Sunday, October 31, 2021

It's as much fun to scare as be scared

Happy Halloween!

But remember, Halloween: it's a large secret East Coast syndicate backed primarily by Big Sugar and Dental Schools.

Once again, I will not suggest that you go as a sociopath - we've had enough of them recently.

I'd have written more but I'm way behind in adding dead mice and ground glass into kids candy bags.

(For all you parents - if your kids went trick or treating, sort your kids candy later tonight. It is not a crime to save all the good chocolate for yourself. Tell'em you have to test it for the corona virus.)

October 31, 1912 -
The Musketeers of Pig Alley, directed by D.W. Griffith and starring Elmer Booth, Lillian Gish, Clara T. Bracy and Walter Miller, premiered in the US on this date. The film is thought to be the first film about organized crime.

Most likely the first film to ever use follow-focus. D.W. Griffith convinced his most trusted cameraman, G.W. Bitzer, to fade out the background when the three gangsters walk towards the alley in the opening scene.

October 31, 1945 -
René Clair's adaptation of Agatha Christie's classic murder mystery And Then There Were None was released in the US on this date.

In recent years it has come to light that much of Agatha Christie's plot appears to have been inspired by a little-known 1930 play by Owen Davis titled The Ninth Guest, which utilized the same framework of people being brought together by an unknown host who proceeds to kill them one-by-one. Columbia Pictures' atmospheric 1934 movie version, The Ninth Guest, has never been released on home video, but is now in the public domain.

October 31, 1949 -
Cecil B. DeMille's wonderfully campy (although not intentional) version of Samson and Delilah, starring Hedy LaMarr and Victor Mature premiered on this date.

For the scene in which Samson kills the lion, Victor Mature refused to wrestle a tame movie lion. Told by Producer and Director Cecil B. DeMille that the lion had no teeth, Mature replied, "I don't want to be gummed to death, either." The scene shows a stuntman wrestling the tame lion, intercut with close-ups of Mature wrestling a lion skin.

October 31, 1970 -
Led Zeppelin started a four week run, on this date, at No.1 on the Billboard album chart with Led Zeppelin III, the bands second US chart topper.

Although critics were typically confused over the change in musical style and gave the album a mixed response, Led Zeppelin III has since been acknowledged as representing an important milestone in the band's history and a turning point in their music.

October 31, 1992 -
The Boyz II Men single End Of The Road was the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 for the 12th consecutive week, on this date, breaking the record held by Elvis Presley's two-sided Don't be Cruel/Hound Dog, which was #1 for 11 weeks in 1956.

Boyz II Men's bass singer, Michael McCary, got a spoken interlude on this song where he tells the girl he knew she was cheating but stayed with her anyway because he loved her so much. This section is an homage to vocal groups of the '50s and '60s that would often give their bass singer a similar spoken part.

October 31, 1986 -
Roland Joffé's powerful historical drama, The Mission, starring, Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Aidan Quinn, and Liam Neeson, premiered in the US on this date.

The film was released four years after its uncredited source book The Lost Cities of Paraguay by Father C. J. McNaspy was published. McNaspy also acted as a historical consultant to the film, which was loosely based on McNaspy's work.

Another book from the back shelves of the ACME Library

Today in History:
Oct 31, 1517 -
The papacy was earning a good income by the indulgences system that allowed Christians to purchase remission from penance in purgatory. Appalled at the indulgences system, the Augustinian monk Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Thesis to the door of the Wittenberg Palace All Saints’ Church, on this date.

Although he was a terrible anti-semite, Luther was one of history’s most significant figures, rocking the religious world when he penned a document attacking the Catholic Church’s corrupt practice of selling “indulgences” to absolve sin. His writing signaled the beginning of the Protestant Reformation in Germany and Protestantism in general, shattering the external structure of the medieval church and at the same time reviving the religious consciousness of Europe.

October 31, 1926 -
Harry Houdini died in room 401 of Grace Hospital in Detroit on this date.

The escape artist was killed by diffuse peritonitis, after having undergone an emergency appendectomy.

Contrary to popular belief, the fatal appendicitis could not have been caused by a punch to the stomach.

October 31, 1941 -
The carving of the four presidents on Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota, USA was completed on this date after 14 years of construction by Danish-American sculptor Gutzon Borglum and 400 stone masons.

The total cost of the project was $989,992.32, and 85 percent of that cost was funded by Congress. Despite the dangerous nature of the job, none of the crew died during construction.

October 31, 1950 -
You don't pay an actor to act. An actor will do that for free because we love to act. You pay an actor to wait.

John Franklin Candy, the great Canadian comedian and actor, was born on this date.

October 31, 1956 -
Humans set foot at the South Pole for the first time since Captain Robert F. Scott and his team in 1912, when a party led by Admiral George J. Dufek of the US Navy landed there in an R4D-5L Skytrain aircraft, on this date.

The purpose of the flight was to survey the South Pole for the construction of a scientific research station there.

