Wednesday, May 16, 2018

It's National Sea Monkey Day (again)

It always catches me unaware.  (Impress your cubicle buddies: they're are actually Artemis Salina.)

(Mr Teeny is not speaking with me - he has told me countless times that it was his uncle in the video and he came to a very bitter end.)

So go out and enjoy the day thinking about these krill-like wonders. But don't think about their creator, Harold von Braunhut and the allegations that he financially supported white-supremacist groups.

May 16, 1956 -
Alfred Hitchcock's
remake of his 1934 film, The Man Who Know Too Much, starring James Stewart and Doris Day, premiered in Hollywood on this date.

Alfred Hitchcock told François Truffaut that the first The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) was "the work of a talented amateur and the second was made by a professional". Nevertheless, Hitchcock preferred the earlier version, largely because it wasn't so polished.

May 16, 1966 -
The Beach Boys
released their 11th studio album, Pet Sounds on this date.

It has since been recognized as one of the most influential albums in the history of popular music and is widely regarded as one of the best albums of the 1960s.

All that beautiful music and barking dogs, too.

May 16, 1980 -
One of the classics of Australian film renaissance, Breaker Morant, premiered in Australia on this date.

Ironically, despite this film's anti-British establishment sentiments and anti-Colonialism theme, a Royal Charity Film Premiere was held in London, England. The event was attended by Prince Charles who afterwards arranged for a Buckingham Palace screening of the film for Queen Elizabeth II.

May 16, 1983
The concert special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever was broadcast by NBC on this date.

Michael Jackson performed his ‘moonwalk’ dance for the first time on television.

May 16, 1986 -
Paramount released the film Top Gun, on this date.

Tom Cruise actually had to wear lifts in his scenes with Kelly McGillis. Cruise is 5'7" while McGillis is 5'10".

May 16, 1986 -
In one of the most notorious cheats in the history of television, Pam Ewing woke up to find her husband Bobby in the shower -- no small feat, considering he's been dead for a whole season.

In order to revivify Bobby's character, the Dallas writers resorted to dismissing the entire preceding year as nothing more than Pam's protracted dream.

May 16, 2005 -
Everyone got to love Raymond one last time when the last episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, The Finale aired on this date.

Filming of the series finale was delayed twice when Patricia Heaton and then Doris Roberts were ill and couldn't speak well on the filming days.

May 16, 2009 -
The Walt Disney/ Pixar animated film Up (with the most heartfelt sequence about life, marriage and growing old,) voiced by Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, and Jordan Nagai, premiered in Hollywood on this date.

The villain Charles Muntz is named after Charles Mintz, the Universal Pictures executive who in 1928 stole Walt Disney's production rights to his highly-successful Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon series. This led Walt Disney to create Mickey Mouse, who soon eclipsed Oswald in popularity.

Another failed ACME product

Today in History:
May 16, 1763
James Boswell first met Samuel Johnson in Tom Davie's London bookshop on this date. Due to the lax stalking laws of the period, Mr. Boswell followed Mr. Johnson around for several decades. On May 19, 1795, Mr. Boswell died.

(This was cold comfort to Mr. Johnson, who had already been dead for some time and was probably relishing the privacy.)

May 16, 1801
In honor of all doctoral students -

William Seward was born on this date in New York

May 16, 1879 -
Wallace Wilkerson
was condemned to death by firing squad in Utah, for the killing of a man in an argument about a card game. The execution did go quite as planned on this date. The 'sharp shooters' missed the 3-inch patch over the condemned man's heart.

Wilkerson fell from of his chair, writhing and screaming in pain, in front of the 20 or so horrified spectators. Four doctors rushed to Wilkerson, who was struggling and gasping on the ground. Officials were concerned at one point that they would have to shoot him again, but he was pronounced dead 27 minutes later, having bled to death.

This must have been one hell of a day.

When the first Academy Awards were handed out on May 16, 1929, movies had just begun to talk. That first ceremony took place during an Academy banquet in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. There were 270 people in attendance and guest tickets cost $5.

Though this was the first time these awards were to be given, the attendees were not anxious. Unlike the secrecy that surrounds the winners of today's ceremonies, the winners of the first Academy Award ceremony were announced three months early.

May 16, 1940  -
I left the ending ambiguous, because that is the way life is.

Bernardo Bertolucci, film director, was born in Parma, Italy on this date.

May 16, 1942 -
Born on this date at the Sherman Boner farm, a young pig called Parker Neptune was destined for nothing more than the slaughterhouse and a rasher of bacon or two. But through several bizarre machinations, Parker became known as King Neptune and went on war bond tours, raising an astonishing $19 million dollars for the war effort.

After the war, King Neptune retired, living in a farm and enjoying himself.  He died just two days shy of his 8th birthday, on May 14th 1950, from pneumonia. He was given the rare honor of a military funeral.

Raise a glass or two to this Porcine wartime benefactor.

May 16, 1945 -
The Nazi submarine U-234 surrendered to US forces at Portsmouth, NH. It had been bound for Tokyo with 10 containers of uranium oxide for the Japanese secret nuclear tests.

In a very ironic twist, the atomic material ended up in the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

May 16, 1953  -
Jazz attracted me because in it I found a formal perfection and instrumental precision that I admire in classical music, but which popular music doesn't have.

Jean Django Reinhardt, one the the greatest jazz guitarist, died in France on this date.

May 16, 1965 -
"The neat round spaghetti you can eat with a spoon", Spaghetti-O's first went on sale, on this date.

Oh happy day, the squirrel meat brand has stuck around.

May 16, 1977 -
Five people were killed on this date, when a New York Airways helicopter, idling atop the Pan Am Building in midtown Manhattan, toppled over, sending a huge rotor blade flying.

Three men were killed instantly and another man died later in a hospital. The blade sailed over the side of the building and killed a pedestrian on the corner of Madison Avenue and 43rd Street.

That will definitely put a crimp in your day.

May 16, 1984 -
Intergender wrestling champion and conceptual comic Andy Kaufman pretended to die of lung cancer on this date. In order to make it really convincing, Andy underwent months of radiation therapy and six weeks of psychic surgery in the Philippines.

And he's never made another public appearance. You must admire someone who can stick with a joke for this long.

May 16, 1990 -
Sammy Davis, Jr. died of throat cancer in Beverly Hills on this date. After the legendary Rat pack singer/entertainer was buried with $70,000 in jewelry, the family discovers that Mr. Bojangles was broke and left millions of dollars in unpaid back taxes.

His widow then orders the body exhumed so they can repo the jewelry.

Imagine the look on Sammy's face when they opened the casket.

May 16, 1990 -
Attached to a ventilator and swimming in antibiotics, Muppet creator Jim Henson died of a severe case of pneumonia in a New York hospital on this date.

In keeping with his express wishes, no one is permitted to wear black at Henson's funeral service, which features 5,000 fans waving painted butterflies and a live band playing "When the Saints Go Marching In."

And so it goes


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