Monday, November 5, 2012

Back in the New York Groove

Trying to get back into sync with some sort of normal, I heard some kid blasting this out of his car -

And it's still making my day.

November 5, 1932-
Hollywood's love of Oriental Exoticism reached it full flower when MGM released the film The Mask Of Fu Manchu, starring Boris Karloff and Lewis Stone premiered on this date.  This film is even kinkier than this clip.

As originally scripted, during the torture sequence, it was planned to have Von Berg (Jean Hersholt) suspended over the crocodile pit and Neyland Smith (Lewis Stone) about to be impaled by the walls of spikes. This was reversed when, for reasons unknown, it was thought that a fat captive would make more sense being impaled than a thin one.

November 5, 1938 -
A very funny (but very un PC) B & W Looney Tunes Cartoon, Porky in Egypt, premiered on this date.


The camel steals the cartoon.

November 5, 1964 -
An unsung minor masterpiece, Seance on a Wet Afternoon, premiered in the US on this date.

During filming, Richard Attenborough developed kidney stones and was unable to work for an entire day. Since filming was on such a tight schedule, director Bryan Forbes got into costume played his role for some shots.

November 5, 1966 -
The Monkees' Last Train To Clarksville topped the pop-singles charts on this date.

This was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, a songwriting team who came up with many songs for the Monkees. Hart got the idea for the lyrics when he turned on the radio and heard the end of The Beatles' "Paperback Writer." He thought Paul McCartney was singing "Take the last train," and decided to use the line when he found out McCartney was actually singing "Paperback Writer."

November 5, 1974 -
The Eagles hit, Best of My Love, was released on this date. It did not reach #1 spot until March 1, 1975.

J.D. Souther, who was a good friend of Glenn Frey, helped write this song along with Frey and Don Henley (who sang lead). Other Eagles songs Souther contributed to include "Heartache Tonight," "New Kid In Town," "Victim Of Love" and "James Dean."

November 5, 1993 -
James Ivory's masterful adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel, Remains of the Day, starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, premiered on this date.

Anthony Hopkins, as a guest on Inside the Actors Studio, said that he got tips on how to play a butler from a real-life butler, Cyril Dickman who served for 50 years at Buckingham Palace. The butler said there was nothing to being a butler, really - when you're in the room it should be even more empty.

Today in History:
November 5, 1605 -
The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, or the Powder Treason, as it was known at the time, was a failed attempt by Guy Fawkes and a group of provincial English Catholics to kill King James I of England, his family, and most of the Protestant aristocracy in a single attack by blowing up the Houses of Parliament during the State Opening on this date.

The conspirators had also planned to abduct the royal children, (who were surprisingly Protestant, as well) not present in Parliament, and incite a revolt in the Midlands. the conspirators were captured before the plot could take place. They were all drawn and quartered.

On November 5th each year, people in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries and regions celebrate the failure of the plot on what is known as Guy Fawkes Night, Bonfire Night, Fireworks Night, Cracker Night or Plot Night by getting drunk and setting things on fire.

On November 5, 1492, Christopher Columbus wrote in his journal that, in the interior of Cuba, there was a great deal of land "sowed with a sort of beans and a sort of grain they call Mahiz, which was well tasted, baked, dried, and made into flour."

Given how things worked out for them, the Indians should have kept maize to themselves.

November 5, 1895 -
George B. Selden was a lawyer and inventor who was granted the first U.S. patent for an automobile, which he invented in 1877.

The idea of a horseless carriage was in the air during George's youth, but its practicality was uncertain. In 1859, his father, Judge Henry R. Selden, a prominent Republican attorney, moved to Rochester, New York, where George briefly attended the University of Rochester before dropping out to enlist in the Sixth U.S. Cavalry, Union Army. This was not to the liking of his father who after pulling some strings and having some earnest discussions with his son managed to have him released from duty and enrolled in Yale. George did not do well at Yale in his law studies, preferring the technical studies offered by the Sheffield Scientific School, but did manage to finish his course of study and pass the New York bar 1871 and joined his father's practice. He married shortly thereafter to Clara Drake Woodruff, by whom he had 4 children. He continued his hobby of inventing in a workshop in his father's basement, inventing a typewriter and a hoop making machine.

Selden's father, Henry Selden, was chosen by Abraham Lincoln to be Vice President, but he turned it down (and in light of Lincoln's assassination, Henry Selden would have otherwise been the next American President).

He defended Susan B. Anthony in her 1873 trial for unlawfully voting as a woman (had she only voted as a badger, there would have been no problem.)

Who knew?

November 5, 1895 -
On that same day, The Prince of Wales, shortly to become King Edward VII and master of almost one-fifth of the land area of the planet, was roused from a nap after a long afternoon of whore mongering and a heavy lunch, remarks in a speech, 'We are all socialists nowadays'.

As anticipated, his mother Queen Victoria was not amused.

November 5, 1956 -
The Nat King Cole Show debuted on NBC-TV on this date. The Cole program was the first of its kind hosted by an African-American.

In the 1956 season, the show had a 15-minute running time. It was expanded to a 30-minute segment in 1957. The show originally aired without a sponsor, but NBC agreed to pay for initial production costs; it was assumed that once the show actually aired and advertisers were able to see its sophistication, a national sponsor would emerge.Unfortunately, none did. Cole famously said of the doomed series, "Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark."

And so it goes

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