Wednesday, March 18, 2015

With or without raisins

It's Oatmeal cookie day.



Given the amount of drinking many of you probably did yesterday, a little extra fiber in your diet today wouldn't be the worst idea in the world.


March 18, 1924 -
The Thief of Bagdad
, the Douglas Fairbanks swashbuckler adventure film which tells the story of a thief who falls in love with the daughter of the Caliph, was released on this date.



For the flying carpet effect, Douglas Fairbanks stood on a 3/4-inch thick sheet of steel attached to 16 piano wires and rigged to the top of a crane, which lifted him above the crowd.


March 18, 1938 -
The under appreciated Ernst Lubitsch film, Bluebeard's Eighth Wife premiered on this date.



At their first production meeting, Ernst Lubitsch posed this question: How do the boy and girl get together? Billy Wilder promptly suggested that the opening scene should be in the men's shop of a department store. "The boy is trying to buy a pajama," he extemporized glibly, "but he sleeps only in the tops. He is thrifty so he insists on buying ONLY the tops. The clerk says he must buy the pants too. It looks like a catastrophe. Then the girl comes into the shop and buys the pants because she sleeps only in the pants." Ernst Lubitsch and Charles Brackett were enchanted with this idea. Months later, they discovered that Billy Wilder himself was a pajama tops-only sleeper and had been contemplating this idea for months, waiting for a chance to use it in a comedy.


March 18, 1964 -
In his first outing as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau, Peter Sellers stars in The Pink Panther, premiered in New York City on this date.



The film was intended to have David Niven's character Sir Charles Lytton as the main character. However, Peter Sellers' portrayal of Inspector Clouseau was so loved by the crew (and later by the audience) it became his character this film and the sequels focused on.


March 18, 1967 -
The Beatles'
Penny Lane single goes #1 on this date.



This song and Strawberry Fields Forever were intended for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but Capitol Records decided to release the two songs as a single, partly to regain popularity from John Lennon's "The Beatles are bigger than Jesus" comment.


March 18, 1968 -
Mel Brook's
screamingly funny first film, a sendup of Broadway, The Producers, premiered in New York City on this date.



The "hysterical" scene was filmed at the end of a long day, and an exhausted Gene Wilder told Mel Brooks that he just didn't think he "had it in him" to shoot it that day. Brooks solved the problem by loading the actor up with sugar and caffeine (in the form of two Hershey bars and a cup of coffee), after which the scene was shot in just two takes.


Today in History:
March 18, 1314
-
Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burned at the stake during the final purge of the Templars in France on this date.



Among the things de Molay admitted to the Inquisitor panel (though possibly coerced) were the obligation of Templars to deny Christ when they joined, and a sacrament that involved spitting on a crucifix.

Oh that wacky life during the Middle Ages.


March 18, 1584
-
Ivan IV of Russia died on this date. He is better known by his nickname: Ivan the Terrible. He was the first king of Russia to call himself a Caesar, probably in the hopes that Shakespeare would write a play about him. He also replaced the sale of beer and mead with vodka at state-run taverns.



He couldn't pronounce Caesar, however, so he simply called himself "zar," and subsequent arguments over whether that should be spelled czar, tsar, zar or tzar became so heated that they eventually resulted in Russian History. 

And all of this led to the Ukrainian situation.


March 18, 1913 -
(Once again kids follow along, it's complex.)
Itinerant sailor and general layabout Philip Mountbatten's (nee Philip Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gl├╝cksburg) grandfather, Christian Wilhelm Ferdinand Adolf Georg of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gl├╝cksburg (sibling to a king and two queens) was out on an afternoon stroll. This, in and of itself, is not remarkable, except for the fact that this minor Danish/ German prince had changed his name to George and became the King of Greece. Wilhelm/ George, like most royalty, went out for an afternoon stroll without any pocket change (royalty and presidents don't carry money.)

Alexandros Schinas, an alcoholic vagrant asked the King for some spare change and shot him in the back went the King refused to give him money. Wilhelm/ George died en route to the hospital,



Alexandros died five days later after he 'accidentally' fell out of a window at police headquarters.

So kids let this be a lesson to you, if you find yourself the ruler of a European nation - the change you carry, may save your life.


March 18, 1965 -
Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov performed the first spacewalk on this day. He stayed outside his ship for 12 minutes, held to the ship by a tether.



By the time his walk was over, his spacesuit had inflated so much in the vacuum of space that he could barely get back inside the ship. With a bit of quick thinking, he opened a value to allow some of the suit’s air to bleed off without venting all of it, only barely getting back into the capsule in time.


March 18, 1970 -
Country Joe McDonald
(of Country Joe and the Fish) was convicted on obscenity charges after he asks for an F, a U, a C and one other letter at a concert in Massachusetts.



The song was meant as a satire of US government attitudes toward the Vietnam War. Country Joe MacDonald released it at the height of the war after he had been discharged from the US Navy for several years. He wrote it in about 30 minutes after it popped into his head.


March 18, 1980 -
A significant percentage of the Soviet space program's scientists were killed when a Vostok rocket exploded on the launch pad on this date.

50 people died at the Plesetsk Space Center.


And so it goes.

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