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.
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.