Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It all goes by, one frame at a time

Off Book, PBS' web series about art has another episode.  This week's is an overview of Animation

If you have some time, why not check out some of the other episodes here.

August 28, 1930 -
... Hooray for Captain Spaulding, the African explorer! ...

The Marx Brothers second outing at Paramount, Animal Crackers, opened on this date.

After this film, the Brothers always thought of Margaret Dumont as "Mrs. Rittenhouse".

August 28, 1946 -
Universal's film-noir classic version of Ernest Hemingway's story, The Killers, premiered in NYC on this date.

This was Burt Lancaster's first important movie role. He was the third choice for the part of The Swede, and was signed only after actors Wayne Morris and Sonny Tufts proved unavailable. Lancaster was an ex-circus acrobat from Union City, New Jersey. When producer Mark Hellinger saw the first rushes of Lancaster's performance in a private screening room, he was so pleased that he yelled "So help me, may all my actors be acrobats!"

August 28, 1951 -
Paramount's second film version based on Theodore Dreiser's novel, An American Tragedy, A Place in the Sun, opened in NYC on this date.

George Stevens often referred to Technicolor as having an "Oh what a beautiful morning" quality to it, something completely inappropriate to the tone of this film, hence it was made in black and white.

Today in History:
Today is believed to be the date in 476 A.D. when the Western Roman Empire, which had lasted for almost 500 years, came to an end as Emperor Romulus Augustulus was deposed by a barbarian. (Well, his father, Orestes, the real power behind the throne, was executed on this date - he, Augustulus, relinquished the throne on September 4, 476 and disappeared into obscurity.)

Historians have been theorizing about the causes of the fall of Rome ever since. Edward Gibbon's book The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776) put forward the idea that the Christian Church was to blame. After Christianity became the official religion of the empire, the best and the brightest leaders became leaders of the church rather than leaders of the government or the military. Another theory is that the aqueducts, which carried the water supply, were lined with lead, and so the Romans slowly went crazy. Some geologists believe that the eruption of Mount Vesuvius released so much ash into the air that it ruined Roman agriculture and weakened the empire. One of the more recent theories is that the Roman army had been infiltrated by the barbarians themselves.

But whatever the cause, the fall of Rome actually wasn't the catastrophic event most people think it was. So-called barbarian rulers kept most of the basic laws in place, Latin remained the official language of government, everyone remained Christian and orgies continued but in private.

August 28, 1837 -
Pharmacists John Lea and William Perrins began commercially manufacturing Worcestershire Sauce on this date, based on an Indian recipe brought to them by Lord Marcus Sandys -- an ex-governor of Bengal.

If they told you the recipe (it contains anchovies), they'd have to kill you.

August 28, 1898 -
Pharmacist Caleb Davis Bradham created a beverage, he believed would aid in digestion and boost energy, calling it "Brad's Drink," on this date in .

He later renamed it Pepsi-Cola, after "pepsin" and the kola nut used to flavor the drink.

And still made with no cocaine.

August 28, 1907 -
Two teenagers, Jim Casey and Claude Ryan decide to start the American Messenger Company in Seattle, on this date. The company's name was later changed to the United Parcel Service.

Hopefully you have those tracking numbers available, some of those packages will arrive soon.

August 28, 1922 -
The first radio commercial aired on WEAF in New York City (WEAF stood for Water, Earth, Air and Fire.)

It was a 10-minute advertisement for the Queensboro Realty Co., which had paid $100.  Programming must have really stunk if people listened to a 10 minute commercial.

August 28, 1938 -
Charlie McCarthy (Edgar Bergen’s wooden partner ) received the first degree given to a ventriloquist’s dummy on this date.

The honorary degree, “Master of Innuendo and Snappy Comeback,” was presented on radio by Ralph Dennis, the dean of the School of Speech at Northwestern University.

I wrote my dissertation on. "Oh, that's what for dinner." And I earned my degree without someone's hand up my back.

August 28, 1963 -
During a 200,000-person civil rights rally in at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Martin Luther King, Jr. gives his famous "I have a dream speech".

The speech, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.

August 28, 1982 -
Two crazy kids got married on this date.

Some of the people who were at that wedding are still alive. Some of them are unfortunately not. Some of them have gotten married (even to each other.) Others are not. Some of them had children. Some did not.

Thirty years later, those two crazy kids are still alive, married and have children.

Happy Anniversary Mary.

August 28, 1996 -
Unfortunately for others, the fairy tale has a very unhappy ending,

Britons Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, were divorced on this date.

One year later, almost to the day, Diana, would have a very nasty accident in an Paris underpass.

And so it goes

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