Wednesday, April 4, 2018

It's World Rat Day.

You know what, I don't know, don't want to know - it's freakin' rats.

Let's all move on.

April 4, 1931  -
United Artists released the first version of the Hecht and MacArthur newspaper comedy, The Front Page, on this date.

The last line of the play had to be partly obliterated by the sound of a typewriter being accidentally struck because the censors (even of that day) wouldn't allow the phrase "son-of-a-bitch" to be used in a film.

April 4, 1941 -
A charming but little remembered Sam Wood directed comedy The Devil and Miss Jones, starring Jean Arthur, Robert Cummings, and Charles Coburn premiered on this date.

Careful inspection of the interior set of Merrick's mansion reveals it to be the Xanadu set of the recently shot RKO picture Citizen Kane. The fireplace behind the Merrick's desk with its unique herring-bone brick pattern is the tip-off.

April 4, 1951 -
Another technicolor masterpiece from the team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger - the film version of The Tales of Hoffmann starring, Robert Rounseville, Moira Shearer, Robert Helpmann and Léonide Massine, opened in NYC on this date.

George A. Romero has cited this as his all-time favorite movie, saying that it was the one that originally inspired him to get into filmmaking. Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation recently undertook a 4K digital restoration of the film. This includes some scenes that were missing from recent prints and an unseen section introducing the actors and singers.

April 4, 1953 -
While not quite in the same league as Plan 9 from Outer Space, and shot in just four days, the Ed Wood Jr. 'classic', Glen or Glenda, premiered on this date (or maybe it didn't, but does it really matter - just enjoy!)

The film was originally intended to be loosely based on the story of sex-change pioneer Christine Jorgensen.

April 4, 1964 -
The Beatles set an all-time record on the Top 100 chart of Billboard magazine this day,  holding an unprecedented twelve positions on Billboard Hot 100 singles chart on this date.

The Beatles accounted for 60 percent of the entire singles record business during the first three months of 1964. Those singles by The Beatles this day were:

"Can't Buy Me Love"
"Twist and Shout"
"She Loves You"
"I Want to Hold Your Hand"
"Please Please Me"
"I Saw Her Standing There"
"You Can't Do That"
"All My Loving"
"Roll Over Beethoven"
"From Me To You"
"Do You Want To Know A Secret"
"Thank You Girl"

Not too shabby

April 4, 1971 -
CBS aired the final episode of Hogan’s Heroes, Rockets Or Romance, on this date.

CBS chairman Fred Silverman had the show canceled, even though it was still popular in the Nielsen ratings, as part of what came to be known as The Rural Purge when he canceled all shows he felt only appealed to older audiences or to audiences that lived in rural areas. Advertisers preferred younger and more urban audiences as they were more likely to buy their products.

This man is cheating

Today in History:
April 4, 1561
Over Nuremberg, Germany, a battle in the sky transpires between black and blood-red balls, disks, and crosses on this date.

It is never made clear who prevailed in this UFO incident.

April 4, 1721
Sir Robert Walpole enters office as the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom under King George I on this date.

Robert Walpole came into office on the tail end of the South Sea Bubble collapse and was credited with leading the country out of financial disaster, cementing the importance of the Prime Minister position in British government.

April 4, 1841
William Henry Harrison was an American military leader, politician, and the ninth President of the United States. He took the oath of office on March 4, 1841, an extremely cold and windy day. People told him, "Think what your mother would say - Take a coat, it's cold." Nevertheless, he faced the weather without his overcoat and delivered the longest inaugural address in American history. At 8,445 words, it took nearly two hours to read. He then rode through the streets in the inaugural parade, and later caught a cold, which then developed into pneumonia and pleurisy. People still told him, "Think what your mother would say - Have a liedown. Have some nice chicken soup."

