Thursday, September 30, 2021

More Presidential Trivia

With me it is exceptionally true that the Presidency is no bed of roses.

The song Hail to the Chief became specially connected to the presendency, specifically because of James Polk. Although it had been played in connection with at least three earlier presidents, Sarah Polk, James' wife, asked for Hail to the Chief to be played not only at his inauguration, but regularly when he made any appearance since he didn’t stand out (he was only 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighed 174 pounds). According to historian William Seale, “Polk was not an impressive figure, so some announcement was necessary to avoid the embarrassment of his entering a crowded room unnoticed. At large affairs the band ... rolled the drums as they played the march ...and a way was cleared for the President.”


September 30, 1938 -
RKO Studios released the eighth Marx Brothers film, Room Service, on this date.



Although she seems much older and mature, Ann Miller was actually only 15 years old when she made this film. She had lied about her age and obtained a fake birth certificate when she was about 14 years old, which stated that she was 18. She was so tall, poised and beautiful that she pulled it off.


September 30, 1948 -
Howard Hawks released his iconic western, Red River, starring John Wayne and Montgomery Clift on this date.



There was some concern that John Wayne and Montgomery Clift would not get along, since they were diametrically opposed on all political issues, and both were outspoken on their views. According to legend they agreed not to discuss politics and the shooting went smoothly. However, both Wayne and Walter Brennan would not get along with Clift, and they stayed away from the young actor when not filming. Clift later turned down Dean Martin's role in Rio Bravo because he did not want to be reunited with those two actors.


September 30, 1952 -
The motion picture process Cinerama -- which employed three cameras, three projectors and a deeply curved viewing screen -- made its debut with the premiere of This Is Cinerama at the Broadway Theater in New York City on this date.



The rollercoaster ride on Playland's Atom Smasher was filmed several times using "short ends" and the complete circuit contains two skilfully edited takes. It was directed by Michael Todd Jr.. At the time, Todd was a 21-year-old college student on vacation from Amherst. Apart from salaries, the sequence cost $33 (rental of a station wagon and the cost of bolts to affix the cameras to the rollercoaster). Todd Jr. also directed most of the European footage.


September 30, 1958 -
The first network series to be filmed entirely in New York City, the police drama, Naked City debuted on ABC-TV on this date.



Because the show was filmed in black and white on-location in New York City, the police cars for the show were painted in false colors so that they would not be mistaken for real police cars.


September 30, 1960 -
The first prime-time animated series aimed at adults, The Flintstones, premiered on ABC-TV on this date.



The Flintstone's house size, design, and furniture change in almost every episode. The Rubble's house figure is almost always different, when it is shown, which is rare.


September 30, 1965 -

Gerry Anderson's supermarionation take on The Tracy family business, Thunderbirds premiered on this date in the UK.



The five Tracy brothers were named after astronauts from the Mercury program:

Scott Tracy after Scott Carpenter.
Virgil Tracy after Gus Grissom whose real first name was Virgil.
Alan Tracy after Alan Shepard.
Gordon Tracy after Gordon Cooper.
John Tracy after John Glenn.


September 30, 1982 -
Cheers, the comedy television series that ran eleven seasons from 1982 to 1993, premiered on this date.



Ted Danson's character Sam Malone is a recovering alcoholic. A known practice for people in recovery, is to always be drinking something non-alcoholic, especially around alcohol to help with the desire to want to drink. Sam Malone is almost always drinking a bottle of seltzer or coffee in every scene.


September 30, 1984 -
The inhabitants of Cabot Cove, Maine started dropping like flies when CBS premiered the series, Murder She Wrote, starring Angela Landsbury on this date.



One of Jessica's interesting traits was that she could not drive (unlike the actress who played her, who did drive) and was reliant on bicycles and taxis or rides/lifts from someone in her enormous coterie of friends, relatives, acquaintances, police officers/law enforcement, and, occasionally, suspects.


September 30, 1995 -
Mariah Carey's megahit Fantasy went to No. 1 and stayed there for several months on this date.



Mariah directed the video, which shows her rollicking at an amusement park. The video was shot at Rye Playland in Rye, New York. It is near Long Island, where Carey grew up. She got the idea to shoot it there while driving by it one day. Some of the Tom Hanks movie Big was shot on the same Rye Playland Boardwalk where this video was made.


Another moment of edifying culture


Today in History:
September 30, 1452 -
It's the anniversary of the printing of the Gutenberg Bible in Mainz, Germany on this date. It was the first book ever printed with movable type. What made Gutenberg's invention revolutionary was not that it allowed you to print letters on paper, but that you could print an infinite number of different pages from a small number of letter blocks simply by rearranging them.

The first section of the Bible came out on this day. He printed 180 copies on expensive Italian paper. It was designed to be used for public reading in the dining halls of monasteries. But within three decades there were print shops all over Europe, and Gutenberg's invention launched a revolution in education.



Today about four dozen copies of the Gutenberg Bible survive. One of the most recent copies to come on the market was auctioned in New York in 1987 and sold for more than $5 million.


September 30, 1630 -
Pilgrim John Billington, who arrived on the Mayflower, was hanged at Plymouth for killing John Newcomen with a musket, on this date.

Billington was the first Englishman executed in New England.


September 30, 1846 -
On this evening in 1846, Mr. Eben Frost, suffering from a violent toothache, called upon Dr. William Thomas Green Morton. Dr. Morton administered ether and extracted the tooth.

Thus ether was used for the first time as an anesthetic on this date.


September 30, 1927 -
Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season, on this day.



(Mark McGwire was born on October 1, 1963, however, so this no longer matters to some. Although, the Bambino was only hopped up on booze.)


September 30, 1938 -
The Germans occupied the Sudetenland in late summer of 1938. This enraged the British and the English, who both feared for the loss of the Sudetenland's celebrated pea crops.



British Prime Minister flew to Germany to meet Hitler at Bertesgarden to discuss the situation, on this date.



