June 12th is Automotive Service Professionals Day. Give a hearty handshake to the men and women who keep your car running and on the road (and give you estimates that are less than meaningless.)
On second thought, wash your hands thoroughly after greeting them.
June 12, 1950 -
Elia Kazan's film-noir thriller, Panic In The Streets, opened on this date.
This film was Jack Palance's feature film debut. According to Richard Widmark, Jack Palance did his own stunt of climbing the boat rope after two stuntmen failed.
June 12, 1963 -
The four-hour film spectacle, Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, premiered in New York City, on this date.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz hoped that the film would be released as two separate pictures, "Caesar and Cleopatra" followed by "Antony and Cleopatra." Each was to run approximately three hours. 20th Century-Fox decided against this, and released the film we know today. It runs just over four hours. It is hoped that the missing two hours will be located and that one day a six-hour 'director's cut' will be available.
June 12, 1968 -
Roman Polanksi horror classic Rosemary's Baby, premiered on this date.
William Castle acquired the movie rights to the novel. Robert Evans of Paramount agreed to green-light the project if Castle did not direct. This was due to Castle's fame and reputation as a director of low budget horror films. Castle was allowed to make a prominent cameo appearance.
June 12, 1981 -
A bizarre coincidence but Mel Brooks' History of the World Part 1 and Lucas/ Spielberg's Raiders Of The Lost Ark both premiered on this date.
Mel Brooks plays five roles in this movie. Brooks plays Moses, Comicus, Torquemada, Jacques and King Louis XVI. This is the most parts Brooks has ever done in a theatrical movie.
Philip Kaufman shares story credit with George Lucas because they originally dreamed up the film together in the 1970's. Reportedly, it was Kaufman's idea to pursue the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Originally, Kaufman was going to direct.
Today in History -
In early 1381, England imposed a new tax, which was called the "Pole Tax" because everyone got the shaft.
The Swiss Army Knife was patented on June 12, 1897. It was the fruit of centuries of Swiss research, development, and testing. Its release was heralded as the dawn of a golden age of Swiss technology.
Switzerland may not have won a war since, but they've never been caught without a corkscrew.
June 12, 1839 -
Today is the traditional (yet totally unlikely) date for Civil War hero Abner Doubleday's introduction of the first rules for baseball in Cooperstown, New York, on this date.
It is more likely the sport evolved from cricket and rounders, and developed before Doubleday's birth (friends of Frederick, Prince of Wales, brother of King George III, noted that Frederick and his brothers played 'base-ball' in a letter in 1745. BTW - Frederick did not become King of England because he died after being hit in the head with a cricket ball in 1751, but that's another story...)
It's first coherent rules are likely the work of Alexander Cartwright in 1845.
June 12, 1942 -
A young Dutch girl receives the crappy gift of a diary as a birthday present on this date.
She natters on for a little more than two years of small, inconsequental things young girls usually do in their diaries and then she abruptly stops writing. Today, her diary has been published in over 30 languages.
June 12, 1963 -
Civil rights leader and NAACP official, Medgar Evers was fatally shot in front of his home in Jackson, Mississippi by the KKK.
An informant in the KKK, Delmar Dennis, later served as a key prosecution witness in convicting Byron De La Beckwith for the slaying. Beckwith was convicted of murdering Evers and sentenced to life in prison; he died in 2001 at age 80.
June 12, 1978 -
David Berkowitz was sentenced to 365 consecutive years in prison without the possibility of parole on this date.
June 12, 1982 -
The largest anti-nuclear protest, with some one million anti-nuclear demonstrators rallied in Central Park, NYC on this date.
At the time, it was also the largest political demonstration, of any kind, in American history.
June 12, 1987 -
U.S. President Ronald Reagan publicly challenges Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall at Brandenburg Gate.
Although there is some disagreement over how much influence, if any, Reagan's words had on the destruction of the wall, the speech is remembered as an important moment in Cold War history.
And so it goes.