Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Dolce far niente

School's out for NYC school kids today.


But don't get too comfortable - once again, school starts up again in 72 days (or 6,220,800 seconds if that makes you feel better.)


Happy Birthday Mel Brooks



I'm so happy to once again note that it's always a good day to know that Mel is still around.


June 28, 1951 -
A TV version of the popular radio program Amos 'N' Andy premiered on CBS on this date.



Although criticized for racial stereotyping, it was the first network TV series to feature an all-black cast.  I'm ambivalent about embedded the episode, but it's out there on the internet.



If you have the time, watch the documentary posted above so you can understand what the show is about.


June 28, 1956
-
The film version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical, The King and I premiered in New York City, on this date.



Yul Brynner is the only actor to have played a lead role in a Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II production both on the stage and on the screen, winning a Tony and an Oscar, respectively.


June 28, 1985 -
Hard to believe now but Hollywood employed some of the Brat Pack again when Joel Schumacher's St. Elmos's Fire, starring Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, and Mare Winningham, premiered on this date.



Director Joel Schumacher saw Demi Moore walk down the hallway in his office's building and asked a colleague to run after her and find out if she was an actress. Schumacher's production office at the time was in the same place as that of John Hughes' office where Moore had just been visiting regarding a casting call.


Another Childhood Classic


Today in History:
June 28, 1778
-
It was a hot day in New Jersey on this date. Temperatures reportedly reached 96 degrees in the shade. Possibly invented historical character, Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, "Molly Pitcher," wife of an American artilleryman, carried water to the soldiers during the Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth, N.J. and, supposedly, took her husband's place at his cannon after he was overcome with heat.



According to myth she was presented to General George Washington after the battle.


June 28, 1820 -
Robert Gibbon Johnson proved that tomatoes were not poisonous when he ate two homegrown tomatoes in front of a horrified crowd on the steps of the courthouse in Salem, New Jersey.



At the time in the US, tomatoes were believed to be poisonous because of their relationship with some wild plants of the nightshade family that produce toxic berries.

This is what passed for entertainment in New Jersey - Chris Christie wasn't born yet.


June 28, 1902 -
Today is the birthday of nefarious American philosopher John Dillinger, born in 1902. (He is also believed to have been born on June 22, 1903.)



At the age of twenty, a precocious young Dillinger attempted to illustrate the transient nature of material goods by depriving a stranger of his automobile. When a warrant was issued for his arrest by Indiana police disinclined to accept Dillinger's delicate epistemological point, the young man cleverly joined the navy to demonstrate the redemptive powers of patriotism.

Philosophers have historically encountered resistance from the military, and Dillinger was no exception. He fled the service, returned home, got married, and robbed a grocer. The robbery went awry and Dillinger went to jail for nine years.



Jail hardened Dillinger and made him a very bitter man. Upon his release, he began robbing banks almost immediately. He quickly became Public Enemy Number One, which enabled him to be shot to death by the FBI outside the Biograph movie theatre in Chicago. And as stated previously, it is widely rumored (but hotly denied) pug ugly transvestite FBI chief, J. Edgar Hoover, ordered Dillinger's well-endowed member detached from his corpse and pickled, for his private files.



His philosophy, however, endures to this day, and is practiced widely and successfully by various tax authorities around the world.

And I have no idea if Hoover did with his trophy.


Jun 28 1905 -
At 5:30 a.m. on this date, a murderer named Henri Languille lost his head on the guillotine in Orleans. Dr. Jacques Beaurieux, an official witness to the execution, picks up the freshly-severed head of Languille just after it drops into the guillotine basket (don't worry, he's an official - the French just don't let anybody pick up freshly severed heads) and shouts the man's name three times. According to the doctor's report: "Languille's eyes very definitely fixed themselves on mine and the pupils focused themselves. ... I was dealing with undeniably living eyes which were looking at me."

Again, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, the French they are a funny race.


June 28 1914 -
Archduck Franz Ferdinand was having an extremely bad day.

He was touring Serbia with his wife, the Mallard Sophie. The purpose of his tour was to get Serbia to calm down, it having become extremely irritable for reasons known only to itself, possibly having to do with Austria's occupation of the region. (Either that or gas.)




During their tour, Nedjelko Cabrinovic tosses a grenade into the automobile carrying Archduck Franz Ferdinand and wife Sofia. But Ferdinand knocks the bomb away with his arm and his driver speeds away from the would-be assassin. The driver was naturally addled and the Archduck and Mallard Sophie became lost and stopped to ask for directions from a young boy on the side of the road (and as most men know this is a no-no - if you are lost, never ask for directions). The conversation went something like this:

"Say, lad, I'm the Austrian Archduck Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Habsburg throne and this is my wife, the Mallard Sophie. We seem to be lost. If we don't find our way back I might never have the chance to take the Austrian throne and continue the ruthless and relentless persecution of the Serbian peoples. Could you give us a hand?"



The boy was Gavrilo Princip and he had just started World War I. The war ended exactly five years later, on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles is best known for having caused the Second World War.




Gavrilo Princip died of tuberculosis in his jail cell. After his death, the following graffiti was discovered on the wall:



June 28, 1969 -
In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, a Mafia run bar in Greenwich Village, the gay community fought back against routine police harassment that persecuted sexual minorities. Police raided the bar this time because it had refused to pay an increase in bribery. This incident is regarded by many as history's first major protest on behalf of equal rights for the LGBT community.



34 years later, on June 26, 2003, the US Supreme Court, in Lawrence v. Texas, struck down a Texas sodomy law and proclaimed that gay Americans have a right to private sexual relations. 44 years later (on June 26, 2013) the Supreme Court overturned DOMA and just two years after that, the court legalized marriage for same-sex couples, nationwide.


