...Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot. I implore you, send him back to his father and brothers, who are waiting for him with open arms in the penitentiary. I suggest that we give him ten years in Leavenworth, or eleven years in Twelveworth.
Unbelievable, but, a box office flop (at the time), The Marx Brothers Duck Soup, opened on this date.
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini banned the film from Italy because he thought it was a direct attack on him. When news of this reached The Marx Brothers, they were reportedly ecstatic.
November 17, 1942 -
Martin Scorsese, Academy Award-winning American film director, writer, producer, actor, film historian, former drug addict and asthmatic was born on this date.
Go watch a movie (any movie) in his honor. He won't mind.
November 17, 1951 -
... Let justice be done! Tear up that mortgage! Unhand that farmer's daughter! Cease that... that... Seems awfully breezy in here. Uh, cease that rustling. [Daffy Duck notices he is pantless, covers himself up] Slight pause while I adjust my accoutrements.
Another in the series of Daffy and Porky buddy flicks, Drip-Along Daffy, opened on this date.
November 17, 1978 -
The two-hour Star Wars Holiday Special aired for the first and only time on CBS on this date. (I must strongly warn readers not to attempt to watch the entire special in one seating - stronger men have been driven to drink and drugs for less.)
According to Carrie Fisher, Lucas gave her a copy of the special as a gift for recording the DVD commentary for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. She claims that she plays it at parties when she wants her guests to leave.
Today in History:
November 17, 1558 -
Elizabeth I of England ascended to the throne, on this date.
She is best known for her imperfect application of the cosmetic sciences, a flaw that is strikingly evident in all her portraits but that courtiers were apparently reluctant to address the issue.
November 17, 1796 -
Empress Catherine the Great died of a stroke while sitting on the commode and not while astride her steed (or something like that) on this date.
So dammit, stop making those jokes.
November 17, 1869 -
The Suez Canal was opened in Egypt, linking the Mediterranean and the Red Seas on this date. The 100 mile canal eliminated a 4000-mile trip around Africa.
Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, together with Ferdinand de Lesseps, chief architect of the canal, led the first file of ships from on board the French imperial yacht Aigle.
November 17, 1871 -
George Wood Wingate and William Conant Church established the National Rifle Association in New York on this date.
November 17, 1903 -
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin's stubbornness split his Russian Social Democratic Labor Party into two factions: the slim majority who sided with him, and the vast minority who opposed him, on this date.
The Russian terms for majority and minority are Bolshevik and Menshevik, respectively, and so these factions took their names. Later the Mensheviks became the majority party, meaning that the Mensheviks had become Bolsheviks and the Bolsheviks Mensheviks.
It was easy after that.
November 17, 1917 -
The world famous 77 year old French Sculptor Auguste Rodin froze to death in an unheated attic in Meudon, France on this date. He had applied to the government for quarters as warm as those wherein his statues were stored, but the government turned him down.
His case was so desperate that he asked to be permitted to have a room in the museum the Hotel Biron, formerly his own studio. The official in charge of the museum refused. Other officials and friends promised coal but never sent it, though his situation at Meudon, ill, and freezing to death, was apparently well known to all of them.
November 17, 1941 -
U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Joseph C. Grew cabled the US State Department that he has heard that Japan has 'planned, in the event of trouble with the United States, to attempt a surprise mass attack at Pearl Harbor.' His warning is ignored by the Office of Naval Intelligence.
November 17, 1968 -
NBC preempts the final 1:05 from a very close Jets-Raiders NFL football game with the TV movie Heidi. Two touchdowns were scored during this missing time.
Sports fans everywhere applaud and understand the network's decision.
November 17, 1973 -
People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I am not a crook.
President Nixon spoke to more than 400 editors from the Associated Press at a gathering in Orlando, Florida, at Walt Disney World on this date.
I guess that means Disney World isn't the happiest place on Earth for everybody.
And so it goes
There are 10 days until Thanksgiving
There are 29 days until the start of Hanukkah.
With only 39 days until Christmas.