March 31, 1943 -
Ronald Walken, possibly the most imitated actor in America, was born on this date.
In his over 35 years in film, he has acted in well over 90 films. He rarely turns down a part, under the belief that making movies (whether they turn out good or bad) is always a rewarding experience.
March 31, 1953 -
Stanley Kubrick's first feature film, a war drama titled Fear and Desire, premiered in New York on this date.
Stanley Kubrick disowned the film soon after it's release and wanted to make sure it was never seen again by not re-releasing the print. What he didn't know was that Kodak when making the print had a policy of making an extra print for their archives
March 31, 1957 -
The original version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, starring Julie Andrews, aired live in color on CBS on this date (only black-and-white kinescopes exist today.)
Cinderella was seen by the largest audience in history at the time of its premiere: 107,000,000 people in the USA, fully 60% of the country’s population at that time.
March 31, 1994 -
Madonna appeared on Late Show with David Letterman on this date. She dropped the f-bomb more than a dozen times, exchanged less- than-friendly barbs with Dave and then stubbornly refused to leave the set.
This made the episode the most censored in American network television talk-show history; it also resulted in some of the highest ratings of Letterman's late-night career.
The extra credit question, who was the musical guest that evening? - Counting Crows.
Today in History:
March 31 1492 -
With the issuance of the Alhambra Decree on this date, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel expel all of the Jews from Spain, except those willing to convert to Christianity. Even with the infusions of gold and silver arriving during the 16th century from the Americas, this is an act from which Spain never recovered.
I guess that didn't quite go the way they had planned.
March 31, 1811 -
Robert Bunsen, whose name we associate with the burner, was a 19th-century German chemist of some renown, was born on this date. He worked on explosive organic arsenic compounds--leading to the loss of one eye--and, later, on gases from volcanoes, geysers and blast furnaces.
With Gustav Kirchhoff, he contributed to our understanding of the meaning of spectra lines. (He also gained note for not bathing--one woman of polite society remarked that Bunsen was so charming that she would like to kiss him, but she would have to wash him first.)
March 31, 1889 -
French engineer Gustave Eiffel unfurled the French tricolor from atop the Eiffel Tower, officially marking its completion on this date, but its history dates back to Gallic times.
Documents that have been carbon-dated to roughly 200 B.C. indicate that King Catatonix of the Hellatians decreed, for no apparent reason, the construction of a big tower on the very site where the Eiffel Tower can be found today.
Some four centuries later, with the western Roman Empire in collapse, wild-eyed Gallic nationalists rebuilt the tower using cheese instead of wood. They called it La Grande Fromage, from which we get the expression, The Big Cheese.
During subsequent invasions by and entanglements with Normans, Saxons, Angles, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, and Lolligoths, the Tower was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt, always for no apparent reason. It had become a sort of habit by now, a national obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Rene Descartes was born on March 31, 1596. Descartes said that he existed because he thought, and although he said it in Latin everyone still had to admit that it looked like Reason had finally entered the world.
Therefore the Franks (who now called themselves the French, primarily to irritate Germany) lost interest in the tower, and at last abandoned the effort.
Unfortunately, in 1870 German chancellor Otto von Bismarck defeated the French army in a Sedan and laid siege to Paris. This made the French lose their heads (see also the French Revolution). They forgot all about Reason and made Gustav Eiffel build a Tower, this time using steel, which was stronger than cheese and not quite as flammable as wood. It stands to this day, a proud monument French culture, without which we would not have Champagne, Camembert, Brigitte Bardot, or Marcel Proust.
March 31, 1959 -
The Dalai Lama was forced to leave Tibet, after the Red Communists (Evil Bastards) make it very unpleasant for him to stay, on this date.
He accuses the Chinese of making genocide against the Tibetan people, by systematic destruction of Tibetan culture and execution of thousands of prominent citizens (At the rate I'm going, I'll be lucky to get takeout delivered to my house.)
March 31, 1995 -
The president of the Selena Fan Club, Yolanda Saldivar, killed the Tejano music popstar Selena in Corpus Christi, TX. "It just went off, I didn't mean to do it. I didn't mean to kill anybody".
That might be true, but the jury did not believe her.
Remember folks, never let a crazy fan with a gun license and bad credit be the head of your fan club.
And so it goes
Wow, yesterday I mentioned that the remaining Monty Python members are performing this summer; Chris McVie is rejoining Fleetwood Mac for a tour this summer
I'll hold out (I think I still have about 30 years) for them to find the uncut version of the Magnificent Ambersons.