Saturday, April 17, 2021

Today is National Blah Blah Blah day.

It’s the day to do any of the following, or whatever.

Stop smoking, take out the trash, empty the cat litter, lose weight, pick up your clothes, put dirty dishes in the sink, get a job or quit your job BUT get your goddamn vaccine.

April 17, 1924 -
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios was created following a merger of the Louis B. Mayer Company, Goldwyn Pictures, and Metro Pictures, on this date.

The MGM studio was a division of Loew's, Inc., one of the largest theater chains in North America at the time.

April 17, 1937 -
A very funny Looney Tunes cartoon Porky's Duck Hunt premiered on this date.

This short, starring Porky Pig, is notable for being the first appearance of the character who would later be named Daffy Duck. It also notable that this is the first cartoon in which Mel Blanc voices both Porky and Daffy.

April 17, 1970 -
A little known solo artist Paul McCartney releases his first solo album, McCartney, on this date.

The album was Paul McCartney's first solo effort, he had little in the way of leftovers to work with. He worked up the album in his kitchen, and played all of the instruments himself. The only other performer on the album was his wife Linda, who lent backing vocals (she also took the cover photo). (An unfortunate co-incidence for this day, Linda McCarthy died from complications of breast cancer on this date in 1998.)

April 17, 1971 -
Three Dog Night's single, Joy to the World, made it to the top of the pop music charts on this date. The song was number one for six weeks.

Hoyt Axton's mother, Mae Axton, co-wrote the Elvis hit Heartbreak Hotel. When Joy To The World topped the charts, the Axtons became the only mother-son team to each be credited with writing a #1 record.

Don't forget to tune in to ACME's Eagle Hand Soap Radio Hour Today

Today in History:
April 17, 1524 -
Giovanni da Verrazzano, another in a long line of European knuckleheads trying to find a shortcut to India, reaches the Narrows, the strait between Staten Island and Long Island on this date. He finds that he does not have enough change to go through and is turned around by local native authorities.

For some reason, we (the U.S.) named two bridges after him. Little know fact - he tried that trick again of not having exact change for the tolls while exploring the island of Guadeloupe and was eaten by native toll takers.

April 17, 1960 -
Eddie Cochran, the man behind Summertime Blues and C’mon Everybody, was killed, and Gene Vincent was injured, when the taxi carrying them from a show in Bristol, England, crashed en route to the airport in London, where he was to catch a flight back home to the US.

The taxi driver lost control on a bend in the road and spun backwards into a concrete lamp post. Cochran, who was seated in the center of the back seat, threw himself over his fiancée Sharon Sheeley, to shield her, and was thrown out of the car when the door flew open.

April 17, 1961 -
In an effort to overthrow Fidel Castro, 1,500 Cuban exiles make a series of amphibious landings at the Bay of Pigs. After it becomes painfully obvious in just a matter of hours that the forces were trained, equipped, and armed by the United States, the speed freak and known sex hound President John F. Kennedy withholds necessary air cover to protect them.

In three days of fighting, Cuba captures 1,197 of the rebels and killed approximately 200.

April 17, 1964 -
On March 19th, 1964, Geraldine 'Jerrie' Mock, a 38-year-old mother of three, jumped in the family Cessna 180 and departed Port Columbus (OH) Airport. Just over 23,000 miles later, after nearly a month dealing with unfamiliar cultures, mechanical problems and dangerous weather, she arrived back in Columbus to become the first woman to fly solo around the world on this date.

Mock's journey took about a month; aside from being the first woman to fly around the world by herself, she also set several speed records and was also the first woman to fly both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

April 17, 1964 -
The Ford Motor Company unveiled the Ford Mustang, championed by Ford Division general manager Lee Iacocca, at the New York World's Fair on this date.

The base price was $2,368. Industry experts in 1996 picked the 1964 Mustang as the number one favorite car.

April 17, 1967 -
The spacecraft Surveyor 3 is launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida, on this date. It will become the second U.S. spacecraft to make a soft landing on the Moon, where it will study the lunar surface and send more than 6,300 pictures back to Earth.

