Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Du mußt Caligari werden!

March 19, 1921 -
The German silent film classic, Das Kabinett Des Docktor Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - wait a minute, I know that title from somewhere), starring Werner Kraus and Conrad Veidt premiered in the US on this date. The film is considered to be the first true horror film ever made.

Writer Hans Janowitz claims to have gotten the idea for the film when he was at a carnival one day. He saw a strange man lurking in the shadows. The next day, he heard that a girl was brutally murdered there. He went to the funeral, and saw the same strange man lurking around. He had no proof that the strange man was the murderer, but he fleshed the whole idea out into his film.

A strange unintentional result of the Fukushima disaster

Either people are beginning to hallucinate while they chew this brand of Japanese gum or we have a sequel to the new Godzilla movie already on our hands.

It's the Feast of St. Joseph, stepdad to Jesus and patron saint of selling your home. (So why are the baby aspirins named after him? )

Remember to go out and have the very delicious Sicilian pastry that bears his name. It's so good, it brings you that much closer to God.

Also, if you live in Capistrano,

remember the swallows are coming back today, eat you pastries indoors.

March 19, 1947 -
Another Bob Hope film (at the peak of his career), My Favorite Brunette, opened in Los Angeles on this date.

Bing Crosby
, Bob Hope's long-term co-star and rival in the Road movies, plays an executioner who is livid when he doesn't get to execute Hope's character. Hope fires back saying, "He'll do any kind of role" (at the time, Crosby's one-scene cameo earned him the highest amount ever paid an actor for a cameo appearance.)

March 19, 1958 -
The film based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein stage musical, South Pacific, was released on this date. (Please feel free to sing along with Rossano Brazzi)

France Nuyen had not yet learned English when playing the role of "Liat". Fortunately, she was able to converse in her native language (French) with co-star Rossano Brazzi, who spoke French as well as his native Italian (remember what I said about people with accents.)

March 19, 1962 -
Luis Buñuel's
sacrilegious masterpiece, Viridiana, opened in the US on this date.

The film was initially banned in Spain and completely denounced by the Vatican.  The script was initially approved by the Spanish authorities with a few minor changes. They had no opportunity to view the finished film until it played at the Cannes Film Festival where it won the Palme d'Or. Nevertheless they were sufficiently horrified by what they saw to ban the film.

Today in History:
March 19, 1943
Francesco Raffaele Nitto, better known as, Frank 'The Enforcer' Nitti, one of the top henchmen of Alphonse "Big Al" "Scarface" Capone and later the front man for the mob Capone created, the Chicago Outfit, was having a very bad day. Many top members of the Chicago Outfit were indicted for extortion. The Outfit was accused of trying to strong arm some of the largest Hollywood movie studios. The studios had cooperated with The Outfit to avoid union trouble stirred up by the mob.

The day before his scheduled grand jury appearance, Nitti shared breakfast with his wife in their Riverside, Illinois home at 712 Selborne Road. As his wife was leaving for church, Nitti told her he planned to take a walk. After his wife left, Nitti began to drink heavily. He then loaded a .32 caliber revolver, put it in his coat pocket, and walked five blocks to a local railroad yard. Two railroad workers (William F. Sebauer and Lowell M. Barnett) spotted Nitti walking on the track of an oncoming train and shouted a warning. They thought the train hit him, but Nitti had managed to jump out of the way in time. Then two shots rang out.

The trainmen first thought Nitti was shooting at them, but then realized he was trying to shoot himself in the head. The two bullets went through his hat. Nitti finally sat on the ground against a fence and, with the railroad workers watching from a distance, shot himself in the head on this date.

March 19, 1945 -
The Third Reich's World Tour was drawing to an abrupt close. And the band members are understandably depressed. The ever wacky and truly evil bastard Adolf Hitler issued his so-called "Nero Decree" on this date, ordering the destruction of German facilities that could fall into Allied hands.

Albert Speer, gave himself a birthday present today (avoiding the noose at the Nuremberg trials) and does everything he can to stop this from happening, in direct defiance of Hitler. Speer knew he had some precedent, Hitler also had decreed that Paris should be left a smoking ruin the previous summer, but Dietrich von Choltitz thought better of his Fuhrer's order.

March 19, 1957 -
Elvis Presley
was touring and has a vision. Before he immediately act upon it, St. Elvis wolfed down seven fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches and agreed to purchase the 14 acre Graceland estate from Ruth Moore for $100,000 on this date.

The place is now his cemetery. Or is it?

March 19, 1982 -
The guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, died during the Diary of a Madman tour after the plane he is flying in buzzed the band's tour bus and clipped the wing of the plane, crashing into a nearby farmhouse.

Kids, once again, repeat after me, Drugs are bad.

March 19, 1987 -
Televangelist Jim Bakker resigns his PTL ministry after it is revealed he was delivering a little too much spiritual healing to former church secretary and future Playboy playmate Jessica Hahn.

Some $265,000 in ministry funds had been used to keep Hahn quiet about a one-time sexual encounter in 1980. (That was one very expensive tryst.)

March 19, 2003 -
President George W. Bush announced on this date, the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, a military mission to rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein.   The American led coalition began with the launch of U.S. cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs aimed at Saddam Hussein near Baghdad.

The war was internationally unpopular from the start, and lost a lot of popularity in America after Bush's claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction were found to be unsubstantiated.

March 19, 2005 -
John Zachary DeLorean former American engineer and executive in the U.S. automobile industry, and drug dealer died on this date.

He quit GM in 1973 to launch the DeLorean Motor Car Co. in Northern Ireland. Eight years later, the DeLorean DMC-12 hit the streets.  

8,900 cars were built.

And so it goes.


Jim Haas said...

My Sicilian mother, Maria Regina Salvatrice Vigneri Haas (long story), made sfinci de san giuseppe every year but she just called it dolce. Bellissimo!

Kevin said...

You are a very lucky man to have access to homemade St. Joseph's pastry!