Wars, droughts, and natural disasters drive people away from their homes and their lands. This is tragic, but the next step - where do they go next? - can compound the tragedy. This year is the 18th anniversary of World Refugee Day, sponsored by the United Nations Refugee Agency, which aims to raise global awareness of global responsibility for refugees.
It's difficult for a nation or other region that is struggling with unemployment or drought or other problems to take in large groups of people, no matter how great their need. It is a crime against humanity when a country criminalizes the struggle of those people and their search for a safer and better life.
June 20, 1941 -
Advertised as their farewell film (they went on to appear in two more,) The Big Store, starring the Marx Brothers and Margaret Dumont (in her final appearance in a Marx Bros. film) premiered on this date.
It has been rumored that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was watching a private screening of this film when he received news that Nazi second-in-command Rudolf Hess had flown to Britain on an unauthorized mission to end the conflict between Britain and Germany during World War II. Churchill decided that the news was so unimportant he ignored it, went back into his screening room and watched the rest of the movie.
June 20, 1942 -
It's Brian Wilson's birthday today, ushering in those lazy, hazy days of summer.
Brian Wilson has just had to postpone the continuation of his tour in support of last year's 50th anniversary of the release of Pet Sounds, due to emergency back surgery. Let's all have a good thought for him today.
June 20, 1946 -
Rex Harrison's first American movie, Anna and the King Of Siam, with Irene Dunne, opened in theaters on this date.
Filming was delayed two months because Irene Dunne's husband was recovering from a heart attack. Twentieth Century Fox almost considered replacing her with Myrna Loy or Jean Arthur.
June 20, 1974 -
Forget about it Jake. It's Chinatown
The unforgettable film-noir classic, Chinatown, was released on this date.
After several takes that never looked quite right, Faye Dunaway got annoyed and told Jack Nicholson to actually slap her. He did and felt very guilty for it, despite it being Dunaway's decision. The shot made it into the movie.
June 20, 1975 -
Steven Spielberg's thriller, Jaws, premiered on this date. Beach vacations were never the same again.
When 'Bruce' the shark was built, it was never tested in the water. When it was put in the water at Martha's Vineyard, it sank straight to the ocean floor; it took a team of divers to retrieve it.
June 20, 1997 -
It was literally nipples to the wind when Joel Schumacher's contribution to the caped crusader saga, Batman and Robin, starring George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, Alicia Silverstone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Uma Thurman, went into general release on this date.
Due to the difficulty and large amount of time it took to remove the Batman suit, George Clooney reportedly urinated in his suit on at least one occasion.
June 20, 1997 -
The Rom-Com film, My Best Friend's Wedding, starring Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz and Rupert Everett premiered on this date.
Drew Barrymore read for the role of Kimberly, but lost out to Cameron Diaz when Julia Roberts suggested her for the part instead.
Another failed ACME product
Today in History:
June 20, 1756 -
In Calcutta, 146 British prisoners are placed in a 18 foot by 14 foot cell known as The Black Hole by a Bengali, Siraj-ud-daula, and held there until the following morning.
Of those imprisoned, only 23 survive. Even with the economic downturn, a 250 sq ft apartment would start a huge bidding war in Manhattan.
June 20, 1793 -
Eli Whitney applied for a patent on his Cotton Gin on this date. More affordable than gin distilled from grain alcohol and juniper berries, Cotton Gin quickly became the drink of choice among America's rural poor.
This led to widespread outbreaks of Cotton Mouth and eventually caused the Civil War.
June 20, 1782 -
Although several people on the committee were Masons, the Masonic institutions themselves deny that the Seal is Masonic; therefore, any resemblance is purely coincidental.
June 20, 1791 -
King Louis XVI and his family attempted their escape from Paris to the royalist citadel of Montedy on this date.
They were captured at Varennes-en-Argonne when they were recognized. It didn't go too well for them after this.
June 20, 1837 -
The 18-year old Princess Victoria ascended the British throne following the death of her uncle, King William IV, on this date.
Her reign as the Queen lasted 63 years and 7 months, which is the second longest of any British monarch, after her great-great-granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.
June 20, 1893 -
Lizzie Borden was found innocent of giving her stepmother and father 40 and 41 whacks, respectively.
Once O.J. finds the real killers of his wife while in prison, he promised to get cracking on this case as well.
June 20, 1947 -
Bugsy Siegel (Warren Beatty) was shot to death at Virginia Hill's (Annette Bennings) mansion, on orders purportedly from Meyer Lansky.
The drive-by shooting never was solved and remains an open case.
June 20, 1967 -
The late great Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) had refused to serve in the U.S. military, stating that it went against his religious beliefs and his opposition to the Vietnam War. This led to his conviction of violating Selective Service laws on this date.
The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the conviction.
And so it goes.
Before you go - the summer solstice begins on Wednesday, June 21, at 6:07 A.M. EDT.
I'll probably just have gone to sleep at the time (hopefully SOS will have gotten home from her prom) and we'll discuss this in further detail tomorrow.