May 22, 1931 -
The Pre-code adaptation of the classic tale Trilby, Svengali, starring John Barrymore, Marian Marsh, and Donald Crisp, premiered in the US on this date.
The film stirred controversy due its nude modeling scene featuring a teenage Marian Marsh. The actress wore a body stocking for the scene and, in the long shot where she runs from the room, an older body double was used instead of her.
May 22, 1947 -
David Lean's classic, Great Expectations, premiered in NYC on this date.
David Lean was not a particularly well-read man, and only became aware of the power of Charles Dickens' story when his wife Kay Walsh dragged him along to a theatrical production of Great Expectations in 1939.
May 22, 1967 -
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood premiered on WQED on this date.
May 22, 1980 -
Namco released the phenomenally popular arcade game, Pac-man (known as Puck-man), in Japan on this day.
An instantaneous hit, Pac-man is still considered a landmark in video gaming history.
May 22, 1992 -
The man most of America went to bed with every night for 30 years, finally got tired of having to try to satisfy so many people.
Johnny Carson's final appearance on the Tonight Show was broadcast on this date.
May 22, 2001 -
NBC aired the final episode of Third Rock From The Sun, The Thing That Would Not Die on this date.
Both this series and the Star Trek series Deep Space Nine ended with the song Fly Me to the Moon as the characters said goodbye.
Today's moment of zen
Today in History:
May 22, 337 -
Emperor Constantine died on this date. Although quite dead, his embalmed corpse continues to act as head of state, receiving state dignitaries and daily reports from ministers as if nothing had changed. Constantine's macabre leadership continues through winter.
Sometimes, it good to be the King, even after you're dead.
May 22, 1813 -
One of the most controversial personalities of the nineteenth century, Richard Wagner was born on this date. Wagner wrote some of its most controversial music. Hitler is said for most of his life to have kept only three books on his nightstand: Wagner's autobiography, Machiavelli's The Prince, and Young Aryan Youth, lederhosen around their ankles, sitting in a tub of Chocolate Pudding. (How Hitler ended up with Wagner's nightstand is a question best left alone.)
Wagner considered it his life's mission to create a new and purely German music, in German, about Germany, for Germans, and is therefore best known for having scored the helicopter scene in Apocalypse Now.
May 22, 987 -
Louis V le Faineant, known as the Lazy, king of France (all of 20 years old,) was allegedly poisoned by his mother, on this date. It was reported that he fell off his horse during a hunting accident the day before.
May 22, 1856 -
Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner was beaten unconscious with a cane on the Senate floor by South Carolina’s Preston Brooks on this date.
Brooks, a pro-slavery Democrat, attacked Senator Sumner, a Republican abolitionist from Massachusetts, so badly that he was unable to resume his duties for three years. Brooks resigned from his seat but was re-elected.
And you thought, things were contentious in the Senate now-a-days.
May 22, 1906 -
The Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were granted a U.S. patent for their “new and useful improvements in Flying Machines.” (US No. 821,393)
May 22, 1907 -
Laurence Kerr Olivier, director, producer and one of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th Century, was born on this date.
Interestingly, Olivier is buried alongside some of the people he has portrayed in theatre and film, for example King Henry V, General John Burgoyne and Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding.
May 22, 1939 -
Italy and Germany allied themselves with the Pact of Steel on this day, forming the basis for the Axis powers, which would later include Japan.
Despite the fact that the two became allies, Hitler and Mussolini still did not trust each other, so the pact was a very uneasy alliance even after the Tripartite Agreement Pact in 1940, when Japan joined.
May 22, 1962 -
A bomb, placed by Thomas G. Doty in the lavatory of Continential Airlines Flight 11 (a Boeing 707-124 ), carrying 45 passengers and crew, exploded, tearing the airliner apart. This had the unfortunate distinction of being the very first sabotage of a commercial jet airliner in the world.
Wreckage rained down from south of Cincinnati to Unionville, Missouri where the major sections of the aircraft crashed. One passenger managed to survive that terrible night but died early the next morning from his injuries. He was 27 year old Takehiko Nakano, an engineer from Illinois.
May 22, 1964 -
Lyndon B. Johnson formally outlined his goal to create a "Great Society" through social reform during commencement exercises at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, on this day.
Two main goals of the Great Society social reforms were the elimination of poverty and of racial injustice. The most long-lasting programs of the Great Society include Medicaid and Medicare.
May 22, 1969 -
The lunar module of Apollo 10 (named Snoopy, with Thomas P. Stafford and Eugene A. Cernan aboard) separated from the command module, on this date, (named Charlie Brown piloted by John W. Young) and flew to within nine miles of the moon's surface in a dress rehearsal for the first lunar landing.
Later that day, a disaster was averted after the Lunar Module separated from the descent stage began to roll violently due to the crew accidentally duplicating commands into the flight computer. Quick action by the crew saved them from crashing into the moon (on live TV, no less.)
And so it goes.