October 31, 1963 -
On Halloween night, hundreds gathered to watch the Holiday on Ice show at the Indianapolis State Fairgrounds Coliseum on this date. (Perhaps not how I would be spending my evening, but to each his own.)

In the final minutes of the show, a leaking 100-pound propane tank exploded beneath a seating area. The blast sent spectators and large pieces of debris flying into the air. Seventy-four people were killed and more than 400 were injured. It definitely put a crimp in their evening.

October 31, 1963 -
The Beatles returned to London today in 1963 from a short tour of Sweden, their first outside England. They were greeted at Heathrow airport by photographers, journalists, and hundreds of screaming fans, adding to the growing evidence that Beatlemania was going to be around for more than a few weeks.

Ed Sullivan was there headed back to the States after a vacation, and was impressed. He was fully aware that he had missed out on being the first to put Elvis Presley on television and determined not to repeat the mistake, had his people look into getting them on his show.

October 31, 1984 -
Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was not having a good day. Daughter of Nehru, the first prime minister of the newly independent India and fashion plate of the 60s, Mrs. Gandhi was running late for an interview with Peter Ustinov, who was filming a documentary for Irish television. Two Sikh members of her bodyguard, annoyed with her involvement in the storming of the Golden Temple (The holiest of Sikh sites) took this moment to express their vexation with their boss and assassinated her on the spot.

This sparked Hindu-Sikh clashes across the country. Four days of anti-Sikh rioting followed in India. The government said more than 2,700 people, mostly Sikhs, were killed, while newspapers and human-rights groups put the death toll between 10,000 and 17,000.

Once again, people should be checking the references of their bodyguards more carefully.

October 31, 1993 -
Federico Fellini, considered as one of the most influential and widely revered film-makers of the 20th Century, passed away on this date.

He made some 24 films, including La Strada, La Dolce Vita, 8 1/2, and Amarcord, all hallmarks throughout the 50s and 60s Art House world.

October 31, 1993 -
The young phenom River Phoenix had an unfortunate time at the Viper Room in West Hollywood on this date.

An apocryphal story at the time was that River's last words were supposedly, "No paparazzi, I want anonymity", although the quote has become something of an urban legend. In fact, according to witnesses, River stumbled out of the nightclub and fell hard, face-first, onto the sidewalk (experts believed he likely died at that moment) before spasming violently against the pavement for eight minutes, never having uttered a word.

October 31, 1999 -

Jesse Martin of Australia became the youngest person (at age 18) to circumnavigate the globe, sailing solo, non-stop and unsupported.

He sailed from Melbourne, Australia, on December 8, 1998 (at age 17), sailing south of New Zealand, through the South Pacific, around South America, north on the Atlantic, back south past Africa, through the Indian Ocean and back to Melbourne, and returned on this date, taking 327 days 12 hours 52 minutes.

Before you steal all of your kid sister's Halloween candy,

Remember that Christmas is in 55 days!

and there are 28 days until Hanukkah

And so it goes

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Surprisingly enough, today is National Candy Corn Day.

The famous candy is said to have been invented in the United States by George Renninger in the 1880s and it was originally made by hand.

Nowadays, it's mass produced by Jelly Belly® using a recipe unchanged since about 1900. Candy corn is made from bottom to top. The yellow bit is the top and the white is the bottom.

But remember, I believe they stopped production sometime after the end of World War I and just continued to recycle the remaining uneaten supply.

October 30, 1937 -
A good early Looney Tunes Halloween treat, The Case of the Stuttering Pig, was released on this date.

When the picture of Uncle Solomon is shown, it's a drawing of Oliver Hardy as a pig.

October 30, 1942 -
Rene Clair's second Hollywood film, the delightful romantic comedy, I Married A Witch, starring, Veronica Lake, Fredric March, Susan Hayworth, and Robert Benchley, premiered on this date.

Charles Chaplin was a fan of director René Clair. After seeing this film he told Clair, "There was no need to see the credits, in two minutes I had known it was your work."

October 30, 1943 -
A very funny war-time Bugs Bunny Cartoon, Falling Hare, was released on this date.

In the early 1940s, Walt Disney was developing a feature film based on Roald Dahl's book Gremlin Lore, and asked the other studios to refrain from producing gremlin films. While most of the studios complied, Warner Bros. already had two cartoons too far into production - this cartoon and Russian Rhapsody. As a compromise, Leon Schlesinger re-titled the cartoons to remove any reference to gremlins. The original title was Bugs Bunny and the Gremlin.

October 30, 1968 -
The wonderfully acted treachery among the 12th Century Royals, A Lion In Winter starring Peter O'Toole, Katharine Hepburn and Anthony Hopkins opened in the US on this date.

To the company's amazement, Katharine Hepburn swam twice a day in the frigid winter sea in Ireland, early in the morning, and during her lunch break. When Peter O'Toole asked her why she did it, she explained, "It's the shock, so horrible, that it makes you feel great afterwards."

