Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Things I did not know

It wasn't strange enough to discover that today is National Cheese Lovers Day (according to the Smithsonian website,)

but according to a 2011 Time article, 4% of all the the World's cheese ends up being stolen.

Things that make you go hmmm indeed.

January 20, 1941 -
Raoul Walsh's crime-drama High Sierra, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino premiered on this date.

In addition to Hal B. Wallis, Humphrey Bogart also sent several telegrams to studio head Jack L. Warner, begging to be cast as Roy Earle. After Paul Muni left Warner Bros. in a contract dispute and George Raft also turned down the role, Warner called Bogart and told him the part was his...on the condition that Bogart stop sending him telegrams.

January 20, 1949 -
A surprise hit for writer/ director Joseph L. Mankiewicz (which garnered for him his first two Oscars,) A Letter to Three Wives, premiered on this date.

At one point the film was called A Letter to Four Wives. Upon submitting the adapted screenplay to 20th Century-Fox chief Darryl F. Zanuck, Joseph L. Mankiewicz mentioned that he found it too long and asked how he felt the movie could be shortened. "Take out one of the wives," Zanuck replied. Originally, the movie would have featured Anne Baxter as the fourth wife. Zanuck didn't feel Baxter's segment was as strong as the other three, so that one was cut.

January 20, 1964 -
The second Beatles' album, Meet the Beatles! was released in the United States 52 years ago on this date.

It was the first US Beatles album to be issued by Capitol Records. Two days previously, the Beatles entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time, as 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' appeared on the Hot 100 at No. 45.

Today in History -
Jimmy Naismith
was born in Ramsay township in Ontario, Canada in 1861. He grew up and eventually went to McGill University in Montreal. He became their Athletic Director and in 1891 he moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, to take a post at the YMCA Training School. It was there that he was confronted with the problem of developing a game that could be played indoors and in relatively little space.

On January 20, 1892, with only two peach baskets, a soccer ball, and a hand-written list of 13 rules, Dr. Naismith oversaw the world's first full game of a brand new sport, a sport that took its name from the peach baskets and soccer ball used to play it.

He had finally invented Peach Soccer (as opposed to Peachbasket - see January 15.)

January 20, 1920 -
Censorship is advertising paid by the government.

Federico Fellini, director, screenwriter, producer, painter and cartoonist, was born on this date.

January 20, 1936 -
King George V of England was euthanized with injections of cocaine and morphine on this date, after a painful cancer illness. His final words, a mumbled God damn you!, were addressed to his nurse when she gave him a sedative before his final lethal injection. His physician, Bertrand Dawson (later becoming Viscount Dawson of Penn,) was motivated not only to ameliorate the king's suffering, but also to break the story in the morning edition of the newspapers, rather than the less appropriate evening journals.

Remember kids - Promptness is the politeness of kings.

At the procession to George's Lying in State in Westminster Hall, as the cortege turned into New Palace Yard, the Maltese Cross fell from the Imperial Crown and landed in the gutter. The new King, Edward VIII, saw it fall and wondered whether this was a bad omen for his new reign.

He would abdicate before the year was out.

January 20, 1949 -
As a early gift for her 21st birthday, J. Edgar Hoover gives his friend Shirley Temple a tear gas fountain pen.  This is not as odd as it seems: Hoover had known Shirley for much of her professional life - the FBI have investigated several death and extortion threats against the child star for years.

I have scourged the internet but alas cannot find a picture of the pen (or Hoover in his cha-cha heels.)

January 20, 1956 -
Let's face it; God has a big ego problem. Why do we always have to worship him?

Bill Maher, actor, comedian, political analyst and professional pot smoker, was born on this date.

January 20, 1981-
The hostages being held by Iran had been held for almost 450 days (444 days), one of the longest durations of a hostage situation in modern history, were released on this date.

The way President Carter handled the situation was extremely unpopular, and the hostages were only released minutes after the presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan.

January 20, 1982 -
While playing in Iowa to promote the release of his second solo album 'The Diary of a Madman', a live bat was thrown onstage in front of Ozzy Osbourne and, dazed by the bright spotlights and its hard landing, (the bat) was knocked unconscious.

Ozzy, thinking that the bat was made of rubber, proceeded to put the bat head into its mouth and... well, you know where we're going with this. It was the point where the bats' severed head twitched inside Ozzy's mouth that he realized that it was no Halloween decoration. He was rushed to hospital immediately following the incident and treated for rabies.

January 20, 1993 -
Tom Waits was successful in his suit against the potato chip company Frito-Lay after they had hired a soundalike to replace Waits on a commercial following the singer-songwriters' refusal to participate.

Although the lawsuit had originally been filed in 1988, an appeal from Frito-Lay that stated they had not deliberately used a Waits soundalike ensured that it was dragged out until the following decade. Surprisingly the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Waits and forced the company to award him $2.4million.

Although Waits was notoriously against selling himself in commercials, he did let his principles slip slightly and provided voiceover work for dog food company Butchers Blend. After the commercial began to win awards and become recognized Waits regretted the decision; when asked about it years later he said "I was really down on my luck at that time and I've always really loved dogs".

And so it goes.

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