July 8, 1932 -
W.C. Fields' very funny political satire, Million Dollar Legs, opened on this date.
The film's release was timed to coincide with the Los Angeles Olympics, which began three weeks later.
July 8, 1932 -
Tod Browning's groundbreaking shockfest Freaks, featuring genuine carnival sideshow performers, premieres at the Rialto theater in New York on this date.
This films has a troubled distribution history. It's had several 'premieres' around the country; each time, people were horrified at what they saw and the film was taken back and re-edited. The film has been banned in a number of states and cities in the United States. Although no longer enforced, some of the laws were never officially repealed. Therefore, it is still technically illegal for this film to be shown some areas of the USA.
July 8, 1958 -
The center of the Hollywood Universe was born today in 1958.
Remember even you are only a few degrees away from Kevin Bacon.
July 8, 1964 -
Probably Jerry Lewis' best directorial effort, The Patsy, premiered on this date. (This was Peter Lorre's last film; he died four days after completing his role. Lorre hated the experience and death must have seems a welcome release.)
In the ending, Jerry Lewis' character supposedly falls from the terrace of a tall building then, as Ina Balin's character is bewailing his death, Lewis strolls past the edge of the terrace revealing that the whole thing is a movie set. Lewis and Balin then walk off the set. In an interview Lewis (who both co-wrote and directed) said that he couldn't think of a good ending so he decided to go this way.
July 8, 1966 -
Universal Studios released Frankenstein Conquers the World (Furankenshutain tai chitei kaijû Baragon - Frankenstein vs. Baragon) directed by Ishiro Honda and starring Nick Adams, Tadao Takashima and Kumi Mizuno, to U.S. theaters on this date.
The film was a Japanese-U.S. co-production. The versions released in Japan and the United States were nearly identical, though the U.S. version was about 3 minutes shorter. The international version, for release outside the United States and Japan, was longer and replaced the earthquake ending with Frankenstein battling a giant octopus.
Another book I've never read
Today in History:
July 8, 1115 -
Peter the Hermit died on this date. Peter is notable for his invention of The Crusades and never bathing. He whipped up support for the first Crusade as an attempt to dislodge the Seljuk Turks from Jerusalem: over three hundred thousand Christians perished in less than a year, during which they destroyed hundreds of villages throughout Europe and Asia Minor and killed tens of thousands of European Jews and fellow Christians on their way to a holy land they never reached.
As a result of this astonishing success, the Crusades were serialized and ran for several centuries.
July 8, 1776 -
In Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell rang out from the tower of the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall), summoning citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, by Colonel John Nixon on this date.
The bell had the inscription: proclaim liberty throughout all the land onto all the inhabitants thereof.
July 8, 1800 -
The first smallpox vaccine was administered on this date in the U.S. Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse (no relation to Price) of Massachusetts introduced Edward Jenner's method of vaccination of cowpox serum to his five-year-old son Daniel and a household servant.
July 8, 1822 -
The Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, a month shy of his 30th birthday, along with two others, died on this date, when his boat went down in a sudden storm off the coast of the Gulf of Spezia.
Maybe I shouldn't have shared that part of the story.
July 8, 1856 -
The crank-operated machine gun (US patent #15,315) was patented on this date by C.E. Barnes of Lowell, Massachusetts, and the revolving gun turret was invented exactly six years later by Theodore Timby.
July 8th was a Sunday in 1881, so when a hot young man entered Edward Berner's drugstore in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, and ordered an ice-cream soda, his request was denied. Ice-cream sodas could not be served on the Sabbath owing to the ancient Mosaic injunction against them.
This religious dodge quickly became popular and came to be known as the Ice Cream Sundae. (The spelling was later changed to conceal the heretical origins of the dish.) Since that glorious day, hundreds of millions of Americans have consigned themselves to Hell.
July 8, 1969 -
The U.S. Patent Office issued a patent for the game Twister. (Yes smartpants, the game came out in 1966 but the patent wasn't issued until this date.)
July 8, 1976 -
Former President Richard M. Nixon was disbarred by the New York Bar Association. Nixon attempted to resign voluntarily, as he had from the California and U.S. Supreme Court bars, but New York refused to accept his resignation unless he acknowledged that he had obstructed justice during the Watergate coverup.
July 8, 1999 -
The last electric chair execution in Florida took place, when Allen Lee Davis ordered his last meal and walked his last mile on this date. His execution drew particular attention because his nose bled during the botched execution and he was burned on his leg, groin and head.
(If you sick puppies want to - there are photos on the intraweb of Mr. Davis after his less than professional execution - I'm just not going to link to them.)
And so it goes.