Monday, October 20, 2014

... She's gotta have a convention.


October 20, 1918 -
Rarely seen now, but one of Charlie Chaplin most popular films at it time, Shoulder Arms, was released on this date.



Many in Hollywood advised Chaplin not to tackle the subject of WWI but with his usual keen sense of what material was right for him, Chaplin would go on to direct what was to become the most popular film of the entire war period.


October 20, 1939 -
The 9th Marx Brothers film, At the Circus, premiered on this date.




The Marx Brothers had been out of favor at MGM since the sudden 1936 death of their producer and benefactor Irving Thalberg during the production of A Day at the Races. So in the middle of the production of At the Circus, longtime Thalberg rival Louis B. Mayer removed songwriters Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg from the Marx Brothers film and reassigned them to the 'prestige' MGM production The Wizard of Oz.


October 20, 1973 -
One of the rare ballad for The Rolling Stones, Angie became a #1 hit on this date.



Keith Richards wrote this song in Switzerland after the Exile on Main St. album had been approved by the record company, but before it was released. "Angie" was one of the first songs The Stones recorded for Goat's Head Soup, which they first attempted in Jamaica at the Dynamic Sounds studio in Kingston. They got very little done at these sessions, arriving nightly with armed escort and locking the doors until they were done for the day. Much of the album was done at sessions in Los Angeles and London under more hospitable conditions.


October 20, 1955 -
Harry Belafonte
, advocate for civil rights and humanitarian causes, recorded the famous "Day-O" (Banana Boat Song) on this date.





Belafonte's version used lyrics adapted by Irving Burgie and William Attaway. Burgie, sometimes credited as "Lord Burgess," is a popular Caribbean composer. Attaway was a novelist and songwriter who was friends with Belafonte. Burgie and Attaway wrote most of the songs on the Calypso album.



(Now try getting the song out of your head today.)


Today in History:
October 20, 480 BC
-
(Sometimes the world changes in a day) The Athenian fleet, under the command of Themistocles, defeated the Persians in the Naval Battle of Salamis on this date.

Though the Persians armies scored a major victory over Athens only weeks prior, this decisive naval victory, coupled with the losses the Persians suffered in the Battle of Thermopylae forced Persian forces to withdraw from Greece.



That victory will arguably lead to the rise of Greece as a global power and the eventual dissemination of Greek philosophies and ideals, such as democracy, throughout the western world. And as always, there was much roasted lamb consumed and much sodomy engaged in that night.


October 20, 1818 -

Canada and the United States in the "Convention of 1818", established the 49th Parallel as their mutual boundary (known as the International Border) for most of its length from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky mountains.



The International Boundary is commonly referred to as the world's longest undefended border, but this is true only in the military sense, as civilian law enforcement is present. But we're keeping an eye on those sneaky Canadians and their cheese curd fries.


October 20, 1930 -
Death row murderer Wiliam Kogut committed suicide in San Quentin prison with MacGyver like ingenuity. He tore the red spots from a deck of playing cards, the the time the red dye used on the pack of cards was made from nitrocellulose, saturated them with water, and jammed them into a length of steel pipe from his bed frame. Kogut placed the bomb on the heater and waited for science to take it's course.

I wonder if he went to a specialized High School.


October 20, 1944 -
Gen. Douglas MacArthur stepped ashore at Leyte in the Philippines, 2 1/2 years after he'd said, "I shall return," on this date.



 He landed with Sergio Osmena, the president-in-exile, Gen’l. Carlos Romulo, who later served as foreign minister and a boatload of press and photographers to record the event.


October 20, 1947 -
Chaired by J. Parnell Thomas (one of the committee's members was Richard M. Nixon), The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood.



The resulting hysteria results in the creation of a blacklist in the film industry, preventing certain individuals from working in the business for years.


October 20, 1967 -
Roger Patterson
and Robert Gimlin reported that on this date they had captured a purported Sasquatch on film at Bluff Creek, California. This came to be known as the Patterson-Gimlin film, which is purported to be the best evidence of Bigfoot by many advocates.



If only that had named their film - Bigfoot: America's Hairy Sex God, perhaps it would have done better box office in it's opening weekend.



Many years later, Bob Heironimus, an acquaintance of Patterson's, claimed that he had worn an ape costume for the making of the film. Organizations such as Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization have suggested that that Heironimus himself is a fraud.


October 20, 1973 -
The Saturday Night Massacre: Richard Nixon fired Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus when they each refuse to fire special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox on this date. Who was the man who finally fired Cox:



Robert Bork - it's that evil beard.


October 20, 1977 -
En route to a gig at Louisiana State University,  band members Ronnie Van Zandt and Steve Gaines were killed when their private plane runs out of fuel and crashes into a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi. Their record company MCA withdraws the flame-filled cover art for their ironically-named Street Survivors album



Drunken frat boys everywhere mourn and cry out, "Play 'Freebird' man".



And so it goes.

2 comments:

Jim Haas said...

Some 150 people live in the Northwest Angle, MN, a spot of land that is separated from the rest of the USA by Lake of the Woods. Students who live in the Northwest Angle go to school in Warroad, MN, and have to cross the international border on their way to and from school. I wonder how thoroughly they're searched each day.

Kevin said...

Jim, you always have very interesting tidbits. I'm actually going to investigate this breach of US security. Perhaps this is where all the undocumented aliens are entering the country: in the lunch boxes of these kids.

Really though, that much suck for those kids, having to go through customs every day.