Hitler assured him that there would be plenty of peas to go around, and Chamberlain returned to England with the famous proclamation of Peas in Our Time. World War II was therefore avoided and did not break out until some time later.


September 30, 1955 -
Teen idol James Dean was killed in a car accident that probably could have been avoided if he had had his car inspected and tuned up regularly, obeyed all posted highway signs, and driven only when alert and sober on this date.



(Remember kids, if you are going to drink til you drop - And don't drive. Also watch your own PSAs.)



And so it goes

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

It's Michaelmas Day

For those of you not near your church bulletin, today is the feast of St. Michael the Archangel. It's also known in England as Michaelmas Day. St. Michael is the patron saint of the sea and maritime lands, of ships and boatmen, of horses and horsemen. He was the Angel who hurled Lucifer down from Heaven for his offenses against God.

There’s a legend concerning Lucifer falling into a blackberry bush after being expelled from Heaven by St. Michael and spitting on the blackberries to make them bitter so that they cannot be picked after Michaelmas.

So kids, unless you want a mouthful of Satan's saliva, don't eat those blackberries tomorrow (unless you're into that.)


Today is National Coffee Day. If you love coffee (I don't), there are a bunch of places you can score free or very low cost cups of joe!

If you're passing by a McDonalds, Krispy Kreme, or Dunkin Donuts today and see what their special deal for the day is. Bring in a clean reuseable cup at Starbucks today, and your coffee is free. You're welcome. (Friday is International Coffee Day. The inclusion of alcohol in your coffee to celebrate is between you and your maker.)


September 29, 1948 -
Laurence Olivier's powerful interpretation of Shakespeare's melancholy Dane, Hamlet premiered in New York City on this day.



This is the only movie version of Hamlet that entirely omits the characters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Laurence Olivier was severely criticized for leaving them out of the movie, as they provide many opportunities for Hamlet to behave in a sarcastically humorous way toward them, and many felt that Olivier probably would have played these moments brilliantly. However, Olivier did retain a few of Guildenstern's lines ("put your discourse into some frame", et cetera) and gave them to Polonius.


September 29, 1953 -
The family comedy Make Room for Daddy, starring Danny Thomas, premiered on ABC TV on this date.



Penney Parker beat a then-unknown actress named Mary Tyler Moore for the role of Terry. According to Danny Thomas, the only reason Parker got the part was because he felt Moore's nose looked different enough from his so that nobody would believe she was his daughter.


September 29, 1954 - The movie musical A Star Is Born, (the fourth version of the film, fifth, if you count What Price Hollywood) starring Judy Garland and James Mason, had its world premiere at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood on this date.



Because the role of Norman Maine is that of a has-been actor, it was rejected by Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Gary Cooper, Henry Fonda, Errol Flynn, Cary Grant, Ray Milland, Gregory Peck, Tyrone Power, Frank Sinatra, James Stewart and Robert Taylor before being finally accepted by James Mason. Judy Garland did suggest her former The Harvey Girls co-star, John Hodiak, for the role, but Hodiak was unavailable at the time.


September 29, 1954 -
United Artist released the Joseph L, Mankiewicz film, The Barefoot Contessa, starring Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart on this date. (If you haven't seen this movie, seek it out!)



Joseph L. Mankiewicz wanted James Mason, whom he had just directed in Julius Caesar, for the part of the nobleman. MGM executive Nicholas Schenck, who had had a vehement disagreement with the director, would not release Mason for the film. According to Mankiewicz, he ended up with Rossano Brazzi, "who cannot act, cannot be sensual . . . could hardly speak English . . . " Ironically, Rosemary Matthews, who was hired to help Brazzi with his English, and Mankiewicz later married.


September 29, 1955 -
The only film Charles Laughton directed, The Night of the Hunter opened in New York City on this date.



Later on in life, Robert Mitchum, who was usually indifferent to such matters, said that Charles Laughton was his favorite director and indicated that this was his favorite of the movies in which he had acted.


September 29, 1959 -
One of the first series that featured the lives of American teenagers, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, starring Dwayne Hickman, Bob Denver and Tuesday Weld premiered on CBS-TV on this date.



A pilot for a "Zelda" spin-off starring Sheila James was produced in 1962, but was scrapped after James T. Aubrey, then head of CBS, rejected this. James was told by producer/director Rod Amateau that Aubrey found Zelda "too butch", a critique that deeply worried James, then a closeted lesbian. James, under her real name of Sheila Kuehl, went into law and politics after acting parts dried up, eventually becoming the first openly gay person elected to the California State Assembly and a California State Senator.


September 29, 1960 -
We were all welcomed into the Douglas household when My Three Sons, starring another of TV favorite alcoholic dads, Fred McMurray, premiered on ABC on this date.



Don Grady almost left the show when Tina Cole was cast as Katie. In an interview, Cole revealed that Grady felt she wasn't his type. As it turned out, they eventually fell in love in real life and almost got married not once, but twice.


September 29, 1963 -
My Favorite Martian, starring Ray Walston and Bill Bixby premiered on CBS-TV on this date.



Ray Walston admitted later that he regretted taking the role of Uncle Martin. He took it for the money, and felt that it prevented him from getting substantial roles for many years. He enjoyed working with Bill Bixby, and they became lifelong friends.


September 29, 1967 -
Gerry Anderson's supermarionation take on superheroes, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons premiered on this date in the UK.



The Spectrum organizations' radio code SIG stood for Spectrum Is Green (essentially an OK), whilst the less used SIR stood for Spectrum Is Red (indicating a dangerous situation). Both radio codes have been borrowed by American private spaceflight firm SpaceX to describe its readiness for rocket launches, modified to "SpaceX Is Green" or "SpaceX Is Red."


September 29, 1969 -
Paramount Television's anthology comedy series Love, American Style, premiered on ABC-TV on this date.



For several seasons, the show — considered risqué at the time — topped-off a powerhouse ABC lineup on Friday nights with The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Room 222, and The Odd Couple.


September 29, 1985 -
The Sci-Fi anthology series created by Steven Spielberg, Amazing Stories, premieres on NBC-TV on this date.



