Thursday, December 6, 2018

You better watch out!

Today is the Feast of Saint Nicholas (yes, that St. Nick.)

Amongst other things, he is the patron saint of children and was known for his generosity. He's also known as the patron saint of sailors, fishermen, merchants, the falsely accused, prostitutes (Huh), repentant thieves, pharmacists and broadcasters.

The biggest gift he ever gave was to a poor man and his three daughters. The man had no dowry to pay for his daughters and was worried that if they never married they would have no choice but to become prostitutes. Hearing this, Saint Nicholas visited the poor man at night and anonymously threw three purses filled with gold through his window. Because of this, he became the patron saint of pawnbrokers. Traditionally, three golden baubles are hung in the window of pawn shops to represent the three purses of money.

So now you know.

In the holiday vein, I saw a cute Christmas inspired commercial for an Austrian band, Erste Bank -

While it did bring a little tear to my eye, for the life of me I can't figure out what this has to do with banking?

December 6, 1940 -
released the 10th Marx Brothers film, Go West, on this date.

The elaborate chase climax was going to be deleted before filming because MGM execs thought it was too expensive.

December 6, 1964 -
One of the first neurotic holiday Christmas specials, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, premiered on this date

In the original TV version of the show, Rudolph, Hermey the elf and Yukon Cornelius visit the Island of Misfit Toys and promise to help them, but the Misfits are never mentioned again. After it was shown, the producers were inundated with letters from children complaining that nothing had been done to help the Misfit Toys. In response, Rankin-Bass produced a new short scene at the end of the show in which Santa and his reindeer, led by Rudolph, land on the Island and pick up all the toys to find homes for them, which has ever since been the standard version of the show run during the holidays.

December 6, 1969
The group Steam hit No. 1 on the Billboard Charts with their song Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye on this date.

The song is commonly used at sporting events when the home team is about to win or an opposing player is removed from the game. It seems almost custom made for that purpose, with a stadium-ready chorus that is taunting but playful. The first major league stadium to put it in their regular rotation was the Chicago White Sox, whose organist, Nancy Faust, started playing it in 1977.

December 6, 1990 -
Twentieth Century Fox
production of Tim Burton's Edward Scisshorhands, starring Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest and Vincent Price (in his last role,) premiered in Los Angeles on this date.

The role of The Inventor was written specifically for Vincent Price. Vincent Price's role was intended to be larger, but the veteran actor was very ill with emphysema and Parkinson's disease so his scenes were cut to a minimum.

December 6, 1991 -
Nicholas Meyer's
contribution to the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, starring, well you know who was in it, premiered in the US on this date.

Nicholas Meyer met with Gene Roddenberry following a rough cut screening, to fulfill Roddenberry's role as creative consultant. Roddenberry, who was in failing health at the time, was bound to a wheelchair, and had to be hooked up to an oxygen tank. Despite his frailty, Roddenberry demanded certain cuts to the film and, according to Meyer, engaged him in a heated argument. Roddenberry died several days after the meeting, and Meyer has expressed deep regret over his behavior in the meeting, not realizing just how sick Roddenberry really was at the time.

December 6, 2005
The more frank remake of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, Brokeback Mountain, directed by Ang Lee and starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, premiered in NYC on this date.

Heath Ledger, uncertain about the role when he was first offered it, was encouraged by his then girlfriend, Naomi Watts, to take it, immediately after they both read the script. After reading the script, Ledger said he would have flown to Taiwan to meet with Ang Lee in order to be hired for the role.

Today's Holiday Special has an synchronicity of sorts (not The Police kind.)

Today in History:
December 6, 1768
The first edition of the Encyclop├Ždia Britannica (Latin for “British Encyclopaedia”) is published under the title “Encyclopedia Britannica, or, A dictionary of arts and sciences, compiled upon a new plan.”

The series will eventually become the oldest continuously published English-language encyclopedia. The first edition is published in one hundred installments, which will later be bound into three volumes.

