Tuesday, August 23, 2016

So far, so good

(It seems to be working)

August 23, 1940 -
Preston Sturges' Oscar winning satire on political corruption, The Great McGinty, premiered on this date.

This film was inspired,in part by the career of early 20th century politician and lawyer William Sulzer. The film was released a year before Sulzer's death at the age of 78.

August 23, 1957 -
20th Century Fox released its film adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway novel, The Sun Also Rises, on this date.

Howard Hawks was the first to option the film rights in the early 1950s and proposed Ann Harding, Montgomery Clift and Margaret Sheridan as the stars. He eventually sold the rights to Darryl F. Zanuck.

August 23, 1969 -
The Rolling Stones hit, Honky Tonk Women reached number one on the pop-singles charts on this date.

The single was given away to all the fans who helped clean up after The Stones free concert in Hyde Park on July 5, 1969. This was the first concert Mick Taylor played with the band. A life-size cutout of Brian Jones, who died three days earlier, was kept on stage and the show was dedicated to him.

August 23, 1985 -
Atlantic Releasing Corp releases the comedy film Teen Wolf, directed by Rod Daniel and starred Michael J. Fox, on this date.

Michael J. Fox disliked this film so much that he refused to return for the sequel.

August 23, 1996 -
One of the most bizarre films ever made (starring Marlon Brando) The Island of Dr. Moreau, was released on this date.

Val Kilmer described the shoot as "crazy". Marlon Brando was still recovering from the suicide of his daughter and the day production started the French set off an underwater atomic bomb near Tahiti where Brando owned an atoll. Then Kilmer learned that he was getting divorced when he turned on the TV. Two days later the director Richard Stanley was fired by the studio due to their concerns over the direction of the film. John Frankenheimer was then hired to replace Stanley but from the start clashed with Brando, Kilmer, and studio executives regarding the direction of the film.

Today in History:
August 23, 1305
Scottish patriot William Wallace (Mel Gibson) was persuaded to take an early retirement on this date.

According to one eyewitness: "He was hung in a noose, and afterwards let down half-living; next his genitals were cut off and his bowels torn out and burned in a fire; then and not till then his head was cut off and his trunk cut into four pieces. At this point he was given a gold watch, and a humorous card that we had all signed."

August 23, 1912
At 14 I discovered girls. At that time dancing was the only way you could put your arm around the girl. Dancing was courtship.

Eugene Curran "Gene" Kelly, dancer, actor, singer, film director, producer and choreographer was born on this date.

August 23, 1914 -
Japan declared war on Germany on this date.

Much confusion and embarrassment ensues about 25 years later when this point is brought up at a meeting of the Axis powers.

August 23, 1926 -
Rudolph Valentino died from peritonitis and severe pleurisy,  on this date, following an emergency appendectomy. His death caused a worldwide frenzy among his fans, sales of the Sheik condoms soared.

Thing is, he probably would have survived if the surgeons weren’t so freaked out by the fact that "Valentino" was their patient. They were so terrified of operating on such a world famous person, that they procrastinated for several hours, dramatically worsening his condition.

Sometime it sucked to be Valentino.

August 23, 1927 -
Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, convicted of murder in 1921, were executed in Boston in spite of worldwide protests, on this date.

Their guilt is still disputed.

August 23, 1939 -
Joachim von Ribbentrop and Josef Stalin signed a non-aggression pact, allowing Germany to attack Poland and the USSR to invade Finland without fears of reprisal on this date. Three years later, the Battle of Stalingrad began. (The Battle of Stalingrad was fought by Germans and Russians, in case the irony was lost on you.)

Moral: secret wartime pacts with evil conquering bastards aren't any more reliable in the real world than they are in a game of Risk.

August 23, 1942 -
The Battle of Stalingrad began on this date, which many historians think of as the turning point of World War II. Hitler had already conquered all of Europe except for England, Switzerland and Monaco and he began the invasion of Russia in the summer of 1941 with an army of four million men. The Germans reached Stalingrad on this day in 1942 and flew more than 2,000 bombing raids in just the first day of the battle. They hit oil storage tanks that flowed into the river and caught fire and laid siege to the city. It went on for months.

It's been called the most terrible battle the world has ever known, and in the end the Russians won, thanks to the approach of winter. The German troops were not prepared for fighting in below zero weather.

By February of 1943, all the German soldiers had surrendered or been killed, the first defeat of Hitler's army.

August 23, 1944 -
At 10.30 am on this date, an American Liberator Bomber 42-50291 took off from Warton on a routine test flight. A huge explosion, thought to have been sparked by a bolt of lightning, tore the huge plane apart and parts of the fuselage hit the Holy Trinity Church of England School in Freckleton, England.

61 people were killed in the Freckleton Air Disaster, 38 were children; it was the greatest loss of civilian life outside London during the Second World War.

August 23, 1944 -
Romanian Prime Minister Ion Antonescu was dismissed by King Michael (another cousin of both Queen Elizabeth and her itinerant sailor husband Philip Mountbatten), paving the way for Romania to abandon the Axis in favor of the Allies.

King Michael organized a coup against the pro-Nazi dictator, Marshal Ion Antonescu, but was double-crossed by Joseph Stalin and betrayed by the Allies who ceded the country to the Russians at the Yalta summit in 1945.

August 23, 1968
The Youth International Party designated Pigasus as their choice of candidate for U.S. President on this date. The boar hog was introduced at a press conference outside the Chicago Civic Center, with the slogan "They nominate a President and he eats the people. We nominate a President and the people eat him."

The gathering is broken up shortly thereafter when the Chicago PD took into custody the Yippie organizers and their pig.

August 23,  2012
An 80 something grandmother, Cecilia Gimenez,  took it upon herself to restore a fresco of Jesus called Ecce Homo painted by Elias Garcia Martinez at the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza, Spain.

Unfortunately her attempt at restoration did not turn out the way she hoped and the fresco was turned into an image almost resembling a hairy monkey. The woman hoped that it could be further restored by professionals and had gone into it with good intentions.

And you all know what is paved with good intentions.

And so it goes.

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