The series title came from the magazine Amazing Stories that was founded in 1926. The name was licensed, at that time, from T.S.R. Hobbies who were the then owners and publishers of the magazine.


Another failed ACME Product


Today in History:
September 29, 1399 -
... For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings...



Richard II was deposed on this date, which only served him right for having posed in the first place. He was succeeded by Henry IV Part I.


September 29, 1513 -
Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean, on this date (although he may have discovered it four days earlier - I'm not sure what the Spanish Navy's stance was on the the whole rum ... question.)

How something that covers roughly a third of the earth's surface could have been lost for so long is a question that stumps historians to this day.


It's Miguel de Cervantes' birthday today. Born in 1547, Cervantes is best known as the author of Don Quixote, a cunning satire on mental illness. The work is an epic treatment of the perennial question, "wouldn't the world be better off if we were all crazy?"

The answer from the novel is a qualified yes: the story supports the premise, but its length and lucidity suggest that the author himself was not crazy, which contradicts the premise.



Ever since the publication of Don Quixote, the idea of improving through world through mental illness has taken root in the popular culture of the west. From the good soldier Svjek and Prince Myshkin to Chauncy Gardener, Elwood P. Dowd and Forrest Gump, western readers and filmgoers have a galaxy of benevolent lunatics to show them the way to a better, purer existence. Grand mal seizures, delirium tremens, and hallucinations are merely the price of admission to their wistful world of blissful ignorance.



The sane and hard-working do not come off nearly so well in film or literature. In fact, sane and hard-working people seldom even appear in film or literature. No one wants to read about them, or spend good money to watch them go about their plodding lives, because most of us are surrounded by sane and hard-working people already and know what they're like—they're just like us, only less so.



Early to bed and early to rise may make a man healthy, and wealthy, and wise, but it won't do a goddamn thing for his Nielsens. In fact, if you're healthy, wealthy, wise, and well-rested, you're only going to piss the rest of us off. Lighten up, slack off, drink up, and spend plenty of quality time with imaginary friends.



That's the real road to happiness—or at least our acceptance, without which you have no right to be happy.


September 29, 1957 -
An explosion at the Chelyabinsk-40 complex, a Soviet nuclear fuel processing plant, irradiated the nearby city of Kyshtym with strontium-90, cesium-137 and plutonium on this date.



This accident releases twice the radioactivity of the Chernobyl incident.

Oops


September 29, 1976 -
At his birthday party, musician Jerry Lee Lewis accidentally shoots his bass player Norman Owens twice in the chest, trying to open a soft drink bottle with a .357 magnum. Owens survived and files a lawsuit.

Now don't you wish you were at that party !!!


September 29, 1988 -
Stacy Allison was one of several female mountaineers who took part in a competition to see who could be the first to climb Mount Everest.



After harsh weather conditions forced the other participants to turn around midway through their climb, Allison surprised many (including herself) by reaching the peak of 29,000 feet, being the first American woman to do so on this date.


September 29, 1989 -
Zsa Zsa Gabor, a person famous for no apparent reason and with no visible means of support (It's too weird to think that Zsa Zsa and her sisters were the original Kardashians, without the sex tapes), was convicted of slapping a Beverly Hills police officer on this date.



Gabor later complains that she was denied a jury of her peers, saying "It was not my class of people, There was not a producer, a press agent, a director, an actor."



And so it goes

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Not quite from Bulter's Lives of the Saints

We would have been smack dab in the middle of Oktoberfest season had it not been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic but today is still National Beer Drinking Day - a wonderful reminder to enjoy the world’s most popular adult beverage.



Today is also St. Wenceslaus' Day, patron saint of brew masters, named after Wenceslas I the Duke of Bohemia (commemorated in the song, Good King Wenceslas,) who was martyred on this date.

As I'm sure you will remember that New Prague, Minnesota is home the second-oldest family owned brewery in the U.S. (Schell's)

and nearby New Ulm, Minnesota is home to St. Wenceslaus church.

So please enjoy the day.


September 28, 1949 -
The first of the 12 films Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis made, My Friend Irma, premiered in New York City on this date.



Alfred Newman's ubiquitous theme Street Scene, closely associated with every New York-themed film produced at Fox during his tenure as musical director at that studio, turns up in the opening of this film and its sequel, My Friend Irma Goes West.


September 28, 1961 -
Viewers got to spend time with the Baxter's and their wise-cracking maid when Hazel premiered on CBS-TV on this date



Ronnie DeFore, real life son of actor Don DeFore (who plays George Baxter), has an uncredited role as one of the youngsters in a playground scene in this episode.


September 28, 1963 -
Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales cartoon debuts on CBS-TV on this date.



This show was produced at the same animation studio as The Bullwinkle Show and other Jay Ward cartoons. Many of the same animators who had previously worked on some of the Jay Ward cartoons, worked on this.


September 28, 1968 -
The Beatles' single, Hey Jude, went to number one on the Billboard Charts and stayed there for nine weeks. (Listen how the song starts with one instrument and the record ends with with 50 instruments playing.)



This was the Beatles longest single, running 7:11, and at the time was the longest song ever released as a single. It was the first long song to get a lot of airplay, as radio stations still preferred short ones so they could play more of them. When this became a hit, stations learned that listeners would stick around if they liked the song, which paved the way for long songs like American Pie and Layla. Disc jockeys were the real winners here, as they could finally take a reasonable bathroom break.


September 28, 1980 -
Billions and billions of brilliant moments on TV are about to be aired - Carl Sagan's 13 part Cosmos premiered on PBS.



The filming of the series lasted one year during which Carl Sagan and his production team traveled around the world, filming in places like India, Egypt, Italy, Cambodia, France, Alaska, Mexico and USA, among others.


September 28, 1987 -
Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered on CBS-TV with the episode Encounter at Farpoint on this date.



