Wednesday, April 11, 2018

An elephant never forgets

April 11, 1942 -
Bob Clampett
was the first to tackle an adaption of a Dr. Seuss book when Merrie Melodies released Horton Hatches the Egg, on this date.

Peter Lorre was a favorite characterization for the famed Warner Bros. cartoonists, as he tangled several times with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.

April 11, 1947 -
Charlie Chaplin's
very dark comedy, Monsieur Verdoux, premiered on this date in NYC.

The film was a colossal box-office flop on its 1947 release, despite being ardently championed by writer-critic James Agee, who considered Charles Chaplin's acting performance the greatest male performance he had ever seen in films.

April 11, 1955
The  Paddy Chayefsky drama, Marty, starring Ernest Borgnine (the man who taught Ethel Merman the lessons of love) and Betsy Blair and directed by Delbert Mann, premiered in New York City on this date.

Betsy Blair, who portrayed Clara, was almost not permitted to do the film by Hecht-Lancaster Productions and United Artists due to the 1950s Hollywood Blacklist. However, Gene Kelly, her husband at the time, basically blackmailed United Artists and Hecht-Lancaster into casting her, at the last minute, by threatening not to direct or star in any of UA's or Hecht Lancaster's productions if she was not cast for the role.

April 11, 1981
One of the songs that aired on MTV's first day of broadcast - Daryl Hall and John Oates' Kiss on My List, reached no. #1 on the Billboard charts on this date.

This is a very misinterpreted song, as many people hear the lyric as "kiss on my lips." According to Daryl Hall, it is what he calls "an anti-love song," and the lyric, "Your kiss is on my list of the best things in life" means that the kiss is simply another item on the guy's list - and certainly not the best thing. Said Hall: "Everyone thinks it's 'I love you and without you I would die.' It's exactly the opposite of that."

April 11, 1997 -
Buena Vista Pictures'
surprize hit, Grosse Pointe Blank, starring  John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, and Joan Cusack, premiered in the US on this date.

John Cusack saw the film as a metaphor for the Reagan/Bush years. "I grew up fascinated by people in the Reagan administration, their ethics, their mercenary values," he said in an interview. "People who plan wars and then go home to their wives and their kids ... How do they live? To me, Grosse Pointe Blank was a metaphor for the people in the Bush White House."

April 11, 2009 –
Lady Gaga
second hit off her debut album The Fame, Poker Face, hit no. #1 on the Billboard charts, on this date.

The song climbed into the Top 10 of the Hot 100, whilst Lady Gaga's debut single, Just Dance, was positioned at #5. She thus became the first solo female lead artist to have her first two chart entries appear in the top 10 simultaneously, since Ciara achieved the same feat with Goodies and 1, 2 Step in December 2004.

Another non-ACME PSA

Today in History:
April 11, 1034
An ancient corollary (lost to the ages) of the phrase 'don't go to bed mad' is 'don't take a bath mad'. After cutting his wife's allowance, in order to balance the Byzantine Empire's budget, Emperor Romanos III Argyros was drowned by the Empress Zoe's eunuch (and lover?) Michael, in his bath on this date.

Zoe was so happy with Michael's handiwork, she had him made Emperor - Michael IVMichael's first act as Emperor was to cut Zoe's allowance.

April 11, 1713 -
Psst (in case it comes up in conversation),  Spain ceded Gibraltar in perpetuity to Britain under the Treaty of Utrecht on this date.

That should impress the person in the next cubicle.

April 11, 1814 -
Able was I ere I saw Elba

Unable to come up with an anagram preventing it, Napoleon tried a forced retirement, for the first time, as Emperor of France, on this date.

He retaining the title of emperor and 400 volunteers to act as his guard. He was granted sovereignty over Elba and a pension from the French government. Retirement on a small island in the Mediterranean off the coast of Italy, didn't suit him and he comes back for his metric Hundred Day campaign (see March 20).

April 11, 1865
President Abraham Lincoln made his last public speech on this date. His speech centered on promoting the rights of African-Americans.

The speech apparently didn't come off as planned. After hearing it, John Wilkes Booth, who had originally been planning to kidnap Lincoln, become so incensed that he decided to assassinate him instead.

April 11, 1890 -
Joseph "John" Merrick
, the Elephant Man died at the Royal London Hospital at the age of 27 on this date.

It is mistakenly thought that John Merrick's condition was Elephantiasis; in recent years it is believed that he either suffered from von Recklinghausen’s disease or Proteus syndrome, a condition which had only been identified in 1979.

April 11, 1905
A simple patent clerk, Albert Einstein, known mostly for looking at the town clock or passing trains, produces a not so simple paper discussing the Theory of Relativity which among other things postulates that E=MC² .

This astonished the world because previously E had always equated the fifth letter of the alphabet.

April 11, 1935  -
Richard Berry
, the composer of Louie Louie was born on this date.

The song has been recorded more times than any other rock song in history.

April 11, 1951 -
President Harry S. Truman roused himself from the fourth boiler maker of the day and relieved General Douglas MacArthur of his command on this date. Though MacArthur was a major force in the army in both World War II and Korea, he repeatedly ignored or stretched Truman's orders, suggesting the nuclear option on the peninsula.

MacArthur forgot the most important issue, several military men have forgotten when dealing with Washington D.C. - he was not actually president. The conflict between the two became very public, and Truman eventually replaced him.

April 11, 1954
According to a team of Cambridge University scientists, this date in history was the most boring day during the entire 20th Century.

It appears to have been so boring that it had to be named National Cheese Fondue Day  (and 8-track Tape Day) just so those people living through it didn't kill themselves.

Everything goes better with fondue,

and a K-tel Tape Selector.

April 11, 1979 -
Kampala, the capital of Uganda, fell to the Tanzanians and dictator Idi Amin was overthrown on this date (yes, this is on the exam.)  Amin escaped to Libya and settled into exile in Saudi Arabia.

Amin, an occasional cannibal who killed perhaps 300,000 during his reign, had made the mistake of invading Tanzania - a common mistake most occasional cannibals make.

And so it goes


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