Monday, December 15, 2014
Stop the presses
December 15, 1939 -
It was the first movie premiere ceremony to be televised. The governor of Georgia proclaimed the day a state holiday in commemoration of the event and the holiday celebrations continued for three days.
The estimated production costs were $3.9 million. At the time, only Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ and Hell's Angels had cost more.
December 15, 1961 -
An underrated Billy Wilder film, One, Two, Three, opened in the US on this date
When Cagney tells Otto he must give the couple a wedding present Scarlett claims that Otto's friends did not give them any gifts but instead sent the money to unemployed cotton pickers of Mississippi. Cagney was accused of being a communist sympathizer for sending money to striking cotton workers in the 1930s.
December 15, 1967 -
The wonderfully trashy film Valley of the Dolls premiered in NYC on this date.
Judy Garland kept her costume after she was fired from the film, and proceeded to wear the sequined pantsuit while performing in concerts around the world.
December 15, 1974 -
Mel Brooks' send up of the Universal horror films, Young Frankenstein, opened on this date.
When Mel Brooks was preparing Young Frankenstein, he found that Ken Strickfaden, who had made the elaborate electrical machinery for the lab sequences in the Universal Frankenstein films, was still alive in the Los Angeles area. He visited Strickfaden and found that Strickfaden had saved all the equipment and had it stored in his garage. Brooks made a deal to rent the equipment for his film and gave Strickfaden the screen credit he'd deserved, but hadn't gotten, for the original films.
Today's Christmas Special - Where are you going to put it all?
Today in History:
December 15, 1944 -
En route to Paris, "swing" big band leader and whore monger Glenn Miller vanishes over the English Channel. Miller, listed as Missing In Action, was serving as a Major in the Army Air Force Band when his plane went down.
Glenn had been a chain-smoker for much of his life and by late 1944 was suffering from severe weight loss and shortness of breath, leading to speculation that he was terminally ill, probably with lung cancer. This theory also holds that he landed safely, but died of his illnesses on December 16th. Both of these latter theories overlook the fact that Miller wasn't alone on the flight; there were two other officers aboard the aircraft when it disappeared. They also have never been found.
To paraphrase my favorite quote once again, perhaps they too got carried away at that orgy in Paris.
December 15, 1961 -
Nazi Adolf Eichmann, former Reichssicherheitshauptamt (that's a real word) bureaucrat, was sentenced to death by a Jerusalem court on this date.
December 15, 1966 -
Walt Disney, neo-nazi, commie hater, union-buster and child pornography lover died on this day.
Let us compare of two of the modern era's finest and most influential artists: Georges Seurat (December 2, 1859) and Walt Disney (December 5, 1901), both born in December.
Seurat served a year of military service at Brest, then returned to Paris and had his drawing Aman-Jean at the official Salon in 1883. The following year, the Salon rejected the panels from his painting Bathing at Asnieres, so he stormed off with some friends and formed the "Societe des Artistes Independentes" (Guys Who Got Rejected by the Salon.)
Disney and his brother, Roy, sold a cartoon series called the "Alice Comedies," and landed a distribution deal. Over the next four years, they continued to produce "Alice Comedies" and more than two dozen episodes of "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit."
In 1886, after two years of labor, Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte was the centerpiece of the Societe's exhibition. It was hailed by critics, and he was recognized as the successor to the Impressionists.
In 1928, Disney conceived of a funny little mouse while on a train ride, and "Steamboat Willie" became the first sound Mickey Mouse cartoon on November 28, 1928, at the Colony Theater in New York. Mickey was an instant hit, and by 1930 he was already earning Disney significant merchandise deals.
Seurat and his followers were dubbed the "neo-impressionists." Only at the time of his premature death in 1891 did his friends and family learn that he had been living with and had even fathered a child with his mistress.
Disney built an entertainment and recreation empire from Mickey Mouse, but was not frozen in liquid nitrogen after his death in 1966. His followers are called the "imagineers."
(Seurat was not frozen, either. I believe he may have briefly dated Bernadette Peters.)
And so it goes.
There are 10 days until Christmas.