The original version of the Starfleet uniform was very uncomfortable for the actors and actresses, leading to a change of design from one-piece to a two-piece outfit in season three. Although the new uniforms were easier to wear, the jackets had a tendency to "ride up" when the actors and actresses were sitting down. Patrick Stewart got into the habit of straightening his jacket with a sharp downward tug as he stood up, an action that became known among the cast and crew as "The Picard Maneuver" (from a tactical maneuver mentioned in the show). Leonard Nimoy previously used this maneuver towards the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.


September 28, 1994 -
Tim Burton's love letter to the early career of Edward D. Wood, Jr., Ed Wood premiered on this date.



One day, Kathy Wood, Edward D. Wood Jr.'s wife, visited the set and asked to meet Johnny Depp. That day, they were filming a scene where Wood would look really messed up, which made Burton nervous for what Kathy would think of the movie. When Depp exited his trailer, she said, "That's my Eddie."


September 28, 2012 -
The Universal musical comedy film, Pitch Perfect (my daughters favorite film,) starring Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Adam DeVine, Ben Platt, John Michael Higgins, and Elizabeth Banks, premiered on this date in the US.



The story line between Bumper and Fat Amy was not in the script. Adam Devine and Rebel Wilson would improvise during their scenes together, and Devine would often try to kiss her. This led to Devine and Wilson to create a backstory for their two characters and their relationship. The filmmakers thought the hostile, sexual chemistry between the two was funny and kept some of the scenes in the film, though according to the two actors, there was a lot that was cut out, including a reference to a one-night stand.


September 28, 2013 -
Miley Cyrus' single Wrecking Ball went to No. 1 on the Billboard Charts on this date.



This song was written for Beyoncé, but when it was finished, MoZella suggested she send the demo to Miley Cyrus, deeming her a better fit. MoZella had been working on some other songs for Cyrus, so she was albe to get her ear. When Cyrus heard it, she loved the song.


Today's moment of Zen


Today in History:
September 28, 48 BC -
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus was not having a great day today.

After the First Triumvirate of Rome (between Pompey, Julius Caesar, and Marcus Licinius Crassus) had fallen apart, the Roman civil war had not been going well for Pompey. After the catastrophic defeat to Caesar at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC, he hightailed it to Egypt, where he had been employed as a protector. Upon landing in Egypt, Roman general and politician Pompey was murdered on the orders of King Ptolemy of Egypt. Pompey head was lopped off and sent to Caesar as an offering.



Ptolemy, reading the global tea leaves as much as 11 year olds can, thought to gain favor with Caesar, by killing Pompey. Ptolemy had misjudged the Roman sense of honor completely. Caesar demanded the assassins be executed, and had Pompey's head cremated with honor. Ptolemy was later deposed in favor of his sister, Cleopatra.


British history began on September 28, 1066, with the Norman invasion of England. The Normans were a group of Franks who'd grown weary of being so Frank. Their decision to become Normans cost them their Frankness, so they joined together and invaded England under the leadership of William (or, in Norman, "Norman") the Conqueror.



Prior to this invasion, Britain had been occupied mostly by Angles, Saxons, and large stones (who had never properly appreciated cricket, fog, or Kipling and had therefore been unable to invent England.) William (Norman) the Conqueror realized that, if it was ever going to amount to anything, what England really needed was a Great King, preferably someone very much like himself.



Appropriate arrangements were made.


September 28, 1850 -
The United States Navy abolished the practice of flogging. Among the crimes for which this was the penalty are: stealing poultry from the coop (12 lashes), being lousy (six), stealing a wig (12), and being naked on the spar deck (nine).

I believe nine lashes for being naked merely encouraged most of the men.


September 28, 1902 -
It's the birthday of Ed Sullivan, born in New York City on this date. He was writing a gossip column for the New York Daily News called "Little Old New York," moonlighting now and then as a master of ceremonies at variety shows and benefits. He was emceeing a dance contest when somebody asked him if he'd like to try hosting a show on this new thing called television.



The Ed Sullivan Show premiered live on CBS in 1948, and within a few years about 50 million people watched it every Sunday night. It was like vaudeville. It had opera singers, ventriloquists and magicians and pandas on roller skates and big stars. Ed Sullivan said, "Open big, have a good comedy act, put in something for children, and keep the show clean."



He was a shy, awkward man, but he loved performers. He personally chose every guest for his show. He was one of the first hosts to invite black performers, including Jackie Robinson, Duke Ellington, Richard Pryor and James Brown, on his show.



Ed Sullivan: the last television host who tried to appeal to everyone in America.


September 28, 1920 -
A Cook County grand jury indicts the White Sox players paid to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds on this date.



Even though they are found not guilty, Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis bans them all from professional baseball for life.


September 28, 1963 -
Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art work Whaam!, depicting in comic-book style a US jet shooting down an enemy fighter, was exhibited for the first time on this date.



In time, it will become one of the best known examples of pop art.


September 28, 1964 -
I remember the old Times Square from when I was younger, and there was a seedy thrill to it. Some of that is gone, which I have a little bit of nostalgia for.



Janeane Garofalo, comedian, actress and writer was born on this date.


September 28, 1978 -
A nun at the Vatican discovered the lifeless body of Pope John Paul I, formerly Albino Luciani, in bed. The pontiff had been on the job only 33 days before unexpectedly dying in his sleep, after having taken some sort of pills with dinner.



The church refused to grant an autopsy.

See Godfather III for further explanations.


September 28, 1989 -
Former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos died in Waikiki, Hawaii, after three years in exile on this date. He was in ill health and awaiting US charges on looting funds from his country.

His wife kept the cadaver in a refrigerated coffin for years.

(Wow, this is the second time in about a week that I've mentioned the Popsicle ex-dictator.)


September 28, 2008 -
The world's first private spaceship went into orbit, on this date, when the Falcon 1 was launched by SpaceX, a company founded by Elon Musk, cartoon super villian.



The entire launch was broadcast live from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.



And so it goes

Monday, September 27, 2021

Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance.

As usual, the last week of September has been designated as Banned Book Week!



