Saturday, November 21, 2015

The triumph of machine over people

The United Nations General Assembly (back in 1996) proclaimed November 21st as World Television Day. The UN want to recognize that television represented a symbol for communication and globalization in the contemporary world.

As I derisively remind my children, quite often, everything they own is due to TV.

Today is also the 42th annual World Hello Day (some sites say it's the 43rd.) Anyone can participate in World Hello Day simply by greeting ten people. My suggestion - let's call the day 'Say Hello to Kevin and hand him a fist full of money day.'

This demonstrates the importance of personal communication for preserving peace. World Hello Day was begun in response to the conflict between Egypt and Israel in the Fall of 1973. Since then, World Hello Day has been observed by people in 180 countries.

November 21, 1931 -
James Whale classic retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, premiered on this date.

Boris Karloff
was considered as such an anonymous actor by Universal that he was not invited to the Los Angeles premiere of the film.

November 21, 1942 -
Babbit and Catstello, take-offs on Bud Abbott and Lou Costello try to catch Tweety bird (in his first appearance) in A Tale of Two Kitties, premiered on this date.

Catstello tells the audience "If the Hays office would only let me, I'd give him the bird alright." This is a double entendre acknowledging that the Hays Code, which set the guidelines for content allowed in a motion picture, would never have allowed a movie character to "give the bird"

November 21, 1946 -
One of the greatest films about vets returning home after WWII, The Best Years of Our Lives, premiered in NYC on this date.

William Wyler wanted a completely unglamorous look, requiring all costumes to be bought off the rack and worn by the cast before filming, and making sure all sets were built smaller than life-size.

November 21, 1976 -
Ok everybody, "...Gonna fly now, flying high now..."

, premiered in NYC on this date.

Sylvester Stallone insisted that the scene where he admits his fears and doubts to Adrian the night before the fight be filmed, even though production was running far behind and the producers wanted to skip it. Stallone had only one take for the scene, despite the fact that he considered it to be the most important scene in the film.

November 21, 1980
In what was one of the most-watched TV cliffhangers in television history, 350 million viewers worldwide tuned into the television series Dallas to find out who had shot J.R. Ewing at the end of the show's previous season.

As it turned out, he was shot by his wife's sister, who also was his former mistress, Kristin Shepard.

Today in History:
November 21, 1694
Jean Francois Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet) was born on this date.

Voltaire is best known for having said things. Here are some of the witty things he said:

‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.”

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

Common sense is not so common.”

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it."

I don’t know where I am going, but I am on my way.

Dare to think for yourself.

Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn't illegal.

And most significantly:

"A witty saying proves nothing."

November 21, 1921
U.S. President Warren G. Harding signed the Willis Campbell Act, which prohibited the medical prescription of beer and liquor on this date.

He was killed - probably by his wife - two years later and nobody seemed to mind (remember, this was the genius who had his bootlegger come around the back of the White House to deliver his booze.)

Enough said.

November 21, 1964 -
The upper deck of The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened to traffic on this date (at the time it was the world's longest suspension bridge).

And it still takes forever to get to Jersey through Staten Island.

November 21, 1973 -
A gap of 18 1/2 minutes is revealed in one of the Watergate tapes, a conversation between Richard M. Nixon and Bob Haldeman. The erasure is blamed on an accident by Nixon's private secretary Rose Mary Woods, but scientific analysis determines the erasures to be deliberate. Later, Chief of Staff Alexander Haig blames the erasure on "some sinister force".

Forensic experts worked on Haldeman's notebook to see if they could find the imprint of any notes he may have taken that day but later destroyed. (The experts had inconclusive results.)

November 21, 1980 -
The third deadliest hotel fire in history occurs at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, caused by faulty wiring; 84 people died. Helicopters were used to rescue stranded guests from the top floors.

No more pu-pu platters with charcoal grills in the suites please.

November 21, 1997 -
Lead singer of INXS Michael Hutchence was found hanged in his hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton in Sydney, Australia on this date. Police have denied that his death was due to Autoerotic Asphyxiation.

The fact that his pants were around his ankles and copies of the magazines "Hot Chicks in Tubs of Pudding" were scattered around the room, did not enter into it.

And so it goes

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