Saturday, October 10, 2015

If you're in the Greater Boston Today

Recognizing her 'enormous artistic contribution to the world,' Boston's Mayor Marty Walsh announced that today will officially be “Patti Smith Day

Feel free to celebrate it anywhere in the world!

Today is also Hug a Drummer Day.

Without drummers, we would soon notice how different and even weak music can be, so hail a day to celebrate such percussionists!

October 10, 1941 -
The last movie W C Fields starred in, Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, premiered on this date.

This was the last movie to feature W C Fields as the main character; his remaining film work had him in supporting roles or cameos, as his health began to decline. .

October 10, 1953
The wonderful Stan Freberg topped the charts on this date with his record, St. George and the Dragonet.

The B side was another Dragnet spoof, Little Blue Riding Hood, based on the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood.

October 10, 1956 -
George Steven's
sprawling epic, Giant, premiered in NYC on this date.

Carroll Baker, who plays Elizabeth Taylor's daughter in the film, was older in real life than Taylor.

October 10, 1957 -
Guy Williams
galloped across TV screens as the masked hero, when Zorro, debuted on ABC-TV on this date.

Disney Studios provided very large ($80,000 per episode) budgets, but they did try to contain costs where it wouldn't show on the air. Frequently, directors shot portions of up to four episodes at the same time when the scenes used common sets. This sometimes caused problems for the actors, because they couldn't remember their "motivation" for the scenes being shot.

October 10, 1958 -
The private-eye series 77 Sunset Strip starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Roger Smith, and Edd Byrnes, premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

The restaurant, Dino's Lodge, used in the TV series was owned by Dean Martin.

October 10, 1961 -
Elia Kazan's bittersweet romance, Splendor in the Grass, starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty, premiered on this date.

Even though they were supposed to be playing teenagers, Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty were approximately 22 and 23 respectively at the time of filming.

October 10, 1962 -
The British Broadcasting Company banned Monster Mash -- the Halloween-themed novelty tune by Bobby "Boris" Pickett -- for being "offensive."

The BBC felt the song was offensive (but never specifies precisely why) and banned it from the airwaves until 1973. It was re-released in 1973 and the song rose to #3 in the charts in the UK. By this time, Boris Pickett was driving a cab in New York City to earn a living.

October 10, 1964 -
The Shangri-Las released their operatic hit, Leader of the Pack, on this date.

A young Billy Joel played the piano on this song - probably. In an interview in Uncut Magazine in 1998, Joel explained: "I know I played piano on a session. The girls themselves weren't at the session, but that kinda happens all the time, the singers come in later. I played note for note what is on the record, but I wasn't in the musician's union – I was about 14 or 15 – so for all I know they may have got a union guy in to do it later. I never got paid, never got a form to show it was me on the record, so I can't say for sure it's me, but I like to think it was. Actually, it was my very first recording session – a guitar player friend got me in. I also did 'Remember (Walkin' In The Sand)'".

Later in 1964, The Detergents recorded a parody of this song called Leader Of The Laundromat.

October 10, 1968 -
One of the silliest movies Jane Fonda (or anyone else, for that matter) ever made, Barbarella, landed in US theatres on this date.

When Virna Lisi was told to play the part of Barbarella, she terminated her contract with United Artists and returned to Italy.

October 10, 1969 -
King Crimson releases their debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King, considered by many to be the first progressive rock album.

The title song is arguably one of King Crimson's most famous songs and is one of only two in the band's entire existence that Robert Fripp did not co-write.

Today in History:
October 10, 1780
Over 48 hours, a slow-moving hurricane decimates Barbados, killing 4,326 (however according to the island's governor, "fortunately few people of consequence were among the number").

Over the next week, the catastrophic storm system moves on to Martinique (9,000 dead) and St. Eustatius (4-5,000). The unprecedented Great Hurricane of 1780 remains the deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record.

October 10, 1813 -
It's Joe Green's birthday today.

Verdi was so beloved in Italy that while he lay dying in the Grand Hotel in Milan, the horses in town had their hooves covered in cloth, so the noise would not disturb him.

October 10, 1910 -
You think "The Skull and Bones" Society rule this country. Several of the readers and I (and well as George Stephanopoulos) are members of the fraternity, Tau Epsilon Phi. (It causes me a great deal of grief to think that Rick Santorium  and I share a common fraternity.)

Tau Epsilon Phi (TEF, commonly pronounced "TEP") is a predominantly American fraternity with approximately 40 active chapters, chiefly located at universities and colleges in the Northeastern United States. The organization was founded on this date, by ten Jewish men at Columbia University, as a response to the existence of similar organizations who would not admit Jewish members. The national headquarters is currently located in Voorhees, New Jersey and the official colors of the organization are lavender and white (although most chapters use purple instead of lavender).

But don't ask about our secret handshake or whose pinball machine we had in the basement.

October 10, 1911 -
Jasper Newton "Jack" Daniel was the distiller and the founder of the Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey company.  He was known as an impatient man; he wouldn't wait for anything.

One day, coming to work early, he was unable to open his safe, having trouble remembering the combination. In frustration he kicked it, injuring his toe. The toe became infected and he died of blood poisoning on this day.

October 10, 1911 -
The Chinese revolution began in Hankow, on this date.

The revolution spread rapidly, resulting in the abdication of six-year-old Henry Pu-Yi, the Academy Award-winning "Last Emperor" of China.

October 10, 1913 -
Two years later on this date, President Woodrow Wilson was bored and puttering around the White House. He started fiddling around with things on his desk and pressed a button.

This triggered a blast which exploded the Gamboa Dike down in Panama and somehow the Panama Canal was completed on this date and a popular palindrome was born.  Why the China Revolution and the opening of the Panama Canal are connected is anybody's guess?

October 10, 1973 -
Bribe-happy Vice President Spiro T. Agnew finally resigned, after pleading Nolo contendere to federal income tax evasion on this date.

It should be noted that humorist Dave Barry points out that one can rearrange the letters in "Spiro Agnew" to spell "Grow A Penis."

October 10, 1985 -
We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.

As to all, cheap wine hawker, voice-over whore and movie legends, Orson Welles, whose remarkably innovative Citizen Kane was named the best American-made picture of all time in a 1998 American Film Institute poll, died of a heart attack at the age of 70 on this date.

Yul Brynner, Russian-born, Academy Award-winning Broadway and Hollywood actor died on October 10, 1985 (the same day as Orson Welles, his co star in The Battle of Neretva) in New York City. The cause of death was lung cancer brought on by smoking. Throughout his life, Brynner was always seen with a cigarette in his hand. In January 1985, nine months before his death, he gave an interview on Good Morning America, expressing his desire to make an anti-smoking commercial.

The clip from that interview was made into just such a public service announcement by the American Cancer Society and released after his death; it includes the warning "Now that I'm gone, I tell you, don't smoke."

If only he listened to himself.

And so it goes

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