If you are ever in need of something to read, banned book lists can be a great resource.


Google is celebrating it's 'official' 23rd birthday, despite the the fact that it has listed six other dates for it's start.

The interesting fact is that September 27 isn't the search giant's birthday. The selection of September 27 as Google's birthday seems to be a one of convenience than the actual date when the company was founded. Google celebrated September 7 (the day when the company was incorporated) as its birthday till 2005.


September 27, 1947 - Delmer Daves' stylish noir-thriller, Dark Passage, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, opened on this date.



Humphrey Bogart's complete uncovered face is not seen clearly until 62 minutes into the movie, when his character finally removes his bandages and looks into a mirror. All previous scenes with the character are either shown from his point of view or have his face obscured with shadows or bandages. Warner Brothers studio head Jack L. Warner was not pleased to discover that the face of one of his biggest stars, was not seen for the first half of the movie. But by the time Warner knew this, the film was too far along to be changed.


September 27, 1954 -
Steve Allen sat down at his piano and the Tonight Show premiered nationally on NBC on this date.



The show began in 1953 as a local show on WNBT-TV, the NBC station in New York City. Tonight! began in 1954 when Sylvester L. Weaver Jr., the president of NBC, decided to expand the network's programming past the 11:00 p.m. local news. Weaver wanted his night-time entry to be something along the lines of Today : some news and light features with interviews.


September 27, 1964 -
The Beach Boys appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time on this date.



They also performed the song I Get Around that evening. The song was released as a double A-side single in May 1964 with Don't Worry Baby. It is considered one of the best ever single releases along with Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles and Don't Be Cruel/Hound Dog by Elvis Presley.


September 27, 1975 -
The documentary film by Albert and David Maysles, Grey Gardens, premiered in the New York Film Festival on this date.



The film was something of an accident, in the sense that Albert Maysles and David Maysles came across Edith Bouvier Beale and Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale when involved in another project--a movie about (Jacqueline Kennedy's sister) Lee Radziwill's childhood. As part of research, the Maysles brothers were introduced to the Beales, and were captivated by their world. Deciding not to make the Radzwill film, they turned instead to the Beales, and a year after first meeting the two women, began filming.


September 27, 1980 -
Kurtis Blow becomes the first rapper to perform on national television when he does The Breaks on Soul Train.



Host Don Cornelius was confused. "It doesn't make sense to old guys like me," he tells Kurtis in the interview segment.


Word of the Day


Today in History:
September 27, 1854 -
The first great disaster involving an ocean liner in the Atlantic occurred when the steamship Arctic sank in foggy weather after colliding with the iron bow of the Vesta on this date. When Captain Luce of the Arctic orders women and children into the lifeboats, the crewmen rebel and take the boats for themselves.

Of 435 on board, only 85 survived -- and none of them women or children. It is the first major ocean liner disaster in the Atlantic. The Arctic disaster shattered high Victorian notions of how men were supposed to respond under duress.


Today is the 116th anniversary of the completion by Albert Einstein of his paper, Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?, introducing the equation E=MC², on this date.



Before this, E equaled just about anything you wanted it to equal. Just think what the atomic bomb would have been like if E = grapes seeds or the real content of Schrödinger's box.


September 27, 1938 -
RMS Queen Elizabeth was launched by Queen Elizabeth (after a couple of G and T's) at the John Brown and Company yard in Clydebank, Scotland.



She (the ship and not her majesty) was the largest passenger liner ever built and named to honor Queen Elizabeth, wife of King George VI of England and mother to Queen Elizabeth II.


September 27, 1940 -
Japan, Germany and Italy, signed the Tripartite Pact in Berlin on this date. The pact saw the formation of the World War II Axis powers, an opponent group against the Allies.



The Axis alliance bizarrely hoped to persuade the US against joining the Allies during the war, but failed. In 1940, Hungary was forced by Germany to became the fourth country to sign the Pact, allying themselves with the Axis powers.


September 27, 1951 -
Marvin Lee Aday, singer songwriter was born on this date.



Despite his famous moniker, Marvin doesn't like to eat meatloaf.


September 27, 1959 -
Typhoon Vera, otherwise known as the Isewan Typhoon, killed 4,464 people on the Japanese island of Honshu and injured 40,000 more. 1.5 million were made homeless.



The severe storm conditions of Typhoon Vera caused the most of destruction and loss of life of any tropical cyclone in Japanese history.


September 27, 2008 -
Chinese astronaut, Zhai Zhigang, aboard Shenzhou 7, became the first person from China to walk in space on this date.



Zhia would immediately return to his space craft when he realized that he could not get a good wi-fi connection in space.



And so it goes

Sunday, September 26, 2021

You figure out the connection

September 26, 1580 -
Francis Drake returned to Plymouth, England, on this date, ending a three-and-a-half year journey around the world. Drake was knighted and awarded a prize of 10 thousand pounds (which he probably invested in his delicious snack cake company.)



It was nearly four more centuries, however, before The Beverly Hillbillies premiered on CBS-TV (on this day in 1962).



The lengthy lapse between these watershed events has never been explained.


September 26, 1962 -
The cult film Carnival of Souls, premiered on this date



Its original theatrical release in 1962 was a box office failure. Subsequent airings on late-night television helped it gain it a strong cult following. It's now regarded as a landmark in psychological horror.


September 26, 1964 -
S. S. Minnow started it's three hour tour (and lasted 98 shows) when Gilligan’s Island premiered on CBS-TV, on this date.



In the first-season credits, Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells were relegated to being simply "the rest," due to "Ginger" actress Tina Louise's insistence that no one be listed after her in the credits. That changed in the second season when Bob Denver demanded that they be given an equal share in the credits, thus changing the lyrics to "The Professor and Mary Ann". Sherwood Schwartz, who composed both themes, has said it didn't occur to him the Professor and Mary Ann would turn into prominent characters.


September 26, 1968 -
(The real) Hawaii Five-O moved to it regular broadcast night on CBS TV on this date.