October 30, 1971 -
Pink Floyd released their sixth studio album Meddle in the US, on this date. The album features One Of These Days and the 23-minute track Echoes which took up all of side 2 on the vinyl record.

The cover image was photographed by Bob Dowling. The image represents an ear, underwater, collecting waves of sound, represented by ripples in the water.

October 30, 1982 -
The first single from Men at Work, Who Can It Be Now?, hits #1 on the Billboard charts, in America.

The song was released in Australia in 1981. It was gradually released around the world, where it got a great reception, but CBS Records in America dragged their feet - they didn't release it in that country until the middle of 1982, by which time the song had already hit #1 in Australia.

October 30, 2002
Warren Zevon was featured on the Late Show with David Letterman as the only guest for the entire hour, on this date.

Zevon performing several songs and spoke about being diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.

Kids, "...enjoy every sandwich."

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

Today in History:
October 30, 1863 -
OK kids, try to follow this ...

Danish Prince Wilhelm was a middle child of very famous siblings.

His older brother was to become the King of Denmark.

His older sister was married to Edward VII, making her the Queen consort of England.

His younger sister was married to the Tsar (czar? csar?) of Russia.

His parents didn't know what to get for him. They thought and thought about it and decided that he should become the King of Greece?

Wilhelm arrives in Athens, changes his name to a good Greek name and assumes his throne as George I, King of the Hellenes, on this date.

As mentioned previously, Wilhelm/ George's grandson was a sailor named Philippos, whose parents were related to themselves and half the other nobility in Europe. Philip had no real prospects of a career, so he did what any blue blooded aristocrat would do with no real prospects, he married up by marrying his second cousin (Elizabeth II of England.)

Keep her in your thoughts today.

October 30, 1888 -
John L. Loud of Weymouth, Massachusetts was granted the first US patent for a ballpoint pen. (US patent 392,046) on this date.

The pen uses a revolving spherical marking point held in place by three smaller anti-friction bearings, which are held in place in turn by a spring-loaded rod.

October 30, 1938 -
The War of the Worlds was the Halloween episode of the American radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air. Directed by the wunderkind Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells' classic novel The War of the Worlds (1898).

Welles's adaptation is arguably the most well-known radio dramatic production in history. Both the War of the Worlds broadcast and the panic it created have become textbook examples of mass hysteria and the delusions of crowds.

It has been suggested in recent years that the War of the Worlds broadcast was actually a news report of the Red Lectroids invasion of Earth by Orson as fact retracted as fiction. Another conspiracy theory has the Rockefeller Foundation funding the broadcast as a test to gauge the public's reaction.

There has been continued speculation that the panic generated by the broadcast inspired officials to cover up unidentified flying object evidence, to avoid a similar panic. Indeed, U.S. Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt wrote in 1956, "The [U.S. government's] UFO files are full of references to the near mass panic of October 30, 1938, when Orson Welles presented his now famous The War of the Worlds broadcast."

It's also possible that the aliens hypnotizing Welles and causing him to pass the broadcast off as a drama, when it was indeed factual.

You never know.

October 30, 1952 -
Clarence Birdseye sold first package of frozen peas on this date.

After his death, Birdeye was not frozen, as you might have incorrectly assumed but cremated and had his ashes were scattered at sea off Gloucester, Massachusetts.

October 30, 1961 -
The Soviet Union tested the largest nuclear device ever created (the Tsar Bomb) on this date. The nuclear test took place on the islands of Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Ocean.

The bomb was 4,000 times stronger than the atomic bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima.

It went BOOM and blowed up real good.

October 30, 1968 -
Silent film star, Ramon Novarro was brutally beaten and left for dead by his assailants, on this date. Novarro's life ended when two brothers, Tom and Paul Ferguson (if you're a very sick puppy, there are nude photos of Paul on the internet but I'm not going to link to them), whom he had paid to come to his Laurel Canyon home for sex, murdered him.

According to the prosecution in the Novarro murder case, the two young men believed that a large sum of money was hidden in Novarro's house. The prosecution accused them of torturing Novarro for several hours to force him to reveal where the nonexistent money was hidden. They left with a mere twenty dollars they took from his bathrobe pocket before fleeing the scene.

Novarro died as a result of asphyxiation, choking to death on his own blood after being brutally beaten. According to filmmaker and scandal monger, Kenneth Anger, Navarro actually died after suffocating on a wooden (or silver or lead) dildo (a non-existing gift from Rudolf Valentino) the two brothers crammed down his throat.

A very unpleasant end, indeed.

October 30, 1974 -
Muhammad Ali and George Foreman held their Rumble In the Jungle boxing match in Zaire on this date.

Ali knocked out George Foreman in the eighth round of a 15-round bout in Kinshasa, Zaire, to regain his world heavyweight title, that was taken from him for refusing military service. This fight has been voted by sports writers as the greatest sporting event in the 20th Century.