June 28, 1975 -
Rod Serling
(b.1924), iconoclastic writer and director of the TV series Twilight Zone and Night Gallery, died on this date.





Serling, a decorated World War II veteran suffered from PTSD and insomnia throughout his life.  His wartime experiences led him to become an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War.


June 28 1997 -
Mike Tyson
was disqualified from a championship boxing bout after biting off a large portion of Evander Holyfield's ear.



Tyson was later banned from boxing and fined $3 million for the incident.

Yeah, it tastes like chicken.


And on a personal note: Happy Birthday Angie

.

And so it goes


1302

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Operating from his secret mountain headquarters

June 27, 1949 -
Guardian of the Safety of the World, private citizen-scientist Captain Video, premiered on the Dumont Network on this date.



Captain Video was an agent of, and worked for, the Solar Council of the Interplanetary Alliance.


June 27, 1957 -
... I love this dirty town
.

The brilliant film-noir, Sweet Smell of Success, partially based on columnist Walter Winchell starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis was released on this date.



The narc in the film, Lt Harry Kello, is based on NYPD detective Eddie Egan, immortalized by Gene Hackman as 'Popeye' Doyle in The French Connection.


June 27, 1966 -
The first broadcast of Dark Shadows aired on ABC-TV on this date.



For more than a year and a half the characters of Dark Shadows used almost every possible phrase to refer to Barnabas Collins ("He's not alive!" "He's one of the undead." "He walks at night but he ain't alive.") It wasn't until the 410th episode that the word "vampire" was actually used on the show.


June 27, 1973 -
Roger Moore stepped into the role of James Bond with Live and Let Die, released in the US on this date.



Sean Connery turned down the then astronomical sum of $5.5 million to play James Bond. Connery gave Roger Moore his personal seal of approval for inheriting his role, calling him "an ideal Bond".


June 27, 1997 -
Paramount Pictures
backed John Woo effort to create a film with more hammier acting that William Shatner/ Ricardo Ricardo Montalban in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, went it put Face/Off, starring John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen, and Gina Gershon into general release on this date.



Originally, Nicolas Cage turned down the role of Castor Troy, citing a lack of interest in playing a villain. However, once he was told that he would actually be playing the hero for a majority of the film, he quickly signed on.


June 27, 2008 -
The Disney/ Pixer Academy Award winning animation film, WALL-E went into general release on this date.



Andrew Stanton and the Pixar team watched every single Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton movie (the short films and the features) every day during lunch for about a year and a half. This was to inspire the possibilities of pure visual storytelling.


A moment of zen


Today in History:
June 27, 363
-
The Roman Emperor Julian died on this date from grievous wounds he sustained in battle.

With his death, so ended the revival of Paganism (and state sanctioned, rigorous devotion to sodomy) in Rome.



I believe this is the third day in a row I got to reference sodomy.  (I continue to scare the children and horses in the street but as long as I do it in the privacy of my own home, it's not illegal.)


June 27 1844 -
Mormon leader Joseph Smith, along with his brother Hyrum, were shot and killed by a mob while in jail at Carthage, Illinois.

According to church legend, after Smith was shot a man raises a knife to decapitate him, but was thwarted by a thunderbolt from heaven. God was having an off day and the thunderbolt was meant to fry Smith's body to a crisp.


Happy Birthday to You, the four-line ditty was written as a classroom greeting in 1893 by two Louisville teachers, Mildred J. Hill (born in Louisville, KY, on June 27, 1859) an authority on Negro spirituals and Dr. Patty Smith Hill, professor emeritus of education at Columbia University.

Music publisher Warner/Chappell will no longer be allowed to collect licensing royalties on those who sing "Happy Birthday" in public and will pay back $14 million to those who have paid for licensing in the past. You no longer have to substitute any of the following for our purposes under "Fair Use":



June 27, 1905 -
Sailors from the Battleship Potemkin start a mutiny aboard the Battleship Potemkin, on this date, denouncing the crimes of autocracy, demanding liberty and an end to war.



Sergei Eisenstein, wacky Russian film director, thought he could make a summer comedy from the subject matter.



He unfortunately had no sense of humor and went on to create the classic silent film, The Battleship Potemkin, in spite of himself.


It's Bob Keeshan's birthday.



If you're of a certain age, you remember him very well.


June 27, 1928 -
Sylvia Beach
invited James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald to dinner at her apartment over her Paris Bookstore Shakespeare and Company on this date. Fitzgerald became drunk (which is like stating, the sun rose this morning). He said he was such a fan of Joyce's that he would throw himself out the window to prove it.

Neither writer was having much success. Fitzgerald had just published The Great Gatsby and it had not been selling well. Joyce's Ulysses wouldn't be published outside of Paris for another five years. Both men died 13 years later, less than a month apart, with no money and very few readers.

Such are the vagaries of life.


June 27, 1964 -
Ernest Borgnine
and Ethel Merman (the woman who learned love at the hands of Ernest Borgnine) were married on this date.




The marriage lasted 38 days.  Truly, such are the vagaries of life



And so it goes



1303

Monday, June 26, 2017

Life is like a roller coaster, live it, be happy, enjoy life.

The Cyclone roller coaster opened on this date in 1927. The roller coaster opened in Coney Island and is still available to induce vomiting today.



It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and was made an historic New York City landmark in 1988.


June 26, 1925 -
Charlie Chaplin's
classic comedy, The Gold Rush, premiered at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, on this date.



Originally a stagehand wore the chicken suit from Jim's hallucination. But when he couldn't mime Charles Chaplin's walk and manners, Chaplin himself donned the suit.


June 26, 1987 -
The truly silly yet likeable Mel Brooks film, Spaceballs, starring Mel Brooks, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, and Joan Rivers went into general release on this date.



