Thursday, June 14, 2012

Remember to remove your hat while reading this

It was on this date in 1777 that the Stars and Stripes was adopted as the official flag of the United States of America.

The first Flag Day observance was not held on the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes on June 14, 1877, as some sites might tell you, but read on my friend, this seems to the real story:

In 1861, at the start of the Civil War, a man named George Morris persuaded his city of Hartford, Conn., to undertake a patriotic celebration on behalf of the Union. But the concept didn't catch on, there or elsewhere.

Two decades later, in 1885, a 19-year-old Waubeka schoolteacher named Bernard Cigrand plunked a small flag into an inkwell on his desk and assigned his students to write essays on patriotism. Later he traveled the country to promote respect for the flag, becoming president of the American Flag Day Association.

In 1916, Cigrand, after years of toil, got President Woodrow Wilson, on May 30, 1916, to issue a proclamation calling for a nation wide observance of Flag Day.

In 1949, President Truman signed an Act Of Congress designating the 14th day of June every year as National Flag Day.

So now you know. (You may now put your hat back on.)

June 14, 1967 -
One of the iconic films from the 60's,the British drama To Sir, with Love, starring Sidney Poitier premiered in the US on this date.

The South African Publications Control Board banned this film, claiming that it was "offensive to see a Black male teaching a class of white children".  The film did so unexpectedly well in America that Columbia Pictures did market research to find out why so many people had gone to it. Their answer: Sidney Poitier.

June 14, 1985 -
One of John Houston's last films, the black comedy Prizzi's Honor, opened on this date.

The studio, expecting the film to perform poorly at the box office, pushed for a relatively quick release onto home video; however, the film was one of the 'sleeper' hits of the season, thanks to terrific reviews and positive word of mouth, and had a lengthy stay in theatres, and was still in theatres, in fact, when it was released to video stores.

Today in History:
June 14, 1648 -
Midwife Margaret Jones was hanged in Boston for witchcraft on this date.

It is the first such execution for the Massachusetts colony, but not the first in the colonies.

June 14, 1940 -
Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund had a quick drink as they planned to leave Paris ahead of the Nazi invasion. Little does Rick know that Ilsa does not plan to join him (but that's another story ....)

Paris falls to the Nazis on this date. Marshal Philippe Petain became the head of the French government and sued for peace. Gertrude Stein translated Petain's speeches and hailed him as a hero of the French nation.

And sometimes, a rose is just a collaborator.

June 14, 1949 -
This truly dark comedy, Kind Hearts and Coronets, starring the ever present Alec Guinness, was released on this date.

The scene where six members of the D'Ascoynes family, all played by Alec Guinness, are seen together took two days to film. The camera was set on a specially built platform to minimize movement. In addition, the camera operator spent the night with the camera to ensure that nothing moved it by accident. A frame with six black matte painted optical flat glass windows was set in front of the camera and the windows opened one at a time so each of the characters could be filmed in turn. The film was then wound back for the next character. Most of the time was spent waiting for Guinness to be made up as the next character.

June 14, 1954 -
At the Lincoln Memorial, President Dwight Eisenhower signs a law inserting the words "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance. Eisenhower declares: "From this day forward, the millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty." Precisely which Almighty is left to the listener's imagination.

This year, I'd like to think that Ike was thinking about the Japanese god - Aizen Myo-o.

June 14, 1961 -
That's the strange thing about love. One minute you can have your tongue up someone's arse, and the next you can't even communicate.

1980s pop music star George Alan O'Dowd was born in Kent, England on this date.

No truer words were ever spoken.

June 14, 1962 -
Albert Henry DeSalvo, a small time petty criminal confessed that he murdered Anna Slesersby, a petite divorcee, by strangling her with the belt from her robe on this date. She was only the first victim of The Boston Strangler.

Or did he?

June 14, 1966 -
The Vatican announces the abolition of its Index librorum prohibitum (Index of Prohibited Books), originally instituted in 1557 by Pope Paul IV. Notable novelists on the list were Laurence Sterne, Voltaire, Daniel Defoe, Honor de Balzac, Jean-Paul Sartre.

If you are ever in doubt of what to read - check out the Index.

June 14, 1976 -
The Gong Show debuted on NBC on this date. People with dubious talents perform their acts before a celebrity panel of judges, who are free to eject the performer at any time by banging a large gong. The best non-gonged performer each night wins $516.32.

During the time the show is on the air, it's creator, Chuck Barris, suffered a complete mental breakdown, he says from the stress of being a secret CIA hit man.

No really, I'm not kidding you.

June 14, 1989 -
Zsa Zsa Gabor was arrested for slapping a Beverly Hills police officer and driving with an expired license. Afterwards Zsa Zsa complains to the press that the handling she received from the BHPD "was like Nazi Germany."

Ultimately, Gabor is convicted and sentenced to 72 hours in jail.

And on a personal note:

Happy Birthday Thierry

And so it goes.

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