Sunday, July 16, 2017

As if you had to legislate this faux holiday

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month. He also declared that the third Sunday in July would be National Ice Cream Day.

You may begin screaming for your ice cream now but heed this story - my late father-in-law threatened to shoot the local Mr. Softie man if he continued to drive his truck past the house during dinnertime.

July 16, 1948 -
John Huston'
s version of Maxwell Anderson's play, Key Largo, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall premiered in New York on this date.

Although they played on-screen enemies, off-screen Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson treated each other with great respect. Bogart insisted Robinson be treated like a major star and would not come to the set until he was ready. Often, he would go to Robinson's trailer to personally escort him to the set.

July 16, 1951 -
One of the best adaptations of a Charles Dickens' novel, David Lean's Oliver Twist was released in the US on this date.

The film was released in England in 1948. The film's release in the US was delayed until 1951 because of protests from Jewish pressure groups, who judged Alec Guinness' portrayal of Fagin to be anti-Semitic

July 16, 1958
The classic Vincent Price Sci-Fi film, The Fly, opened in San Francisco on this date.

In the scene where the fly with Andre Delambre's head and arm is caught in the spider's web, a small animatronic figure with a moving head and arm was used in the spider web as a reference for actors Vincent Price and Herbert Marshall. Price later remembered that filming the scene required multiple takes, because each time he and Marshall looked at the animatronic figure, with its human head and insect body, they would burst out laughing.

July 16, 1983 -
The Police
song about an obsessive stalker, (completely misunderstood by most of their fans,) Every Breath You Take topped the charts on this date.

This is one of the most misinterpreted songs ever. It is about an obsessive stalker, but it sounds like a love song. Some people even used it as their wedding song. Sting wrote it after separating from his first wife, Frances Tomelty.

July 16, 1999 -
Stanley Kubrick
final film, Eyes Wide Shut, was released on this date.

Though often referred to as Stanley Kubrick's "unfinished masterpiece", the final edit of the film was actually presented to Warner Bros. (by Kubrick) a full four days before his death, though the score and other aspects were not finalized.

Our moment of zen

Today in History:
July 16, 1054
The 'Great Schism' between the Western and Eastern churches began over rival claims of universal pre-eminence.

Remember kids, there's no schism like a great schism.

(In 1965, 911 years later, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I met to declare an end to the schism.)

Mary Baker Eddy was born on this date in 1821.

Ms. Eddy invented Christian Science, and was elected to the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1995 for having been the only American woman to found a worldwide religion without exposing her breasts.

July 16, 1860 -
A decree from Emperor Norton I of San Francisco, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, ordered the dissolution of the United States of America on this date.

(More on the good Emperor next month.)

July 16, 1945 -
...If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One - I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds....

Code-named Trinity, the first experimental plutonium bomb (The Gadget) was detonated in a United States test of an atomic explosion at Alamogordo Air Base, Los Alamos, New Mexico on this date. The explosion yields the equivalent 18,000 tons of TNT.

July 16, 1951 -
The Catcher in the Rye was published 66 years ago today. The book contained secret code words by means of which its author, J.D. Salinger, was able to communicate diabolical commands to his evil minions. (Exactly fourteen years later, the tunnel connecting France and Italy through Mont Blanc was opened to the public.

Draw your own conclusions.)

Salinger was a one-hit wonder. (He did write several other books, but these are of interest only to insomniacs and those with wobbly furniture.) The Catcher in the Rye was published in 1951, and Salinger subsequently hid himself away in the hills of Vermont, emerging from this self-imposed cloister only briefly, to serve as Prime Minister of Canada and then again, to appear as a corpse at his own funeral. For nearly half a century, The Catcher in the Rye has captured the imagination of the American teenager like no other book without pictures.

Holden Caulfield, the hero and narrator of Salinger's slim classic, may be the finest portrait of twentieth-century American teenage angst bequeathed to posterity.

Either him or Archie, it's hard to say.

(although Archie gave up his life to save a friend.)

July 16, 1964 -
In accepting the Republican presidential nomination in San Francisco, Barry M. Goldwater said "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" and that "moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

Goldwater's speech ultimately doomed his candidacy but revived the American Conservative movement and gave birth to the political rise of Ronald Reagan.

July 16, 1969 -
48 years ago on this date, the 363-foot-tall Apollo 11 space vehicle was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center, at 9:37 a.m. (As I have gotten older, I have only now  put it together that some sick puppies at NASA (probably some of the 'Good Germans') arranged to have the launch on the anniversary of the Trinity test.)

It carried Mission Commander Neil Alden Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr.

I couldn't afford the Revell kit, so I had to satisfy myself with working on my 18-inch-tall Gulf Oil cardboard lunar module model kit while watching the launch.

July 16, 1973 -
In testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (the Ervin Committee on Watergate), former presidential assistant Alexander Butterfield disclosed that President Richard Nixon had tape recorded all of his conversations in the White House and Executive Office Building.

Bad, Nixon, bad.

July 16, 1999 -
18 years ago today, John F.Kennedy Jr. was killed along with his wife Carolyn and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette when the aircraft he was piloting crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. (Don't hitch a ride with a Kennedy.)

He was flying a Piper Saratoga II HP from Essex County Airport in New Jersey to Martha's Vineyard. Kennedy and his wife were traveling together to the wedding of his cousin Rory in Hyannis, Massachusetts, while Lauren was to have been dropped off at Martha's Vineyard en route.

And so it goes.

Before you go - The folks at Wired have put together a short presentation of the evolution of Color in film -


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