July 27, 1940 -
Bugs Bunny made his debut in a cartoon called A Wild Hare, on this day. Warner Brothers' writers and animators set out to make a rabbit who would be the epitome of cool. They modeled bugs on Groucho Marx with a carrot instead of a cigar. Mel Blanc gave him a Brooklyn accent.
There are at least two conflicting stories as to who came up with the "What's up, Doc?" line. Tex Avery claimed that he based the line on an expression used by his friends in Texas. However, Mel Blanc claimed that it was an ad-lib that he came up with while recording the dialogue.
July 27, 1949 -
Mighty Joe Young, an RKO Radio Picture made by the same creative team responsible for King Kong, premiered in New York City on this date.
When Mighty Joe Young gets frustrated, he pounds the ground with his fist. Ray Harryhausen was inspired to do this by the scene from King Kong where Kong pushes open the gates, then forcefully brings his hand down.
(I'm no longer going to direct you to Terry Moore's photo spread in Playboy. You go on ahead and find it yourself.)
July 27, 1978 -
National Lampoon's Animal House, the grandfather of all gross-out comedies, premiered in New York City on this date. (Toga party, anyone?)
The movie concludes by describing each character's fate. Neidermeyer was "killed in Vietnam by his own troops." In director John Landis' segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie, some soldiers are overheard discussing "fragging Neidermeyer."
July 27, 1983 -
Little Tommy's break out film, Risky Business, opened on this date. This film is not, as usually noted, an above average teenage sex comedy but the precursor to 'Greed is Good' mantra that sunk this country for years to come.
In an effort for Tom Cruise to look more "teenage" in appearance, the producers of Risky Business put him though an unusual bit of physical training. Cruise worked out 7 days a week in order to lose ten pounds. Once that had been accomplished, he immediately ceased working out and ate extremely fatty foods in order to add a layer of baby fat. This is how he achieved that "fresh-faced" teenage look.
July 27, 1984 -
Warner Bros. gift to an unsuspecting world, Purple Rain, starring Prince, premiered on this date.
Albert Magnoli filmed a second love scene that was not included in the final cut of the film. This scene has special meaning because it contains the actual illusion of the purple rain. A snippet of this scene is included in the theatrical trailer for the film as well as the When Doves Cry montage. This scene, as well as the other deleted footage that led up to it, is also outlined in the film's screenplay found on various websites.
(you may put your arms down now and resume your day.)
Today in History:
July 27, 1586 -
Sir Walter Raleigh and some of his men returned to England and disembarked at Plymouth smoking tobacco from pipes, which caused a sensation, on this date.
William Camden, a contemporary witness, reports that "These men who were thus brought back were the first that I know of that brought into England that Indian plant which they call Tabacca and Nicotia, or Tobacco" Tobacco in the Elizabethan age was known as "sotweed."
July 27, 1890 -
At the Chateau d'Auvers, Vincent van Gogh presses a revolver to his chest and pulls the trigger. Somehow the bullet misses the vital organs, and the painter manages to stumble over to a friend's house.
The following night, Van Gogh dies of an infection in the arms of his brother Theo. (Or did he)
July 27, 1953 -
The armistice that ended the Korean War was signed on this date. It was a war that began in June 1950 when North Korea invaded the south. Almost 35,000 Americans were killed in the conflict, more than 5,000 captured or went missing. A corporal in the 1st Marine Division named Anthony Ebron said, "Those last few days were pretty bloody. Each time we thought the war was over we'd go out and fight again. The day it ended we shot off so much artillery that the ground shook. Then, that night, the noise just stopped. We knew it was over."
Harry Truman said that if he had signed the same armistice, the Republicans would have drawn and quartered him, but Dwight D. Eisenhower had run for president on the platform that he would end the war, and when he was elected, that's what he did.
Unfortunately, someone forgot to inform the North Koreans that they, in fact, signed the armistice, because technically, they are still at war with someone.
July 27, 1980 -
Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the exiled Shah of Iran, died of lymphatic cancer in Cairo on this date.
July 27, 1996 -
During a celebration for the Atlanta Olympics, security guard Richard Jewell notices a suspicious green knapsack in Centennial Park. He immediately alerts police and helps to clear people from the area shortly before the pipe bomb explodes. For his trouble, Jewell becomes the FBI's preliminary suspect and news organizations run wild with the story.
Because he didn't do it, numerous media outlets end up paying him large undisclosed settlements. Eric Rudolph was later charged with the bombing. He was arrested May 31, 2003. Rudolph later pleaded guilty to the bombing.
And so it goes.