October 30, 1975 -
President Gerald Ford, on October 29, 1975, gave a speech denying federal assistance to spare New York from bankruptcy. The front page of The Daily News the next day read: “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD.

While Mr. Ford never explicitly said “drop dead,” (though in essence, it's what his speech was about,) those two words would cost him the presidency the following year, after Jimmy Carter, nominated by the Democrats in New York, narrowly carried the state.

October 30, 1990 -
Joseph W. Burrus, an aspiring magician, died while attempting a "buried alive" stunt. He was contained inside an acrylic glass clear box,or coffin, of his own construction. Lowered into a hole, his crew began filling the hole with dirt and cement around the coffin.

Apparently, Burrus didn't calculate the correct force the weight of the wet cement had on this coffin - he had only practiced the trick with soil. At some point, the crew realized the concrete had crushed the box, and when they pulled him out, he was dead. Oops (probably non-union help.)

Folks, when you're being buried alive, spend the extra bucks and go labor!

October 30, 2013 -
Norwegian town of Rjukan experienced a winter sun for the first time after giant mirrors were installed around the town on this date. Citizens celebrated by wearing their sunglasses and gathering in the town center

Rjukan, surrounded by mountains, does not get any direct sunlight for about seven months out of the year, and the idea to use mirrors to bring sun to the town center was proposed around one-hundred years previously.

Once again,

tomorrow is Halloween.

And so it goes

Friday, October 29, 2021

Did you know?

October 29, 1268 -
16-year old Conradin, the Duke of Swabia, the last legitimate male heir of the German Hohenstaufen dynasty of Kings and Holy Roman Emperors, was executed along with his best friend, Frederick I, Margrave of Baden by Charles I of Sicily.

But what the hell do you care, Halloween is in two days and your local elections are in 4 days. I bet if you dig around in any purses in your house (assuming someone in your house has a purse,)

you could find some individual altoid mints to give out to the neighborhood kids should they come to your house treat or treating this year.

October 29, 1966 -
? and the Mysterians song 96 Tears hit #1 in America on this date.

This song was written by "?," the band's frontman who wanted to be anonymous (he's listed on the composer credits as (Rudy Martinez). At one point he referred to the individual band members only by three-letter names (at one point, the band was known as XYZ). The mystery helped market the group, who wore dark glasses to add to the intrigue.

October 29, 1974 -
Rhoda and Joe got married on this date.

The Rhoda's Wedding episode, which was a crossover episode with the Mary Tyler Moore Show, broke records for ratings when it aired.

October 29, 1999 -
Spike Jonze's surreal comedy, Being John Malkovich, written by Charlie Kaufman, and starring John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, John Malkovich, and Charlie Sheen premiered on this date.

John Malkovich claimed that he approached the character of "John Malkovich" as he would any other fictional role, and that the only thing about his real life that was reflected in the film is his wardrobe.

October 29, 1999 -
The largest grossing Japanes film of 1997, the Ghibli Studio's anime classic Mononoke-hime, was released in the US as Princess Mononoke, with new voice over work by Claire Danes, Billy Crudup, Minnie Driver, and Billy Bob Thornton, on this date.

When it was announced that the Miramax/Buena Vista region-1 DVD would only contain the English-language dialogue track adapted by Neil Gaiman, there was enough fan protest to convince Miramax to delay the release in order to include the original Japanese-language dialogue.

Another unimportant moment in history

Today in History :
October 29, 1618 -

The day before (back in 1618), Sir Walter Raleigh was a fairly forgotten figure in English History. Sir Walter, famous explorer and favorite of Queen Elizabeth I had been languishing in prison for years on some murky charges of plotting against King James I. He was left to languish in the Tower of London until 1616. While imprisoned, he wrote many treatises and the first volume of The Historie of the World, about the ancient history of Greece and Rome. His son Carew was conceived and born while Raleigh was legally 'dead' and imprisoned in the Tower of London (1604).

In 1616, Sir Walter was released from the Tower of London in order to conduct a second expedition to Venezuela in search of El Dorado. In the course of the expedition, Raleigh's men, under the command of Lawrence Keymis, sacked the Spanish outpost of San Thome on the Orinoco. During the initial attack on the settlement, Raleigh's son Walter was struck by a bullet and killed. On Raleigh's return to England, the outraged Diego Sarmiento de Acuoa, the Spanish ambassador, demanded that King James reinstate Raleigh's death sentence. The ambassador's demand was granted.

Raleigh was beheaded at Whitehall on this date in 1618. "Let us dispatch," he asked his executioner. "At this hour my ague comes upon me. I would not have my enemies think I quaked from fear." After he was allowed to see the axe that would behead him, he mused: "This is a sharp Medicine, but it is a Physician for all diseases and miseries". It's been said that Sir Walter final words (as he lay ready for the axe to fall) were: "Strike a match man, strike!"