According to Mel Brooks, this was one of the most expensive movies he had ever made, at 25 million dollars. By contrast, The Producers cost less than one million dollars to produce.


Word of the day


Today in History:
June 26, 1284
-
The town of Hamelin had a large rat infestation. A weirdly dressed minstrel promised to help them get rid of their rats. The townsmen in turn promised to pay him for the removal of the rats. The man accepted and thus played a musical pipe to lure the rats with a song into the Weser River, where all of them drowned. Despite his success, the people reneged on their promise and refused to pay the rat-catcher. Pied Piper extracting his revenge, luring 130 children of Hamelin away on this date.



People, let this be a lesson to us all - please pay your exterminator bill promptly.


Richard III made himself King of England on this date in 1483 by killing everyone else who wanted to be king.



It seemed a clever stratagem at the time, especially for a hunchback, but his reign came to a bloody end just two years later as a result of his making a fiscally irresponsible bid on a horse.  (To all of you Richard rehabilitators, this is a joke.  Please, no e-mails.)


June 26, 1498 -
The toothbrush (as we know it) was invented in China during the Hongzhi Emperor's reign.  The toothbrush used hog bristles (or horse hair - again, please, no e-mails), at that time.



Hog bristle brushes remained the best until the invention of nylon.  I completely understand the slight gagging feeling you're experiencing this morning. We were able to ascertain this date through the diligent work of ancient Chinese chronologists, who were not plagued by the distraction of the massive amount of sodomy that was rampant throughout Western Europe, where they were going through a touch of Renaissance at the time.


Francisco Pizarro conquered the entire Peruvian Empire of the Incas with a handful of soldiers only to have those soldiers turn on and kill him on June 26, 1541. He was stabbed in the throat, then fell to the floor where he was stabbed repeatedly. Pizarro (who now was maybe as old as 70 years, and at least 62, remember, the problem with calendars: sodomy), collapsed on the floor, alone, painted a cross in his own blood and cried for Jesus Christ. He then cried out: Come to me my faithful sword, companion of all my deeds.

Mr. Pizarro was a tiny bit of a drama queen.


Abner Doubleday was born on this date in 1819. A forgotten footnote in his life is the fact that he aimed the cannon that fired the first return shot in answer to the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, starting the Civil War.



Mr. Doubleday is incorrectly credited with the invention of baseball, without which Americans would have nothing to watch between waits in line for more beer.


June 26, 1819 -
W.K. Clarkson
of New York received a patent for what was then called a velocipede (even though, Denis Johnson of London had patented his velocipede in December 1818.)







Unfortunately, the patent record was destroyed by fire, so the actual design is not known.


June 26, 1870 -
The day after Leon Day, Congress declared Christmas,

a federal holiday to the great relief of Americans who'd been forced to flee to Canada every December.


June 26, 1926 -
Ernest Hemingway
hung around Europe with several of his friends after WWI. He used to drive an ambulance.  It had a horn.  The horn went beep - beep.  It was a good sound. Hemingway and his friend wrote some novels in between, drinking, whore mongering and general lollygagging. Typewriters made a sound - clackity -clack.  It was a good sound. Hemingway novel The Sun Also Rises was published on this date. It is a good date to publish.





All in all it was a damn good novel. Isn’t it pretty to think so?


June 26, 1959
-
In a ceremony presided over by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II, the St. Lawrence Seaway was officially opened, creating a navigational channel from the Atlantic Ocean to all the Great Lakes.



The seaway, made up of a system of canals, locks, and dredged waterways, extends a distance of nearly 2,500 miles, from the Atlantic Ocean through the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Duluth, Minnesota, on Lake Superior.

(Great bar bet winner for tonight: Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, was probably conceived in Canada on this royal visit.)


June 26, 1963 -
President John F. Kennedy stood before the Berlin Wall and announced to a quarter of a million Germans that he was a jelly donut, in his famous "I am a jelly donut" ("ich bin ein jelly donut") speech.



Although embarrassing, this was considered an improvement over Eisenhower's infamous "I am a well-hung platypus" speech on a golf course in Costa Rica.


June 26, 1968 -
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones ....


Pope Paul VI declares that the bones of Apostle and first Pope, Saint Peter, found underneath St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, were authentic. The bones are now housed in containers near where they were found, but some of them are clearly those of domesticated animals.



Oh well ... another mystery of the church best left unexplained.


June 26, 1976 -
The CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, was the world's tallest structure at the time, at 1,815 feet (553 meters,) opened for tourists on this date.



It now is third, behind an observation tower in China and the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in the United Arab Emirates.


June 26th 1977 -
St. Elvis
played his last ever concert at the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana on this date. Elvis was not long for this world; he was very over-weight and seemed ill, but he wanted to silence the press and make his loyal fans happy.



He played in excess of 18,000 fans as they watched his last and most historic performance. Elvis would be gone in less that two months. Remember - one hand on the screen - the other upon your afflicted area


June 26, 1990
-
Irish Republican Army bombed the Carlton Club on this date, an exclusive conservative gentleman's cabal in London.



(It is a well known fact that Margaret Thatcher was denoted an "honorary man" in order to become a member. It is not clear what surgical modifications, if any, were necessary.)



And so it goes.



1304


Sunday, June 25, 2017

It's one hell of a celebration

Remember that today's Gay Pride parade, (the 47th annual one,) making it's way down Fifth Avenue this afternoon, actually commemorate the Stonewall riots, which launched the gay-rights movement.



Not all of the parade features buff chiselled go-go dancing on floats - this year, the beginning of the march is devoid of floats, elected officials and corporate sponsors. Instead, it is led by local activist groups advocating for social justice, among them will be ACT-UP, Gays Against Guns and Rise and Resist.



