Happy Birthday Tom Cruise (Mapother IV), who turns 55 today.
Let's all hope people still like their actors crazy.
July 3, 1951 -
An under-appreciated Hitchcock classic, Strangers on a Train, was released on this date.
As was his usual practice, Alfred Hitchcock shot each scene so that there was only one way to edit it which always conformed to his initial visual concept and pre-production storyboards.
July 3, 1962 -
John Frankenheimer's biography of Robert Stroud, Birdman of Alcatraz, starring the amazing Burt Lancaster, premiered on this date.
Robert Stroud really should be known as the "Birdman of Leavenworth," since it was there that he kept his birds and did his research. He was not actually allowed any birds during his time at Alcatraz.
July 3, 1985 -
Universal released Robert Zemeckis' sci fi comedy Back to the Future, starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover on this date.
During a cast reunion, Michael J. Fox said that strangers still call him "McFly!" constantly. Fox said that the most remarkable instance was when he was in a remote jungle in the South Asian country Bhutan, located between China and India in the eastern Himalayas. A group of Buddhist monks passed him and one of them looked at Fox and said, "Marty McFly!"
July 3, 1996 -
One of the great summer popcorn movies, Independence Day, was released on this date.
According to producer/co-writer Dean Devlin, the U.S. military had agreed to support the film by allowing the crew to film at military bases, consulting the actors who have military roles, etc. However, after learning of the Area 51 references in the script, they withdrew their support.
Word of the day
Today in History:
Siriusly - The Dog Days of Summer begin today. (That's an inside joke for astronomers )
Joyeux anniversaire au Québec, vous ne cherchez pas un jour plus de 400.
July 3, 1844 -
Museums and collectors, wanting the rare penguin-like Great Auks' skin and eggs, hunted the bird to extinction on this date. The last pair of known birds was found in Iceland by three hunters, Jón Brandsson, Sigurður Ísleifsson and Ketill Ketilsson.
(Wow, would I hate to be the relatives of these three guys.)
July 3, 1863 -
The long three day Battle of Gettysburg ended on this date, marking the bloodiest battle the country had yet seen.
The fighting in the small Pennsylvania town marked a pivotal point in the Civil War and although both sides losses were essentially equal, helped turn the outcome toward the Union forces.
July 3, 1965 -
Roy Rogers' horse, Trigger, died at 25 on this date. His mounted body was placed on display at Rogers' museum in Victorville, Ca.
Trigger was not alone; Buttermilk (Dale Evans' horse) and Bullet (the Rogers' German Shepherd) are mounted alongside.
(Kids, the preferred term is 'mounted'; stuffed is more like the plush toy on your bed.)
On July 3, 1969, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones drowned in his own swimming pool on this date.
Although he was the first Rolling Stone to do so, Mr Jones is just one of millions of people to have drowned in their own swimming pools. As a public service I have therefore chosen to help American readers prepare for the long holiday weekend with some advice on how not to drown in one's pool:
1. The easiest way not to drown in your own pool is not to have one. Readers without pools may enhance their safety further by consulting the previous articles, "How Not to Kill Yourself: Don't place your Head in an Oven!" and "How Not to Fall Down an Elevator Shaft."
2. If you insist upon owning a pool, don't swim in it, walk by it, or nap in its vicinity.
3. Pools don't drown people: water does. A drained pool is a safe pool. In troubling times like these, it's also worth noting that empty pools may be put to good use as bunkers or bomb shelters.
4. Avoid the use of electronic equipment while swimming. Today's multi-tasking professionals may feel inclined to save time by checking their email or drafting a Powerpoint presentation while taking a few laps, but this can prove ruinous for one's telecommunications equipment and, in the case of desktop computers or mainframes, not much better for one's own health.
5. Wait at least 45 minutes before swimming after the ingestion of mind-altering substances.
6. Don't be a rock star. Scientific research has proven that rock stars are seven times more likely than the general population to drown in swimming pools, bathtubs, or pools of their own vomit.
7. Do not attempt to convert the water in your pool to Jell-O. Jell-O is just as deadly as chlorinated water when ingested by the lungs, but far more likely to attract insects and vermin. It is one thing to drown in your own pool: it is quite another to drown in your own pool and then be devoured by maggots.
8. Avoid poisonous snakes.
July 3, 1971 -
Jim Morrison was found dead of an apparent heart attack in his Paris apartment bathtub on this date.
That's what he wants us to think, anyway.
July 3, 1986 -
President Ronald Reagan presided over a gala ceremony in New York Harbor that saw the relighting of the renovated Statue of Liberty.
The restoration efforts, led under the direction of Lee Iacocca, cost $87 million dollars.
July 3, 1987 -
British millionaire Richard Branson and Swedish-born Per Lindstrand, the balloon's designer, became the first hot-air balloon travelers to cross the Atlantic on this date.
The two men were forced to jump into the sea as their craft went down off the coast of Scotland. Let's hope his intergalactic flights go a tad better.
And so it goes.