Tuesday, April 10, 2018

I'll crawl back from the grave to do it!

April 10, 1937 -
Lloyd Bacon
crime melodrama from Warner Bros., Marked Woman, starring Bette Davis, and Humphrey Bogart, premiered on this date.

Based on the life of gangster Lucky Luciano, who was finally imprisoned when some of the prostitutes who worked in one of his brothels, tired of the beatings and maltreatment meted out by him, informed on him to the police.

April 10, 1946
Joseph L. Mankiewicz's (directorial debut) period melodrama, Dragonwyck, starring Gene Tierney, Walter Huston, Vincent Price, Harry Morgan, and Jessica Tandy, premiered in NYC on this date.

Ernst Lubitsch
was intended to direct the film. But when he fell ill, Joseph L. Mankiewicz took over.

April 10, 1953 -
Warner Bros.' first 3-D movie, House of Wax, starring Vincent Price, premiered on this date.

The film's director, André De Toth, was blind in one eye and hence could not see the effect.

April 10, 1957 -
Ricky Nelson
sang for first time on TV's Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

He performed the song, I'm Walking.

April 10, 1992 -
One of Robert Altman's most successful films, the biting comedy about Hollywood, The Player, starring  Tim Robbins, Greta Scacch, Fred Ward, Whoopi Goldberg, Peter Gallagher, and Cynthia Stevenson (and just about every actor who happened to be in Hollywood that week), opened in NYC on this date.

The film has more Oscar winning actors and actresses in the cast than any other movie in history. There are twelve: Cher, James Coburn, Louise Fletcher, Whoopi Goldberg, Joel Grey, Anjelica Huston, Jack Lemmon, Marlee Matlin, Tim Robbins, Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, and Rod Steiger. The celebrity cameos were not written in the script. Robert Altman added them all in. No scripted dialogue was given to any celebrity with a cameo.

Today's moment of zen

Today in History:
April 10, 1848
250 people died in a bridge collapse in Yarmouth, England. They had gathered on the suspension bridge to watch a clown boat be pulled by a flock of geese.

Nothing good comes from clowns.

April 10, 1849 -
Prolific inventor Walter Hunt patented the modern safety pin on this date.

Hunt sold the rights for less than $500 to pay a debt he owed of $15. He also invented the sewing machine in 1833 (which he patented in 1854) but that's another story.

April 10, 1866
Henry Bergh founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in New York City, on this date.

Interesting enough, Bergh goes on, with a group of other like minded social reformers, to help found the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in 1874.

April 10, 1872 -
The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska City, on this date, and about one million trees were planted.

The holiday was actually founded by an editor and agriculturalist from Nebraska City, J. Sterling Morton, who also served as President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of Agriculture. (This year, Arbor Day is celebrated on April 27th.)

April 10, 1912 -
... I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that . . . - Edward J. Smith (1907), the future captain of the RMS Titanic.

The RMS Titanic left port in Southampton, England for her first and last voyage on this date.

April 10, 1917
133 people were killed in an explosion at the Eddystone ammunition factory in Chester, PA on this date. Satan was immediately implicated, with one official declaring the blast to be "the result of a diabolical plot conceived in the degenerate brain of a demon in human guise." It later turns out to have been caused by poorly-maintained powder loading machinery.

Lucifer wrote a strongly worded Op-Ed piece for the Times complaining about his perceived negative image in the media.

April 10, 1919 -
Mexican Revolution leader Emiliano Zapata was ambushed and shot dead by government forces in Morelos, Mexico on this date.

Zapata and his bodyguards were lured to a meeting by army colonel Jesus Guajardo. For his deception, Guajardo collects a reward of 52,000 pesos and is promoted to the rank of general. Dubya's grandpappy did not attempt to steal his skull.

April 10, 1925 -
... He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night...

F. Scott Fitzgerald third book, The Great Gatsby, was published on this date. Among various titles considered were Among Ashheaps and Millionaires, Gold-Hatted Gatsby, The High-Bouncing Lover, On the Road to West Egg and Fitzgerald's favorite Trimalchio's Banquet based on a character Trimalchio in the Satyricon. At the last moment, Fitzgerald agreed with his editor Max Perkins on the title, The Great Gatsby and it was published on this date.

The novel was not popular upon initial printing and sold fewer than 25,000 copies during the remaining fifteen years of Fitzgerald's life. Fitzgerald was very disappointed about this happening.

Much alcohol consumption and dissipation ensued.

(Once again I must recommend if you are in St. Paul, Minnesota, please have a drink at the Commodore Bar and Restaurant in his honor. He briefly lived at the hotel, formerly located here; it's currently a condominium. He hung out at the hotel's bar, which is now the restaurant.)

April 10, 1963 -
In the course of deep-diving tests, the USS Thresher nuclear-powered submarine failed to surface 220 miles east of Boston, Mass, on this date.  The disaster claimed all 129 men aboard under 8,400 feet (2,560 meters) of water.

According to U.S. military reviews of the accident, the most likely explanation is that a piping joint in a sea water system in the engine room gave way. The resulting spray shorted out electronics and forced an automatic shutdown of the nuclear reactor.

April 10, 1964 -
The Polo Grounds
were demolished on this date and a public housing project was erected on the site. Demolition of the Polo Grounds began with the same wrecking ball that had been used four years earlier on Ebbets Field.

The wrecking crew wore Giants jerseys and tipped their hard hats to the historic stadium as they began the dismantling. It took a crew of 60 workers more than four months to level the structure.

April 10, 1970
Answering questions concerning his upcoming debut solo album, Paul McCartney 'accidentally' announced on this date, that the Beatles were breaking up. Many were devastated when the legendary band announced that members were going their separate ways after more than 20 years of working together.

The breakup itself took over three years to become official because of numerous legal snafus.

April 10, 1971
In an effort to build better relations between the U.S. and China, a US table tennis team begins a week long visit to the People's Republic of China (PRC) at the invitation of China's communist government.

The visit was a major step forwards in relations between the two countries, and gave rise to the term "table-tennis diplomacy."

April 10, 1972 -
Charlie Chaplin returned to America, after a more than a 20 year self-imposed exile (having been accused of being a Communist) — to receive a lifetime achievement Oscar on this date.

It was his second academy award; the first he got in 1929 for The Circus.

And so it goes.


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