Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Today is the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel and All Angels

It's also known in England as Michaelmas Day.  St. Michael is the patron saint of the sea and maritime lands, of ships and boatmen, of horses and horsemen. He was the Angel who hurled Lucifer down from Heaven for his offenses against God.

There’s a legend concerning Lucifer falling into a blackberry bush after being expelled from heaven by St. Michael and spitting on the blackberries to make them bitter so that they cannot be picked after Michaelmas. So kids, don't eat those blackberries tomorrow until you want Satan's saliva in your mouth (unless you're into that.)

September 29, 1948 -
Laurence Olivier's
powerful interpretation of Shakespeare's melancholy Dane, Hamlet premiered in New York City on this day.

When the movie was released Laurence Olivier said it had been filmed in black and white for artistic reasons. The true reason, as he later admitted, was that "I was in the middle of a furious row with Technicolor".

September 29, 1953
The family comedy Make Room for Daddy, starring Danny Thomas, premiered on ABC TV on this date.

Danny Thomas was forced against his will to have Jean Hagen as his TV wife. He could not stand her attitude or what he considered her slovenly appearance. During one rehearsal he is said to have have shouted "For God's sake, Jean, put on a little lipstick". She left after the third season and, at the beginning of the fourth season, to assure that she could not come back he had her character die.

September 29, 1954 -
The movie musical A Star Is Born, (the third version of the film, fourth, if you count What Price Hollywood) starring Judy Garland and James Mason, had its world premiere at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood on this date.

Groucho Marx called Judy Garland not winning an Oscar for A Star Is Born, "the biggest robbery since Brink's."

September 29, 1954 -
United Artist released the Joseph L, Mankiewicz film, The Barefoot Contessa, starring Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart on this date. (If you haven't seen this movie, seek it out!)

The character of Maria Vargas is said to be based on Rita Hayworth, who was actually offered the part. The stormy relationship between Maria and the tycoon movie producer Kirk Edwards (Warren Stevens) is based on Gardner's own relationship with billionaire film producer Howard Hughes.

September 29, 1955 -
The only film Charles Laughton directed, The Night of the Hunter opened in New York City on this date.

Later on in life, Robert Mitchum, who was usually indifferent to such matters, said that Charles Laughton was his favorite director and indicated that this was his favorite of the movies in which he had acted.

September 29, 1959 -
One of the first series that featured the lives of American teenagers, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, starring  Dwayne Hickman, Bob Denver and Tuesday Weld premiered on CBS-TV on this date.

This show was the first professional acting job for Bob Denver, who had been a grade school teacher and postal worker before joining the cast.

September 29, 1960 -
We were all welcomed into the Douglas household when My Three Sons, starring another of TV favorite alcoholic dads, Fred McMurray, premiered on ABC on this date.

When William Frawley left the show midway through the 1964-65 season due to declining health, his absence was explained by having Bub move to Ireland to live. William Frawley really enjoyed working on the show and did not want to leave. To make matters worse, he was replaced by William Demarest, whom he hated in real life.

September 29, 1963 -
My Favorite Martian
, starring Ray Walston and Bill Bixby premiered on CBS-TV on this date.

My Favorite Martian was filmed on sound stage 10 on the DESILU lot from 1963-1965. In 1966 Star Trek used Stage 10 for its alien planet sets.

September 29, 1967 -
Gerry Anderson's
supermarionation take on superheroes, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons premiered on this date in the UK.

Real human hair was used for the marionette heads. Photographs of actual human eyes were used to increase the realism of the marionettes.

September 29, 1985 -
The Sci-Fi anthology series created by Steven Spielberg, Amazing Stories, premieres on NBC-TV on this date.

The title is taken from a bi-monthly, Sci-fi journal famous in the 1940s and '50s and edited by TV and film writer Howard Browne.

Today in History:
September 29, 1399
... For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings...

Richard II was deposed on this date,which only served him right for having posed in the first place. He was succeeded by Henry IV Part I.

September 29, 1513 -
Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean, on this date (although he may have discovered it four days earlier - I'm not sure what the Spanish Navy's stance was on the the whole rum ... question.)

How something that covers roughly a third of the earth's surface could have been lost for so long is a question that stumps historians to this day.

It's Miguel de Cervantes' birthday today. Born in 1547, Cervantes is best known as the author of Don Quixote, a cunning satire on mental illness. The work is an epic treatment of the perennial question, "wouldn't the world be better off if we were all crazy?"

The answer from the novel is a qualified yes: the story supports the premise, but its length and lucidity suggest that the author himself was not crazy, which contradicts the premise.

Ever since the publication of Don Quixote, the idea of improving through world through mental illness has taken root in the popular culture of the west. From the good soldier Svjek and Prince Myshkin to Chauncy Gardener, Elwood P. Dowd and Forrest Gump, western readers and filmgoers have a galaxy of benevolent lunatics to show them the way to a better, purer existence. Grand mal seizures, delirium tremens, and hallucinations are merely the price of admission to their wistful world of blissful ignorance.

The sane and hard-working do not come off nearly so well in film or literature. In fact, sane and hard-working people seldom even appear in film or literature. No one wants to read about them, or spend good money to watch them go about their plodding lives, because most of us are surrounded by sane and hard-working people already and know what they're like—they're just like us, only less so.

Early to bed and early to rise may make a man healthy, and wealthy, and wise, but it won't do a goddamn thing for his Nielsens. In fact, if you're healthy, wealthy, wise, and well-rested, you're only going to piss the rest of us off. Lighten up, slack off, drink up, and spend plenty of quality time with imaginary friends.

That's the real road to happiness—or at least our acceptance, without which you have no right to be happy.

September 29, 1957 -
An explosion at the Chelyabinsk-40 complex, a Soviet nuclear fuel processing plant, irradiates the nearby city of Kyshtym with strontium-90, cesium-137 and plutonium.

This accident releases twice the radioactivity of the Chernobyl incident.


September 29, 1976 -
At his birthday party, musician Jerry Lee Lewis accidentally shoots his bass player Norman Owens twice in the chest, trying to open a soft drink bottle with a .357 magnum. Owens survives and files a lawsuit.

Now don't you wish you were at that party !!!

September 29, 1989 -
Zsa Zsa Gabor, a person famous for no apparent reason and with no visible means of support (It's too weird to think that Zsa Zsa and her sisters were the original Kardashians, without the sex tapes), was convicted of slapping a Beverly Hills police officer on this date.

Gabor later complains that she was denied a jury of her peers, saying "It was not my class of people, There was not a producer, a press agent, a director, an actor."

And so it goes.

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