He sought to rest in the White House, but could not find a quiet room, as he was deluged with people seeking his favor in the hope that he would appoint them to the numerous offices the president then had at his disposal. In addition, his position and new arrival in Washington obligated Harrison to keep an extremely busy social schedule, making any rest time scarce.

His doctors tried everything to cure him, applying opium enemas, castor oil, Virginia snakeweed, and even actual snakes (don't ask what they did with the snakes.) But the treatments only made Harrison worse and he went into delirium. He died a month later, at 12:30 a.m., on April 4, 1841, of right lower lobe pneumonia, jaundice, and overwhelming septicemia, becoming the first American president to die in office. His last words were "Sir, I wish you to understand the true principles of the government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more." Harrison served the shortest term of any American president: only 30 days, 11 hours and 30 minutes.

A curious fact, Harrison's name backward is No Sirrah. When Harrison took office in 1841 at the age of 68, he was the oldest man to become President; a record that stood for 140 years, until Ronald Reagan became President in 1981 at the age of 69.

Remember, as I've stated before, your mother is always right.

April 4, 1883
American inventor and founder of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Peter Cooper died on this date.

Among his many accomplishments, he obtained the first American patent for the manufacture of gelatin. His patent was sold to the makers of Jell-O.

April 4, 1933 -
USS Akron (ZRS-4) the accident-prone helium-filled rigid airship of the United States Navy was lost in a weather-related accident off the New Jersey coast, killing 73 of the 76 crew and passengers on board on this date.

The Akron's loss spelled the beginning of the end for the rigid airship in the US Navy, especially since one of its leading proponents, Rear Admiral William A. Moffett, was killed with 72 other men.

April 4, 1949   -
The (NATO) North Atlantic Treaty Organization pact was signed by the US, Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Canada on this date.

It provided for mutual defense against aggression and for close military cooperation. (Perhaps someone should let the President know this.)

April 4, 1958 -
Lana Turner's
14 year old daughter Cheryl Crane, apparently stabs her mother's abusive mobster boyfriend Johnny Stompanato (it has always been alleged that Lana was the actual killer and that Cheryl, who faced minimal judicial punishment under the circumstances, took the rap for her). A coroner's jury finds she committed justifiable homicide.

Allegedly, while filming the movie, Another Time, Another Place, Lana Turner was rumored to have been having an affair with her costar, actor Sean Connery. Stompanato stormed onto the set, and during a verbal altercation with Connery, Stompanato waved a gun in Connery's face. Connery reacted by taking the gun away from him, physically beating Stompanato and sending him off the film set. After Stompanato's death, there were rumors that organized crime mobsters believed Connery had helped bring on the eventual demise of Stompanato, and Connery is alleged to have laid low for a time. There is no evidence that Connery and Turner were having an affair; this sort of behavior was apparently normal for Stompanato.

April 4, 1968 -
50 years ago today, civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a rifleman (possibly James Earl Ray) while standing on the second-story balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He had come to Tennessee to support a strike by the city's sanitation workers.

The night before he died, he gave a speech at the Memphis Temple Church in which he said, "I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land."

April 4, 1973
The World Trade Center in New York was officially dedicated on this date.

In order to create the 16-acre World Trade Center site, five streets were closed off and 164 buildings were demolished. Construction required the excavation of more than 1.2 million cubic yards of earth, which was used to create 23.5 acres of land along the Hudson River, now part of Battery Park City in lower Manhattan. During peak construction periods, 3,500 people worked at the site. A total of 10,000 people worked on the towers; 60 died during its construction.

April 4, 1983 -
NASA launches the Space Shuttle Challenger on its maiden voyage into space from the Kennedy Space Center on this date.

The shuttle is named for the British Naval research vessel HMS Challenger, which sailed the Atlantic and Pacific oceans during the 1870s.

April 4th, 1984 -
To the past, or to the future. To an age when thought is free. From the Age of Big Brother, from the Age of the Thought Police, from a dead man... greetings.

Winston Smith began his secret diary on this date.

And so it goes


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