Sunday, February 26, 2012

Remember, even if you're alone tonight -

no double dipping the chips

Tonight is the 84rd Annual Academy Awards Presentation on ABC-TV.

Here are some Oscar tidbits to discuss while waiting for the show to start (if you're not interested in being catty about the red carpet coverage.)

Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro are the only actors to win an Oscar for the same character. Three actors (Charles Laughton, Robert Shaw and Richard Burton) have earned Oscar nominations for playing the same character, King Henry VIII.

Due to metal shortages, Oscars during World War II were made from painter plaster.

Oscar Hammerstein II is the only Oscar winner named Oscar.

The last movie in black-and-white movie to win Best Picture was Schindler's List in 1993; before that, The Apartment in 1960.

If it wins, The Artist will be only the second silent film to collect an Oscar for Best Film. Howard Hughes' film Wings was the first in 1929.

Go discuss amongst yourselves

February 26, 1908 -
Let's make some funny pictures.

Frederick Bean (Tex) Avery, animator, cartoonist, and another member of the legendary Termite Terrace was born on this date.

February 26, 1916 -
The second day of a diet is always easier than the first. By the second day you're off it.

John Herbert Gleason, (The Great One) comedian, actor and musician was born on this day.

February 26, 1870 -
The first pneumatic-powered subway line in New York City was opened to the public on this date. Propulsion was provided by a giant fan, nicknamed The Western Tornado, operated by a steam engine, drawing air in through a valve, and blowing it forcefully into the tunnel.

The tunnel was only a block long, and the line had only one car. Rush hour must have been a bitch.

February 26, 1988 -
John Water's great, albeit more mainstream feature (Water's first PG-rated film), Hairspray, opened on this date.

The role of Edna Turnblad was originally written for famed transsexual Christine Jorgensen. The role of Velma Von Tussle was originally offered to Mamie Van Doren.

February 26, 1994 -
Bill Hicks, writer and comedian, died of pancreatic cancer on this date. In the years after his death, Hicks' work has achieved significant admiration and acclaim.

A documentary entitled American: The Bill Hicks Story, based on interviews with his family and friends is available on DVD.

Today in History:
February 26, 1815 -
Able was I ere I saw Elba.

Napoleon left his exile on the Island of Elba, intending to return to France on this date.

February 26, 1918 -
Grandstands at the Hong Kong Jockey Club collapse and burn, killing 604 spectators on this date. It is the worst disaster in sports history.

Even though mad dogs and Englishmen may go out in the midday sun - they apparently will not leave a burning stadium.

On this date in 1936, Some junior officers in the Japanese Army mistook Japan for a foreign country and tried to conquered it. This disrupted the Japanese automotive industry, giving Adolf Hitler the opportunity to preside over the official opening of the first Volkswagen factory.

(The good people at Volkswagen seem to overlook this anniversary every year.)

February 26, 1966 -
While Nancy Sinatra was on the same record label (Reprise) as her famous father, her record label was going to drop her because her first few singles flopped. Things changed when they teamed her with producer Lee Hazlewood. These Boots Are Made for Walkin' topped the charts on this date.

It was her first hit. In 1996, Nancy Sinatra gave a pair of white go-go boots she wore to promote this song to the Hard Rock Cafe in Beverly Hills.

February 26, 1974 -
A U.S. Senate report reveals Ford Motor's involvement in Nazi Germany's war efforts, for which CEO Henry Ford received the Grand Cross of the German Eagle from Adolf Hitler himself.

After the war, the car company was paid nearly $1M reparation by the U.S. government to compensate for one of its plants that was bombed within the Reich.

And some people worry about buying a BMW.

February 26, 1993 -
A bomb explodes on level B2 of the World Trade Center, creating a five story crater and leaving six dead and over 1,042 injured.

Mohammed A. Salameh is later arrested in connection with the bombing as he tries to claim a refund on a rented van believed to have carried the explosion.

Genius, sheer genius.

And so it goes.

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