Based on the spacecraft's surface sampling tests, scientists concluded the lunar surface was solid enough to hold the weight of an Apollo lunar module.

April 17, 1969 -
A Los Angeles jury convicted Sirhan Sirhan of assassinating Senator Robert F. Kennedy on this date. Sirhan received a death sentence, but it is later reduced to life in prison.

Poor Mr. Sirhan, one of the only people who might have spoken in his defense, Robert F. Kennedy, was dead.

April 17, 1975 -
Cambodia fell on this date, when communist insurgents known as the Khmer Rouge enter the capital city of Phnom Penh.

Not much else to say after except that we may see a repeat of this in September in Kabul.

And so it goes.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Today in ACME history

A mid-1950s construction worker involved in the demolition of the J. C. Wilber Building finds a box inside a cornerstone. He opens it to reveal a singing, dancing frog (that came to be called Michigan J. Frog,) complete with top hat and cane.

According to the cartoon, One Froggy Night (1955), the box also contains a commemorative document dated April 16, 1892.

April 16, 1932 -
The Music Box, moment by moment one of the funniest Laurel and Hardy sound movies, premiered on this date.

A special police squad was on duty at the Vendome Street staircase over the course of the four-day location shoot to keep more than 3,500 onlookers and fans from interfering with the production. During their lunch breaks, Laurel & Hardy reportedly signed about 2,000 autographs.

April 16, 1962 -
This is the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite succeeded Douglas Edwards as anchorman of The CBS Evening News on this date.

April 11, 1964 -
Needing one more song for his album, Dean Martin records Everybody Loves Somebody, which his friend Frank Sinatra recorded in 1947 and several other singers tried in the '50s.

Martin hadn't had a substantial pop hit since his version of Volare went to #12 in 1958. In 1962, he signed with the Reprise record label, which was founded by Frank Sinatra. Reprise was able to put some promotional might behind Martin and give him a more contemporary sound. He kept his distance from rock and roll, but there was still an audience for his sound. Everybody Loves Somebody became the first chart-topper on Reprise; Martin was a reliable seller on the label throughout the '60s, with most of his singles landing on the Hot 100.

April 16, 1964 -
The Rolling Stones released their first, eponymously named album in the UK on this date.

When London Records released the Stones’ debut album in the US, it came with a slightly different album cover. The photo was the same, but the band’s name featured prominently on the front, along with a subtitle: England’s Newest Hit Makers.

April 16, 1973 -
In order to fulfill a contractual obligation with Lew Grade, Paul McCartney appeared in his first TV special (since the disastrous Magical Mystery Tour,) James Paul McCartney, on this date.

Although it was very highly anticipated – McCartney received a cover story on TV Guide – the reviews were dreadful. The New York Times dismissed it as “a series of disconnected routines strung together with commercials for Chevrolet.The Washington Post was nastier, taking Linda to task as not being her husband’s artistic equal. “Mrs. McCartney’s previous careers … do not qualify her to perform in public,” according to the Post’s critic.

April 16, 1977 -
David Soul one half of TV cop show Starsky & Hutch, went to No.1 on the US singles chart (as well as the UK charts,) with Don't Give Up On Us, his only US hit, on this date.

This was written by Tony Macaulay, who co-wrote four other UK #1s: Baby Now That I've Found You for the Foundations, Let The Heartaches Begin for Long John Baldry, Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) for Edison Lighthouse and Silver Lady for David Soul.

April 16, 1978 -
Directed by Marvin Chomsky and written by Gerald Green, Holocaust, starring Fritz Weaver, Joseph Bottoms, Michael Moriarty, David Warner, Tovah Feldshuh, Rosemary Harris, Ian Holm, George Rose, Meryl Streep, James Woods, Blanche Baker, and Sam Wanamaker, recounts the Nazi genocide of European Jewry through two fictional families in Berlin: the Weisses, who are Jewish, and the Dorfs, who are Christian, premiered on NBC on this date.