Last year’s parade had 30,000 marchers and drew approximately 2.5 million spectators, all showing their solidarity with the victims of the 2016 Orlando shootings. This year WABC NY will be covering the parade live from Noon until 3 PM. It should be a beautiful day today and once again I'm expecting the parade to run longer than it's scheduled five hours.



And do not forget the fireworks over the Hudson River.


Remember to wish everyone you meet a very Happy LEON day. LEON is NOEL spelled backwards. Christmas is but a mere six months away.



Kids, you can take a quick check of the whole naughty/ nice thing and see how you are doing.


Michael Jackson, resplendent in his celestial robes, has been singing in Heaven for eight years now. More importantly to his earth bound relatives, Michael continues to support the various members of the Jackson factions quite nicely. Death hasn't put a crimp in his record sales. 



Farrah Fawcett also died eight years ago today.  I don't believe she's singing with any heavenly children's choir.



There is no connection between these two events but it's also the birthday of Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou:



I wonder how he would have celebrated his 54th birthday?


June 25, 1938 -
Another in the series of 'books come alive', Have You Got Any Castles? was released on this date.



Among the many entertainment personalities caricatured in relation to book titles are: Bill Robinson/The Thirty-Nine Steps, Greta Garbo/So Big, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, The Mills Brothers/The Green Pastures, William Powell/The Thin Man, Clark Gable/The House of the Seven Gables, Paul Muni/The Story of Louis Pasteur, Charles Laughton/Mutiny on the Bounty, and Victor McLaglen/The Informer.


June 25, 1949 -
Leopold. Leopold ...

One of Chuck Jones famous Bugs Bunny opera parodies, Long Haired Hair, premiered on this date.



Leopold Stokowski never conducted with a baton. This is the reason why Bugs Bunny, impersonating Stokowski, promptly breaks the baton before conducting, and conducts using such dramatic hand gestures.


June 25, 1963 -
One of Federico Fellini's greatest films,Otto e mezzo, (8 ½), opened in the US, on this date.



Federico Fellini was well-known for working without a stable, finished screenplay. At one point during pre-production, he had completely forgot what his next work would have been about, his original idea had completely gone. While he was set to communicate to the movie producer Angelo Rizzoli his intention of abandoning the project, Fellini was invited to the birthday party of a head camera-operator of Cinecittà. All of a sudden, during the celebration, he got a new idea: his film would have told about a film-director who was going to direct a film, but he forgot what it was about.


June 25, 1982 -
The greatest dystopian Sci- Fi film (at this point), Blade Runner, opened on this date.



Ridley Scott's first cut ran four hours. Most the crew, including the writers and director, admitted that while it looked beautiful, it was mostly incomprehensible, necessitating additional editing and an explanatory voice-over.

On the same day, Universal Pictures releases the sci-fi horror film John Carpenter’s The Thing directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell.



The producers consider the film's disappointing box office performance was down to the fact that people were flocking to a more benign interpretation of an alien presence on earth - Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial which was released several weeks beforehand.

Besides the fact that both films opened on this date, the similarities don't end there: both movies met with unfavorable reactions at the premiere but became widely loved sci-fi classics in the years to come.


June 25, 1993 -
Possibly the greatest Meg Ryan 'chick flick' (which may seem redundant to some,) Sleepless in Seattle, premiered on this date.



The role of Annie was originally offered to Julia Roberts, who turned it down. Kim Basinger was also offered the role in the early script process, but turned it down because she thought the premise was ridiculous. After Michelle Pfeiffer, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jodie Foster declined as well, Meg Ryan landed the role.


Today in History:
June 25, 841
-



June 25, 1876 -
This is a little cautionary tale about pissing off the wrong people.

During the Battle of Little Bighorn, General George Armstrong Custer witnesses a large group of Indians fleeing their village, and decides to press his advantage. The cavalry officer shouts, "We've caught them napping, boys!" Then he splits his force of 210 men into three groups, in order to slaughter as many of the retreating noncombatants as possible. Which is right about the time Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse swept in and killed the white men. Two days later, Custer's body is found amidst a cluster of 42 other corpses, the general entirely naked except for one boot, one sock, and an arrow stuck in his penis.



This is the native way a sending a very serious message.


June 25, 1903 -
Eric Arthur Blair
was born on this day in eastern India, the son of a British colonial civil servant. He burned to be a writer but had no success get people to look at his work, so he was forced him into a series of menial jobs.



Finally he became a Famous Author and even a Great Writer, but by then he was dead, whatever his name was.


June 25, 1906
-
A love triangle came to a violent end atop the original Madison Square Garden as architect Stanford White, the building's designer, was shot to death by Harry Thaw, for an alleged tryst White had with Thaw's wife, Florence Evelyn Nesbit.



Thaw, tried for murder, was acquitted by reason of insanity. At the time this was called "The Crime of the Century."


June 25, 1910 -
The Mann Act, sometimes known as the White Slave Traffic Act of 1910, makes it a federal crime to convey or assist in transporting women across state lines for prostitution, debauchery, or "any other immoral purpose." Men convicted of this heinous (if vague) statute face up to five years and a $5,000 fine for each count. Penalties are doubled if the female is underage, (but men and boys are apparently not covered.)

This is, by far, the biggest party pooper in legislative history.

Unless you're into guys - then it's smooth sailings.


June 25, 1967 -
The first live, international, satellite television production, Our World, was broadcast on this date. Among the featured performers were opera singer Maria Callas, artist Pablo Picasso and a small English skiffle group called The Beatles.



When the The Beatles' appearance on the program was announced, John Lennon wrote the song especially for the occasion. He was told by the BBC: it had to be simple so that viewers would tune in.

I guess he was right.