The corpse was to be buried in the local church in Beddington, Surrey, the home of Lady Raleigh. "The Lords," she wrote, "have given me his dead body, though they have denied me his life. God hold me in my wits". After Raleigh's execution, his head was embalmed and presented to his wife. She carried it with her in a velvet bag until she decided she didn't like the smell.

Gentlemen, remember either to keep your head firmly in place upon your death or ask your wife to invest in a lot of room deodorizer.

October 29, 1891 -
Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?

Fanny Brice, popular and influential American comedienne, singer, theatre and film actress and entertainer, was born on this date.

October 29, 1899 -
Akim Tamiroff, Georgian born actor (was the first Golden Globe Award-winning actor for Best Supporting Actor) was born on this date.

While Tamiroff may not be a household name in the present day, his malapropistic performance as the boss in The Great McGinty inspired the cartoon character Boris Badenov,

the male half of the villainous husband-and-wife team Boris and Natasha on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

October 29, 1901 -
Leon Czolgosz was convicted and sentenced to death for the assassination of U.S. President William McKinley on September 23, 1901 in a brief trial that lasted eight and a half hours from jury selection to verdict. Upon returning to Auburn Prison, he asked the Warden if this meant he would be transferred to Sing Sing to be electrocuted and seemed surprised to learn that Auburn had its own electric chair.

He was executed by electrocution, by three jolts at 1700 volts each, on October 29, 1901, in Auburn Prison in Auburn, New York. His brother Waldek and his brother-in-law Frank Bandowski were in attendance, though when Waldek asked the Warden for his brother's body to be taken for proper burial, he was informed that he "would never be able to take it away" and that crowds of people would mob him, so the body had to be buried on prison grounds.

His last words were "I killed the President because he was the enemy of the good people - the good working people. I am not sorry for my crime." As the prison guards strapped him into the chair, however, he did say through clenched teeth, "I am sorry I could not see my father." Sulfuric acid and lye were thrown into his coffin so that his body would be completely disfigured, and to aid in its decomposition. His letters and clothes were burned.

The scene of the crime, the Temple of Music, was torn down in November 1901. A stone marker in the middle of Fordham Drive, a residential street in Buffalo today marks the approximate spot where the event occurred. Czolgosz's revolver is on display at the Pan-American Exposition exhibit of the Erie County Historical Society in Buffalo.

Today is the anniversary of Black Tuesday, the stock market crash in 1929 that signaled the beginning of the worst economic collapse in the history of the modern industrial world.

Few people saw it coming except for Joseph P. Kennedy and Charlie Chaplin who had cashed out of the volatile market weeks early and preserved their fortunes. The stock market had been booming throughout the 1920s. Brokerage houses had been springing up all over the country, to take advantage of everyone's interest in investment. There were stories about barbers, messenger boys and prostitutes who'd gotten rich off of overheard stock tips. Americans who ordinarily couldn't afford to invest their money were taking out loans to buy stock so they wouldn't miss out (shades of the sub prime mortgage market.)

The front-page story in The New York Times on the next day read, "Wall Street was a street of vanished hopes, of curiously silent apprehension and of a sort of paralyzed hypnosis. Men and women crowded the brokerage offices, even those who have been long since wiped out, and followed the figures on the tape. Little groups gathered here and there to discuss the fall in prices in hushed and awed tones."

The stock market didn't do so well in September of 1929, but nobody really noticed anything was wrong until October 23, when 2.6 million shares were sold in the closing hour of trading. It looked as though the selling would continue on Thursday, October 24, but a group of the most influential American bankers in the country pooled their money and began to buy up the declining stocks, supporting the market. By the end of that day it seemed like everything would be all right.

But on this day in 1929, the bottom fell out of the market. Three million shares were sold in the first half-hour. Stock prices fell so fast that by the end of the day there were shares in many companies that no one would buy at any price. The stocks had lost their entire value.

It was the most disastrous trading day in the stock market's history (until now). The stock market lost $30 billion dollars, more than a third of its value, in the next two weeks.

October 29, 1932 -
Three years to the day after the stock market crash, the French liner Normandie was launched in front of 200,000 spectators. The ship was often called the greatest ocean liner ever built

Normandie's career as a passenger liner was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. At the end of her 139th Atlantic crossing, she arrived in New York on August 28, 1939, and would never sail again.

October 29, 1964 -
The Star of India, the famous golf-ball-sized stone was stolen, along with several other stones including the Eagle Diamond and the deLong Ruby from the American Museum of Natural History, in NYC, on this date. The thieves unlocked a bathroom window during museum open hours, climbed in that night, found that the sapphire was the only gem in the collection protected by an alarm -- and the battery for that was dead. So they raked up the stones, and fled the same way they came in.

Within two days, the notorious cat burglar, smuggler, and one-time surfing champion Jack Murphy (known as Murph the Surf) was arrested along with two accomplices, later receiving a three-year sentence. The uninsured Star of India was recovered in a locker in a Miami bus station. However, the Eagle diamond was never recovered.

October 29, 1969 -
The first computer-to-computer message transmission (ARPANET), the basis of today's internet, was established between UCLA and Stanford on this date.