The term "Holocaust" didn't exist in the German language until the 1980s. Due to the great success of this mini-series, it became common knowledge, and was chosen as "word of the year 1979" by the "Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache" (Society for German Language).

Another unimportant moment in history

Today in History:
April 16, 1178 BC -
... The sun has been obliterated from the sky, and an unlucky darkness invades the world. - Theoclymenus

A solar eclipse may have marked the return of Odysseus, legendary King of Ithaca and one of the most recurrent characters in Western literature, to his kingdom after the Trojan War on this date.

April 16, 1865 -
President Abraham Lincoln lay in state on this date. Two days previously, he receives a cranial gunshot wound from a member of the nation's most famous acting families, John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln died the following day, primarily from ill-advised attempts to extract the bullet lodged in his brain.

At approximately the same time, a co-conspirator of Booth's, Lewis Powell broke into the Secretary of State William Seward's home and attacks his family.

Incredibly, Mr. Seward survives a stabbing to the face and neck. The president's death came only six days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his massive army at Appomattox, effectively ending the American Civil War.

So once again, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?

April 16, 1866 -
Dmitry Karakozov, a minor nobleman from Kostroma attempted to assassinate Tsar Alexander II of Russia at the gates of the Summer Garden in St. Petersburg on this date.

As the Tsar was leaving, Dmitry rushed forward to fire. The attempt was thwarted by Osip Komissarov, a peasant-born hatter's apprentice, who jostled Karakozov's elbow right before the shot was fired

April 16, 1889 -
Charles Spencer Chaplin, Jr, actor, writer, songwriter, composer, film producer and director was born on this date.

According to his daughter Geraldine Chaplin, in the last years of his life Chaplin began to worry that he might not be remembered after his death. This was a major reason why he allowed his trademark character The Little Tramp to appear on several commercial products in the 1970s.

April 16, 1912 -
In 1911, Harriet Quimby earned the first US pilot's license issued to a woman. Less than a year later, Quimby, in a Bleriot monoplane, became the first woman to fly solo over the English Channel on this date.

Her achievement was overshadowed in the press however, by reports of the sinking of the Titanic.

April 16 1912 -
The remains of the R.M.S. Titanic came to rest at the bottom of the sea on this date. The unsinkable ship sank after being torn by iceberg. Of a total of 2,208 people, only 712 survived; 1,496 perished.

If the lifeboats had been filled to capacity, 1,178 people could have been saved. Of the first-class, 201 were saved (60%) and 123 died. Of the second-class, 118 (44%) were saved and 167 were lost. Of the third-class, 181 were saved (25%) and 527 perished. Of the crew, 212 were saved (24%) and 679 perished. The majority of deaths were caused by victims succumbing to hypothermia in the 28 °F (-2 °C) water. Of particular note, the entire complement of the 35-member Engineering Staff (25 engineers, 6 electricians, two boilermakers, one plumber, and one writer/engineer's clerk) were lost.

The entire ship's orchestra was also lost. Led by violinist Wallace Hartley, they played music on the boat deck of the Titanic that night to calm the passengers. It will probably forever remain unknown what this orchestra selected as their last piece. Based on evidence from various sources some argue it was Nearer my God to Thee while others say it was Autumn.

April 16, 1917 -
Following the February Revolution (which occurred in March,) Nicholas II chose to abdicate in March 1917 (which was actually March at the time.) Vladimir Lenin was in exile in Switzerland at the time, (we believe Lenin really was in Switzerland.)

A passer-by informed him about the Russian Tsar's abdication, so Lenin and a group of his followers returned to Russia in a train provided by the Germans to take the reins of the Russian Revolution. They were greeted at St Petersburg (which was known as Petrograd at the time,) station on this date in 1917 by a great reception.

April 16, 1939 -
Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien, one of the leading pop singer and entertainer of the 1960s was born on this date.

The uniqueness of Dusty Springfield's voice was described by Burt Bacharach as: "You could hear just three notes and you knew it was Dusty."

