Sunday, July 8, 2012

The wayback machine travels both ways

Better late than never

July 8, 1932 -
W.C. Fields very funny political satire, Million Dollar Legs, opened on this date.

Writer Joseph L. Mankiewicz was inspired to write this film by the wild events of the 1928 Olympic games held in Amsterdam, particularly by an Albanian pole-vaulter who took to the field wearing a pair of goatskin shorts.

July 8, 1964 -
Probably Jerry Lewis' best directorial effort, The Patsy, premiered on this date.

This is the only Jerry Lewis solo film that mentions Dean Martin by name. Ed Sullivan includes Martin & Lewis in a list of famous acts that made their debuts on his show.

July 8, 1958 -
The center of the Hollywood Universe was born today in 1958.

Remember even you are only a few degrees away from Kevin Bacon.

Today in History:
July 8, 1115 -
Peter the Hermit died on this date. Peter is notable for his invention of The Crusades and never bathing. He whipped up support for the first Crusade as an attempt to dislodge the Seljuk Turks from Jerusalem: over three hundred thousand Christians perished in less than a year, during which they destroyed hundreds of villages throughout Europe and Asia Minor and killed tens of thousands of European Jews and fellow Christians on their way to a holy land they never reached.

As a result of this astonishing success, the Crusades were serialized and ran for several centuries.

July 8, 1776 -
In Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell rings out from the tower of the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall), summoning citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, by Colonel John Nixon.

The bell had the inscription: proclaim liberty throughout all the land onto all the inhabitants thereof. An interesting aside - On July 8, 1835, the Liberty Bell cracked (again) while being tolled during the funeral procession for Chief Justice John Marshall. It was never rung again.

July 8, 1800 -
The first smallpox vaccine was administered on this date in the US. Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse (no relation to Price) of Massachusetts introduced Edward Jenner's method of vaccination of cowpox serum to his five-year-old son Daniel and a household servant.

Neither ever contracted smallpox and the vaccination was determined to have been an udder success.

July 8, 1856 -
The crank-operated machine gun was patented on this date by C.E. Barnes of Lowell, Massachusetts, and the revolving gun turret was invented exactly six years later by Theodore Timby.

Both inventions enabled mankind to kill itself off with unprecedented ease and efficiency, thereby launching the modern era.

July 8th was a Sunday in 1881, so when a hot young man entered Edward Berner's drugstore in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, and ordered an ice-cream soda, his request was denied. Ice-cream sodas could not be served on the Sabbath owing to the ancient Mosaic injunction against them.

The hot young man pleaded his case so eloquently, however, that Berner felt sympathetic and came up with a compromise: he plopped a scoop of ice-cream into a dish and poured the chocolate-flavored syrup directly over it.

This religious dodge quickly became popular and came to be known as the Ice Cream Sundae. (The spelling was later changed to conceal the heretical origins of the dish.) Since that glorious day, hundreds of millions of Americans have consigned themselves to Hell.

July 8, 1932 -
Gooba, Gaba, Gooba Gaba, One of us, One of us ...

Tod Browning's groundbreaking horror movie Freaks, featuring genuine carnival sideshow performers, premieres at the Rialto theater in New York on this date.

The film opened to critical outrage and was later banned by the British government for 30 years. In the United States, this film was banned in a number of states and cities. Although no longer enforced, some of the laws were never officially repealed. Therefore, it is still technically illegal for this film to be shown some areas of the USA.

July 8, 1969 -
The U.S. Patent Office issued a patent for the game Twister. (Yes smartpants, the game came out in 1966 but the patent wasn't issued until this date.)

Remember kids, if you are going to play nude Twister - always use protection.

July 8, 1976 -
Former President Richard M. Nixon is disbarred by the New York Bar Association. Nixon attempted to resign voluntarily, as he had from the California and U.S. Supreme Court bars, but New York refused to accept his resignation unless he acknowledged that he had obstructed justice during the Watergate coverup.

Bad, Nixon, Bad.

And so it goes.

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