Sunday, March 18, 2018

Many of you are not awake yet

It's Oatmeal Cookie day.



Given the amount of drinking many of you probably did yesterday, a little extra fiber in your diet today wouldn't be the worst idea in the world.  Word to the wise - if one of the raisins stats to crawl away, don't eat the cookie.


March 18, 1924 -
The Thief of Bagdad, the Douglas Fairbanks swashbuckler adventure film which tells the story of a thief who falls in love with the daughter of the Caliph, was released on this date.



In the scenes with the giant ape, the guards are played by children. When the ape is out of sight the guards are played by adults. It was done to make the normal-sized ape appear bigger.


March 18, 1938 -
The under appreciated Ernst Lubitsch film, Bluebeard's Eighth Wife premiered on this date.



At their first production meeting, Ernst Lubitsch posed this question: How do the boy and girl get together? Billy Wilder promptly suggested that the opening scene should be in the men's shop of a department store. "The boy is trying to buy a pajama," he extemporized glibly, "but he sleeps only in the tops. He is thrifty so he insists on buying ONLY the tops. The clerk says he must buy the pants too. It looks like a catastrophe. Then the girl comes into the shop and buys the pants because she sleeps only in the pants." Ernst Lubitsch and Charles Brackett were enchanted with this idea. Months later, they discovered that Billy Wilder himself was a pajama tops-only sleeper and had been contemplating this idea for months, waiting for a chance to use it in a comedy.


March 18, 1964 -
In his first outing as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau, Peter Sellers stars in The Pink Panther, premiered in New York City on this date.



The film was intended to have David Niven's character Sir Charles Lytton as the main character. However, Peter Sellers' portrayal of Inspector Clouseau was so loved by the crew (and later by the audience) it became his character that this film and the sequels focused on.


March 18, 1967 -
The Beatles' Penny Lane single goes #1 on this date.



Paul McCartney was sitting at a bus shelter waiting for John Lennon to meet him on Penny Lane, a street near their houses. While sitting there Paul jotted down the things he saw, including a barber's shop with pictures of its clients and a nurse selling poppies for Remembrance Day (November 11th - the day World War I officially ended). He later turned these into the song we now know. Penny Lane still contains the bank and barber's shop mentioned in the song, however the shelter in the middle of the roundabout where the nurse sells the poppies has now become a restaurant named Sgt. Pepper's Bistro.


March 18, 1968 -
Mel Brook's screamingly funny first film, a send-up of Broadway, The Producers, premiered in New York City on this date.



When Mel Brooks was sixteen-years-old, he worked for a cash-strapped theatrical producer who'd raise funds by sleeping with his investors, most of whom were elderly women. "He pounced on little old ladies and would make love to them", Brooks told The Guardian. "They gave him money for his plays, and they were so grateful for his attention." In Manhattan, Brooks also knew a pair of showmen who had more or less failed their way into prosperity. "They were doing flop after flop and living like kings", Brooks said. "A press agent told me, 'God forbid they should ever get a hit, because they'd never be able to pay off the backers!' I coupled the producer with these two crooks and, BANG!, there was my story."


March 18, 1975
McLean Stevenson’s character (Lt. Colonel Henry Blake) died in the M*A*S*H episode Abyssinia, Henry, its third season finale on this date.



This was the final episode for both McLean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers. Wayne Rogers decided to leave the show because he felt that Trapper John had become more of a sidekick to Alan Alda's Hawkeye than the equals they were supposed to be. 20th Century-Fox sued Rogers, but its case collapsed when it transpired that he'd never signed his contract. The reason Rogers cited for this was an archaic "morals clause", which he wouldn't accept unless the studio signed one for him in turn.


On my recent shopping trip


Today in History:
March 18, 1314
-
Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burned at the stake during the final purge of the Templars in France on this date.



Among the things de Molay admitted to the Inquisitor panel (though possibly coerced) were the obligation of Templars to deny Christ when they joined, and a sacrament that involved spitting on a crucifix.

