I got started dancing because I knew it was one way to meet girls.
It's Gene Kelly's birthday today.
August 23, 1940 -
Preston Sturges' Oscar winning satire on political corruption, The Great McGinty, premiered on this date.
On August 19, 1939, Paramount issued a check to contract writer Preston Sturges to buy the story and screenplay of this movie, in the amount of $10. Sturges promised to sell the script for that amount if he could direct. The studio took him up on it and the film was a hit and won an Academy Award for the screenplay, probably making it the cheapest Oscar-winning script in history.
August 23, 1957 -
20th Century Fox released its film adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway novel, The Sun Also Rises, on this date.
Howard Hawks was the first to option the film rights in the early 1950s and proposed Ann Harding, Montgomery Clift and Margaret Sheridan as the stars. He eventually sold the rights to Darryl F. Zanuck.
August 23, 1969 -
The Rolling Stones hit, Honky Tonk Women reached number one on the pop-singles charts, on this date.
The single was given away to all the fans who helped clean up after The Stones free concert in Hyde Park on July 5, 1969. This was the first concert Mick Taylor played with the band. A life-size cutout of Brian Jones, who died three days earlier, was kept on stage and the show was dedicated to him.
August 23, 1985 -
Atlantic Releasing Corp releases the comedy film Teen Wolf, directed by Rod Daniel and starring Michael J. Fox, on this date.
Most of the "teen" actors were too old to be high school students. Scott is played by Michael J. Fox: age 23. Stiles is played by Jerry Levine: age 27. Chubby is played by Mark Holton: age 26. Mick is played by Mark Arnold: age 27.
August 23, 1996 -
One of the most bizarre films ever made (starring Marlon Brando) The Island of Dr. Moreau, was released on this date.
Val Kilmer frustrated director John Frankenheimer so much, that, after shooting Kilmer's last scene in the movie, Frankenheimer is alleged to have said: "Cut. Now get that bastard off my set."
Today in History:
August 23, 1305 -
Scottish patriot William Wallace (Mel Gibson) was persuaded to take an early retirement on this date.
According to one eyewitness: "He was hung in a noose, and afterwards let down half-living; next his genitals were cut off and his bowels torn out and burned in a fire; then and not till then his head was cut off and his trunk cut into four pieces. At this point he was given a gold watch, and a humorous card that we had all signed."
August 23, 1914 -
Japan declared war on Germany on this date.
August 23, 1926 -
Rudolph Valentino died from peritonitis and severe pleurisy, on this date, following an emergency appendectomy. His death caused a worldwide frenzy among his fans, sales of the Sheik condoms soared.
Thing is, he probably would have survived if the surgeons weren’t so freaked out by the fact that "Valentino" was their patient. They were so terrified of operating on such a world famous person, that they procrastinated for several hours, dramatically worsening his condition.
Sometime it sucked to be Valentino.
August 23, 1927 -
Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, convicted of murder in 1921, were executed in Boston in spite of worldwide protests, on this date.
Their guilt is still disputed.
August 23, 1939 -
Joachim von Ribbentrop and Josef Stalin signed a non-aggression pact, allowing Germany to attack Poland and the USSR to invade Finland without fears of reprisal on this date. Three years later, the Battle of Stalingrad began. (The Battle of Stalingrad was fought by Germans and Russians, in case the irony was lost on you.)
Moral: secret wartime pacts with evil conquering bastards aren't any more reliable in the real world than they are in a game of Risk.
August 23, 1942 -
The Battle of Stalingrad began on this date, which many historians think of as the turning point of World War II. Hitler had already conquered all of Europe except for England, Switzerland and Monaco and he began the invasion of Russia in the summer of 1941 with an army of four million men. The Germans reached Stalingrad on this day in 1942 and flew more than 2,000 bombing raids in just the first day of the battle. They hit oil storage tanks that flowed into the river and caught fire and laid siege to the city. It went on for months.
It's been called the most terrible battle the world has ever known, and in the end the Russians won, thanks to the approach of winter. The German troops were not prepared for fighting in below zero weather.
By February of 1943, all the German soldiers had surrendered or been killed, the first defeat of Hitler's army.
August 23, 1944 -
At 10.30 am on this date, an American Liberator Bomber 42-50291 took off from Warton on a routine test flight. A huge explosion, thought to have been sparked by a bolt of lightning, tore the huge plane apart and parts of the fuselage hit the Holy Trinity Church of England School in Freckleton, England.
August 23, 1944 -
Romanian Prime Minister Ion Antonescu was dismissed by King Michael (another cousin of both Queen Elizabeth and her itinerant sailor husband Philip Mountbatten), paving the way for Romania to abandon the Axis in favor of the Allies.
August 23, 1968 -
The Youth International Party designated Pigasus as their choice of candidate for U.S. President on this date. The boar hog was introduced at a press conference outside the Chicago Civic Center, with the slogan "They nominate a President and he eats the people. We nominate a President and the people eat him."
The gathering is broken up shortly thereafter when the Chicago PD takes into custody the Yippie organizers and their pig.
August 23, 2012 -
Cecilia Gimenez (80+) took it upon herself to restore a fresco of Jesus called Ecce Homo painted by Elias Garcia Martinez at the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza, Spain.
Unfortunately her attempt at restoration did not turn out the way she hoped and the fresco was turned into an image almost resembling a hairy monkey. The woman hoped that it could be further restored by professionals and had gone into it with good intentions. And you all know what is paved with good intentions.
And so it goes.