Today is New York City's 16th Annual Poem in Your Pocket Day.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month. In 2002, as part of New York City’s National Poetry Month celebration, the Office of the Mayor, in partnership with the New York City Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education, initiated Poem in Your Pocket Day, a time for New York City residents to select a poem, carry it with them, and share it with others throughout the day.
April 26, 1933 -
It's not a bad thing to be able to do many things onstage. If you're an entertainer, you should be able to entertain. I'm proud to say that I'm not a one-trick pony.
Carol Creighton Burnett, the funniest woman in America was born on this day - don't argue with me, I will come to your home and hurt you. I was forced to watch The Carol Burnett Show in my bedroom and not with my family because I laughed so loudly and so hard, no one could hear it.
National Pretzel Day celebrates pretzels of all shapes and sizes. Pretzels are believed to be the world's oldest snack. (This appears to be a legitimate celebration, as there are many stores giving away free pretzels today.)
Wake me up when it's Very Dry Martini, straight up with Olives Day.
April 26, 1935 -
The Tod Browning MGM comedy-horror film Mark of the Vampire, starring Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, and Jean Hersholt, premiered in the US on this date.
Preview reviews list a running time of 80 minutes, indicating that considerable footage was cut prior to the film's release (purportedly, the entire story line concerning the incestuous relationship between Bela Lugosi and Elizabeth Allan was removed.) This would explain why many credited actors are not seen in the final print. Because director Tod Browning's previous film, Freaks, had been a box-office disaster, he was unable to object to any changes made by the studio.
April 26, 1945 -
United Artists wartime drama, Blood On The Sun, starring James Cagney and Sylvia Sidney, premiered in the US on this date.
James Cagney would chat with Sylvia Sidney in Yiddish between takes.
April 26, 1950 -
Twentieth Century-Fox released the Cold War drama, shot on location in Berlin, The Big Lift, starring, Montgomery Clift, and Paul Douglas, on this date.
Even though this was only his fourth film, Montgomery Clift already had a reputation for being difficult on set. Paul Douglas arrived in Berlin having been told by John Wayne (who had worked with Clift on Red River) that "this kid is a little shit". During the filming of their first scenes together, Douglas realized that Clift was deliberately leaning into the scene, hogging his space. He stamped on the younger actor's foot and said "Do that again and I'll break your fucking foot". Douglas and Clift didn't speak to each other for the rest of the shoot.
April 26, 1956 -
Godzilla debuted in America on this date. (Gojira premiered in Japan on November 3, 1954.)
The American version of the film had 40 minutes of the original excised (mostly the content dealing with World War II or the anti-nuclear message,) and had 20 minutes of the masterful deadpan stylings of Raymond Burr. The American version was released in Japan with Japanese subtitles and did very well.
April 26, 1967 -
CBS broadcast the documentary, Inside Pop - The Rock Revolution, with the host Leonard Bernstein, on this date.
The program marked the first time that television presented pop music as a legitimate art form.
April 26, 1978 –
NBC aired a a musical version of The Prince and the Pauper, Ringo, starring Ringo, Art Carney, Angie Dickinson, Carrie Fisher, Vincent Price, John Ritter, and George Harrison narrating, on this date.
Really, don't feel you have to watch the whole thing (it's not very good.)
Finally, a possible new job!
Today in History:
April 26, 1452 -
Leonardo da Vinci was born on this date. Mr. da Vinci was one of the great minds of the Renaissance. Sadly, he is best known for having painted the Mona Lisa (in Italian, La Joconde,) in which he accurately and exquisitely captured the unmistakable smile of a dignified woman who's just farted.
For some reason, many lonely computer geeks celebrate this day by releasing computer virii in hopes that female FBI agents will break down their doors.
April 26, 1865 -
Discovered hiding in a farmer's tobacco shed, John Wilkes Booth was shot in the neck by a complete lunatic. Dying and paralyzed from the neck down, he whispers: Tell my mother I did it for my country.
As his hands are held up to his face, Booth mutters "useless...useless..."
They are his last words.
On April 26, 1923 (almost 88 years previously to the date of his great-grandson's nuptials,) the Duke of York married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in Westminster Abbey.
This wedding might have slipped into the ephemera of time had the Duke's brother not wanted to marry a woman reported so ugly, many thought her a man in drag. And calling a woman ugly in England is really saying something, as many of the British upper crust often marry their horses out of confusion.
That's British royalty.
Count Basie died on April 26, 1984; Duke Ellington was born on April 29, 1899; Ella Fitzgerald, the "First Lady of Song," was born on April 25, 1917.
That's American royalty.
April 26, 1933 -
Hermann Goering founded the Geheime Staatspolizei, otherwise known as the Gestapo on this date.
The original purpose of this "Secret State Police" is to disrupt and harass opponents of National Socialism, but it will later come to adopt many additional responsibilities.
April 26, 1937 -
It was a beautiful Monday afternoon in Guernica, Spain on this date. At about 3:30 pm the day took a tragic turn. For over three hours, twenty-five or more of Germany's best-equipped bombers, accompanied by at least 20 more Messerschmitt and Fiat Fighters, dumped one hundred thousand pounds of high-explosive and incendiary bombs on the village, slowly and systematically pounding it to rubble.
Guernica had served as the testing ground for a new Nazi military tactic - blanket-bombing a civilian population to demoralize the enemy. It was wanton, man-made holocaust.
The bombing was the subject of a famous anti-war painting by Pablo Picasso.
April 26, 1937 -
Due to a publishing error, LIFE magazine was printed without the word "LIFE" on the cover on this date.
April 26, 1986 -
44 seconds into a late-night experiment at the Chernobyl nuclear power station, reactor number four sustains two large explosions. The exploded at Chernobyl burned for 10 days. About 70% of the fallout fell in Belarus. Damage was estimated to be up to $130 billion. The Soviet news agency TASS held off reporting the incident for almost 48 hours.
A 300-hundred-square-mile area was evacuated and 31 people died as unknown thousands were exposed to radioactive material that spread in the atmosphere throughout the world. By 1998 10,000 Russian liquidators involved in the cleanup had died and thousands more became invalids. It was later estimated that the released radioactivity was 200 times the combined bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was later found that Soviet scientists were authorized to carry out experiments that required the reactor to be pushed to or beyond its limits, with safety features disabled.
And so it goes