October 18 is Alaska Day, observed in the U.S. state of Alaska. Previously, they tried celebrating Alaska Day in Hawaii. The seething resentment of stealing their nation hadn't abated in Hawaii, so sponsors thought better of the plan. (Note to readers who find themselves in Alaska today - avoiding the battlin' Palin clan. They have been celebrating earlier and reports are that they are mean drunks.)
October 18, 1961 -
Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins' film version of Broadway musical, West Side Story, premiered in New York City on this date.
The film was the first film to win a Best Director Oscar for two directors (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins). This would not happen again until 2007, when Joel Coen and Ethan Coen shared the award for No Country for Old Men.
October 18, 1967 -
The 19th animated feature and the first film Disney Studios released after Walt Disney's death, Jungle Book, premiered on this date.
The Vultures were originally going to be voiced by The Beatles. The band's manager, Brian Epstein, approached the Disney studios about having The Beatles appear in the film, and Disney had his animators create the Vultures specifically to be voiced by the band. But when Epstein took the idea to the Beatles, John Lennon vetoed the idea, and told Epstein to tell Disney he should hire Elvis Presley instead.
October 18, 1974 -
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, based loosely on Ed Gein's story opened in theatres on this date. At the time of release, the film was so strongly criticized for its content that it was eventually banned in various countries around the world, including Australia and the United Kingdom.
A family was actually living in the house that served as the Sawyer family house in the later half of the movie. They rented out their house to the film crew and continued to stay there during the entire shoot. During filming, the crew discovered that one of the residents had been cultivating a marijuana field; fearful that production would be shut down if they were found near the plants, the filmmakers called the Sheriff, who never arrived to investigate.
October 18, 1988 -
Poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, sex, menstruation, birth control, teenage pregnancy, masturbation, obesity, abortion, race, social class, domestic violence, and homosexuality - some of the topics dealt with on the series, Roseanne (which premiered on this date.)
Sal Barone was originally cast as D.J. and appeared in the pilot. However, there was some friction on the set between Barone and Sara Gilbert so his mother took him off the show.
Today in History:
October 18, 1216 -
King John was not a happy sovereign. Not the favorite child; his brother Richard the Lionheart was. John was king of England on and off while his brother enjoyed fighting the Crusades in the Middle East and sodomy with the King of France. Finally John became king outright when some kid shot his brother in the neck with an arrow (but that's another story.)
Once John became king, he argued with everyone: the Pope, the King of France (whom his brother may or may not have been involved romantically with) and most of the Barons of England. King John died on this day after eating too many peaches and drinking too much cider. He was trying to cheer himself up after being chased by revolting Barons half way across England and losing the crown jewels while fleeing from them.
October 18, 1767 -
The border between Maryland and Pennsylvania was settled on this date. Dubbed the Mason-Dixon line, it became the unofficial boundary between North and South.
Bad confederates, bad.
October 18,1898 -
The United States took control of Puerto Rico one year after Spain had granted self-rule to the Caribbean nation. Since 1917, people born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens.
October 18, 1903 -
Hundreds of people in San Francisco were startled to see Dr. August Greth fly his 80-foot-long American Eagle airship over the city on this date.
Bad Hydrogen, bad.
October 18, 1931 -
Thomas Alva Edison, one of the most prolific inventors (and evil businessmen) in history, forgot to file a patent on avoiding death so he died in West Orange, N.J., at the age of 84, on this date.
Bad Grim Reaper, bad. (or good, depending on your viewpoint of Mr. Edison.)
October 18, 1945 -
The USSR's nuclear program receives plans for America's plutonium bomb, courtesy of secret agent Klaus Fuchs at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, on this date.
Bad spy, bad spy.
October 18, 1959 -
The Soviet Union announced an unmanned space vehicle had taken the first pictures of the far side of the moon aa few days earlier.
October 18, 1968 -
A police with the help of two sniffer dogs named Yogi and Boo-Boo, on this date, raided the apartment of John Lennon and Yoko Ono and finds a very small amount of pot. The couple is fined £150.
October 18, 1974 -
On this date, the jury in the Watergate cover-up trial heard a tape recording in which U.S. President Richard Nixon told aide John Dean to try to stop the Watergate burglary investigation before it implicated White House personnel.
October 18, 1984 -
U.S. President Ronald Reagan ordered an investigation of a CIA handbook for Nicaraguan rebels that suggested assassination as a political tactic.
And so it goes