Friday, December 11, 2020

A poem as lovely as a tree

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - America’s official national Christmas tree (so designated by President Calvin Coolidge in 1926) is located in King’s Canyon National Park in California.

The tree, a giant sequoia called the General Grant Tree, is almost 90 meters (300 feet) high is the third largest tree in the world (by volume, the first is General Sherman, his neighbor in Sequoia National Park.) The idea was inspired by a little girl who had imagined the giant as a Christmas tree and shared the thought with Sanger, California resident, Charles E. Lee. From then on, Lee began organizing yearly Christmas programs around the tree, in the enchanted grove of sequoias, until the event became an annual ceremony.

December 11, 1957 -
The movie Peyton Place, based on the novel by Grace Metalious, had its world premiere in Camden, Maine, on this date, where most of it had been filmed.

Lana Turner's hair color is a darker shade of blonde than in her other films of the period. The reasoning was to make her and Diane Varsi look more like mother and daughter, and to provide contrast with Hope Lange, who was a very light blonde. However, in the novel, Lange's character, Selena Cross, is described as having a dark, gypsy-like quality to her appearance.

December 11, 1961 -
Please, Mr. Postman by the Marvelettes was released on this date

Marvin Gaye played drums on this song. He was 22 at the time and trying to break into the business.

December 11, 1968
Filming begins on The Rolling Stones‘ Rock And Roll Circus movie. Conceived by Mick Jagger, the event was comprised of two concerts on a circus stage and included such acts as John Lennon and his fiancée Yoko Ono performing as part of a supergroup called The Dirty Mac, along with Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell, Keith Richards, Jethro Tull and The Who, as well as clowns and acrobats.

Filmed at a studio in Wembley using an unusual hybrid type of camera, supporting both 16mm film and monochrome video. The idea was that TV production techniques could be used, with the cameramen framing shots on the video camera viewfinders, whilst a vision mixer inter-cut the camera feeds "on the fly", simultaneously controlling the film stop/start mechanisms in the cameras. Output was thus on film and could be easily edited, and prepared for final program sales. However the system was still in development and was unreliable. Equipment problems caused the tight filming schedule to overrun and the Stones finally went on stage in the small hours of the morning, after much delay. It was originally meant to be aired on the BBC, but the Rolling Stones withheld it because they were unhappy with their performance. The film was eventually released in 1996.

December 11, 1980 -
Hawaiian shirts and outrageous mustaches came back in style when Magnum PI, starring Tom Selleck, premiered on CBS-TV on this date.

Orson Welles
provided the voice of Robin Masters, whose face was never seen on this show. Producers eventually wanted Welles to be revealed as the face of Robin Masters too, but he died before the series ended its run. In season seven, Magnum began theorizing that Higgins was Masters. During the final episode, the real Robin Masters was finally revealed.

December 11, 1982
Toni Basil's surprise hit Mickey reached No. 1 of the Billboard charts on this date.

This was originally recorded as Kitty by a group called Racey, which released it in 1979. In the original lyric, Kitty is a girl. Toni Basil changed the title from Kitty to Mickey and the gender from female to male. Basil choreographed the 1968 Monkees movie Head, but insists the song is not named after group member Micky Dolenz. She also says there's nothing dirty about the song - it's just a peppy tune about a girl who really likes a guy.

December 11, 1987 -
Greed is Good.
20th Century Fox released Oliver Stone's drama, Wall Street, starring Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen, and Daryl Hannah on this date.

Oliver Stone later admitted that everyone involved told him Daryl Hannah was miscast, but he was too proud to replace her. This caused tension on set, particularly with Sean Young who wanted the role herself.

There's no Dance of the Sugar-Plum Rebbe tonight

Today in History:
December 11, 1688 -
King James II attempting to flee London as the "Glorious Revolution" replaced him with King William (of Orange) and Queen Mary, threw the Great Seal of the Realm into the River Thames.

He was, however, caught in Kent. Having no desire to make James a martyr, the Prince of Orange let him escape on December 23, 1688. James was received by his cousin, Louis XIV, who offered him a palace and a generous pension.

December 11, 1882
Fiorello Enrico La Guardia, Mayor of New York for three terms from 1934 to 1945, was born on this date.

With a boundless enthusiasm and energy to match that of Teddy Roosevelt, La Guardia could be the last Mayor of NYC who really loved his job.

December 11, 1919 -
The citizens of Enterprise, Alabama, erected a monument to the boll weevil. The only monument dedicated to an agricultural pest!!

The invasive insect devastated their fields but forced residents to end their dependence on cotton and to pursue mixed farming and manufacturing.

December 11, 1931 -
Rita Moreno (Rosa Dolores Alverio,) winner of an Peabody, Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony, was born on this date.

She is currently one of only three PEGOT winners; she is the only Puerto Rican PEGOT winner.

December 11, 1936 -
Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson. Edward VIII had been king of Great Britain and Ireland for less than a year when he abdicated the throne to marry "the woman I love."

After his abdication, Edward was awarded the title Duke of Windsor by his brother, King George VI. Edward and Mrs. Simpson married on June 3, 1937.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) was created by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II.

UNICEF provides many types of assistance and help to children and mothers. It receives money from different governments and private persons. It works in almost all countries of the world.

December 11, 1964
Sam Cooke, popular singer, was shot to death by Bertha Franklin, manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California. Franklin claimed that he had threatened her, and that she killed him in self-defense.

The shooting was ultimately ruled to be a justifiable homicide, though there have been arguments that crucial details did not come out in court, or were buried afterward.

December 11, 1967 -
The Beatles' Apple Music signs its first group - Grapefruit, on this date.

With unwise business decisions like this, I'm sure the Beatles must have gone broke very shortly after this.

More Christmas Trivia:
Two weeks before Christmas is the one of the two most popular times for couples to break up.

According to data analyzed from Facebook posts and statuses, couples are more likely to end their relationship two weeks before Christmas and two weeks after Valentine’s Day, during the spring break. Christmas Day, however, is the least favorite day for breakups.

So now you know.

And on a personal note: Happy Birthday Julie

(I hope you can be as joyful about your birthday as this kid is.)

And so it goes


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