February 20, 1932 -
Tod Browning's incredible film, Freaks, about sideshow performers, was released on this date.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was a member of the MGM writing department at the time the movie was in production. He never felt quite at home with all the movie stars and powerful moguls, and so he often dined in the commissary at the table of the sideshow attractions during his lunch hour.
February 20, 1952 -
John Huston's excuse for big game hunting, The African Queen, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, opened in general release at Capitol Theater in NYC on this date.
While filming the "leeching" scene, Humphrey Bogart insisted on using rubber leeches. John Huston refused, and brought a leech-breeder to the London studio with a tank full of them. It made Bogart queasy and nervous, qualities Huston wanted for his close-ups. Ultimately, rubber leeches were placed on Bogart, and a close-up of a real leech was shot on the breeder's chest.
February 20, 1956 -
The wonderfully evil comedy, The Ladykillers, starring Alec Guinness and Peter Sellars, opened in New York on this date.
The producers originally rejected director Alexander Mackendrick's choice of Katie Johnson for the role of Mrs. Wilberforce on the grounds that she might be too frail for the project, and so they cast a younger actress - who died before filming began.
February 20, 1967 -
All drugs are a waste of time…they destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with your self-esteem. They make you feel good for a little while, and then they destroy you. They’re no good at all. But I’m not going to go around preaching against it. It’s your choice, but in my experience, I’ve found they’re a waste of time.
Kurt Cobain, musician and lead guitarist of seminal grunge band Nirvana, was born on this date.
Today in History:
February 20 is just one many dates on which Francois-Marie Arouet may have been born in 1694.
Each time he was kicked out, however, he simply came back, said something witty, and was kicked out yet again.
Eventually the French invented reverse psychology. They invited Francois-Marie back from his latest exile and threw a big party for him. The shock of his reception killed him and Paris has mourned his loss ever since.
Except now they call him Voltaire.
February 20, 1872 -
The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened its doors to the public for the first time. The Museum first was housed at the Dodworth Building at 681 Fifth Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets.
February 20, 1907 -
Pres. Theodore Roosevelt signed an immigration act which excluded "idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, insane persons" from being admitted to the US on this date.
February 20, 1935 -
Although Antarctic had been discovered almost 200 years before, Caroline Mikkelsen became the first woman to set foot on the continent on this day.
February 20, 1947 -
A chemical mistake at the O'Connor Electro-Plating Co. in Los Angeles caused a blast that destroyed/damaged more than 55 structures in a 300-foot radius, killing 15 people and injuring 150 more.
February 20, 1962 -
... Godspeed John Glenn.
While aboard Friendship 7, John Glenn orbited the earth three times in 4 hours, 55 minutes, becoming the first American to orbit the earth. Remember, NASA hadn't invented the astronaut diaper yet; I bet he had to pee something wicked.
February 20, 1971 -
An erroneous warning is emitted on the Emergency Broadcast System causing a number of stations to go off the air, and others to completely ignore the alert (thus pointing out that many key stations would not react to any emergency broadcast over the system.)
So remember this just a test, unless it's not.
February 20, 1980 -
After some heavy drinking, Bon Scott, vocalist for heavy metal band AC/DC, was found in a friend's automobile - he apparently choked to death on his own vomit.
His family was relieved that he hadn't choked to death on someone else vomit.
February 20, 1984 -
Happy 30th Zombie Anniversary!!!
Ballerina Julia Pak married Heung Jin Moon, son of Sun Myung Moon, religious icon, on this date. The ceremony was a tasteful affair save one small detail - Heung Jin Moon was prevented from attending the service in person; he had died in an auto accident the previous December.
And so it goes.