The opening montage consists of: a breaking wave (from the film Surfari), a hula dancer (Helen Torco), the "Lady Columbia" statue at the National Cemetery of the Pacific, model Elizabeth Logue running down the beach, a close-up of Ms. Logue from a side view, thirteen-year-old local resident Mel Kinney, Elizabeth Logue turning toward camera, red neon sign (formerly the Tops restaurant in Waikiki Diamond Head), flashing blue light, the Aloha Tower, Honolulu, and the Ilikai Hotel.


September 26, 1969 -
An unsuspecting American public is forced to deal with the vaguely incestuous family comedy series The Brady Bunch which premiered on ABC-TV on this date. Remember, the Bradys were so good, clean and wholesome that didn't even go to the bathroom (you never saw the toilet.)



A scene in the first episode of The Brady Bunch makes it clear Mike's first wife had died, making him a widower, but the status of Carol's first marriage was kept a secret. Creator Sherwood Schwartz maintained Carol was divorced from her first husband, but nothing about it was mentioned on the series. At that time, divorce was a subject matter that was still considered largely taboo for television, particularly a series aimed at family audiences.


September 26, 1969 -
The Beatles release the Abbey Road album in London, on this date.



It was their 13th album in the U.K. It was also their last album together as a group.


September 26, 1980 -
The concert film of Bette Mildler's 1979 tour, Divine Madness, was released on this date.



The film was edited together from four separate concerts filmed over three consecutive nights at Pasadena's Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California in 1979.


September 26, 1990 -
One of the stranger series in TV history, Cop Rock debuted on ABC-TV on this date.



In a May 2009 poll, this show was voted the fifth worst TV show in broadcast history. Ahead of it were The Gong Show, Friends, The Jerry Springer Show, and My Mother the Car.


Another book from the back shelf of the ACME Library


Today in History:
September 26, 1687
-
Troops laid siege to Athens led by Venetian general Francesco Morosini rained cannon fire down on the Acropolis and the Turkish soldiers garrisoned inside. One cannonball penetrated the Parthenon, which happened to serve as the Turks' gunpowder magazine.



The roof, walls, and 16 columns were blown off by the resulting explosion.

Oops, sh*t happens.


September 26, 1895 (he may have been born in 1901 - who knows) -
George Raft was an American film actor who was most closely identified with his portrayals of gangsters in crime melodramas of the 1930s and 1940s, was born on this date. George may have achieved an unenviable place in Hollywood folklore as the actor who turned down some of the best roles in screen history, most notably High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and Double Indemnity.



Also, George Raft also gave more actresses and bit players 'the clap' than any other actor during the 30s.What a wonderful way to be remembered.


September 26, 1937 -
The Empress of the Blues, Bessie Smith, sustains grave injuries in a traffic accident on US Highway 61 on this date. She is taken to a colored hospital in Clarksdale, Mississippi and her arm amputated. Smith died later that day from blood loss.



According to legend, Bessie had been refused treatment by a closer, whites-only hospital.


September 26, 1945 -
Secretly, I wanted to look like Jimi Hendrix, but I could never quite pull it off.







Bryan Ferry (the Lord of Louche) lead singer of the group Roxy Music and solo artist, was born on this date.


September 26, 1960 -
John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon faced off in the first televised presidential debate. Nixon had been recuperating from illness yet refused to wear makeup for the camera, looking haggard and gray.



Radio viewers gave positive opinions for Nixon's performance but so many people saw the debate televised that Kennedy gained the lead in the polls, ultimately winning the election.

Remember what I said about Checkers, his kids' dog.


September 26, 1983 -
The Soviet Union's early warning system wrongly signaled the launch of a US Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile. Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, in charge of the system, decided the alarm was false and did not launch a retaliatory strike. (Please remember Col. Petrov, who passed away at age 77 a few years ago, in your prayers tonight for saving the world.)



Because of military secrecy and international policy, Petrov's actions were kept secret until 1998. In 2004 the San-Francisco-based Association of World Citizens presented Petrov a World Citizen Award.


September 26, 2003 -
Robert Palmer, the famous blue eyed soul singer also known for his sharp suits, died in Paris of a heart attack on this date.







Palmer won two Grammy Awards - 1986 Best Male Rock Vocalist (Addicted To Love) & 1988 Best Male Rock Vocalist (Simply Irresistible) - He also won MTV's Best Male Video Award for 1986 (Addicted To Love) and was winner of the Rolling Stone Magazine's 1990 Readers Poll for the category "Best Dressed Rock Star".


Before you go - There are 90 days until Christmas (63 days until Hanukkah.)



(I'm sure many of you have failed the naughty/ nice test already. Maybe you still have time.)



And so it goes

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Brought to you by Big Pharma

It's World Pharmacist Day,

and it's also National One Hit Wonder day. Celebrate responsibly - listen to only one or two of them at a time.

Turning Japanese - The Vapors





Tubthumping - Chumbawamba





In a Big Country - Big Country





Take on Me - A-ha




A-ha were a Norwegian trio formed by Morten Harket (vocals), Pal Waaktaar (guitar) and Mags Furuholmen (keyboards). They moved to London in January 1983 and signed to Warners later in the year. Furuholmen chose their name as it was a simple exclamation known all over the world. With this hit, A-ha became the first Norwegian band to have #1 in USA.


September 25, 1943 -
An excellent Merrie Melodies cartoon, A Corny Concerto was released on this date.




A parody of Disney's 1940 feature Fantasia, the film uses two of Johann Strauss II's best known waltzes, Tales from the Vienna Woods and The Blue Danube, adapted by the cartoon unit's music director, Carl Stalling and orchestrated by its arranger and later, Stalling's successor, Milt Franklyn.


September 25, 1961 -
One of the greatest sports movies of all time, The Hustler, premiered on this date.



Paul Newman had never held a pool cue before he landed the role of Fast Eddie Felson. He took out the dining room table from his home and installed a pool table so he could spend every waking hour practicing and polishing up his skills.