Oh that wacky life during the Middle Ages.


March 18, 1584 -
Ivan IV of Russia died on this date. He is better known by his nickname: Ivan the Terrible. He was the first king of Russia to call himself a Caesar, probably in the hopes that Shakespeare would write a play about him. He also replaced the sale of beer and mead with vodka at state-run taverns.



He couldn't pronounce Caesar, however, so he simply called himself "zar," and subsequent arguments over whether that should be spelled czar, tsar, zar or tzar became so heated that they eventually resulted in Russian History.

And all of this led to Vladimir Putin having himself elected president in a rigged election, again.


March 18, 1913 -
(Once again kids follow along, it's complex.)
Itinerant sailor and general layabout Philip Mountbatten's (nee Philip Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gl├╝cksburg) grandfather, Christian Wilhelm Ferdinand Adolf Georg of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gl├╝cksburg (sibling to a king and two queens) was out on an afternoon stroll. This, in and of itself, is not remarkable, except for the fact that this minor Danish/ German prince had changed his name to George and became the King of Greece. Wilhelm/ George, like most royalty, went out for an afternoon stroll without any pocket change (royalty and presidents don't carry money.)

Alexandros Schinas, an alcoholic vagrant asked the King for some spare change and shot him in the back went the King refused to give him money. Wilhelm/ George died en route to the hospital,

Alexandros died five days later after he 'accidentally' fell out of a window at police headquarters.

So kids let this be a lesson to you, if you find yourself the ruler of a European nation - the change you carry, may save your life.


March 18, 1922 -
Mohandas K. Gandhi a British educated lawyer, was arrested and sentenced to prison in India for civil disobedience after calling for mass civil disobedience which included boycotting British educational institutions and law courts, not working for the British controlled government and the boycott of foreign-made goods, especially British goods, on this date.

Although he was sentenced to six years in prison, he only served two before being released for an appendicitis operation.


March 18, 1937 -
A massive gas explosion at the New London Junior-Senior High School in New London, Texas, killed more than 400 people, most of them children, on this date.



As a result of the explosion, legislation was passed requiring an odor to be added to natural gas so that leaks may be detected.


March 18, 1954 -
In 1948, Howard Hughes gained majority control of RKO Pictures stock; at that time RKO had becomes a struggling Hollywood studio. A steady stream of lawsuits from RKO's minority shareholders became an increasing nuisance, especially as Hughes looked to focus on his aircraft-manufacturing and TWA holdings during the Korean War years. And so our favorite bisexual billionaire, ever increasing germaphobe and aviator Howard Hughes bought RKO Pictures for $23,489,478 (and not a penny more,) on this date.



With his purchase of the studio, Hughes became the closest thing to a sole owner of a studio that Hollywood had seen in more than three decades. Six months later, Hughes sold the studio to General Tire and Rubber Company for $25 million.


March 18, 1965 -
Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov performed the first spacewalk on this day. He stayed outside his ship for 12 minutes, held to the ship by a tether.



By the time his walk was over, his spacesuit had inflated so much in the vacuum of space that he could barely get back inside the ship. With a bit of quick thinking, he opened a value to allow some of the suit’s air to bleed off without venting all of it, only barely getting back into the capsule in time.


March 18, 1970 -
Country Joe McDonald (of Country Joe and the Fish) was convicted on obscenity charges after he asks for an F, a U, a C and one other letter at a concert in Massachusetts.



The song was meant as a satire of US government attitudes toward the Vietnam War. Country Joe MacDonald released it at the height of the war after he had been discharged from the US Navy for several years. He wrote it in about 30 minutes after it popped into his head.


March 18, 1980 -
50 people were killed at the Plesetsk Space Center, Mirny, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia, when a Vostok rocket exploded on the launch pad on this date.

At the time, this represented a significant percentage of the Soviet space program's scientists.



And so it goes.


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