Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I hate to see de ev'nin' sun go down

August 31, 1929 -
RKO released the musical film-short St. Louis Blues, starring singer Bessie Smith, on this date.

At W.C. Handy's suggestion, Bessie Smith was picked to be the star of the film. Bessie had scored a huge hit in 1925 with her recording of "St. Louis Blues", which had featured Louis Armstrong on cornet. It was Bessie Smith's only film appearance.

August 31, 1946 -
Howard Hawks' version of Raymond Chandlers classic Philip Marlowe yarn (William Faulkner was one of the screen writers), The Big Sleep, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, was put into general release on this date.

William Faulkner
came out to Hollywood to work on this film, but found that being around the set didn't agree with him, so he asked Howard Hawks if he could work "from home." Hawks agreed, assuming that Faulkner meant from his Hollywood apartment. Instead, Faulkner returned to his home in Oxford, Mississippi, leaving Hawks rather unhappy.

August 31, 1987 -
Epic/CBS Records released the Michael Jackson album, BAD on this date.

A nearly 18 minute video of the title song, written by novelist and screenwriter Richard Price and directed by Martin Scorsese, debuted on CBS-TV on this same day, as well.

Today in History -
Gaius Caesar Caligula
was born on August 31 in the year 12 AD. Caligula succeeded Tiberius in the year 37, and his reign was most notable for its policy of Sex with the Emperor.

(Please note - this guy not only slept with the unwilling wives of senators and his sisters, he married his horse and tried to have him made a god.) This turned out to have been a weak Political Philosophy, because the Romans all had classical educations and saw right through him.

So they killed him.

August 31, 1422 -
Henry V of England, one of the great warrior kings of the Middle Ages, died suddenly of dysentery on this date. He was 34 at the time.

At the time of his death, Henry had not only consolidated power as the King of England but had also effectively accomplished what generations of his ancestors had failed to achieve through decades of war: the near unification of the crowns of England and France in a single person.

In 2002 he was ranked 72nd in the 100 Greatest Britons poll. And yet, lack of proper sanitary conditions carried him away.

Let this be a lesson to us all - wash your hands after visiting the rest room.

August 31, 1879 -
Alma Maria Schindler, noted in her native Vienna for her beauty and intelligence, was born on this date.

In her youth she was an aspiring composer. But that's not why I bring her up. She was the wife, successively, of the composer Gustav Mahler, architect Walter Gropius, and novelist Franz Werfel, and lover to the painter Oskar Kokoschka. Rather than try to encapsulate the story of this very busy woman,

Listen to Tom Lehrer's song Alma, which nicely gives you the gist of her life.

August 31, 1919 -
Workers of the world unite!

In Chicago, journalist John Reed established the American Communist Labor Party, on this date,

providing entertainment for Joseph McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover for decades.

August 31, 1920 -
John Lloyd Wright
, son of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, was issued a patent for "Toy-Cabin Construction," which are known as Lincoln Logs. (U.S. patent 1,351,086)

Wright sold his rights to Playskool for $800, to supplement his meager salary, at the time. It is estimated that over 100 million sets of Lincoln Logs have been sold worldwide.

August 31, 1945 -
Let's all wish the intensely litigious and curmudgeonly, George Ivan Morrison, singer and songwriter, happy birthday.

Van the Man, is still the greatest living blue-eyed soul singer.

August 31, 1948 -
Los Angeles police arrested actor Robert Mitchum, the coolest cat in Hollywood, for marijuana possession on this date. He later received a 60-day sentence.

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands celebrated her Golden Jubilee on this date as well. (You figure out the connection.)

August 31, 1957 -
competing with your own past is hard ...

Glenn Tilbrook, singer, guitarist and with his writing partner Chris Difford, formed the pop group Squeeze, was born on this date.

August 31, 1976 -
George Harrison was found guilty of unintentionally plagiarizing My Sweet Lord.

Those damn Beatles could never come up with an original tune.

August 31, 1977 -
Ian Smith, espousing racial segregation, won the Rhodesian general election with 80% of overwhelmingly white electorate's vote.


August 31, 1997 -
On August 28, 1997, My wife and I were coming out of the revolving doors at the Ritz Hotel in Paris and a very famous couple were coming in. A few days later on this date, a charming, slightly addled, beautiful divorcee with two children decides to take a car ride with her very rich Egyptian boyfriend and his very drunk driver. She makes the fatal mistake of not buckling her seat belt and paid a very heavy toll.

So ended the glamorous and controversial life of Diana Spencer Mountbatten-Windsor.

Kids here a good piece of advice for anyone, if you don't want to end up dying in the backseat of a black 1994 Mercedes-Benz W140 in a road tunnel in Paris - BUCKLE UP.

And so it goes .

Before you go - the folks at Kaptain Kristian came up with a very interesting video about the origins of Bugs Bunny -

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