August 13, 1942 -
Walt Disney's Bambi premiered at Radio City Music Hall in New York on this date.
Pre-production began in 1936 and was intended to be Walt Disney's second full-length animated film after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Disney's perfection and quest for realism delayed the project significantly, so that Pinocchio, Fantasia, The Reluctant Dragon and Dumbo were released earlier than Bambi.
August 13, 1947 -
The apex of technicolor film-making - Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's Black Narcissus, premiered in New York City on this date.
Jack Cardiff came up with the idea of starting the rainfall end scene by first having a few drops hit the rhubarb leaves before cueing a full-force rainstorm. He personally created the first drops with water from a cup when the scene was shot. Michael Powell was so pleased with the effect that he decided to make the scene, originally the penultimate one, the closing shot. Cardiff, however, was a great fan of the original scene (which had already been shot) that was supposed to follow this one and close the film. To this day Cardiff amusingly calls the opening drops of the rainfall "the worst idea I ever had".
August 13, 1967 -
One of the defining movies of the 1960's, Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, had its US premiere on this date.
The first choice for director, François Truffaut, expressed a keen interest in the project and may have even been involved in the development of the screenplay. However, before filming could begin, the opportunity arose for Truffaut to make Fahrenheit 451, a long-cherished project of his, and he dropped out to make that film instead. After Truffaut's departure from the project, the producers approached Jean-Luc Godard. Some sources claim Godard didn't trust Hollywood and refused; other allege he planned to change Bonnie and Clyde to teenagers and relocate the story to Japan, prompting the film's investors to force him off the project.
August 13, 1976 -
AIP released the sci-fi film Futureworld, starring Peter Fonda, Blythe Danner, Arthur Hill and Yul Brynner, on this date.
It was the sequel to 1973 film Westworld and the first live-action film to use computer-generated 3D imagery.
Today is International Lefthanders Day.
The U.S. has had eight left-handed presidents; James Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Today in History:
August 13, 1521 -
After a 75 day siege, Hernando Cortes captured and destroyed the capital of the Aztec Empire, Tenochtitlan (Aztec for "Mexico City"). When the Spaniards fail to discover Montezuma's treasure, they tortured Cuauhtemoc (the current Aztec king) by pouring hot oil over his feet. The emperor responds by asking, "Am I on a bed of roses?" (Who knew the Aztecs were such comedians?)
It was important to defeat the Aztecs, because they were an Evil Empire that practiced Human Sacrifice and Difficult Spelling.
August 13, 1899 -
There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.
Arguably, the most famous film director in the 20th Century, Alfred Hitchcock was born on this date. Hitchcock, known as the master of suspense, is most renowned for his films Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, and Psycho.
August 13, 1907 -
The first (gasoline powered) taxicabs, the New York Taxicab Company fleet, appeared on NYC streets on this date (the actual date seems to be mired in controversy.) The first 65 taxis were imported from France by businessman Harry N. Allen, who adapted the French word taxi-mètre and coined the word "taxicab" to describe the vehicles he was importing.
August 13, 1918 -
Women were first allowed to enlist in the United States Marine Corps on this date.
August 13, 1926 -
Minor league Rat Bastard (depending on your point of view) Fidel Castro was born on his father's 23,000-acre sugar cane plantation near Biran, Cuba on this date.
August 13, 1961 -
The city of Berlin split itself right down the middle on this date.
The Cold War was running pretty hot back then. The Russians were just nasty. They were so evil they convinced East Germany to shut West Germany out. East Germany locked the Brandenburg gate and threw away the key. Then, just to be absolutely safe, they built the Great Wall of Berlin, and assigned evil socialist soldiers to shoot any West Germans who tried to sneak into East Germany.
Oddly enough, no West Germans tried to sneak in.
The soldiers, being evil socialist bastards with guns and therefore needing desperately to shoot at someone, therefore shot at East Germans.
About a year later, for example, on August 17, 1962, 18-year-old Peter Fechter was shot by East German guards as he tried to cross the Berlin Wall into West Germany. He bled to death in public view.
Moral: you might think you can get away with shooting people just because you're a heavily-armed socialist bastard living in an evil socialist regime propped up by an evil socialist empire, you can run. But you can't hide. (It may seem like you can, but just wait.)
Eventually John F. Kennedy announced that he was a jelly-filled donut, Ronald Reagan asked Mr. Gorbachev to tear down this wall, Boris Yeltsin rode on a tank, and there didn't seem to be any real point in having a Wall any more.
So they tore it down. (Karma does appear to bite one in the ass.)
And so it goes,
And on a personal note:
Happy Anniversary Liz and Joseph
Two special people, One special marriage. A whole lifetime of special moments!