Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Nobody's ever asked you before.

June 12, 1839 -
Today is the traditional (yet totally unlikely) date for Civil War hero Abner Doubleday's introduction of the first rules for baseball in Cooperstown, New York, on this date.

It is more likely the sport evolved from cricket and rounders, and developed before Doubleday's birth (friends of Frederick, Prince of Wales, brother of King George III, noted that Frederick and his brothers played 'base-ball' in a letter in 1745. BTW - Frederick did not become King of England because he died after being hit in the head with a cricket ball in 1751, but that's another story...)

It's first coherent rules are likely the work of Alexander Cartwright in 1845.

Support you local Auto Repair Shop - June 12th is Automotive Service Professionals Day. Give a hearty handshake to the men and women who keep your car running and on the road (and give you estimates that are less than meaningless.)

On second thought, wash your hands thoroughly after greeting them.

June 12, 1950 -
Elia Kazan's film-noir thriller, Panic In The Streets, opened on this date.

Though Elia Kazan liked to claim that much of Panic in the Streets was improvised, there was a script, adapted by Richard Murphy and Daniel Fuchs from a story by Edward Anhalt and Edna Anhalt.

June 12, 1968 -
Roman Polanksi horror classic Rosemary's Baby, premiered on this date.

There's a false story that Alfred Hitchcock was originally offered the chance to direct this movie. Hitchcock was never approached. There is an equally apocryphal tale that Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey gave technical advice and portrayed Satan in the impregnation scene. This is false - Lucifer never uses stunt doubles.

Today in History -
In early 1381 England imposed a new tax, which was called the "Pole Tax" because everyone got the shaft.

The Swiss Army Knife was patented on June 12, 1897. It was the fruit of centuries of Swiss research, development, and testing. Its release was heralded as the dawn of a golden age of Swiss technology.

Switzerland may not have won a war since, but they've never been caught without a corkscrew.

June 12, 1942 -
A young Dutch girl receives the crappy gift of a diary as a birthday present on this date.

She natters on for a little more than two years of small, inconsequental things young girls usually do in their diaries and then she abruptly stops writing. Today, her diary has been published in over 30 languages.

So parents, chose wisely when giving your children birthday gifts.

June 12, 1963 -
Civil rights leader and NAACP official, Medgar Evers was fatally shot in front of his home in Jackson, Mississippi by the KKK.

An informant in the KKK, Delmar Dennis, later served as a key prosecution witness in convicting Byron De La Beckwith for the slaying. Beckwith was convicted of murdering Evers and sentenced to life in prison; he died in 2001 at age 80.

June 12, 1963 -
The four-hour film spectacle, Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, premiered in New York City, on this date.

A group of female extras who played Cleopatra's various servants and slave girls went on strike to demand protection from amorous Italian extras and their bottom-pinching fingers. The studio eventually hired a special guard to protect the extras.

June 12, 1978 -
David Berkowitz was sentenced to 365 consecutive years in prison without the possibility of parole on this date.

Berkowitz killed six New Yorkers between 1976 and 1977, known collectively as the Son of Sam murders.

Harvey, Sam Carr's dog, was not charged with any crime.

June 12, 1981 -
A bizarre coincidence but Mel Brooks' History of the World Part 1 and Lucas/ Spielberg's Raiders Of The Lost Ark both premiered on this date.

Mel Brooks plays five roles in this movie. Brooks plays Moses, Comicus, Torquemada, Jacques and King Louis XVI. This is the most parts Brooks has ever done in a theatrical movie.

In a deleted scene, where the character of Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) is confronted by a Nazi soldier, Rhys-Davies who was suffering from cholera at the time was required to bend down. Unfortunately this prompted the very sick Rhys-Davies to soil himself.

Aren't you glad that you know this.

June 12, 1982 -
The largest anti-nuclear protest , with some one million anti-nuclear demonstrators rallied in Central Park, NYC on this date.

At the time, it was also the largest political demonstration, of any kind, in American history.

June 12, 1987 -
U.S. President Ronald Reagan publicly challenges Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall at Brandenburg Gate.

Although there is some disagreement over how much influence, if any, Reagan's words had on the destruction of the wall, the speech is remembered as an important moment in Cold War history.

Before I let you go - Fiona Apple has released her latest album in seven years, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do.  Here's a video for the single, Every Single Night,  from the album -

Fiona, we love you too honey. Please have a pudding pop!

And so it goes.

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