Monday, July 16, 2012

So glad it rained yesterday

I was getting worried that we'd have to strain our own urine soon.

I'm not sure I'm ever going to be that thirsty.

July 16, 1948 -
John Huston's version of Maxwell Anderson's play, Key Largo, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall premiered in New York on this date.

The film version of Key Largo has very little to do with Maxwell Anderson's original play. All the characters in the play had their names changed in the film version. This was very unusual for a play written by Anderson, who was then one of the most highly regarded American playwrights, and whose best-known plays had, on the whole, been filmed faithfully.

July 16, 1951 -
One of the best adaptations of a Charles Dickens' novel, David Lean's Oliver Twist was released in the US on this date.

Banned on inital release in both Israel and Egypt; in Israel for being anti-Semitic, and in Egypt for making Fagin too sympathetic.

July 16, 1958 -
Help me, help me ....

The classic Vincent Price Sci-Fi film, The Fly, opened in San Francisco on this date.

This became the biggest box office hit for director Kurt Neumann, but he never knew it. He died a month after the premiere, and only a week before it went into general release.

Today in History:
July 16, 1054 -
The 'Great Schism' between the Western and Eastern churches began over rival claims of universal pre-eminence. (In 1965, 911 years later, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I met to declare an end to the schism.)

Remember kids, there's no schism like a great schism.

Mary Baker Eddy was born on this date in 1821.

Ms. Eddy invented Christian Science, and was elected to the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1995 for having been the only American woman to found a worldwide religion without exposing her breasts.

July 16, 1860 -
A decree from Emperor Norton I of San Francisco, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, ordered the dissoltion of the United States of America on this date.

(More on the good Emperor next month.)

July 16, 1945 -
...If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One - I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds....

Code-named Trinity, the first experimental plutonium bomb (The Gadget) was detonated in a United States test of an atomic explosion at Alamogordo Air Base, Los Alamos, New Mexico on this date. The explosion yields the equivalent 18,000 tons of TNT.

July 16, 1951 -
The Catcher in the Rye was published 61 years ago today. The book contained secret code words by means of which its author, J.D. Salinger, was able to communicate diabolical commands to his evil minions. (Exactly fourteen years later, the tunnel connecting France and Italy through Mont Blanc was opened to the public. Draw your own conclusions.)

Salinger was a one-hit wonder. (He did write several other books, but these are of interest only to insomniacs and those with wobbly furniture.) The Catcher in the Rye was published in 1951, and Salinger subsequently hid himself away in the hills of Vermont, emerging from this self-imposed cloister only once, briefly, to serve as Prime Minister of Canada and to appear as a corpse at his own funeral. For nearly half a century, The Catcher in the Rye has captured the imagination of the American teenager like no other book without pictures.

Holden Caulfield, the hero and narrator of Salinger's slim classic, may be the finest portrait of twentieth-century American teenage angst bequeathed to posterity.

Either him or Archie, it's hard to say.

July 16, 1969 -
The 363-foot-tall Apollo 11 space vehicle was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center, at 9:37 a.m., on this date

It carried Mission Commander Neil Alden Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr.

July 16, 1973 -
In testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (the Ervin Committee on Watergate), former presidential assistant Alexander Butterfield disclosed that President Richard Nixon had tape recorded all of his conversations in the White House and Executive Office Building.

Bad, Nixon, bad.

July 16, 1999 -
Stanley Kubrick final film, Eyes Wide Shut, was released on this date.

In order for the film to be given an R rating in America, some scenes contain computer-generated people in the foreground obscuring some of the more explicit sexual action. Although some claimed this to be a perversion of Stanley Kubrick's work, Kubrick had already proposed the use of computer-generated imagery prior to his death, should the MPAA deny the movie its desired R-rating.

July 16, 1999 -
It hard to believe but 13 years ago today, John F.Kennedy Jr. was killed along with his wife Carolyn and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette when the aircraft he was piloting crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

He was flying a Piper Saratoga II HP from Essex County Airport in New Jersey to Martha's Vineyard. Kennedy and his wife were traveling together to the wedding of his cousin Rory in Hyannis, Massachusetts, while Lauren was to have been dropped off at Martha's Vineyard en route.

And so it goes.

Before I let you go,  many think today's political environment is toxic. On this date in 1964, accepting the Republican presidential nomination in San Francisco, (darling of the Tea Baggers) Barry M. Goldwater said "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" and that "moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

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