Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ohhh! Godfrey Daniel!

August 22, 1929 -
Walt Disney released the animated short film The Skeleton Dance (The first of Disney's Silly Symphony series,) animated by Ub Iwerks, on this date.

Worried that he would be too dependent on Mickey, Walt Disney wanted to diversify. Carl W. Stalling came up with the idea of producing "musical novelties" (which would later become Silly Symphonies).

August 22, 1930 -
W.C. Fields' classic short, The Golf Specialist, premiered on this date.

According to the wanted poster among the offenses that Bellweather has committed are "Eating spaghetti in public" and "Telling the facts of life to an Indian."

August 22, 1946 -
The last of Alfred Hitchcock's wartime thrillers, Notorious, premiered on this date.

After filming had ended, Cary Grant kept the famous UNICA key. A few years later he gave the key to his great friend and co-star Ingrid Bergman, saying that the key had given him luck and hoped it would do the same for her. Decades later at a tribute to their director Alfred Hitchcock, Bergman went off-script and presented the key to him, to his surprise and delight.

August 22, 1972 -
The movie that introduced Monty Python and its seminal brand of comedy to American audiences, And Now for Something Completely Different, premiered on this date.

According to Terry Gilliam, executive producer Victor Lownes, who primarily represented Playboy magazine (which funded the movie), insisted on getting an animated credit equal in size to those of the group members.

Today in History:
August 22, 1485
At the Battle of Bosworth, England's King Richard III was terminated for having made a fiscally irresponsible bid on a horse.

For evermore, kingdoms went for a great deal more than small pieces of hardware.

August 22, 1770 -
Captain James Cook claimed Australia for the British crown when he landed on a small island off the coast of Queensland.

This must have come as a great shock to the indigenous inhabitants there.  But then again, they didn't have a flag.

August 22, 1776 -
George Washington asked the Continental Congress for permission to burn New York City, to stop the city from being used to quarter troops arriving via the British fleet. It is declined, but his soldiers set 1/4th of the town ablaze on September 21.

There are still many in the government that would like to enact Washington's plan right now.

August 22, 1849 -
In the first air raid in history, Austria launched 200 pilotless balloons, each attached with 30-pound bombs, against the city of Venice on this date.

The bombs don’t cause much damage. But on this August day, exactly a hundred years later, Japan dedicated the town of Hiroshima as a shrine of peace after a single nuclear bomb killed 130,000 people

August 22, 1851 -
The American schooner America was allowed, through special dispensation of Queen Victoria, to enter the annual Royal Yacht Squadron's Regatta. The America won the race, beating out 15 competitors and the trophy was renamed the America's Cup after the yacht.

The race was a 53-mile (85-kilometer) regatta at the Isle of Wight. The Cup is the oldest trophy awarded in international sports.

August 22, 1864 -
12 nations sign the first Geneva Convention specifically calling for the protection of the wounded during times of active warfare on this date. This leads directly to formation of the Red Cross.

In 1882, U.S. President Chester Arthur signed the treaty, making the U.S. the 32nd nation to do so.

August 22, 1893 -
If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.

Dorothy Parker was born in New York City, to Henry and Eliza Rothschild (... My God, no, dear! We'd never even heard of those Rothschilds ....) on this date.

Her birth was two months premature, allowing her to say that it was the last time she was early for anything. She was quoted, when discussing her early years, "All those writers who write about their childhood! Gentle God, if I wrote about mine you wouldn’t sit in the same room with me."

While she was a successful writer, she was just plain lousy at committing suicide. Dorothy Parker attempted suicide four times herself before succumbing to a heart attack in 1967.

August 22, 1902 -
President Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. chief executive to ride in an automobile (a purple-lined Columbia Electric Victoria) in Hartford, Ct. on this date. The police detail covering the event rode bicycles.

I'm sure he had a bully time, but the truth is a year earlier William McKinley rode in a car, although it was the electric ambulance that took him to the hospital after he was shot.

August 22, 1920 -
The late great Ray Bradbury, science fiction writer whose works include The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, was born on this date.

As a young boy, a friend once ridiculed his collection of science fiction and comic books, and heckled him into throwing them away. A day later, Bradbury was heartbroken, feeling that he had trashed his best friends. He immediately rebuilt his collection.

August 22, 1962 -
A group called the OAS (Secret Army Organization in English) plotted an assassination attempt on President Charles De Gaulle, who they believed had betrayed France by giving up Algeria (in northern Africa) to Algerian nationalists.

Frederick Forsyth dramatized the events of that August in his best-selling novel The Day of the Jackal, later made into a film.

August 22, 1973 -
Henry Kissinger, German-born American bureaucrat, succeeded William Rogers as Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon, on this date.

Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize in the same year, (he's also considered a war criminal by others.) He continued in office until 1977.

(I really don't care about the man but it gave me an excuse to play the Python song.)

And so it goes.

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