The song for today that is going to help us make it through the rest of terrible election season is from our old friend, Hank Williams. Grab a chair and pull up close to the old radio in the parlor -
Remember the way this works - sing the song to yourself and go to your happy place.
October 17, 1939 -
Frank Capra's contribution to the Golden age of Hollywood, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, premiered in Washington D.C. on this date.
Frank Capra received many letters over the years from individuals who were inspired by the film to take up politics.
October 17, 1944 -
The little known and under appreciated drama directed by Clifford Odets, None But the Lonely Heart, was released on this date.
Screenwriter Clifford Odets was stunned when he was first told of the upcoming picture. He recalled, "It was about a 19-year-old boy with pimples whose two desires are to have a girlfriend and to get a new suit of clothes. 'Are you sure it's right for Cary Grant?' I said. It seemed they were, so I had to change the concept of the book considerably."
October 17, 1956 -
Producer Michael Todd's adaptation of Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days, premiered in New York on this date.
The film features the longest closing credits sequence at the time, 6 minutes and 21 seconds. All of the film's credits are shown at the end. The film's title is the very last credit .
October 17, 1958 -
What is considered a comeback special, An Evening with Fred Astaire premiered on NBC-TV on this date.
Currently the second-oldest surviving color program to be recorded on videotape; the oldest known color videotape is the May 1958 inauguration of NBC's Washington, D.C. color studios.
October 17, 1966 -
Another iconic film from the 60s, Georgy Girl, starring James Mason, Lynn Redgrave and Alan Bates, premiered in the US on this date.
Vanessa Redgrave backed out of the role of Georgy just before shooting started. Lynn Redgrave (her sister) picked it up.
October 17, 1968 -
One of the defining police crime dramas of the 60's. Bullitt starring Steven McQueen premiered on this date.
According to the film's director, Peter Yates, Steve McQueen made a point to keep his head near the open car window during the famous chase scene so that audiences would be reassured that it was he, not a stunt man, who was driving.
Today in History:
The Sixth Crusade ended on this date in 1244 after the Saracens ("Infidels") defeated the Franks ("Infidels") at Gaza.
October 17, 1777 -
At one of the turning points of the American Revolution, British General John Burgoyne surrendered to American General Horatio Gates at Saratoga, N.Y. on this date.
The surrender demonstrating American determination to gain independence. After the surrender, France sided with the Americans, and other countries began to get involved and align themselves against Britain.
October 17, 1814 -
Late on a Monday afternoon on this date, one of the 800lb iron restraining hoop fell off one of the two giant porter vats at the the Meux and Company Brewery on London’s Tottenham Court Road. A clerk made a note of the occurrence but thought no more of it until about an hour later when the wooden staves of the vat burst.
The vat, which was full to the brim with 3,550 barrels (more than a million pints) of finest 10-month-old Meux’s Porter, created a tsunami of beer, bursting the other behemoth vat. The resulting flood, weighing close to 600 tons, plus wood and metal from the vat knocked out the wall of the brewery and gushed into the street, drowning eight and injuring dozens more. A ninth final victim actually succumbed some days later of alcohol poisoning.
What a way to go!
October 17, 1961 -
Henri Matisse's Le Bateau went on display at New York's Museum of Modern Art. 47 days later, the curator learned from an art student the painting had been hung upside down.
October 17, 1967 -
The play Hair, full of dancing naked people, unshaven armpits, and body odor, opens at the 299-seat Anspacher Theater on Broadway on this date. At the time, the musical's depiction of the use of illegal drugs, sexuality, profanity, its irreverence for the American flag, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy.
The musical broke new ground in musical theatre by defining the genre of the "rock musical", utilizing a racially-integrated cast, and by inviting the audience onstage for a "Be-in" finale.
October 17, 1979 -
... so let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love, and once we begin to love each other naturally we want to do something.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a Roman Catholic nun who cared for the sick and poor, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, on this date.
She has recently been canonized but what she really wanted to do was direct.
October 17, 1984 -
The New York Times ran an article entitled CIA Primer Tells Nicaraguan Rebels How to Kill. The story describes the secret manual Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare which the CIA furnished to the Contras in Nicaragua.
(Psst, last year I discovered that you can order it from Amazon but you didn't hear it from me.)
October 17, 1989 -
The Loma Prieta earthquake struck San Francisco on this date. The damaging earthquake was notable for being the first in history to be broadcast on live TV.
The World Series was being played there at the time and cameras covering the event live were able to capture the devastating scenes.
And so it goes