Friday, March 2, 2012

And we're lost out here in the stars

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born more than 100 years ago today, on March 2, 1904. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984, and is one of only a few men in history to have written illustrated books in verse about a pedophiliac cat.

You can hardly blame the guy for changing his name.

March 2, 1900 -
... There is only good music and bad music.

Kurt Weill, composer, Brecht and Gershwin collaborator, was born in Dessau, Germany on this date.

March 2, 1939 -
The first of many collaborations between John Ford and John Wayne, Stagecoach, went into general release on this date.

David O. Selznick was interested in making the film, but only if he could have Gary Cooper as the Ringo Kid and Marlene Dietrich as Dallas.

March 2, 1944 -
... I don't like nostalgia unless it's mine.

Lewis Allan Lou Reed singer, songwriter, poet and guitarist was born (on the wild side.)

March 2, 1965 -
The movie version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical The Sound of Music, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, had its world premiere at New York’s Rivoli Theater on this date.

Originally to be directed by William Wyler, who actually scouted locations and toyed with the script. He had a different film in mind; tanks crashing through walls, etc.

Today in History -
When he was a young man, no one knew for sure if Nicholas I of Russia, the son of Paul I, was Czar, Tsar, or Tzar. It was hard to know anything at all about someone whose last name was a vowel, especially when he lived in a hermitage. Nicholas was therefore as confused as he was powerful, which inevitably led to his becoming an Evil Bastard.

He didn't realize what an Evil Bastard he'd become until he lost the Crimean War, however, at which point he discovered that in addition to being Evil he was also an Incompetent Bastard. This made him Autocratic and he therefore died on March 2, 1855.

His first son Alexander, was left to ponder all of this when he became Alexander II on the same day.

On March 2, 1931, Mikhail Gorbachev was born with a big red splotch on his head, so he got right into politics. Mr. Gorbachev was the last Evil Bastard to reign over the Soviet Empire. Fortunately, he was also Bumbling Bastard, and his invention of glasnost and perestroika accidentally made walls fall down in Germany.

This caused Boris Yeltsin to ride on top of a tank and was therefore historical.

March 2, 1939 -
Howard Carter dies of King Tut's curse on this date.

But dammit remember there is no mummy's curse.

March 2, 1944 -
A train of mixed military/civilian passengers stalls inside a tunnel outside Salerno, Italy, asphyxiating 426 from fumes. Authorities question Mussolini on the necessities of have trains run on a timely basis to meet ones death in such an unpleasant manner.

But he was having his own problems at the time.

March 2, 1968 -
Syd Barrett leaves Pink Floyd, after melting his mind with various extremely dangerous drugs on this date. He spends the following years mumbling about pork chops and refrigerators.

A very good biography about Syd Barrett, A Very Irregular Head, came a few years ago.

March 2, 1982 -
Science fiction author Philip K Dick died of a stroke in Santa Ana, California on this date. Since 1974 the author had been possessed by a superalien who arrived in his head via a beam of pink light.

It has been suggested that Mr Dick and Mr Barrett had been in regular communication via the pork chops in his refrigerator.

March 2, 1997 -
Don P. Wolf and a team of researchers at the Oregon National Primate Research Center announce that they had produced rhesus monkeys from cloned embryos, the first successful use of cloning-related technology in primates.

Isn't this how that whole the Planet of the Apes problem began.

Speaking of monkeys, The film King Kong opened today in 1933. In the original film, the character's name is Kong -- a name given to him by the inhabitants of "Skull Island" in the Indian Ocean, where Kong lived along with other over-sized animals such as a plesiosaur, pterosaurs, and dinosaurs. 'King' is an appellation added by an American film crew led by Carl Denham, who captures Kong and takes him to New York City to be exhibited as the "Eighth Wonder of the World".

Kong escapes and climbs the Empire State Building (the World Trade Center in the 1976 remake) where he is shot and killed by aircraft. Nevertheless, "it was beauty who killed the beast", as he only climbed the building in the first place in an attempt to protect the lead female character Ann Darrow.

The film saved RKO Studios from bankruptcy.

And so it goes.

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