April 16, 1943 -
LSD was first synthesized on April 7, 1938 by Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland, as part of a large research program searching for medically useful ergot alkaloid derivatives. Its psychedelic properties were unknown until five years later, when Hofmann, acting on what he has called a "peculiar presentiment," returned to work on the chemical. He attributed the discovery of the compound's psychoactive effects to the accidental absorption of a tiny amount through his skin on this date.

Here is the first instance of the defense I did not inhale - I accidentally dropped acid.

Here is an excerpt from Dr. Hofmann's diary concerning this day -

... Last Friday, April 16,1943, I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away....

Oh wow, the colors, the lights, man.

April 16, 1947 -
The French freighter Grandcamp, loaded with ammonium nitrate fertilizer, exploded at a port in Texas City, Texas on this date. The blast caused other explosions at a nearby chemical plant, spreading fires across oil refineries along the port.

An estimated 600 people were killed by the blast and the ensuing fires which swept the port and the surrounding town. The accident is considered the worst industrial accident in US history because of the high number of fatalities.

On a personal note, I want to wish Michael and Stephanie a very Happy Anniversary.

And so it goes.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Similar, but not the same

A lot of the time, the acronyms “i.e.” and “e.g.” are used to mean the same thing. This is another one of those grammar things that we probably should have learned in English, but many of us didn’t.

The first acronym i.e., is Latin for “that is” and can be used to mean “like”. As for the other acronym e.g., it stands for “exempli gratia”. This is used when you are giving an example. They may seem similar, but they are different.

So now you now.

Usually today, April 15, is the deadline for submitting personal tax returns, but this is not always the case. When the date falls on a weekend, it is often moved to the following Monday.

If you haven't started your taxes,

relax, due to the ongoing health crisis, taxes are no due until May 17th.

April 15, 1923 -
Dr. Lee De Forest demonstrates his Phonofilm sound-on-film process to the first paying movie audience at an invitation-only event at the Rialto Theater in New York City. (I've seen the date listed as March 12 as well.)

Dr. De Forest received in 1959 an honorary Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

April 15, 1966 -
Decca Records released the fourth British studio album of The Rolling Stones, Aftermath, on this date.

Brian Jones
, who was The Stones guitarist until his death in 1969, played the dulcimer on the album, an instrument you play on your lap by plucking or strumming the strings. Jones could learn just about any instrument very quickly. He had just recently learned how to play it when they recorded Lady Jane.

April 15, 1967
The Nancy Sinatra and Frank Sinatra very sweet and slightly weird song, Somethin’ Stupid, hit no. #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart on this date.

This is the only father-daughter duet to ever top the American Hot 100. In the UK, it was the first instance of a father-daughter #1 song, and the only one until Changes by Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne went to the top spot in 2003.

April 15, 1990 -
Fox TV premiered the Wayans Bros. comedy series In Living Color on this date.

According to an Oscar profile in Entertainment Weekly, Thomas Haden Church auditioned for a spot on the show, but was edged out by Jim Carrey.

Another failed ACME product

Today in History:
April 15, 1792 -
The Guillotine was first tested on human corpses on this date.

Delis all over France have to wait years for the meat slicer to be invented.

April 15, 1865 -
She won't think anything about it.

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, died from a bullet wound inflicted the night before by John Wilkes Booth, an actor and Confederate sympathizer.

The president's death came only six days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his massive army at Appomattox, effectively ending the American Civil War.

April 15, 1910 -
In San Francisco detective Tim Riordan arrested Jolly Trixie, aka Miss Kitty Plunkett on this date, for allegedly violating the Penal Code. She was accused of being deformed and exhibiting her deformity in a Fillmore Street show house.

Plunkett said she weighed only 585 pounds as opposed to the alleged 685 pounds. Two physicians testified that she was perfectly symmetrical. You just know if television was around at the time, this would have been a reality series on Tru TV.

April 15, 1912: 12:50 a.m. EST -
A junior wireless operator at Cape Race, Newfoundland, received a report from the Virginian that they were trying to reach the Titanic ocean liner, but had lost communication. Titanic's last signals at 12:27 a.m. were "blurred and ended abruptly."