Apparently, the two computers were looking for porn.

October 29, 2012 -
Most people on the East Coast were battening down the hatches, waiting for Sandy to hit landfall.

By the next day, New York harbor had risen to over 13 feet at the Battery, over two million New Yorkers has lost power, and 44 New Yorkers had lost their lives.

And so it goes

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Today is International Animation Day.

The day commemorates the first public performance of Emile Reynaud’s Theatre Optique at the Grevin Museum in Paris in 1892.

So Kids make sure you grab a bowl of the sugary breakfast cereal and watch your favorite cartoons.

October 28, 1947 -
An overlooked yet still powerful film-noir, Nightmare Alley, starring Tyrone Power was released on this date.

The film did not initially do well, as the public found it difficult to accept Tyrone Powell as the bad guy. Studio head Darryl F. Zanuck found this movie so generally distasteful that he eventually took it out of circulation, but it was theatrically re-released in 1956-1957, did good business, particularly in the drive-in circuit, and received wide distribution.

October 28, 1950 -
The eternally 39-year old Benjamin Kubelsky (who was actually 56 at the time,) transitioned his successful radio program to television on this date when The Jack Benny Show premiered on CBS-TV.

In the early years, the program was originally titled The Lucky Strike Program after the show's sponsor, Lucky Strike cigarettes, which had also sponsored Jack Benny's radio program.

October 28, 1956 -
Elvis Presley made his second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, (Ed Sullivan had sufficient recovered from his near fatal auto accident to resume host the program,) on this date.

On the show Elvis performed, Don't Be Cruel, Love Me Tender, Love Me and Hound Dog.

October, 28, 1957 -
Federico Fellini's Le Notti di Cabiria (Nights of Cabiria) opened in the US on this date. (A good friend of mine named her daughter after Giulietta Masina. )

The American musical, Sweet Charity (choreograped and directed by Bob Fosse) was based upon this film. The ending used in 'Charity' (which parallels this film's ending) was deemed too 'depressing' by the studio, who demanded am upbeat ending, instead. Though it was filmed, test audiences reacted poorly, so the original - 'Cabiria-like' ending which leaves her future unanswered was restored.

October 28, 1972 -
Stevie Wonder released his 15th studio album Talking Book on this date.

The album's first track, You Are the Sunshine of My Life, hit No.1 on the Billboard charts, and earned Wonder his first Grammy Award. The album featured a guest appearance of Jeff Beck on the track Superstition.

October 28, 1978 -
The group KISS, may have thought that they had dodged a huge career bullet when they turned down appearing in the disasterous BeeGee's Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band fiasco, due to being contractually obliged to star in another feature. Karma though had other thoughts - The Hanna-Barbera produced KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

All four members of KISS deeply regret that they acted in it. They hate the movie and still despise it being created.

October 28, 1986 -
Cyndi Lauper's song True Colors hits the top of the Billboard charts on this date.

This was written by the songwriting team of Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, who also wrote Madonna's Like A Virgin, Heart's Alone, and Lauper's I Drove All Night.

Another moment of edifying culture

Today in History:
October 28, 4004 BC -
You never call, you never write - God.

According to Biblical calculations by our pal, Archbishop James Ussher,

God created Adam and Eve five days after finishing the rest of the universe.

October 28, 1886 -
The Statue of Liberty was dedicated at Liberty Island, New York, by President Grover Cleveland on this date. The statue weighs 225 tons and is 152 feet tall. It was originally known as Liberty Enlightening the World. Lady Liberty, as she came to be called, quickly become a symbol of America, partly because she was such a striking visual symbol of our national reverence for liberty, partly because of the five-dollar hot dogs and ten-dollar plastic replicas sold at her feet.

The statue's inscription was written by poet Emma Lazarus, and attributes the following exhortation from Lady Liberty: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

(Certain former misinformed administrative officials misunderstand exactly for whom the light of liberty shines. May I humbly suggest the light shines directly for certain administration officials to be shown the entrance to prison.)

Exactly thirty-three years later, in 1919, Congress passed a law prohibiting alcohol (The Volstead Act.)

Ultimately, it resulted in toxic, bootlegged alcohol that killed more people than legal alcohol had. With alcohol outlawed, only outlaws had drinks and the atmosphere fosters Mafia encroachment into legitimate businesses. Fortunately there were an awful lot of them and they overturned the law as soon as they were sober enough to vote.

October 28, 1922 -
Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini seizes power in Italy, with the assistance of the Catholic Church. Pope Pius XI declared Mussolini is a man sent by divine providence.

In return for this endorsement, the silly dictator signs the Lateran treaty, restoring papal sovereignty over the Vatican.

But at least the trains ran on time.

October 28, 1948 -
The Nobel committee announces that Swiss chemist Paul Müller had won the 1948 chemistry prize on this date.