September 25, 1964 -
The series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., starring Jim Nabors (who was not married to Rock Hudson) premiered on CBS-TV on this date.



Frank Sutton, whose best-known role was as Gunnery Sgt. Vince Carter in this series, could not pass the US Marine Corps physical during World War II, and ended up serving in the U.S. Army. During his service he distinguished himself by taking part in 14 assault landings, including Leyte, Luzon, Bataan and Corregidor.


September 25, 1965 -
The Beatles Cartoon Show premiered on ABC-TV on this date. It racked up a 13 score (or 52 share), then unheard of in daytime television.



After the end of the series, Al Brodax and George Dunning would continue with Beatles animation by creating the animated feature Yellow Submarine.


September 25, 1970 -
Everybody was implored to 'Get Happy' when The Partridge Family on this date.



Originally, the show was to star the real-life musical family The Cowsills. However, they backed out when the producers decided to have Shirley Jones take over the role of the mother from the group's actual matriarch, Barbara Cowsill.


September 25, 1987 -
20th Century Fox releases the Rob Reiner directed film, The Princess Bride, starring Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Christopher Guest, Robin Wright and Peter Falk, in limited release, on this date.



When asked what his favorite thing about making this film was, André the Giant replied, without skipping a beat, "Nobody looks at me." He felt treated as an equal, without people staring at him because of his grand height.




Don't forget to tune in to The ACME Eagle Hand Soap Radio Hour today.


Today in History -
On this day in 1789, Congress proposed twelve amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Habeas Corpus Luteum and Freedom from Unreasonably Surging Seashores were ultimately rejected but the other ten passed and have come to be known as the "Bill of Rights."



In honor of this important anniversary, I have chosen to celebrate my favorite amendment, in the hopes that it may also soon be yours. I am speaking of the Ninth Amendment.

Like that of Beethoven, the Constitution's Ninth is the standard against which all others must be measured. Unlike Beethoven's, it doesn't climax with a resounding choral tribute to Joy (but that could be fixed).



Here is the Ninth amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."



This important amendment should not be neglected just because of some awkwardly placed commas.

Under the First Amendment, for example, I have been given the right to say any stupid thing that pops into my head. (This should not be confused with the responsibility of doing so, which is reserved to journalists. Donald Trump seems confused about this.) This is an enumerated right. My right not to have to listen to anyone else's idiotic opinion is not enumerated, but it's just as important.

In the Second Amendment, in order to preserve peace and order in the state, I have been granted the right to stockpile dangerous weapons. Unenumerated but no less important is my right not to be caught in the crossfire while you fire off a couple of clips at a Sunday School picnic. (The NRA generally seems to have missed this subtle point.)

Under the Eighth Amendment, I have the right not to be drawn and quartered, boiled in pitch, burned at the stake, or belittled by a British producer on national television. But this does not overrule my right to be entertained.



Let us all take a moment to give thanks to the Ninth Amendment, which preserves us not only from the tyranny of government, but the far more dangerous tyranny of one another.


September 25, 1890 -
The "1890 Manifesto", sometimes simply called "The Manifesto", was a statement which officially ceased the practice of plural marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

Announced by church president Wilford Woodruff on this date, the Manifesto was a dramatic turning point in The Mormons renounced the practice of polygamy after six decades in exchange for statehood for Utah. This was a great day in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as many of the church leaders are finally able to sleep with both eyes closed.


September 25, 1919 -
President Woodrow Wilson became seriously ill and collapsed after a speech to promote the League of Nations in Pueblo, Colorado, on this date. On October 2, 1919, Wilson suffered a serious stroke that almost totally incapacitated him, leaving him paralyzed on his left side and blind in his left eye. For at least a few months, he was confined to a wheelchair. Afterwards, he could walk only with the assistance of a cane. The full extent of his disability was kept from the public until after his death on February 3, 1924.



Remarkably, Wilson was, with few exceptions, kept out of the presence of Vice President Thomas R. Marshall, his cabinet or Congressional visitors to the White House for the remainder of his presidential term. His second wife, Edith, would continually tell people for the next five years that the President was in the bathroom and couldn't be disturbed. This was, as of 2020, the most serious case of presidential disability in American history and was later cited as a key example why ratification of the 25th Amendment and a large supply of TP at the White House was seen as important.


September 25, 1980 -
John Bonham, drummer for the seminal rock band, Led Zeppelin, actually did choke to death in his sleep on a regurgitated ham sandwich on this date.



The coroner's report concludes that it was his own vomit and no one else's.


September 25, 1981 -
Sandra Day O'Connor became the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court when she was sworn in as the 102nd justice on this date.



She had been nominated the previous July by President Ronald Reagan. (One of my faithful readers was one of her law clerks.)


If you find yourself wandering around CT today, why not check out the Slice of Saugatuck in Westport.

You may actually see me working the streets, so to speak.



And so it goes

Friday, September 24, 2021

It hard to be a saint in Csanád

September 24, 1046 -
You might know that today is the feast day of St. Gerard Sagredo of Hungary and he was not having a great day today.

During mass, hordes of heathens, stormed his church, poked him with pointed sticks, bundled him up and wheeled him to the top of Gellert Hill, in Hungary (but you don't care.) Those heathen hordes shoved the cart down the hill, then beat him to death on this date.

(but I'm sure this is all meaningless to you because there's no Feast of St. Gerald Sagredo festival in your neighborhood.)


Today is National Punctuation Day (!,?.)

It's a celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotation marks and other proper uses of periods, semicolons, and the every mysterious ellipsis.



(The Interrobang is a combination of both the exclamation point and a question mark, used thusly: “What are you doing[insert interrobang. Unfortunately, the interrobang isn’t standard in font sets and can’t easily be used in typing.] You've just released the Kraken. ” )


September 24, 1938 -
One of the craziest cartoons Looney Tunes ever produced, Porky in Wackyland was released on this date. You need to watch it a few times to really get everything that's going on in this one.



