Saturday, May 16, 2015

It's National Sea Monkey Day

You're probably saying to yourself, It can't already be Sea-Monkey Day again, wasn't it just last week!

(Once again, Mr Teeny is quite irate with me this evening because I posted this video.  This was his uncle and he came to a very bitter end.)

So go out and enjoy the day thinking about these krill-like wonders. But don't think about their creator, Harold von Braunhut and the allegations that he financially supported white-supremacist groups.

May 16, 1940  -
What always made me proud - almost blushing with pride - is that Francis Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg all told me that 'The Conformist' is their first modern influence.

Bernardo Bertolucci, film director, was born in Parma, Italy on this date.

May 16, 1953  -
Usually, no one quite knew where Django Reinhardt was going to be, but I met his brother and about an hour later in walks Django with an entourage of friends. He always traveled with a large group--carried his own admirers with him, the most sinister-looking bunch of hoodlums you've ever seen. I walked up and offered to buy him a drink. That seemed to be the right thing to do...Charlie Byrd

Jean Django Reinhardt, one the the greatest jazz guitarist, died in France on this date.

May 16, 1966 -
The Beach Boys released their 11th studio album, Pet Sounds on this date.

It has since been recognized as one of the most influential albums in the history of popular music and is widely regarded as one of the best albums of the 1960s.

All that beautiful music and barking dogs, too.

May 16, 1980 -
One of the classics of Australian film renaissance, Breaker Morant, premiered in Australia on this date.

Ironically, despite this film's anti-British establishment sentiments and anti-Colonialism theme, a Royal Charity Film Premiere was held in London, England. The event was attended by Prince Charles who afterwards arranged for a Buckingham Palace screening of the film for Queen Elizabeth II.

May 16, 1986
Paramount released the film Top Gun, on this date.

Val Kilmer
did not want to be in this film, but was forced to by contractual obligations.

May 16, 1986 -
In one of the most notorious cheats in the history of television, Pam Ewing woke up to find her husband Bobby in the shower -- no small feat, considering he's been dead for a whole season.

In order to revivify Bobby's character, the Dallas writers resorted to dismissing the entire preceding year as nothing more than Pam's protracted dream.

Today in History:
May 16, 1763
James Boswell first met Samuel Johnson in Tom Davie's London bookshop on this date. Due to the lax stalking laws of the period, Mr. Boswell followed Mr. Johnson around for several decades. On May 19, 1795, Mr. Boswell died.

(This was cold comfort to Mr. Johnson, who had already been dead for some time and was probably relishing the privacy.)

May 16, 1801
In honor of this year's grads -

May 16, 1879 -
Wallace Wilkerson was condemned to death by firing squad in Utah, for the killing of a man in an argument about a card game. The execution did go quite as planned on this date. The 'sharp shooters' missed the 3-inch patch over the condemned man's heart.

Wilkerson fell from of his chair, writhing and screaming in pain, in front of the 20 or so horrified spectators. Four doctors rushed to Wilkerson, who was struggling and gasping on the ground. Officials were concerned at one point that they would have to shoot him again, but he was pronounced dead 27 minutes later, having bled to death.

This must have been one hell of a day.

When the first Academy Awards were handed out on May 16, 1929, movies had just begun to talk. That first ceremony took place during an Academy banquet in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. There were 270 people in attendance and guest tickets cost $5.

Though this was the first time these awards were to be given, the attendees were not anxious. Unlike the secrecy that surrounds the winners of today's ceremonies, the winners of the first Academy Award ceremony were announced three months early.

May 16, 1942 -
Born on this date at the Sherman Boner farm, a young pig called Parker Neptune was destined for nothing more than the slaughterhouse and a rasher of bacon or two. But through several bizarre machinations, Parker became known as King Neptune and went on war bond tours, raising an astonishing $19 million dollars for the war effort.

After the war, King Neptune retired, living in a farm and enjoying himself.  He died just two days shy of his 8th birthday, on May 14th 1950, from pneumonia. He was given the rare honor of a military funeral.

Raise a glass or two this weekend to this Porcine wartime benefactor.

May 16, 1965 -
"The neat round spaghetti you can eat with a spoon", Spaghetti-O's first went on sale, on this date.

Oh happy day, the squirrel meat brand has stuck around.

May 16, 1977 -
Five people were killed on this date, when a New York Airways helicopter, idling atop the Pan Am Building in midtown Manhattan, toppled over, sending a huge rotor blade flying.

Three men were killed instantly and another man died later in a hospital. The blade sailed over the side of the building and killed a pedestrian on the corner of Madison Avenue and 43rd Street.

That will definitely put a crimp in your day.

May 16, 1984 -
Intergender wrestling champion and conceptual comic Andy Kaufman pretended to die of lung cancer on this date. In order to make it really convincing, Andy underwent months of radiation therapy and six weeks of psychic surgery in the Philippines.

And he's never made another public appearance. You must admire someone who can stick with a joke for this long.

May 16, 1990 -
Sammy Davis, Jr.
died of throat cancer in Beverly Hills on this date. After the legendary Rat pack singer/entertainer was buried with $70,000 in jewelry, the family discovers that Mr. Bojangles was broke and left millions of dollars in unpaid back taxes.

His widow then orders the body exhumed so they can repo the jewelry.

Imagine the look on Sammy's face when they opened the casket.

May 16, 1990 -
Attached to a ventilator and swimming in antibiotics, Muppet creator Jim Henson died of a severe case of pneumonia in a New York hospital on this date.

In keeping with his express wishes, no one is permitted to wear black at Henson's funeral service, which features 5,000 fans waving painted butterflies and a live band playing "When the Saints Go Marching In."

And so it goes

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