Saturday, May 17, 2014

Hand me down my walking cane ...

Today is Rubber Band Day, honoring Inventor Stephen Perry's receiving a patent for the rubber band on this date in 1845.

(The ACME Corporation is in no way endorsing this sort of behavior.  But what these two young men do in the privacy of their own home is their own constitutionally protected business.)

The U.S. Post Office is the largest consumer of rubber bands in the world – they order millions of pounds per year.

Here's another reason to legalize marijuana - think of the savings if USPS switched to hemp rope (and the number of very mellow postal employees - Please save your e-mails, I know you can't get high from smoking hemp. )

May 17, 1899 -
Thomas Alva Edison
copyrighted the first western film, The Cripple Creek Bar Room, which he had shot at his Black Maria studio in West Orange, New Jersey, on this date.

Although there was little, if any, plot to this short film (please note, the role of a barmaid was played by a man,) it was the first with a setting in the west.

May 17, 1940 -
Garson Kanin's
screwball comedy, My Favorite Wife, opened on this date.

Leo McCarey was supposed to direct the film, but shortly before the filming began he was injured in an automobile accident, and had to hand over the direction to Garson Kanin.

Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, who play rivals in this film, lived together for twelve years from 1932 to 1944 (The ACME Corporation has no comment on this sort of behavior.  But what these two young men did in the privacy of their own home was their own constitutionally protected business.)

May 17, 1950 -
Nicholas Ray's
excellent film noir, In a Lonely Place, starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame premiered on this date.

Gloria Grahame and husband/director Nicholas Ray quietly separated during filming, keeping it a secret for fear that one of them would be replaced. Ray slept on the studio set, saying that he needed to work late on preparation for the remainder of the film. It worked and nobody suspected that their marriage was on the rocks. She would subsequently go on to marry her stepson, Ray's son from a previous marriage.

May 17, 1955 -
Paramount Pictures
released, The Country Girl, starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and William Holden, based on the Clifford Odets play, on this date.

During filming Grace Kelly managed to have affairs with Bing Crosby, Clark Gable and William Holden, simultaneously but not on the same date (The ACME Corporation has been legally barred from commenting on this sort of behavior.  But what these dead Hollywood stars did in the privacy of their own home was their own constitutionally protected business.)

May 17, 1980 -
Call Me
by Blondie reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts on this date.

European Disco producer Giorgio Moroder wrote this with Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry, who thus became the first woman in British chart history to write three #1 hits. However she hadn't been Moroder's first choice. The Italian disco king had originally wanted Stevie Nicks to provide vocals on the track but the Fleetwood Mac vocalist declined the offer.

Today in History:
May 17, 1673
Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette first set out to explore the course of the Mississippi, which they believed would lead them to paradise on this date.

Unfortunately it only took them to New Orleans, and they were out of beads. (And as a faithful reader pointed out, one mostly thinks of a prison when they think of Joliet.)

May 17, 1792 -
drunken stock brokers got together outside of 68 Wall Street in New York under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street which earlier was the site of a stockade fence and signed an agreement with two provisions:

1) the brokers were to deal only with each other. Thereby eliminating the auctioneers, and
2) the commissions were to be .25%.

Thus the New York Stock Exchange was born (and none of it involved a $2 billion dollar loss.)

May 17, 1954 -
The U.S. Supreme Court on this date, in an unanimous decision ruled for school integration in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka.

The Brown v. Board of Education decision serves to greatly motivate the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and ultimately led to the abolishment of racial segregation in all public facilities and accommodations.

May 17, 1974 -
During a gun battle with members of the Symbionese Liberation Army on this date, the LAPD fired tear gas into their Watts hideout. The canisters ignited a fire which soon consumed the house.

Three other SLA members, including kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst, watched the events unfold on TV in their motel room down the street from Disneyland.

Proving once again, it is the happiest place on earth.

May 17, 1992 -
The World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses on this date.

You go over there and play the accordion. I'll stay here and beat off the band.

The same day, Bandleader, accordion player, and soap bubble junkie Lawrence Welk died of pneumonia in his beachfront condo in Santa Monica, California (not that there's any connection between the two events.)

May 17,  2004
Marcia Kadish and Tanya McCloskey were married at Cambridge City Hall in Massachusetts on this day as the first legally married same-sex couple in the US.

Over 70 other same-sex couples were married on this day as well, sparking a few protests but many more celebrations.

And so it goes


Anonymous said...

Marquette was a Jesuit priest and so was also known as Pere (Father) Marquette. A street in Minneapolis is named for him and many locals mistakenly think his name was Pierre. There's a famous barbeque joint in Minneapolis called Market Barbeque and some locals insist on calling it Marquette Barbeque even though it's not on Marquette Avenue. These locals, they are a funny breed.

Kevin said...

Once again, you've come through with a little tidbit on this trip.