Wednesday, October 26, 2011

But you are, Blanche! You are in that chair!

October 26, 1959 -
A gentle and yet still relevant Cold War comedy, The Mouse the Roared, opened in the US on this date.

This is one of the films that Peter Sellers was billed as the star of the feature. Sellers made this film in part as a means of emulating his hero, Alec Guinness, by playing multiple roles in one movie.

October 26, 1962 -
The horror camp classic Crawford - Davis paring, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? opened in NYC on this date.

While touring the talk show circuit to promote the movie, Bette Davis told one interviewer that when she and Joan Crawford were first suggested for the leads in this film, Warner Bros. studio head Jack L. Warner replied: "I wouldn't give a plugged nickel for either one of those two old broads." Recalling the story, Davis laughed at her own expense. The following day, she reportedly received a telegram from Crawford: "In future, please do not refer to me as an old broad!"

October 26, 1967 -
An excellent (though almost forgotten seen) thriller from the 60's, Wait Until Dark premiered on this date.

The role that eventually went to Alan Arkin was difficult to cast because the producers couldn't find actors willing to be cast in such a villainous role - not only terrorizing a blind woman, but terrorizing beloved Audrey Hepburn to boot! Alan Arkin later went on to say how easy it was for him to get the role because of the reluctance of other actors to take it.

October 26, 1982 -
TV's longest dream sequence, St. Elsewhere, premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

The show was known for its inside jokes. The writers named characters after series staff members, they wrote lines that referenced other TV shows, movies, plays and books. One had to be up on current events and the arts to understand some of the humor.

October 25, 1985 -
Robert Zemeckis' seminal time travel epic Back to the Future opened on this date.

Michael J. Fox is only ten days younger than Lea Thompson who plays his mother, and is almost three years older than his on-screen dad, Crispin Glover. This is not very surprising, since most of their scenes take place in 1955. They were cast to match their younger self's ages.

Today in History:
October 26, 1440 -
Gilles de Rais, French marshal and (alleged) depraved killer of 140 children, was strangled then thrown onto slow fire on this date.

A brilliant young French knight, he was believed to either have cracked over the torture and death of his true love, Jeanne d'Arc, the Maid of Orleans or some theorists consider Gilles the victim of a plot to acquire his lands.

In 1825, New York City becomes a World Port with the opening of the Erie Canal, between Hudson River and Lake Erie opened. It cut through 363 miles of wilderness and measured 40 feet wide and 4 feet deep. It had 18 aqueducts and 83 locks and rose 568 feet from the Hudson River to Lake Erie.

Proof positive that Bruce watched ZOOM (If you're old enough, you'll get it.)

I wonder if U2 ever sang, 'The cat came back.'

October 26, 1881 -
Wyatt Earp, his two brothers and Doc Holliday showed up at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, to disarm the Clanton and McLaury boys, who were in violation of a ban on carrying guns in the city limits.

This became the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Billy Clanton and Tom and Frank McLowery were killed; Earp's brothers were wounded.

October 26, 1944 -
Freemason and Vice President Harry S Truman publicly denies (yet again) ever having been a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Unfortunately for him, while never an active member, he did pay the $10 membership dues in 1922 in order to get backing for a judgeship he was seeking back in Missouri.


October 26, 1965 -
Queen Elizabeth decorates The Beatles with Order of British Empire.

The Beatles, ever polite, allowed Her Majesty to add Chintz curtains and leather sofas in their living rooms.

October 26, 1970 -
Doonesbury, the comic strip by Gary Trudeau, premiered in 28 newspapers across the U.S on this date.

The strip is still going strong. Who knew (who reads newspapers anymore.)

October 26, 1979 -
Kim Jae Kyu, director of South Korea's central intelligence agency, "accidentally" shoots President Park Chung Hee to death, also killing Park's bodyguard. Park had been president (dictator, effectively) since 1961. Kim is executed the following May for his attempted coup d'etat.


A few years ago at the New York Film Festival, the film, The President's Last Bang, recounts the events.

October 26, 1984 -
19-year-old John McCollum shoots and killed himself while listening to Ozzy Osbourne records. One year later, McCollum's parents file suit against Ozzy and CBS Records, alleging that the song Suicide Solution from the album Blizzard of Ozz contributed to their son's death.

Except that the song's subject was quite plainly alcohol addiction. The trial court dismissed the McCollum's complaint.


October 26, 1991 -
A sudden wind uprooted a 485-pound umbrella, part of an outdoor 'art project' installed by Christo, in the Tejon Pass north of Los Angeles and struck Lori Keevil-Matthews, 33 years old, of Camarillo, Calif., crushing her to death against a boulder.


And so it goes.

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