June 25, 1978
The rainbow flag, created by Gilbert Blake, was flown for the first time in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade, on this date.



Mr Blake, 65, passed away this past March in his sleep at his home in New York.


Begin to scare the children - there are 183 days until Christmas.



And so it goes.


1305

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Be like the flower, turn your face to the sun

It's Midsummer Day throughout most of Europe.

It should not be confused with the Summer Solstice except they're kind of celebrating the same thing,

(it's also the feast day of St. John the Baptist.)



Hey, it's big in Europe.


June 24, 1967 -
Procol Harum
released their classic A Whiter Shade of Pale on this date.



It was the most played song on jukeboxes in the last 75 years in public places in the UK, as of 2009.

Again, it's a European thing


June 24, 1970 -
Mike Nichols
' adaptation of Joseph Heller's Catch 22 was released on this date .



The film has one of the longest, most complex uninterrupted scenes ever made. In the scene, where two actors talking against a background, 16 of the 17 planes, four groups of four aircraft, took off at the same time. As the scene progresses, the actors entered a building and the same planes were seen through the window, climbing into formation. The problem was, for every take, the production manager has to call the planes back and made to take off again for every take of the particular scene. This was done four times.


June 24, 1970 -
20th Century Fox for some unknown reason released Myra Breckinridge, starring Raquel Welch and Mae West (!?!), on this date.  It's as bad as you think it might be but you must watch it.



Mae West had stipulated in her contract that only she would be allowed to dress in black and white in the film. Co-star Raquel Welch showed up to shoot their first scene together in a black dress with an enormous white ruffle, and West threw a fit. When the film's producers sided with West, Welch had the ruffle on the dress dyed a very, very pale blue . . . which photographed as white.


June 24, 2005
National Geographic Films produced the Academy Award winning documentary, March of the Penguins, which was released on this date.



It was noted that, by the time of the 2006 Academy Awards, this Best Documentary winner had out-grossed all 5 Best Picture nominees ($77 million vs. $75 million for Brokeback Mountain).


Don't forget to listen to The ACME Eagle Hand Soap Radio Hour


Today In History:
June 24, 1374
-
Please titrate your ergot carefully, a little sexual frenzy is good and all, but ...

In a sudden outbreak of Dancing Mania (aka St. John's Dance), people in the streets of Aix-la-Chapelle, Prussia experience terrible hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion.



Many of the sufferers are afflicted with frothing at the mouth, diabolical screaming, and sexual frenzy. The phenomenon lasts well into the month of July. Nowadays, ergot madness is suspected as being the ultimate cause of the disorder.

(Please refrain from mentioning raves.)


June 24, 1812 -
Napoleon, ever the French cuisine booster, wants to spread his enjoyment of meals with heavy cream sauces and decides to invade Russia (ultimately with mixed results.)



He has to wait 70 years before Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky decides to write an Overture about the entire incident.


June 24, 1947 -
Businessman pilot Kenneth Arnold encounters a formation of nine flying saucers near Mt. Ranier, Washington, exhibiting unusual movements and velocities of 1,700 mph.



No explanation is found for this first report of flying saucers in the recent era, but it does earn Mr. Arnold legions of skeptics and an eventual IRS tax audit.


June 24, 1948 -
Communist forces with 30 military divisions cut off all land and water routes between West Germany and West Berlin, prompting the United States to organize the massive Berlin airlift. East Germany blockaded the city of West Berlin.



During the Berlin Airlift, American and British planes flew about 278,000 flights, delivering 2.3 million tons of food, coal and medical supplies. General Lucius Clay, the local American commander, ordered the air supply effort.


June 24, 1957 -
The U.S. Supreme Court rules, Roth v. United States, that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment, though a dissenting opinion included with the ruling notes the issue of prior restraint renders this a terrible decision.



By 1973, another case, Miller v. California, a five-person majority agreed for the first time since Roth as to a test for determining constitutionally unprotected obscenity, superseding the Roth test. By the time Miller was considered in 1973, Justice Brennan had abandoned the Roth test and argued that all obscenity was constitutionally protected, unless distributed to minors or unwilling third-parties.

(Aren't you happy when important legal issues can be boiled down to puppet show presentations.)


June 24, 1967 -
Pope Paul VI published his encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus (priestly celibacy) on this date.

I would bet this is when things really came to a head with that whole 'inappropriate' touching situation in the church.


June 24, 1975  -
113 people were killed when an Eastern Airlines Boeing 727 crashed while attempting to land during a thunderstorm at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, on this date.



The crash was later attributed to a microburst, not experienced at the control tower because of a sea breeze front.



And so it goes.


1306

Friday, June 23, 2017

Heed the advice of a feckless 6 year old.

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Today is Let It Go Day - the day when you should put down all of the baggage that you have been carrying around from the past. Perhaps you can donate your old cares and woes and donate them to your favorite charity.


June 23, 1965 -
One of Frank Sinatra's best performances on film, Von Ryan's Express, premiered on this date.



The leather jacket that Frank Sinatra wore in Von Ryan's Express, was later worn by Bob Crane in Hogan's Heroes. It was later worn by Greg Kinnear in Auto Focus.


June 23, 1965 -
One of the classic Motown singles, Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, was released on this date.



When he first recorded this song with The Miracles, Robinson left out the last chorus, fading it out on the "I need you, I need you" line. He was convinced to end on the chorus when he played the song at one of the famous Monday morning meetings at Motown, where songs were scrutinized by their team.


June 23 1979 -
The rock group, the Knack releases My Sharona on this date.



In an interview with the Washington Post, Doug Fieger said: "I was 25 when I wrote the song. But the song was written from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy. It's just an honest song about a 14-year-old boy."