December 6, 1877 -
Thomas Edison
records his own recitation of “Mary had a Little Lamb” onto a cylinder wrapped with tin foil using his newly completed prototype hand-cranked phonograph at his Menlo Park Laboratory.

For all intents and purposes, it is the first recording of a human voice. (The clip is from a re-recording in 1927.  The original 1877 recording was not saved and no longer exists.)

December 6, 1896 -
Ira Gershwin
, lyricist (and major writer of the American Song Book) was born on this date.

I Can't Get Started -

The Man I Love -

My Ship -

They Can't Take That Away from Me -

If you're of an age, it part of the music you hear in your head as you walk down the street.

December 6, 1917 -
On the morning of December 6, the munitions ship Mont Blanc explodes in Halifax harbor after being struck by another ship, the Norwegian ship Imo.

It is the largest explosion before the atomic age. The ship was carrying 200 tons of TNT, 61 tons of gun cotton, 35 tons of Benzyl, and 2,300 tons of picric acid; the explosion destroys 325 acres of the city, leaving 1,900 people dead and injuring over 9,000.

A nicer remembrance of the days tragic events is the official Boston Christmas tree, which sits in Boston Common.  The tree is a gift from the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and has been sent every year since the 1970s. It is in recognition of the swift and sustained relief effort the people of Boston put together to aid Halifax after the explosion. (Apparently it's very bad form to bring up the cost to Nova Scotia of their very generous gift.)

December 6, 1955 -
N.Y. psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers won the top prize on the TV quiz show The $64,000 Question by correctly answering questions on boxing .

Dr. Joyce Brothers is the only person to win both The $64,000 Question and The $64,000 Challenge.

December 6, 1957
A Vanguard rocket (TV3) carrying the first US satellite blew up on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on this date.

It rose about four feet and collapsed. Its fuel tanks rupture as it fell against its firing structure, and the rocket topples to the ground on the northeast, ocean side of the structure in a roaring, rolling ball of flame.  It wasn't a good day at NASA.

December 6, 1960 -
Domino's Pizza
was founded by Thomas S. Monaghan on this date.

And the pizza still sucks.

December 6, 1969 -
A concert by the Rolling Stones at Altamont ends in the death of a fan at the hands of the Hells Angels, who were hired for security. He was a fat hippie anyway. (Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name...)

(Contrary to a popular urban legend, Sympathy for the Devil was not playing while Meredith Hunter was being stabbed, rather, the song was Under My Thumb.)

And Mr. Hunter was not a fat hippie but an African American with a gun.)

December 6, 1973 -
House minority leader Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the first unelected Vice President, succeeding US Vice President Spiro T. Agnew (under President Richard M. Nixon.)

Agnew, the only VP to resign in disgrace, resigned on October 10, and pleaded no contest to one charge of income tax invasion in return for the dropping of all other charges, and was fined $10,000 and given three year's probation .

December 6, 1989 -
Andy, Opie, fetch Aunt Bee another Rum Toddy.

Frances Bavier - "Aunt Bee" on The Andy Griffith show died of heart failure on this date.

Suffering from advance stages of senility, Ms. Bavier became convinced that she was "Aunt Bee" towards the end of her life.

December 6, 2002 -
Winona Ryder
whose six-day shoplifting trial drew national attention and stirred tabloid frenzy, was found guilty on November 7, 2002, of grand theft and vandalism in a New York City courtroom.

She was sentenced to 36 months of probation and 480 hours of community service after stealing more than $5,500 worth of merchandise from a Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills, California. She also paid restitution and a fine.

And so it goes.

Before you go - This evening, a huge Christmas tree will be lit by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, the British ambassador to Norway and the Mayor of Oslo, in Trafalgar Square.

The people of Oslo, Norway donate the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree every year in gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during WWII.  This historic tradition has happened every year since 1947.



Jim H. said...

If Winona Ryder's thefts were from a California store, why was she tried in New York? (They could have split the difference and had the trial in Winona, Minnesota.)

Kevin said...

I misidentified where the trial was - Ms. Horowitz was in fact tried just blocks away from the scene of her crime.