He discovered the unusual insecticidal properties of 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2- bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane. Thanks to Mueller, the world embraces the phenomenal bug-killer... until somebody discovers that the hydrocarbon, popularly known as DDT, also excels at causing cancer.

October 28, 1955 -
William Henry Gates III was born in Seattle on this date.

With the world uneasiness, Bill's agressive can recycling has helped him deal with his drop from the number two position to number four on Forbes' world billionaire list. I believe he is holding his own with the 1%ers.

October 28, 1962 -
The Cuban Missile Crisis officially ended when Nikita Khrushchev formally agreed to dismantle the Soviet missiles and remove them from Cuba. In exchange, the US agreed not to invade Cuba and respect its sovereignty.

The world breathed a sigh of relief as the tense situation that almost caused a nuclear war came to an end.

October 28, 1963 -
A New York DJ, Murray Kaufman, played a song from a little known British group on this date.

It is believed that Murray the K's playing of She Loves You by The Beatles on this date, was the first time a Beatles song was played on an American radio station.

October 28, 1965 -
Pope Paul VI issued a decree, Nostra Aetate, which among other things, absolved Jews of collective guilt for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

I can chart my moral decline to this date. When informed of this a few years later, I told my seventh grade religious teacher, "Gee, that was awfully big of him."

October 28, 1965 -
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, the tallest memorial in the US, was completed on this date. The famous arch, designed by architect Eero Saarinen and structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel, is 603 feet (about 184 meters) tall and 630 feet (about 192 meters) wide.

The memorial was built as a monument to Thomas Jefferson and all those pioneers for whom St. Louis was the Gateway to the West.

And on a personal note:

Happy Birthday Olivia

And so it goes

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

In victory, you deserve beer, in defeat, you need it.

Today we can celebrate American Beer Day, as opposed to National Beer Day, which is celebrated on April 7.

While beer is not my go to beverage of choice, I'm happy to down a frosty cold one or two.

October 27, 1954 -
"... It was all started by a mouse."

Walt Disney's first TV show, Disneyland, premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

All of the ABC episodes were filmed in color, even though they aired in black and white. In general, ABC did not broadcast in color until the mid 1960s. During the years on ABC, the show went by the title of Disneyland, with one of four weekly sub titles, either Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventureland or Tomorrowland, depending on the category of that week's show.

October 27, 1955 -
The quintessential 50s movie (although quite startling at the time,) Nicholas Ray's masterful, Rebel Without a Cause, was released on this date.

The opening scene in the movie with Jim Stark and the toy monkey was improvised by James Dean after the production had been shooting for nearly 24 hours straight. He asked Nicholas Ray to roll the camera, that he wanted to do something. Ray obliged and the improvisation went on to become the famous opening scene.

October 27, 1964 -
Another Paddy Chayefsky scripted classic from the 60s (although unappreciated), The Americanization of Emily, starring James Garner and Julie Andrews, premiered on this date.

Producer Martin Ransohoff removed director William Wyler from this movie, as Wyler wanted to change Paddy Chayefsky's script. It was a rare instance in which a producer supported a screenwriter over a director, particularly one of Wyler's caliber. As Chayefsky was known to have guarantees written into his contracts protecting his scripts, Ransohoff may have had no choice but to replace Wyler with Arthur Hiller.

October 27, 1966 -
The third Charles Schultz Peanuts special, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, (directed again by Bill Melendez,) premiered on this date.

Actress Cathy Steinberg had almost finished recording all her lines of dialog as Sally when the producers received a phone call from Steinberg's mother informing them that one of Cathy's teeth was loose. Fearing that a sudden lisp would ruin the continuity dialogue, the producers rushed the young actress into the studio to finish recording her lines. Just as Steinberg was speaking her last line, the tooth came flying out of her mouth.

October 27, 1982 -
Prince's fifth album, 1999, was released on this date. It becomes his breakthrough, selling well over 5 million copies worldwide, thanks to Little Red Corvette and the title track.

The album helped propel him to superstar status, a title he lived up to with electrifying live shows and a startlingly prolific output of material, including music, movies and videos.

October 27, 1988 -
U2's film Rattle And Hum, received its world wide premiere in the group's hometown of Dublin on this date.

Many of the songs performed in Rattle and Hum are altered from their original release, most notably: With or Without You, which contains a whole new verse to end the song; Exit, which includes the chorus from Gloria (interestingly, the Van Morrison song, although U2 also had an early hit titled Gloria); and Bad, which adds verses from the Rolling Stones' Ruby Tuesday and Sympathy for the Devil.

October 27, 1995 -
One of the least happiest films ever made, Leaving Las Vegas, directed by Mike Figgis and starring Nicolas Cage, and Elisabeth Shue went into limited release in the US on this date.

Nicolas Cage researched his character by binge drinking and visiting many hospitalized career alcoholics. Elisabeth Shue associated with prostitutes and interviewed them on the strip in Las Vegas.

October 27, 1998 -
R.E.M. appeared on The Jools Holland Show, Later, which was recorded at BBC TV Centre on this date.

