Thursday, March 28, 2013

Luminous Thursday of Mysteries

Today is Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday (remember to wash your feet or the feet of someone else, if you are so inclined.)

Amongst the other things going on (remember: don't go to a dinner party with 12 other people) -

I've often said before, today is a big confessional day - If you are so intent on reading about my misspent youth as an altar boy, read here.

Those uninterested in this, move along, nothing to see here.

March 28th is Hot Tub Day, an annual “holiday” that serves as a reminder to relax and unwind after a hard day’s work.

Or you could just listen to James Brown.

March 28, 1940 -
United Artists released the Alfred Hitchcock adaptation of Daphne Du Maruier's atmospheric thriller, Rebecca, starring Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine and Judith Anderson on this date.

The novel was bought by David O. Selznick for $50,000 as a vehicle for Carole Lombard with the idea that he would attempt to get Ronald Colman for the male lead. According to Selznick's memos, when Colman put off accepting the part because he was afraid that the picture would be a "woman starring vehicle" and because of the murder angle, Selznick turned to his second choices for the role, Laurence Olivier and William Powell. Olivier was willing to work for $100,000 less than Powell and so he was chosen.

March 28, 1941 -
Universal Pictures released 'the B movie',  Man Made Monster starring Lionel Atwell and Lon Chaney, Jr. on this date.

The film launched Lon Chaney Jr.'s career as a star in horror films and the film's success directly led to his casting in the big budget role of his career, "The Wolf Man."

March 28, 1942 -
Another fine Looney Tunes cartoon, The Wabbit Who Came to Supper, was released on this date.

As Bugs steps out of the bathtub and readjusts his towel, the white tub in the gap between his legs creates the illusion that he is exposing himself. Try not to go back and look.

March 28, 1963 -
Alfred Hitchcock's follow-up to Psycho, The Birds, starring Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedron premiered in New York on this date.

Alfred Hitchcock saw Tippi Hedren in a 1962 commercial aired during the Today show and put her under contract. In the commercial for a diet drink, she is seen walking down a street and a man whistles at her slim, attractive figure, and she turns her head with an acknowledging smile. In the opening scene of the film, the same thing happens as she walks toward the bird shop. This was an inside joke by Hitchcock.

Today in History:
March 28, 0 -
According to Des Pascha Comutus, a treatise written in 243 CE (because you know, I sit around and read old Latin treatises all the time,) Jesus Christ's birthday was March 28. It later became the familiar December 25 after the Catholic Church changed it in 336 AD.

So Merry Christmas everybody.

March 28, 37 -
Caligula took a break from the close relationship he had with his sisters and the unnatural congress he engaged in with his horse, to accepts the titles of the Principate awarded by the Senate and entered Rome triumphantly as Emperor.

Unlike his predecessors, Caligula was the first of the men who would serve as full-fledged emperors, with unlimited power. And luckily for the Roman empire, he was cruel, probably insane and a sexual deviant.

The weekends must have been a blast at the Palace.

March 28, 193-
The Roman ruler Pertinax was at his palace when a contingent of some three hundred soldiers rushed the gates. Pertinax was somewhat distracted. Ancient sources suggest that the soldiers had received only half their promised donativum (pay or bribe money not to kill him). Pertinax had only been emperor for 86 days and didn't have enough time to sell off the previous Emperor Commodus' property (including the concubines and youths Commodus kept for his sexual pleasures) in the giant fire sale he was having.

Neither the guards on duty nor the palace officials chose to resist them. Pertinax, although advised to flee, attempted to reason with them (never try to reason with unpaid Roman soldiers on a rampage), and was almost successful before being struck down by a member of the Praetorian Guard. There being no obvious successor and no Senatorial volunteers, the Guard auctions off the emperorship. The high bidder was Senator Didius Julianus, for 300 million sesterces. After hearing of this, Roman general Septimus Severus in Dalmatia marched on Rome, beheading the new emperor upon arrival.

Both of the films, The Fall of the Roman Empire and Gladiator  take the same historical event as a starting point.

March 28, 1515 -
...It is love alone that gives worth to all things.

Theresa of Avila (Teresa de Jesus), Spanish Carmelite nun, mystic writer and one of my favorite saints (remember, she's the one who was repeated pierced with God's 'golden shaft' of light) was born on this date. She co-founded with John of the Cross, the Order of Discalced (barefoot) Carmelites.

March 28, 1921 -
Dirk Bogarde (Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde), actor and the epitome of coolness, was born on this date.

He was the only cast member of A Bridge Too Far to have actually served at the actual battles depicted in the film.

March 28, 1930 -
Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks.

(I can't help myself - I just love this song) Constantinople and Angora change their names to Istanbul and Ankara on this date.

March 28, 1941-
Virginia Woolf drowned herself by weighing her pockets with stones and walking into the River Ouse near her home because she had a dream that Nicole Kidman would portray her in a film with a truly horrifying fake nose on this date.

Lesser writers would have done the same.

March 28, 1964 -
First pirate radio station began to broadcast off the coast of England on this date. Radio Caroline debuted with a combination of rock music and lively disk jockey who's patter played to a huge audience in Great Britain.

British authorities, tried unsuccessfully, to shut down the radio station ship. Radio Caroline had become competition to the staid and usually dull British Broadcasting Corporation.

March 28, 1979 -
The Unit 2 nuclear power plant (a pressurized water reactor manufactured by Babcock & Wilcox) on the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania near Harrisburg suffered a partial core meltdown.

The Three Mile Island accident was the worst accident in American commercial nuclear power generating history, even though it led to no deaths or injuries to plant workers or members of the nearby community.

And so it goes.

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