June 23, 1989
-
Tim Burton's dark and brooding retelling of Batman, was released on this date.



Michael Keaton was unable to hear while wearing the Batsuit. He said that his claustrophobia helped get him in the proper mood to play Batman. "It made me go inward and that's how I wanted the character to be anyway, to be withdrawn," he said.


June 23, 1994 -
Life may or may not be a box of chocolate but Forrest Gump premiered in Los Angeles, on this date.



Tom Hanks signed onto the film after an hour and a half of reading the script but agreed to take the role only on the condition that the film was historically accurate. He initially wanted to ease Forrest's pronounced Southern accent, but was eventually persuaded by director Robert Zemeckis to portray the heavy accent stressed in the novel and patterned his accent after Michael Conner Humphreys (young Forrest) who actually talked that way.


June 23, 2000 -
Aardman Animations and DreamWorks Studios released the stop-motion film, Chicken Run, directed by Peter Lord, and Nick Park (of Wallace and Grommit fame) and featuring the voices of Julia Sawalha, Mel Gibson, Timothy Spall, and Miranda Richardson, on this date.



There was a major push to get the film nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The failure to get the nomination, and the popularity of the film among Academy members led to the inclusion of Best Animated Feature for the next Academy Awards, which was won by the fellow DreamWorks film Shrek


Happy Friday


Today in History:
June 23, 1611
-
The mutinous crew of Henry Hudson's fourth voyage sets Hudson, his son and seven loyal crew members adrift in an open boat in what is now Hudson Bay; they are never heard from again.

So much for loyalty.


June 23, 1868 -
Christopher Latham Sholes received a patent for an invention he called a "Type-Writer" on this date.

His typewriter included the QWERTY keyboard format still used today. Others had invented typewriter machines, but Sholes invented the only one that became a commercial success.


June 23, 1894 -
Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, briefly Edward VIII, King of England and later to be known as the Duke of Windsor (making him both brother and uncle to successive monarchs), who abdicated his throne to marry American divorcee (and possible transvestite) Wallis Simpson, was born on this date.



Sometimes, it's very complicated to be the king.


June 23, 1931
-
Pilot Wiley Post (at the time in full possession of both his eyes) and navigator Harold Gatty took off from Roosevelt Field in New York, in the Winnie Mae, on this date, attempting to be the first to fly around the world in a single-engine plane.



The trip (which was 15,474 miles,) completed when the pair landed back at Roosevelt Field on July 1st, took a total of eight days, 15 hours and 51 minutes. Wiley later became the first pilot to fly around the world solo, beating the record he and Gatty originally set.


June 23, 1950 -
Northwest Airlines Flight 2501, a DC-4 propliner operating its daily transcontinental service between New York City and Seattle, crashed into Lake Michigan killing 58 people.



The wreckage has never been discovered and the accident was, at the time, the worst commercial airliner accident in American history.


June 23, 1953 –
Frank J. Zamboni
was issued a patent (#2,642,679) for his ice resurfacer on this date. Mr Zamboni invented his Ice Resurfacing Machine in 1949.

The Olympic medal-winner Sonja Henie was one of his first customers.


June 23, 1972  -
Someone might want to introduce the president to the joys of a pitcher of very dry martinis and have him listen to this clip:

President Richard Nixon and White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman discussed a plan to use the CIA to obstruct the FBI's Watergate investigation. Revelation of the tape recording of this conversation sparked Nixon's resignation in 1974.



In the “smoking gun" tape Pres. Nixon told H.R. Haldeman, to tell top CIA officials that “the president believes this (in reference to Watergate) is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again." Nixon counseled Haldeman on how to use deception to thwart an FBI investigation on how Watergate was financed.

But then again, the president insisted that there are no tapes.


And on a personal note:

Happy Birthday David


and so it goes.




1307

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cleveland, city of light, city of magic

It's National Chocolate Eclair Day. While the eclair is a delicious dessert, their charms escape me.

Maybe it's the fake vanilla pudding most bakeries use rather than Bavarian cream.





I'd rather remember that today is the anniversary of Cleveland, Ohio’s Cuyahoga River catching fire in 1969.


June 22, 1946 -
Another of the classic 40s Daffy Duck cartoons, Hollywood Daffy, was released on this date.



The director of the cartoon was an uncredited effort by Friz Freleng.


June 22, 1955 -
Disney's first film about dog breeding, The Lady and the Tramp, was released on this date.



Peggy Lee later sued Disney for breach of contract claiming that she still retained rights to the transcripts. She was awarded $2.3 million dollars, but not without a lengthy legal battle with the studio which was finally settled in 1991.


June 22, 1961
-
A great old-fashion thriller, The Guns of Navarone, was released on this date.



There was some surprise that Stanley Baker, who along with Dirk Bogarde in 1960 was considered the most popular British movie star, accepted the relatively small supporting role of Private "Butcher" Brown. Baker revealed that he wanted to be in the movie because he was impressed at how anti-war the screenplay by the blacklisted writer Carl Foreman was.


June 22, 1966 -
Mike Nichol's
first film, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, opened on this date.



Every credited member of the cast received an Academy Award nomination.


June 22, 1966 -
The first screenplay of Woody Allen's produced, What's New Pussycat?, starring Peter O'Toole, Peter Sellers (and co-starring Woody Allen) premiered in the US on this date.



During shooting in Paris, Paula Prentiss climbed up to the catwalk and started walking the beams. She loudly called down to everyone on the set, "I'm going to jump." She did, but a French technician grabbed her, and saved her life. She was transferred to a clinic in New York for recuperation.


June 22, 1968 -
This Guy's in Love with You by Herb Alpert topped the charts on this date.



