The French eat over 200 million frogs a year.
October 20, 1918 -
Rarely seen now, but one of Charlie Chaplin most popular films at it time, Shoulder Arms, was released on this date.
Many in Hollywood advised Chaplin not to tackle the subject of WWI but with his usual keen sense of what material was right for him, Chaplin would go on to direct what was to become the most popular film of the entire war period.
October 20, 1939 -
The 9th Marx Brothers film, At the Circus, premiered on this date.
The Marx Brothers had been out of favor at MGM since the sudden 1936 death of their producer and benefactor Irving Thalberg during the production of A Day at the Races. So in the middle of the production of At the Circus, longtime Thalberg rival Louis B. Mayer removed songwriters Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg from the Marx Brothers film and reassigned them to the 'prestige' MGM production The Wizard of Oz.
October 20, 1973 -
One of the rare ballad for The Rolling Stones, Angie became a #1 hit on this date.
This was one of the first songs The Stones recorded in Jamaica, where they did most of Goat's Head Soup.
October 20, 1955 -
Harry Belafonte, advocate for civil rights and humanitarian causes, recorded the famous "Day-O" (Banana Boat Song) on this date.
Belafonte's version used lyrics adapted by Irving Burgie and William Attaway. Burgie, sometimes credited as "Lord Burgess," is a popular Caribbean composer. Attaway was a novelist and songwriter who was friends with Belafonte. Burgie and Attaway wrote most of the songs on the Calypso album.
(Now try getting the song out of your head today.)
Today in History:
October 20, 1818 -
49th Parallel as their mutual boundary (known as the International Border) for most of its length from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky mountains.
The International Boundary is commonly referred to as the world's longest undefended border, but this is true only in the military sense, as civilian law enforcement is present. But we're keeping an eye on those sneaky Canadians and their cheese curd fries.
October 20, 1930 -
Death row murderer Wiliam Kogut committed suicide in San Quentin prison with MacGyver like ingenuity.
I wonder if he went to a specialized High School.
October 20, 1947 -
Chaired by J. Parnell Thomas (one of the committee's members was Richard M. Nixon), The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood.
The resulting hysteria results in the creation of a blacklist in the film industry, preventing certain individuals from working in the business for years.
October 20, 1967 -
Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin reported that on this date they had captured a purported Sasquatch on film at Bluff Creek, California. This came to be known as the Patterson-Gimlin film, which is purported to be the best evidence of Bigfoot by many advocates.
If only that had named their film - Bigfoot: America's Hairy Sex God, perhaps it would have done better box office in it's opening weekend.
Many years later, Bob Heironimus, an acquaintance of Patterson's, claimed that he had worn an ape costume for the making of the film. Organizations such as Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization have suggested that that Heironimus himself is a fraud.
October 20, 1973 -
The Saturday Night Massacre: Richard Nixon fired Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus when they each refuse to fire special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox on this date. Who was the man who finally fired Cox:
Robert Bork - it's that evil beard.
October 20, 1977 -
En route to a gig at Louisiana State University, band members Ronnie Van Zandt and Steve Gaines were killed when their private plane runs out of fuel and crashes into a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi. Their record company MCA withdraws the flame-filled cover art for their ironically-named Street Survivors album
Drunken frat boys everywhere mourn and cry out, "Play 'Freebird' man".
And so it goes.