October 18 is Alaska Day, observed in the U.S. state of Alaska. Previously, they tried celebrating Alaska Day in Hawaii. The seething resentment of stealing their nation hadn't abated in Hawaii, so sponsors thought better of the plan. (Note to readers who find themselves in Alaska today - avoiding the battlin' Palin clan. They have been celebrating earlier and reports are that they are mean drunks.)
It is the anniversary of the formal transfer of the Territory of Alaska from Russia to the United States which took place at a flag-raising ceremony at Fort Sitka on October 18, 1867.
October 18, 1961 -
Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins' film version of Broadway musical, West Side Story, premiered in New York City on this date.
Jerome Robbins initially refused to work on the film unless he could direct it. Producer Walter Mirisch was nervous about handing the reins entirely over to Robbins, who had never made a film before, so he enlisted Robert Wise to direct the drama while Robbins would handle the singing and dancing sequences. Robbins developed a habit of shooting numerous takes of each scene, to the point where the film went over budget and behind schedule. This led to his firing.
October 18, 1967 -
The 19th animated feature and the first film Disney Studios released after Walt Disney's death, Jungle Book, premiered on this date.
Walt Disney died during production of this film. Many people wondered at what the studio's fate would be, particularly the animation division. The film performed extremely well at the box office, ensuring that the animators would not be put out of work. Had the film failed, it is likely that animation would have been closed down at the Disney Studio.
October 18, 1974 -
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, based loosely on Ed Gein's story opened in theatres on this date. At the time of release, the film was so strongly criticized for its content that it was eventually banned in various countries around the world, including Australia and the United Kingdom.
The human skeleton in the house at the end of the movie was a real human skeleton. They used a real one because a human skeleton from India is far cheaper then a fake plastic skeleton.
October 18, 1988 -
Poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, sex, menstruation, birth control, teenage pregnancy, masturbation, obesity, abortion, race, social class, domestic violence, and homosexuality - some of the topics dealt with on the series, Roseanne (which premiered on this date.)
Allegedly, in the early years there was a naked picture of George Clooney, only covering his privates with "Groucho"-style goggles, on the set fridge. This photo was supposedly taken by John Goodman or Roseanne when the three went out drinking one night. Then it mysteriously disappeared from the set one day.
Today in History:
October 18, 1216 -
King John was not a happy sovereign. Not the favorite child; his brother Richard the Lionheart was. John was king of England on and off while his brother enjoyed fighting the Crusades in the Middle East and sodomy with the King of France. Finally John became king outright when some kid shoot his brother in the neck with an arrow (but that's another story.)
October 18, 1767 -
The border between Maryland and Pennsylvania was settled on this date. Dubbed the Mason-Dixon line, it became the unofficial boundary between North and South.
Bad confederates, bad.
October 18,1898 -
The United States took control of Puerto Rico one year after Spain had granted self-rule to the Caribbean nation. Since 1917, people born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens.
October 18, 1931 -
Thomas Alva Edison, one of the most prolific inventors (and evil businessmen) in history, forgot to file a patent on avoiding death so he died in West Orange, N.J., at the age of 84, on this date.
Bad Grim Reaper, bad.
October 18, 1945 -
The USSR's nuclear program receives plans for America's plutonium bomb, courtesy of secret agent Klaus Fuchs at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, on this date.
Bad spy, bad spy.
October 18, 1959 -
The Soviet Union announced an unmanned space vehicle had taken the first pictures of the far side of the moon.
October 18, 1968 -
A police with the help of two sniffer dogs named Yogi and Boo-Boo, on this date, raided the apartment of John Lennon and Yoko Ono and finds a very small amount of pot. The couple is fined £150.
October 18, 1974 -
On this date, the jury in the Watergate cover-up trial heard a tape recording in which U.S. President Richard Nixon told aide John Dean to try to stop the Watergate burglary investigation before it implicated White House personnel.
October 18, 1984 -
U.S. President Ronald Reagan ordered an investigation of a CIA handbook for Nicaraguan rebels that suggested assassination as a political tactic.
And so it goes