July 27, 1940 -
Bugs Bunny made his debut in a cartoon called A Wild Hare, on this day. Warner Brothers' writers and animators set out to make a rabbit who would be the epitome of cool. They modeled bugs on Groucho Marx with a carrot instead of a cigar. Mel Blanc gave him a Brooklyn accent.
This cartoon is considered the first to feature both Bugs' and Elmer's catchphrases - "What's Up, Doc?" and "Be vewy quiet...I'm hunting wabbits" respectively.
July 27, 1949 -
Mighty Joe Young, an RKO Radio Picture made by the same creative team responsible for King Kong, premiered in New York City on this date, (in fact, when Joe smashes through the facade during the nightclub riot, the first scream you hear is that of Fay Wray, stock audio from the original King Kong.)
This was the first feature film in which Ray Harryhausen contributed stop-motion animation effects.
(Remember, I'm no longer going to direct you to Terry Moore's photo spread in Playboy. You go on ahead and find it yourself.)
July 27, 1978 -
National Lampoon's Animal House, the grandfather of all gross-out comedies, premiered in New York City on this date. (Toga party, anyone?)
John Belushi's performance in the cafeteria scene was entirely improvised. When he began piling food on his tray, Director John Landis urged the camera operator to "stay with him." The infamous "I'm a zit" gag was also improvised, and the reaction from the cast is completely genuine.
July 27, 1983 -
Little Tommy's break out film, Risky Business, opened on this date. This film is not, as usually noted, an above average teenage sex comedy but the precursor to 'Greed is Good' mantra that sunk this country for years to come.
The dance scene where Joel dances to "Old Time Rock N' Roll" was completely improvised. In the script Tom Cruise was simply instructed to "dance to rock music".
July 27, 1984 -
Warner Bros. gift to an unsuspecting world, Purple Rain, starring Prince, premiered on this date.
Purple Rain was shopped around to numerous production companies including Indigo Films; which was owned by Jim Brown and Richard Pryor. Brown himself expressed his disappointment about not acquiring the project in the Spike Lee documentary Jim Brown: All American .
(you may put your arms down now and resume your day.)
Today in History:
July 27, 1586 -
Sir Walter Raleigh and some of his men returned to England and disembarked at Plymouth smoking tobacco from pipes, which caused a sensation, on this date.
William Camden, a contemporary witness, reports that "These men who were thus brought back were the first that I know of that brought into England that Indian plant which they call Tabacca and Nicotia, or Tobacco" Tobacco in the Elizabethan age was known as "sotweed."
President Johnson celebrated this momentous date in history by signed the 1965 Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act; required cigarette makers to print health warnings on all cigarette packages about the effects of smoking on this date (in 1965.)
July 27, 1890 -
At the Chateau d'Auvers, Vincent van Gogh presses a revolver to his chest and pulls the trigger. Somehow the bullet misses the vital organs, and the painter manages to stumble over to a friend's house.
The following night, Van Gogh died of an infection in the arms of his brother Theo. (Or did he)
July 27, 1953 -
The armistice that ended the Korean War was signed on this date. It was a war that began in June 1950 when North Korea invaded the south. Almost 35,000 Americans were killed in the conflict, more than 5,000 captured or went missing. A corporal in the 1st Marine Division named Anthony Ebron said, "Those last few days were pretty bloody. Each time we thought the war was over we'd go out and fight again. The day it ended we shot off so much artillery that the ground shook. Then, that night, the noise just stopped. We knew it was over."
Harry Truman said that if he had signed the same armistice, the Republicans would have drawn and quartered him, but Dwight D. Eisenhower had run for president on the platform that he would end the war, and when he was elected, that's what he did.
Unfortunately, someone forgot to inform the North Koreans that they, in fact, signed the armistice, because technically, they are still at war with someone.
July 27, 1980 -
Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the exiled Shah of Iran, died of lymphatic cancer in Cairo on this date.
July 27, 1996 -
During a celebration for the Atlanta Olympics, security guard Richard Jewell notices a suspicious green knapsack in Centennial Park. He immediately alerts police and helps to clear people from the area shortly before the pipe bomb explodes. For his trouble, Jewell becomes the FBI's preliminary suspect and news organizations ran wild with the story.
Because he didn't do it, numerous media outlets end up paying him large undisclosed settlements. Eric Rudolph was later charged with the bombing. He was arrested May 31, 2003. Rudolph later pleaded guilty to the bombing.
And so it goes.