Alpert sang this to his first wife in a 1968 TV special called The Beat of the Brass. The sequence was taped on the beach in Malibu. The song was not intended to be released, but after it was used in the TV special, thousands of telephone calls to CBS asking about it convinced label owner Alpert to release it as a single two days after the show aired.


June 22, 1984 -
Another underdog story directed by John G. Avildsen, The Karate Kid, starring Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, and Elisabeth Shue, was released by Columbia Pictures on this date.



The yellow classic automobile that Daniel polishes in the famous "wax-on/wax-off" training scene, then later offered by Mr. Miyagi as Daniel's birthday gift, was actually given to Ralph Macchio by the producer, and he still owns it. The car is a 1948 Ford Super De Luxe.


June 22, 1984
-
The atmospheric black-comedy, The Pope of Greenwich Village, starring  Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Daryl Hannah, and Geraldine Page, premiered on this date.



Michael Cimino was asked to direct this film but didn't think it was a good film for him. As a favor to the producers, who were on a deadline, he went to New York and did all the pre-production. When they were set to begin shooting, the producers again tried to get Cimino to direct but he told them he thought, considering the budget, they needed someone who could work faster than he was used to working and so they hired Stuart Rosenberg.


Just another day


Today in History:
June 22, 1633
-
The Holy Office in Rome strong-armed Galileo Galilei into recanting his scientific view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe.



This was the second time he was forced to recant Earth orbits Sun by the Pope. Almost immediately, on October 31, 1992, the Vatican admitted it was wrong.


June 22, 1906 -
Billy Wilder was born on this date. Not surprisingly, Mr. Wilder would go on to produce Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, all of whom frolicked giddily on the beach in bikinis. Mr. Wilder, you see, was comfortable in his season.



Not like some people. Some people had to force it. Some people had to prove something. Some people were like Brian Wilson, who was born the day before summer (June 20) in 1942, and subsequently became a "Beach Boy" and released an album called Endless Summer.


June 22, 1918 -
The worst circus train wreck in history occurred just outside Hammond, Indiana on this date. A seriously over-tired engineer, Alonzo Sargent, fell asleep at the throttle of a trainload of empty Pullman cars and slammed into the rear of the 26-car Hagenbeck-Wallace circus train.



85 of the 400 performers and workers on board were killed. There were no reports on whether or not the crowd at the previous days performance was greater than the gawkers at the scene of the wreck.


June 22, 1933 -
German chancellor Adolf Hitler banned every political party on this date, except his own Evil Nazi Bastards from winning elections.



The Evil Nazi Bastards swept the next elections, demonstrating the public's strong support for this measure.


June 22, 1940 -
Eight
days after German forces overran Paris, France was forced to sign an armistice on this date; hilarity ensues.



Adolf Hitler forces the instrument of surrender to be signed in the very railcar in which the French inflicted the humiliating World War I Treaty of Versailles upon the Germans. (In a bizarre co-incidence, it was also the anniversary of Napoleon's second abdication in 1815.)


June 22, 1941 -
The German Army invaded Russia on this date, quickly destroying five Russian armies and one fourth of the Red air force. At completion of the war in 1945, nearly 27 million Soviets were dead.



Thus ended the German- Soviet "Peace and Friendship" Treaty.

(Let's not discuss Hitler for the rest of the week.)


June 22, 1949 -
According to our president, one of the most over-rated actresses of her generation, Mary Louise Streep, was born on this date.



She originally applied to Law School but slept in on the morning of her interview and took it as a sign she was destined for other things.

Imagine if she applied herself, how far her career would go.


June 22, 1969 -
The patron saint of bachelors of a certain age, Judy Garland died of a barbiturate overdose in her London apartment, either by accident or suicide.



Folks, she did not do a header into the toilet and drown.


June 22, 1993
-
All lives have triumphs and tragedies, laughter and tears, and mine has been no different. What really matters is whether, after all of that, you remain strong and a comfort to your loved ones. I have tried to meet that test....



The patron saint of long suffering political wives and good Republican cloth coats, Thelma Catherine "Pat" Ryan Nixon died on this date.



And so it goes.



1308

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summers have a logic all their own

The beauty of that June day was almost staggering. After the wet spring, everything that could turn green had outdone itself in greenness and everything that could even dream of blooming or blossoming was in bloom and blossom. The sunlight was a benediction. The breezes were so caressingly soft and intimate on the skin as to be embarrassing. - Dan Simmons



Today is the first day of Summer, also known as the Summer Solstice. It's the longest day of the year (and the shortest night).



The actual moment of the solstice occurred at about 12:24 A.M. EDT, while the sun sat directly above the Pacific Ocean to the west of Hawaii.  Don't brag about the good weather tomorrow; remember that it's the beginning of Winter in Australia.  (The naked run is optional - please.)


June 21,1955 -
The David Lean movie, Summertime starring Katharine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi premiered in New York on this date.



Having been cast as the older widowed concierge of the hotel, David Lean was upset to find that Isa Miranda had recently had a facelift and looked too young for the part. Since recasting at that late stage was out of the question, Lean went with it. Aside from her appearance, Lean was also displeased with her performance. She was having trouble working up tears for her scene with Darren McGavin, which was frustrating Lean to no end. Katharine Hepburn said she would coach Miranda, took her aside and slapped her sharply across the face. Miranda was shocked and then began to tear up. Lean was impressed and told Hepburn she was a tougher director than he.


June 21, 1977 -
Martin Scorsese's
homage to movie musicals - New York, New York, premiered on this date.



The original song titled Theme from New York, New York was scrapped at the insistence of Robert De Niro. Grudgingly, John Kander and Fred Ebb wrote a new version, which has since become one of the most famous and often recorded songs in history. Kander and Ebb have often expressed extreme gratitude to De Niro for his influence.


