics in 1941 to be inadequate, principally because he was not frightening enough. In addition, Tracy was considered "too American" and too "rough" to be believable as an upper-class doctor in Victorian London. He later received an amusing telegram from Fredric March, the star of the 1931 version, who said that his earlier performance as Hyde was always compared favorably with Tracy's. After watching the film, Tracy confided to a friend that he believed his acting career was over.

Today in History:
August 12, 30 BC -
Cleopatra IV, Queen of Egypt, former wife to Julius Caesar and mistress of Marc Anthony, commits suicide by means of venomous snakebite to the mammary gland. (Given how the Romans were keeping track of time at this point and were more interested is when the next orgy was - this date is fluid at best.)

... As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle ...

August 12, 1676 -
Wampanoag chieftain Metacom (or Philip) is killed in a swamp near Mount Hope. Thus ends King Philip's War, the first war between Indians and European settlers.

Unfortunately, the Indians (or Native American, for the PC of you in the crowd) have been on the losing side, for the most part, ever since.

August 12, 1813 -
Austria declared war against Napoleon. An outraged England rushed to France's defense by declaring war against Austria exactly 101 years later.

August 12, 1869 -
In San Francisco on this date, Emperor Norton I issues a stern edict outlawing both the Republican and Democratic political parties.

Violators face a prison term of five-to-ten years. Oh, for that wise man today!

Not familiar with Norton I ? Read the amazing tale of Emperor Joshua Norton here.

August 12, 1898 -
The Spanish-American war ended. Spain released Cuba and gave Puerto Rico to the United States. Americans rushed to Puerto Rico in gleeful droves, only to discover that everyone spoke Spanish and there were no luaus or volcanoes.

Their disappointment was profound.

They took Hawaii later that same day.

August 12, 1948 -
Russian schoolteacher Oksana Kosenkina was injured when she jumps out the window of the Soviet Consulate in New York City.

Soviet officials claim they had rescued her from "White Russian" kidnappers, but Kosenkina says she was trying to escape from the Soviets. The US later expels the consul general, and the Soviets close their consulate.

August 12, 1953 -
In Siberia, the Soviet Union successfully tests its first thermonuclear device, based on Andrei Sakharov's fission-fusion "Layer Cake" design: alternating layers of uranium and hydrogen fuel sandwiched together and wrapped around a conventional Atomic Bomb. The fission explosion compresses the hydrogen, causing a fusion reaction.

Hopefully this is no longer a state secret or boy am I in deep trouble.

And so it goes.

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