June 20, 1942 -
It's Brian Wilson's birthday today.
At this point, Brian may outlive us all.
June 20, 1946 -
Rex Harrison's first American movie, Anna and the King Of Siam, with Irene Dunne, opened in theaters on this date.
In a scene early in the film, Anna is seen walking through an open-air market. While this scene was being filmed, an airplane passed over the set, creating a low hum on the soundtrack. Composer Bernard Herrmann was instructed to compose an accompanying score that would obscure the airplane motor. He used low gongs.
June 20, 1974 -
Forget about it Jake. It's Chinatown
The unforgettable film noir classic, Chinatown, was released on this date.
This was the first film of a planned trilogy about corruption in the development of Los Angeles. It was set in the 1930s and was about the water department. The second film, The Two Jakes, was set in the 1940s and was about the gas company. The third film of the trilogy was about the building of the massive freeway system and was to be called "Cloverleaf", named after the famous interchange in downtown L.A., but it was never filmed. However, certain elements (like the building of a massive freeway by a corporation called called "Cloverleaf") were eventually incorporated into Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which took a fantasy/comedic view of this material but also functioned as a detective story.
June 20, 1975 -
Steven Spielberg's thriller, Jaws, premiered on this date. Beach vacations were never the same again.
Lee Marvin was Spielberg's first choice for the role of Quint, despite his reservations about using big-name actors. Marvin thanked him but replied that he'd rather go fishing. Spielberg then wanted Sterling Hayden for the role of Quint. Hayden, however, was in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid tax. All Hayden's income from acting was subject to a levy by the IRS, so there was an attempt to circumvent that: Hayden was also a writer, so one idea was to pay him union scale for his acting, and buy a story from him (his literary income wasn't subject to levy) for a large sum. It was concluded that the IRS would see through this scheme, so Robert Shaw was cast by Spielberg instead on the recommendation of the film's producers, Zanuck and Brown.
Today in History:
June 20, 1756 -
In Calcutta, 146 British prisoners are placed in a 18 foot by 14 foot cell known as The Black Hole by a Bengali, Siraj-ud-daula, and held there until the following morning.
June 20, 1782 -
Congress adopts the Great Seal of the United States on this date.
June 20, 1791-
King Louis XVI and his family attempted their escape from Paris to the royalist citadel of Montedy on this date.
They were captured at Varennes-en-Argonne when they were recognized. It didn't go too well for them after this.
June 20, 1793 -
Eli Whitney applied for a patent on his Cotton Gin on this date. More affordable than gin distilled from grain alcohol and juniper berries, Cotton Gin quickly became the drink of choice among America's rural poor.
This led to widespread outbreaks of Cotton Mouth and eventually caused the Civil War.
June 20, 1893 -
Lizzie Borden was found innocent on this date of giving her stepmother and father 40 and 41 whacks, respectively.
Once O.J. finds the real killers of his wife while in prison, he promised to get cracking on this case as well.
June 20, 1947 -
Bugsy Siegel (Warren Beatty) was shot to death on this date, at Virginia Hill's (Annette Bennings) mansion, on orders purportedly from Meyer Lansky.
The drive-by shooting never was solved and remains an open case.
And so it goes.
Before I let you go - Mental Floss has covering one of my favorite topics - Bizarre Historical Deaths
I've actually noted many of these in the pages herein.