The 'unsinkable' ship Titanic sank after being torn by iceberg, with a loss of 1493 passengers on this date.

From the moment it struck the iceberg, the Titanic remained afloat for approximately 160 minute - the first lifeboat was not deployed from the ship for almost 60 minutes after the initial collision.

There were 212 staff members among the 712 survivors. Nearly all of the first-class women passengers survived, except for Ida Straus, Bessie Waldo Allison and Loraine Allison, Edith Corse Evans, and Elizabeth Ann Isham.

Roger Bricoux was the Titanic's cello player and just 21 years old when he perished during the ship's sinking. But Bricoux wasn't officially declared dead until 2000 (through the efforts of French Association of the Titanic,) though all of the musicians died on April 15, 1912. The French army even called him a deserter when he failed to show up to serve in World War I.

In the race to publish a headline about the disaster, numerous newspapers gave families and loved ones false hope about the sinking of the Titanic. The World reported no fatalities, the Daily Mail declared "no lives lost," and the Belfast Telegraph claimed "no danger of loss of life." American newspapers were able to take advantage of the time difference, and their headlines were more accurate.

April 15, 1945 -
British and Canadian troops liberated the Bergen-Belsen death camp in northern Germany on this date.

Bergen-Belsen was located in a village in West Germany about 30 miles north of Hanover. About 40,000 people were liberated from the camp, although about 13,000 later died of illness. Overall, about 70,000 people died in Belsen.

April 15, 1947 -
Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball when he played his first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers on this date.

Taking the field that day made him the first African-American to play Major League Baseball.

April 15, 1955 -
The first McDonald's franchise opens in Des Plains, a suburb of Chicago. Because it is the first one launched by Ray Kroc, he names it "McDonald's #1" despite the fact that the McDonald brothers had already opened eight of their chain restaurants before they began accepting licensees.

Kroc's unfortunate numbering system guarantees perpetual confusion for amateur fast food historians the world over.

April 11, 1960 -
Ella Baker led a meeting at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina that resulted in the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which became a driving force for whites and blacks in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, on this date

SNCC (“snick”) attracted many supporters in the North who helped raise funds to pay salaries for SNCC’s activists across the South. The group played a major role in the sit-ins, freedom rides, and the 1963 March on Washington, demonstrating that ordinary women and men, young and old, could create extraordinary change. 

April 15, 1962 -
Actress Clara Blandick, 80, who played Auntie Em in The Wizard of Oz, took an overdose of sleeping pills and tied a plastic bag around her head in a Hollywood hotel room on this date.

Prior to this, she had prominently arranged her resume and press clippings so the newspapers would get her obituary right. Police also found her suicide note, which read: “I am now about to make the great adventure. I cannot endure this agonizing pain any longer. It is all over my body. Neither can I face the impending blindness. I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.

April 15, 1983 -
Tokyo Disneyland, the first Disney park built outside of the United States, opened on this date.

It is owned by The Oriental Land Company, which licenses the theme from The Walt Disney Company. Tokyo Disneyland and its companion park, Tokyo DisneySea, are the only Disney parks not owned by The Walt Disney Company either partially or outright.

April 15, 1990 -
Greta Garbo finally got her wish,

and died in New York City at age 84, on this date.

April 15, 2013 -
Two pressure cooker bombs were set off at the Boston Marathon near the finish line, killing three people and injuring another 264 people, on this date.

The bombers were Dzhokar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Police eventually chased down the suspects during a confrontation in which Tamerlan was run over by Dzhokar while trying to escape. Tamerlan was killed after a gun battle with the police and Dzhokar still awaits the results of his death penalty appeal.

April 15, 2014 -
More than two hundred schoolgirls were kidnapped from their school after an attack by the Boko Haram Islamist militant group in Chibok, Nigeria, on this date.

It is believed that the girls were taken to a hard to reach area of forest in the country or out of the country. Over 100 of the girls had been freed, rescued or escaped.

And so it goes.