Among the crazy characters Porky encounters is a creature with three heads arguing amongst themselves. From the haircuts on the three heads, it is clear that this is a parody of The Three Stooges. The character then faces the camera and leans into it in such a way that their round heads form a triangle, and a small character explains to the audience that, "He says his mother was scared by a pawnbroker's sign!"


September 24, 1945 -
Michael Curtiz' tense film noir, Mildred Pierce, starring Joan Crawford and her enormous shoulder pads, was released on this date.



Joan Crawford was nominated and won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Mildred Pierce. She was not at the award ceremony because she was home in bed with pneumonia. However, in the special features of the DVD, her daughter Christina says that she faked her illness. Joan did not think she would win the Academy Award and she did not want to attend the ceremony to be humiliated. It was said that after she heard that she won the award for Best Actress, she jumped out of bed, did her make up and put on her best negligee to meet the press.


September 24, 1958 -
Ladies (and some men), don't you always wears heels, pearls and chic frocks to do the housework? The Donna Reed Show premiered on ABC-TV on this date.



The living room set was later used again as Major Nelson's living room on I Dream of Jeannie. It was also used as the Mitchell's livingroom in Dennis the Menace and in the show Hazel several times.


September 24, 1961 -
Students of Great Comedy lined up around the block to enroll in Whatsamatta U when The Bullwinkle Show moved to primetime on NBC TV on this date.



Production budgets and time restraints were so tight that many times when actors flubbed a line and ad-libbed around it, it was included in the finished cartoon. In one infamous incident, announcer William Conrad couldn't finish the closing lines to the episode with the time limits. Producer Jay Ward then had Conrad read the script once again, and set fire to the bottom of the script as he read. Conrad quickly finished the lines before the flames reached his fingers.


September 24, 1964 -

We all visited 1313 Mockingbird Lane for the first time when The Munsters premiered on ABC-TV on this date.



The first season opening credits were an outrageous parody of the opening credits of The Donna Reed Show, which always began with Donna Reed lovingly passing out lunches to her departing family members as they left the house one by one. Yvonne De Carlo, as Lily Munster, did the same thing.


September 24, 1968 -
The TV show Mod Squad premiered on ABC-TV on this date.



Series creator Buddy Ruskin, a former Los Angeles police officer, used his experiences with a special L.A.P.D. youth squad as the basis for this show.


September 24, 1977 -
Everyone got to order their first drink from Isaac when The Love Boat set sail for the first time on ABC-TV on this date.



The former Pacific Princess was scrapped in 2013 at a Turkish ship recycling yard on the Aegean coast. She was 42 years old, and was decommissioned in 2008. The Izmir Ship Recycling Company acquired the former cruise ship for 2.5 million euros ($2.95 million).


September 24, 1991 -
Nirvana's album Nevermind was released 30 years today on this date.



Within a year of the album's release, much of the hair metal and hard rock that had commanded the airwaves was being phased out in favor of the “grunge” style often attached to Nirvana.


Another unimportant moment in history


Today in History:
September 24, 1896 -
... Life is essentially a cheat and its conditions are those of defeat; the redeeming things are not happiness and pleasure but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle.

On this date in 1896, a young Minnesota woman gave birth to a depressive, witty young alcoholic named Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. The boy did badly in school and went to train for war in 1918. While training at Camp Sheridan in Alabama, he fell in love with Zelda Sayre, the mentally unstable daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge.



The war ended before Fitzgerald could be sent overseas and shot, however, so he went to New York to become rich and famous. He became neither, so Zelda broke off their engagement.

Fitzgerald then moved back to Minnesota. A year later he became a famous writer. He moved to Connecticut, Zelda married him, and they became drunken celebrity wrecks.



They spent a lot of time in Europe. This lasted until Zelda went mad and Fitzgerald died.



Fitzgerald is best remembered for having said the rich were different, even though Hemingway kept telling him to act like a man and strip down, grease himself up and get into a boxing ring.



Oh yeah, he also wrote several books.

... It is sadder to find the past again and find it inadequate to the present than it is to have it elude you and remain forever a harmonious conception of memory.


September 24, 1947 -
Majestic 12, a secret committee of scientists, military leaders, and government officials, was allegedly established by a secret executive order issued by President Harry Truman (who may or may not have been sober at the time) to investigate UFO activity in the aftermath of the Roswell incident.



Conspiracy theorists consider the Majestic 12 major evidence supporting the government-cover-up theories. The FBI has since attempted to debunk any documents associated with the committee. Debate continues to this day about whether or not the committee existed. (And remember, you didn't read any of this here.)


September 24, 1964 -
The Warren Commission report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, (which had occurred on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas,) was presented to President Lyndon B. Johnson on this date.



The report did little to quiet conspiracy theories, but it documented that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone and that the Secret Service had made poor preparations for JFK’s visit to Dallas, had failed to sufficiently protect him, and was not part of a larger-scale plot.

President Johnson never slept another full nights' sleep again.


September 24, 1969 -
The trial of the "Chicago Eight" (later seven) began on this date. Demonstrations began outside the court house, with the Weatherman group proclaiming the "Days of Rage" in protest of the trial. The Chicago Eight staged demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago to protest the Vietnam War and its support by the top Democratic presidential candidate, Vice President Hubert Humphrey. These anti-Vietnam War protests were some of the most violent in American history as the police and national guardsmen beat antiwar protesters, innocent bystanders and members of the press.



Five defendants (Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger and Rennie Davis) were convicted of crossing state lines to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention; the convictions were ultimately overturned.


September 24, 1970 -
Luna 16 was the first robotic probe to land on the Moon and return a sample to Earth. An automatic drilling rig was deployed and 101 grams of lunar soil was collected.



The samples were returned to Earth on this date and marked the first time lunar sampled were recovered by an unmanned spacecraft.


September 24, 1991 -
Theodor Seuss Geisel, an American writer and cartoonist best known for his classic children's books under the pen name Dr. Seuss, including The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, died on this date.



No greater tribute was given to the Doctor than when the Reverend Jesse Jackson appeared on SNL following his death.



And so it goes