June 21, 1985 -
Walt Disney
released the only directorial effort of film editor Walter Murch, Return to Oz, starring Nicol Williamson, Jean Marsh, Piper Laurie, and Fairuza Balk, on this date.



Fairuza Balk actually performed most of the film barefoot, as she found her black shoes uncomfortable, and the ruby slippers were very fragile and easily damaged. Thus, the actress only wore shoes when they would be visible on camera.


June 21, 1988 -
Robert Zemeckis' incredible advance in animation, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, opened in NYC on this date.



Bob Hoskins said that, for two weeks after seeing the movie, his young son wouldn't talk to him. When finally asked why, his son said he couldn't believe his father would work with cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny and not let him meet them.


A questionable ACME PSA


Today in History:
June 21, 1877
-
The Molly Maguires, ten Irish immigrants who were labor activists, are hanged at Carbon County Prison in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.



Author and Judge John P. Lavelle of Carbon County said of this, "The Molly Maguire trials were a surrender of state sovereignty...A private corporation initiated the investigation through a private detective agency. A private police force arrested the alleged defenders, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them. The state provided only the courtroom and the gallows."


June 21, 1893 -
The first Ferris wheel debuted at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, on this date. The Ferris wheel was designed by George W. Ferris, a bridge-builder from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.



The exposition commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's landing in America. The Chicago Fair's organizers wanted something that would rival the Eiffel Tower. Gustave Eiffel had built the tower for the Paris World's Fair of 1889, which honored the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.


June 21, 1905 -
It would have been the 112th birthday of Jean-Paul Sartre today.



But what the hell does he care; he's dead and it doesn't mean anything anyway.


June 21, 1982 -
Using an innovative Jodie Foster defense, John Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, on this date.

Nobody was impressed by this verdict.


June 21, 1989 -
The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Texas v. Johnson that flag burning is indeed protected speech under the Constitution,



prompting Congress to put forth an endless series of amendments to ban the activity.



And so it goes.


1309

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

You never need to doubt it

June 20, 1942 -
It's Brian Wilson's birthday today, ushering in those lazy, hazy days of summer.



Brian Wilson has just finished his tour in support of last year's 50th anniversary of the release of Pet Sounds.


June 20, 1946 -
Rex Harrison's
first American movie, Anna and the King Of Siam, with Irene Dunne, opened in theaters on this date.



Filming was delayed two months because Irene Dunne's husband was recovering from a heart attack. Twentieth Century Fox almost considered replacing her with Myrna Loy or Jean Arthur.


June 20, 1974 -
Forget about it Jake. It's Chinatown

The unforgettable film-noir classic, Chinatown, was released on this date.



After several takes that never looked quite right, Faye Dunaway got annoyed and told Jack Nicholson to actually slap her. He did and felt very guilty for it, despite it being Dunaway's decision. The shot made it into the movie.


June 20, 1975 -
Steven Spielberg's
thriller, Jaws, premiered on this date. Beach vacations were never the same again.



When 'Bruce' the shark was built, it was never tested in the water. When it was put in the water at Martha's Vineyard, it sank straight to the ocean floor; it took a team of divers to retrieve it.


June 20, 1997 -
It was literally nipples to the wind when Joel Schumacher's contribution to the caped crusader saga, Batman and Robin, starring George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, Alicia Silverstone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Uma Thurman, went into general release on this date.



Due to the difficulty and large amount of time it took to remove the Batman suit, George Clooney reportedly urinated in his suit on at least one occasion.


Oddities from the internet

  
Today in History:
June 20, 1756
-
In Calcutta, 146 British prisoners are placed in a 18 foot by 14 foot cell known as The Black Hole by a Bengali, Siraj-ud-daula, and held there until the following morning.



Of those imprisoned, only 23 survive. Even with the economic downturn, a 250 sq ft apartment would start a huge bidding war in Manhattan.


June 20, 1793 -
Eli Whitney
applied for a patent on his Cotton Gin on this date. More affordable than gin distilled from grain alcohol and juniper berries, Cotton Gin quickly became the drink of choice among America's rural poor.



This led to widespread outbreaks of Cotton Mouth and eventually caused the Civil War.


June 20, 1782 -

Congress adopts the Great Seal of the United States on this date.



Although several people on the committee were Masons, the Masonic institutions themselves deny that the Seal is Masonic; therefore, any resemblance is purely coincidental.

Of course.


June 20, 1791 -
King Louis XVI and his family attempted their escape from Paris to the royalist citadel of Montedy on this date.



They were captured at Varennes-en-Argonne when they were recognized. It didn't go too well for them after this.


June 20, 1837
-
The 18-year old Princess Victoria ascended the British throne following the death of her uncle, King William IV, on this date.



Her reign as the Queen lasted 63 years and 7 months, which is the second longest of any British monarch, after her great-great-granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.


June 20, 1893 -
Lizzie Borden
was found innocent of giving her stepmother and father 40 and 41 whacks, respectively.



Once O.J. finds the real killers of his wife while in prison, he promised to get cracking on this case as well.


June 20, 1947 -
Bugsy Siegel
(Warren Beatty) was shot to death at Virginia Hill's (Annette Bennings) mansion, on orders purportedly from Meyer Lansky.



The drive-by shooting never was solved and remains an open case.


June 20, 1967 -
The late great Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) had refused to serve in the U.S. military, stating that it went against his religious beliefs and his opposition to the Vietnam War. This led to his conviction of violating Selective Service laws on this date.



The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the conviction.



And so it goes.


Before you go - the summer solstice begins on Wednesday, June 21, at 12:24 A.M. EDT, this means due to time zones, the Solstice falls on Tuesday, June 20 in other time zones in North America



I'll be asleep at the time and we'll discuss this in further detail tomorrow.



1310