Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette gave (re-gifted) President John Quincy Adams a pet alligator, during an 1825 visit.
Adams kept it in the White House’s unfinished East Room and its nearby bathtub and enjoyed showing the scary-looking animal off to disbelieving White House visitors for several months before it moved to a different home.
June 11, 1937 -
The Marx Brothers film, A Day at the Races, opened on this date.
The Grand Steeplechase sequence at the end had to be shot twice. Both times a crew member persuaded Chico Marx to gamble on it and not only to bet on the outcome of a rigged non-race, but to bet on a horse other than the one scripted to win. Chico, all his life an avid gambler, could offer as excuse only, "The odds were 20 to one."
June 11, 1966 -
The song Paint It Black by the Rolling Stones hit No. 1 on the charts, on this date.
On this track, Stones guitarist Brian Jones played the sitar, which was introduced to pop music by The Beatles on their 1965 song Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown). Brian Jones cemented the popularity of the sitar during the 60s by balancing the instrument on his lap during The Stones appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
June 11, 1969 -
Henry Hathaway helped John Wayne win his only Oscar in the classic western True Grit, also starring Kim Darby, Glen Campbell, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Jeff Corey and Strother Martin. The film premiered in the US on this date.
Despite its commercial success, John Wayne was not pleased with the finished film. He greatly disliked Kim Darby, Glen Campbell and Robert Duvall's performances, and while promoting the film for its US release in June 1969, told interviewers that he had starred in much better films, citing Stagecoach as an example. It goes without saying that the Duke was somewhat of a dick.
June 11, 1975 -
Robert Altman's classic Nashville, starring a very large ensemble cast, including, Ned Beatty, Karen Black, Ronee Blakley, Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, Shelley Duvall, Allen Garfield, Henry Gibson, Scott Glenn, Jeff Goldblum, Barbara Harris, Michael Murphy, Lily Tomlin, and Keenan Wynn, premiered in New York City, on this date.
The film was very much improvised by the actors and actresses, who used the screenplay only as a guide. They spent a great amount of their time in character, and the movie was shot almost entirely in sequence.
June 11, 1977 -
Electric Light Orchestra’s record Telephone Line reached #7 on the Billboard Charts in the US, giving the band its first gold single.
ELO's first manager was Don Arden. When he lost interest in the group, he gave them to his daughter Sharon who ran Jet Records. Sharon married Ozzy Osbourne a few years later.
June 11, 1978 -
Grease, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John opened, on this date.
In the stage play, the song Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee had a reference to Sal Mineo, who was murdered in 1976. For the movie, the lyric was changed to reference Elvis Presley, who died the same day the scene was filmed.
June 11, 1982 -
Steven Spielberg's film, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, opened on this date.
Most of the full-body puppetry was performed by a 2'10" tall stuntman, but the scenes in the kitchen were done using a 12-year-old boy who was born without legs but was an expert on walking on his hands.
June 11, 1986 -
John Hughes' comic masterpiece, Ferris Bueller's Day Off was released, on this date.
The idea of a sequel had gone around for years, with Ferris in college, or on the job somewhere, but the idea was dropped. Matthew Broderick felt that the film didn't need a sequel, that this film was about a specific time and place that we'd all like to revisit, and didn't need updating.
June 11, 1993 -
Steven Spielberg's science fiction thriller, Jurassic Park, opened on this date.
When Hurricane Iniki hit, the cast and crew were all required to move into the ballroom of the hotel in which they were staying. Richard Attenborough, however, stayed in his hotel room and slept through the entire event. When asked how he could possibly have done this, Attenborough replied, "My dear boy, I survived the blitz!"
Another unimportant moment in history
Today in History:
June 11, 323 BCE - (Literally, the calendar makers were too busy at the orgies to correctly note the exact date.)
After yet another long night of ouzo and sodomy, Alexander The Great died in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II, in Babylon, at age 32.
He was the conqueror of the known world and a king for just 12 years. And for all his troubles, he may have been buried alive. Sometimes it absolutely sucks to be the Conqueror of the Known World.
June 11, 1881 -
A phantom vessel appears in the sky to the passengers and crew of the ship the HMS Bacchante on this date, including Price Albert Victor and Prince George, both sons of the Prince of Wales.
June 11, 1889 -
The Neapolitan pizzamaker Raffaele Esposito created the Pizza Margherita on this date, to honor the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy.
The pizza was garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, to represent the national colors of Italy as on the Italian flag.
June 11, 1895 –
Charles Duryea, along with his brother Frank, founded the Duryea Motor Wagon Company in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1893. Charles E. Duryea was granted a US patent (#540,648) for a gasoline-driven automobile on this date.
June 11, 1903 -
Another day, another defenstration ...
According to eyewitness accounts, the unfortunate couple were then thrown from a second floor window of the palace onto piles of garden manure. I'm going to have this embroidered on throw pillows - sometimes, it's sucks to be the king.
June 11, 1910 -
Jacques-Yves Cousteau, filmmaker, scientist and explorer was born on this date.
Among his many and varied accomplishments, he co-developed the Aqua-Lung diving apparatus. Climate Change deniers are very lucky that the Captain is no longer with us or there would be some major ass kicking going on.
June 11 is an important day for American football fans and seems almost inevitably slated to someday become a national holiday. It's the birthdays of Vince Lombardi (1913) and Joe Montana (1956). Mr Lombardi played at Fordham University and was a Latin and chemistry teacher in New Jersey before becoming the head coach of the Green Bay Packers at the age of 46. They had won only one of twelve games the season before he was hired; they won seven his first year. Over the course of his brief career, the Packers won five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowls (Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II, in that order).
It was Coach Lombardi's background in Latin that persuaded the NFL to use Roman numerals to number the Super Bowls.
"Winning isn't everything," Coach Lombardi famously declared, "but it's awfully darn important in competitive endeavors." (He was the first NFL coach to hire a publicist and his statements were often edited for distribution to the Green Bay press corps.)
Over the course of his career, Joe Montana completed 3409 of 5391 passes and threw 273 touchdowns. In the playoffs, he completed 460 of 734 passes and threw 45 touchdowns. As a starter, he won 117 and lost 47 regular season games (for those who need to know.)
Adrienne Barbeau and Gene Wilder were also born on this day, neither of whom ever won a Super Bowl.
June 11, 1939 -
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of England (the current Queen of England's parents) were in America to visit with the President and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. As is befitting of such a grand event, the King and Queen were fed some of the gourmet foods of the United States on this date; the first time British Monarch's consumed hot dogs.
Royal physicians report that they believe Princess Margaret and the King eventually passed away after the consumption of the meal. The event is the basis of the film Hyde Park on Hudson, starring Bill Murray.
June 11, 1955 -
An Austin-Healy and Mercedes-Benz collided at the Le Mans Grand Prixon this date. The Mercedes drove into a dirt retaining wall, disintegrated, and the hood, chassis, and various auto parts sliced through the spectator crowd.
83 were killed, and 100 others were missing various "parts". They bought their tickets, they knew their chances.
June 11, 1962 -
Frank Morris, and the brothers John and Clarence Anglin became the only prisoners to successfully escape from the prison on Alcatraz Island.
(Perhaps they just settled down and started a new life. But that's just me thinking out loud.)
A man claims three Alcatraz prisoners ‘barely’ survived a 1962 escape — and that he’s one of them.
However it was shown on MythBusters, that the raft could have possibly landed at the Marin Headlands, raising possible doubt over Morris' and the Anglins' deaths. The film Escape from Alcatraz is based on the famous escape. Morris was played by Clint Eastwood.
June 11, 1963 -
Governor George Wallace stands in the schoolhouse door, blocking admission of two 'colored students' (Vivian Malone and James Hood) to the University of Alabama. This became known as the Stand in the Schoolhouse Door.
Wallace stood aside only after being confronted by federal marshals, Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach and the Alabama National Guard. However, there is evidence that the entire encounter was partially or wholly coordinated with the Kennedy administration to allow Wallace to save face with Alabama voters.
June 11, 1963 -
A patent for the Mercury space capsule is granted to Blanchard, Chilton, Faget, Hammack, Johnson, Kehlet, and Meyer and and assigned to NASA, (US No. 3,093,346.) The invention is described as a “manned capsule configuration capable of being launched into orbital flight and returned to the earth’s surface.” The invention is intended to provide “protection for its occupant from the deleterious effects of large pressure differentials, high temperatures, micrometerorite collisions, high level acoustical noise, and severe inertial and impact loads.”
The patent application was filed on October 6, 1959. Mercury 1 was already flown, on May 5, 1961, in a fifteen sub-orbital flight carrying Alan B. Shepard before the patent was issued.
June 11, 2002 -
File this under: Everything that your teachers told you were lies.
The U.S. Congress, on this date, recognized that Italian inventor Antonio Meucci was the actual inventor of the telephone.
Alexander Graham Bell held the patent, but Congress argued that if Meucci had the funds to pay the $10 fee to maintain the patent after 1874, Bell wouldn't have been able to secure it.
(If this gets your panties in a bunch - stop wearing panties - once again everything that your teachers told you were lies.)
And so it goes.