Tuesday, January 10, 2017


January 10 1927 -
The film Metropolis premiered in Berlin on this date. It was the most expensive silent film of the time, adjusting for inflation, the budget for Metropolis (7m Reichsmarks) ran around $230 million (2016).

Film included more than 37,000 extras including 25,000 men, 11,000 women, 1,100 bald men, 750 children, 100 dark-skinned people and 25 Asians. 310 shooting days were required.  Unemployment and inflation were so bad in Germany at the time that the producers had no trouble finding 500 malnourished children to film the flooding sequences.

January 10, 1949
(This date is under much debate) -
45 RPM's - the term for the record format introduced by RCA on this date. This soon became the standard format used for vinyl “singles” for several decades. (Kids, RPM stands for “revolutions per minute.”)

Just think, all that pleasure with 7".

January 10, 1952 -
Cecil B. DeMille's
circus extravaganza, The Greatest Show on Earth, opened on this date.

The movie is often cited as the least deserved Best Picture winner ever. It is widely believed the film only won because many members of the Academy were reluctant to vote for the anti-Joseph McCarthy western High Noon, whose screenwriter Carl Foreman had just been blacklisted from Hollywood.

January 10, 1964 -
The American version of the British program That Was The Week That Was (TW3), a weekly show of topical political satire, premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

Singer Nancy Ames, Buck Henry, Pat Englund and Alan Alda were among the regulars. The show proved equally groundbreaking in the United States and, like the British version, was no stranger to controversy.

January 10, 1964 - (Follow along this is complicated ...)
Introducing the Beatles, the first Beatles album is released in the US by Vee-Jay Records. Originally scheduled for a July 1963 release, the LP came out on this date, ten days before Capitol's Meet the Beatles!

The first editions of the LP were halted after Vee-Jay received a restraining order from Beechwood Music, Inc, who owned the US publishing rights to Love Me Do and PS I Love You. Although approximately 80,000 copies of the album had been sold, it was reissued without those two songs in early February.

January 10, 1984 -
The "Where's the Beef?" commercial campaign for Wendy's with Clara Peller was first aired on this date.

Clara Peller was 81 when she came out of retirement to star in the Wendy's spot.  Peller died on August 11, 1987, one week after her 84th birthday.

January 10, 1999 -
David Chase's landmark series about the lives of gangsters and their existential angst, the Soprano, starring  James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, and Lorraine Bracco premiered on HBO on this date.

James Gandolfini said that he was often contacted by real-life "wise guys" complimenting him on the authenticity of the series as well as giving him advice.

Today in History:
Common Sense was a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously (not that Tom didn't know his name - it was theoretically punishable by death to denounce the crown and Tom wasn't quick looking for death at that time) on January 10, 1776, before the American Revolution. Paine wrote it with editorial feedback from Benjamin Rush, who came up with the title.

The document denounced British rule, and through its immense popularity contributed to fomenting the American Revolution. The second edition was published soon thereafter. A third edition, with an accounting of the worth of the British navy, an expanded appendix, and a response to criticism by the Quakers, was published on February 14, 1776.

January 10, 1810 -
, unable to to produce an heir with his wife, the Empress Josephine, divorced her on this date.

The divorce was unpopular with the people, and also strained Napoleon's relationship with church officials; especially after he quickly remarried an Austrian duchess.

January 10, 1870
Victor Noir, French journalist, was killed by Prince Pierre Bonaparte. Noir had called on him with a companion to present his editor's challenge to a duel because of a journalistic dispute concerning Corsican politics. Bonaparte was so insulted to have been approached by mere "menials" (his phrase, apparently) that he slapped the hapless 22-year-old in the face, pulled out a pistol and shot him on the spot.

Over 10,000 people attended his funeral and public sentiment over Noir's death forces Napoleon III to abdicate. A statue of Noir s prostrate figure became a magnet for anorgasmic women rubbing themselves against him as a sexual charm.

Once again, the French, they are a funny race.

January 10, 1863 -
The London Underground (the Tube) opened to the public on this date. The Underground, a symbol of British culture, was the world's first underground railroad.

Passengers can still ride the original line, which ran between the London Paddington station and the Farringdon station.

January 10 1883 -
A fire at the six-story Newhall Hotel in Milwaukee killed more than 71 people on this date. For years this was considered one of the worst single structure fires in the United States.

Two famous midgets residing there, General Tom Thumb (Charles Sherwood Stratton) and his brother-in-law Commodore Nut, were rescued by firefighters.

January 10, 1899
British inventor, David Misell who was living in New York, was issued a patent  for an Electric Device (US patent #617,592) on this date. The first portable flashlights were hand-made from paper and fiber tubes, with a bulb and a crude brass reflector.

Misell sold those patent rights to Russian immigrant and inventor, Conrad Hubert and his American Electrical Novelty and Manufacturing Company (later renamed the Eveready Battery Company.)

January 10 1948 -
Donald Fagen, singer and front man of the rock band Steely Dan, was born on this date.

Hopefully, at some point Mr Fagen and Mr Becker can get another album together.

January 10 1982 -
You could no longer go to Paul Lynde to block on this date. Mr. Lynde was found dead of a heart attack, (an apocryphal story has been going around that he was also naked and clucking a bottle of poppers in his West Hollywood home at the time.)

Mr. Lynde's bed companion, it appears, neglected to call 911 to report the emergency.

Kids, remember - don't count on that hustler to call the paramedics for you (that's always extra.)

January 10 1984 -
Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper became the first female recording artist since Bobbie Gentry (1967) to be nominated for five Grammy Awards: Album of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Performance (Female), Record of the Year and Song of the Year on this date.

She may be unusual but Cyndi is still going strong more than 30 years later.

And so it goes.

Before you go -
January 10, 2016 -
Thinking about how we mourn artists we've never met: We don't cry because we knew them, we cry because they helped us know ourselves.

It's one year since music legend David Bowie succumbed to cancer. The musician died two days after his 69th birthday, having kept his illness hidden from everyone except his family and closest collaborators.

No comments: