Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé !
November 17, 1933 -
...Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot....
Unbelievable, but, a box office flop (at the time), The Marx Brothers Duck Soup, opened on this date. (This film marks the last appearance of Zeppo Marx in a Marx Brothers film.)
Screenwriters Harry Ruby and Bert Kalmar were standing on the set of one day when an extra standing next to them said, "I don't know who wrote this stuff but they ought to be arrested...they should be in a different business." Kalmer, who was known as a rational and calm man, said to Ruby, "I'm going over to hit him. Who does he think he is? He's just an extra!" But before fisticuffs erupted, Kalmer and Ruby were informed that Chico Marx had paid the extra to rib the screenwriters, just for the hell of it.
November 17, 1942 -
Martin Scorsese, Academy Award-winning American film director, writer, producer, actor, film historian, former drug addict and asthmatic was born on this date.
Go watch a movie (any movie) in his honor. He won't mind.
November 17, 1951 -
... Slight pause while I adjust my accoutrements.
Another in the series of Daffy and Porky buddy flicks, Drip-Along Daffy, opened on this date.
November 17, 1978 -
The two-hour Star Wars Holiday Special aired for the first and only time on CBS on this date. (I must strongly warn readers not to attempt to watch the entire special in one seating - stronger men have been driven to drink and drugs for less.)
The Holiday Special is the first time that James Earl Jones was credited with performing the voice of Darth Vader. The next time would be five years later, in 1983, during the end credits of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi.
November 17, 1989 -
Jim Jarmusch's fourth feature, Mystery Train, opened on this date.
The hotel where the three stories converge is no longer standing, so many fans of the movie have made pilgrimages to the site only to find that it no longer exists. The film also contains some of the last known footage of Stax Records.
Today in History:
Things you probably didn't need to know
November 17, 375 -
Valentinian I, the Emperor of the West, enraged by the rudeness of barbarian envoys,
November 17, 1558 -
Elizabeth I of England ascended to the throne, on this date.
She is best known for her imperfect application of the cosmetic sciences, a flaw that is strikingly evident in all her portraits but that courtiers were apparently reluctant to address the issue.
November 17, 1796 -
Empress Catherine the Great died of a stroke while sitting on the commode and not while astride her steed (or something like that) on this date.
So dammit, stop making those jokes.
November 17, 1869 -
The Suez Canal was opened in Egypt, linking the Mediterranean and the Red Seas on this date. The 100 mile canal eliminated a 4000-mile trip around Africa.
Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, together with Ferdinand de Lesseps, chief architect of the canal, led the first file of ships from on board the French imperial yacht Aigle.
November 17, 1871 -
George Wood Wingate and William Conant Church established the National Rifle Association in New York on this date.
November 17, 1903 -
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin's stubbornness split his Russian Social Democratic Labor Party into two factions: the slim majority who sided with him, and the vast minority who opposed him, on this date.
The Russian terms for majority and minority are Bolshevik and Menshevik, respectively, and so these factions took their names. Later the Mensheviks became the majority party, meaning that the Mensheviks had become Bolsheviks and the Bolsheviks Mensheviks.
It was easy after that.
November 17, 1917 -
The world famous 77 year old French Sculptor Auguste Rodin froze to death in an unheated attic in Meudon, France on this date. He had applied to the government for quarters as warm as those wherein his statues were stored, but the government turned him down.
November 17, 1941 -
U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Joseph C. Grew cabled the US State Department that he has heard that Japan has 'planned, in the event of trouble with the United States, to attempt a surprise mass attack at Pearl Harbor.' His warning was ignored by the Office of Naval Intelligence.
November 17, 1968 -
NBC preempted the final 1:05 from a very close Jets-Raiders NFL football game with the TV movie Heidi. Two touchdowns were scored during this missing time.
Sports fans everywhere applaud and understand the network's decision.
November 17, 1970 -
Douglas Engelbart receives a patent (US No. 3,541,541) for the first computer mouse on this date.
November 17, 1973 -
People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook.
President Nixon spoke to more than 400 editors from the Associated Press at a gathering in Orlando, Florida, at Walt Disney World on this date.
I guess that means Disney World isn't the happiest place on Earth for everybody.
And so it goes