June 17, 1950 -
The Disassociated Press sent a reporter to get Bug Bunny's life story in What's Up Doc?, which was released on this date.
Bugs and Elmer perform the "What's Up Doc?" title song. This is the first cartoon in which its lyrics are heard.
June 17, 1968-
Ohio Express' Yummy Yummy Yummy (I've got love in my tummy) goes gold on this date.
Joey Levine, who was the lead singer of the Ohio Express, wrote this with Arthur Resnick, who also wrote Under The Boardwalk and Good Lovin'.
June 17, 1987 -
A late Kubrick masterpiece, Full Metal Jacket, was released on this date.
Stanley Kubrick had nothing but praise for R. Lee Ermey's skills as a performer. Kubrick originally was going to write dialogue for Ermey's character himself, but he became so impressed with what Ermey improvised, that he decided it wasn't necessary. He just let him ad-lib, something practically unheard of for a Stanley Kubrick film.
Today in History:
June 17, 1775 -
American forces were defeated by the British at Breed's Hill, near Boston, in the Battle of Bunker Hill, after famously withholding their fire until they could see the whites of their enemies' eyes.
This battle should not be confused with that of Bunker Hill, fought on Breed's Hill, during which the Americans shot like hell at anything that moved.
June 17, 1797 -
Agha Muhammad Khan, Shah of Persia (who was also a eunuch, but that's another story) ordered his servants to bring him a melon cut into slices. He finished half, ordered the other half to be put away and vowed to his servants, that if even one slice of the melon was missing in the morning, all three servants would be beheaded by him.
There's a lesson here somewhere -
a.) Treat your staff better?
b.) Purchase more fruit for dessert?
c.) Dare to eat the peach?
The Statue of Liberty, France's gift to the United States marking the Centennial of the American Declaration of Independence arrived in New York Harbor on June 17, 1885 on board the French frigate Isere (only nine years after the gift was offered.)
To prepare for transit, the Statue was reduced to 350 individual pieces and packed in 214 crates. (The right arm and the torch, which were completed earlier, had been exhibited at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, and thereafter at Madison Square Park in New York City.)
June 17, 1928 -
Amelia Earhart became the first woman to make a transatlantic flight (She was only the 16th woman to become a licensed pilot.)
While she was not the pilot, but a passenger who rode with Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon in their Fokker tri-motor airplane, the event won Earhart an immense amount of fame.
June 17, 1933-
Four FBI agents and the fugitive they were transporting, Frank Nash, were killed in a shootout with gangsters who were trying to free Nash, at the Union Square Station in Kansas City on this date.
After being pardoned twice for murder and burglary, Frank Nash was arrested and convicted again for assault and was serving a 25-year sentence when he escaped in 1930. The FBI had just recaptured Nash after his three-year run when they were all gunned down.
Killing the person you are trying to free defeats the whole purpose
June 17, 1939 -
In Versailles, Eugene Weidmann becomes the last person to be publicly guillotined.
The "hysterical behavior" by spectators was so scandalous that French president Albert Lebrun immediately banned all future public executions.
A few people can ruin it for everybody.
June 17, 1963 -
The US Supreme Court ruled 8-1 to strike down rules requiring the recitation of the Lord's Prayer or reading of Biblical verses in public schools.
We've been godless heathens ever since.
June 17, 1967 -
China tested its first hydrogen bomb, a U-235 implosion fission device named “596,” over the Lop Nur Testing Grounds.
It was China’s first full-scale implosion weapon test, and its sixth nuclear test within thirty-two months, a record for the shortest development period of any nation’s nuclear weapons program. (Remember that the next time you try to short tip the Chinese delivery guy.)
June 17, 1972 -
Five men broke into the Democratic Party National Committee headquarters at the Watergate building in Washington, DC on this date. They had hoped to bug the offices but were arrested before they could release any insects.
President Richard Nixon will later describe as a "third rate burglary." Their arrests ultimately led to President Nixon's resignation in 1974.
(Nixon's resignation prior to 1974 was attributed to simple melancholia.)
June 17, 1994 -
Convicted memorabilia thug O.J. Simpson failed to turn himself in to the LAPD at a prearranged time and was later spotted in a white Ford Bronco on a Los Angeles expressway on this date. After a low-speed pursuit through the freeways and streets of Brentwood, O.J. was finally arrested live on television in the driveway of his mansion.
According to one of the defense attorneys who served on O.J.'s "Dream Team," Simpson tried to kill himself in the car, but the gun misfired. The Juice allegedly told him: "I pulled the trigger and it didn't go off."
That would have saved everyone a boatload of trouble.
And so it goes.