Today is the Feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola
July 31, 1928 -
MGM’s Leo the lion roared for the first time on this date.
He introduced MGM’s first talking picture, White Shadows on the South Seas. The film was directed by W.S. Van Dyke and starred Monte Blue. It won an Oscar in 1928-29 for Best Cinematography
July 31, 1991 -
The Jim Abrahams spoof of Top Gun, Hot Shots!, starring Charlie Sheen, Cary Elwes, Valeria Golino, Lloyd Bridges, and Jon Cryer, premiered on this date.
Valeria Golino claims the scene in which she catches an olive popped out of her bellybutton was accomplished without trick photography.
Word of the day:
Today in History:
July 31, 1485 -
Morte D'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory, was first published on this date.
Malory wrote this classic tale of knightly love and chivalry while in prison for armed assault and rape.
July 31, 1790 -
Samuel Hopkins was issued the first patent for a process of making potash, potassium carbonate, an ingredient used in fertilizer. The patent was signed by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and President George Washington.
July 31, 1944 -
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French aviator and author best know for his novella The Little Prince, went missing while flying in a Lockheed P-38 Lightning on a reconnaissance mission over Marseilles, on this date.
In the days and weeks that followed, various parties speculated that Saint Exupéry was shot down over the Mediterranean, had a flight accident, or even committed suicide. The latter theory grew out of the fact that the flyer had felt isolated from his squadron and was pessimistic about the future.
July 31, 1945 -
Wearing a stolen army uniform, prisoner John Giles attempted to escape from Alcatraz island by boarding an outbound cargo boat. But instead of San Francisco, the vessel heads for Angel Island, where Giles was promptly captured.
When attempting your escape from prison, do not attempt to save money by purchasing a round trip ticket. Please confirm that you have boarded the correct escape craft.
It was on this day in 1954 that human feet first stood upon the summit of Pakistan's K2 mountain, the second-tallest mountain in the world.
It was an Italian expedition led by Ardito Desio that first succeeded in ascending to the peak of K2. Team members Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni achieved that distinction on July 31, 1954.
The summit wasn't reached again until 1977, when a Japanese team with more than 1500 porters found their way to the top.
The first American expedition reached the top in 1978 without the aid of any stinking porters.
July 31, 1948 –
At Idlewild Field in New York, New York International Airport was dedicated by President Harry Truman on this date.
A 30 year old Congressman John F. Kennedy suddenly has a blinding headache that day and doesn't know why.
July 31, 1964 -
The American space probe Ranger 7 transmitted the first photo moon’s surface ever taken by a U.S. spacecraft, mapping the surface for a future lunar landing, on this date. Ranger 7 carried six slow-scan vidicon TV cameras capable of transmitting high-resolution television pictures of the lunar surface.
A total of 4,308 photographs before Ranger 7 crashed in Mare Cognitum (Sea of Clouds). The total cost of the mission was about $170 million (your tax dollars at work.)
July 31, 1966 -
The Beatles records were burned in Birmingham, Alabama on this date -- only because John Lennon innocently declared that the band happens to be "more popular than Jesus."
The record burning of course has the opposite effect, as sales of Beatles records dramatically increase (in part to burn them.)
July 31, 1966 -
Charles Whitman, as a student at the University of Texas at Austin, wounded 30 and killed 16 on this date, before being killed by police.
Two years later, Peter Bogdanovich directed his first film, Targets, based of the the Whitman slayings.
Roger Corman told Peter Bogdanovich he could make any film he wanted to, with two conditions: he had to use stock footage from The Terror, and he had to hire Boris Karloff for two days (Karloff was under contract and owed Corman those two days). Karloff was so impressed with the script that he refused pay for any shooting time over his contracted two days. He worked for a total of five days on the movie.
July 31, 1971 -
One of the most expensive car rides occurred on this date, when James B. Irwin and David R. Scott took the Lunar Roving Vehicle or "Moon Buggy" on its premiere jaunt on the surface of the Moon.
July 31, 1976 -
NASA released the famous Face on Mars photo taken by the Viking 1, on this date.
but until then, the face will spark imaginations and lead to rampant conspiracy theories.
Tomorrow is the festival of Lammas, an ancient harvest festival, (which we will have more to say about tomorrow.)
According to Shakespeare, Guiletta Capulet was born on "Lammas Eve at night," so Juliet's birthday is July 31st (sharing her birthday with Harry Potter and his creator, J. K. Rowlings.)
July 31, 1980 (I'm going with 1980 and not getting involved in the 1979 controversy) -
Harry Potter, an orphan who discovers that he is a wizard was born on this dates.
J K Rowlings, the Harry Potter brand author, shares a birthday with her creation (born 1965). Her 'children's stories' have made her a billionaire.
Who knew an orphaned kid with a facial birthmark could make someone so much money?
July 31, 2003 -
Felix Baumgartner, became the first man to glide across the English Channel without an aircraft when he jumped from a plane thirty thousand feet above Dover, England wearing carbon fiber wings attached to his back.
He glided 23 miles across the Channel in ten minutes at a starting speed of 220 mph and slowing to a speed of 135 mph. Baumgartner finished his flight using a parachute landing in Cap Blanc-Nez, France.
And so it goes.