Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Does Waldo want to be found?

I know this is an old one but after being forced at gunpoint to re-read it, I though you might enjoy Werner Herzog reading, "Where's Waldo?"

February 8, 1968 -
Planet of The Apes premiered in NYC on this date, cementing Charlton Heston's position in the "Hall of Ham Actors."

Two 9-foot statues of the Lawgiver were made. After the filming of the original series was completed, one of the statues was given to Sammy Davis Jr. by one of the producers and was kept by him for many years. The statue was later sold by the Sammy Davis, Jr. estate, to pay off the singer's unpaid back taxes, to a Hollywood actor and friend of Roddy McDowall.

February 8, 1976 -
Martin Scorsese's pageant to the splendid squalid of 70's New York, Taxi Driver premiered on this date.

Paul Schrader was inspired to write the script after reading the published diary of Arthur Bremer, the man who was convicted of shooting presidential hopeful George Wallace.

Today in History:
February 8, 1587 -
After some nineteen years in prison, Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded. She had spent the last hours of her life in prayer and also writing letters and her will. She expressed a request that her servants should be released. She also requested that she should be buried in France. The scaffold that was erected in the great hall was three feet tall and draped in black. It was reached by 5 steps and the only things on it were a disrobing stool, the block, a cushion for her to kneel on, and a bloody butcher's axe that had been previously used on animals. At her execution she removed a black cloak to reveal a deep red dress - the liturgical colour of martyrdom in the Catholic Church.

The execution was badly carried out. It is said to have taken three blows to hack off her head. The first blow struck the back of her head, the next struck her shoulder and severed her subclavian artery, spewing blood in all directions. She was alive and conscious after the first two blows. The next blow took off her head, save some gristle, which was cut using the axe as a saw.

Various improbable stories about the execution were later circulated. One which is thought to be true is that, when the executioner picked up the severed head to show it to those present, it was discovered that Mary was wearing a wig. The headsman was left holding the wig, while the late queen's head rolled on the floor. Another well-known execution story concerns a small dog owned by the queen, which is said to have been hiding among her skirts, unseen by the spectators. Following the beheading, the dog rushed out, terrified and covered in blood. It was taken away by her ladies-in-waiting and washed, but it did not survive the shock.

All of this must have been a pretty sight.

February 8, 1861 -
The southern states which had seceded from the United States agreed to reunite in The Confederate States of America.

This caused the Civil War, a period of unprecedented bloodshed in American history, which surely could have been avoided through a rigorous U.N. regimen of plantation inspections.

co-incidentally, or not
February 8, 1915 -
D.W. Griffith's controversial film The Birth of a Nation (The Clansman) premiered in Los Angeles on this date.

Ultimately, the film is considered technically brilliant but morally repugnant (think Triumph of the Will in black face.)

February 8, 1924 -
The first person to die in Nevada's new gas chamber was Chinese born Gee Jong on this date for the murder of Tom Quong Kee, a member of a rival gang. His lawyers had fought a long battle in the courts to show that the gas chamber was a "cruel and unusual punishment" and as such was illegal under the Eight Amendment to the Constitution.

The execution commenced at 9:30 a.m. when Gee Jong was led from a holding cell and secured to the chair within the chamber. He appeared to struggle a little after the gas was manually pumped in and then lapse into unconsciousness but as no external stethoscope had been used he was left in the chamber for 30 minutes to ensure death.

And this was the humane alternative to hanging.

February 8, 1942 -
Robert Klein, comedian and actor, was born on this date.

And if you hurry, you can still order every song starting with the leter K.

February 8, 1960 -
Beer heir Adolph Coors III (who was ironically allergic to beer), was killed after a failed kidnapping attempt in Colorado. By October, Joseph Corbett Jr. is arrested in Canada after an national manhunt.

Corbett was convinced and sent to prison. He was pardoned in 1978. Mr Corbett committed suicide in 2010, still maintaining his innocence in the crime.

I guess Mr. Corbett didn't get his deposit back.

February 8, 1968 -
Gary Coleman, actor, security guard, perp and corpse was born on this date.

What else is there to say.

And so it goes.

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