Two days earlier, R.E.M. played almost the identical concert for BBC Radio 1 at the Radio Theater at Broadcasting House in London for an audience primarily consisting of fan club members and contest winners.

Another failed ACME Product

Today in History:
On October 27, 312, on the eve of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, Constantine had a vision assuring him of victory in the name of the Christian God.

As emperor, Constantine served as a patron for the church, contributing to its rapid growth in the fourth century. (So just that I have this right - if sunglasses had been invented and he didn't have sun glare in his eyes, most of the world would still be engaged in wanton sodomy.)

October 27, 1553 -
Michael Servetus, noted theologian, was honored in Switzerland for his discovery of the pulmonary circulation of the blood, on this date by being burned at the stake just outside Geneva with what was believed to be the last copy of his writing chained to his leg. Historians record his last words as: "Jesus, Son of the Eternal God, have mercy on me."

John Calvin is given a good deal of credit for having arranged these honors, which may have had something to do with his own gratitude to Mr. Servetus for having raised an important theological question.

Throughout history, such important theological questions have caused almost as much bloodshed as important theological answers. That doesn't mean theology's an especially bloody field - there's been just as much carnage from philosophy, politic

It's probably all that blood that puts the 'human' in the humanities or as one of my faith readers put it, the 'hard' in hard science.

October 27, 1682 -
The City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was founded on this date. In 1681, as part of a repayment of a debt, Charles II of England granted William Penn a charter for what would become the Pennsylvania colony. Penn's ship anchored off the coast of New Castle, Delaware, on October 27, 1682, and he arrived in Philadelphia (which did not exist at the time, if you are following along, the Lenni Lenape Indians certainly didn't call this place Philadelphia) a few days after that.

He expanded the city west to the bank of the Schuylkill River, for a total of 1,200 acres. Streets were laid out in a gridiron system. Except for the two widest streets, High (now Market) and Broad, the streets were named after prominent landowners who owned adjacent lots. And no cheese steaks were involved.

October 27, 1858 -
Rowland H. Macy opened R.H. Macy Dry Goods on the corner of Sixth Ave. and 14th St. in New York City on this date.

First day sales were $11.06 but by the end of the first year, sales totaled almost $90,000. By 1877, R.H. Macy and Co. had become a full-fledged department store occupying 11 adjacent buildings.

October 27, 1904 -
The first underground segment of the New York City Subway officially opened on this date, running from City Hall in lower Manhattan to Broadway in Harlem.

The fare was a nickel and on the first day the trains carried over 150,000 passengers. Today it is one of the most extensive public transportation systems in the world. And with any luck, they will extend the Q line to 125th Street within my lifetime.

October 27, 1939 -
John Cleese, actor, writer and all around funny guy was born on this date. (Oh yeah, I think he was in a comedy group in the late 60s, early 70s.)

I hope John continues being funny and stops giving his opinion on how terrible it was to have been in Monty Python.

October 27, 1962 -
The British comedy stage revue Beyond the Fringe, written by and starring Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett opening in NYC on this date.

This show is often seen as the beginning of the British satirical comedy of the 60s and many of the members Monty Python found this show highly influential.

October 27, 1964 -
In a private ceremony, Sonny and Cher exchanged rings in Tijuana (on this date) and told others they were married,

they were not legally married until 1969.

October 27, 2013 -
I don't think anybody is anybody else's moral compass. Maybe listening to my music is not the best idea if you live a very constricted life. Or maybe it is.

Music legend (and general major pain in the ass) Lou Reed died on this date.

And so it goes

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

I'm more awake today

(I remembered to post on the correct website.)

Wang Mang, emperor of the Western Han Dynasty, died on this date, (what the hell do you care,)

but that has nothing to do with the fact that today we celebrate National Pumpkin Day and Howl at the Moon Day today.

So don't make us wait - howl at the moon, preferably while eating pumpkin pie.

October 26, 1959 -
A gentle and yet still relevant Cold War comedy, The Mouse that Roared, opened in the US on this date.

The director, Jack Arnold did not ask the studio's permission to make fun of the Columbia logo, convinced they would say no. At the film's opening, "Miss Columbia" discovers a mouse under her skirts and runs off screaming. At the end she returns to her pedestal. Studio executives first heard of the joke when they attended the New York previews, where it got a huge laugh. After that, there was no thought of cutting it, though it is absent from some television prints.

October 26, 1962 -
The Crawford - Davis horror camp classic, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? opened in NYC on this date.

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford worked hard to promote the film, both knowing that their profit percentage points would pay off in spades with the film's success. Davis traveled to 17 theaters across the state of New York in three days for personal appearances and helped give away promotional Baby Jane dolls to patrons with a "lucky envelope" under their seat.

October 26, 1967 -
An excellent (though almost forgotten) thriller from the 60s, Wait Until Dark, premiered on this date.

In his non-fiction book Danse Macabre, Stephen King declared this to be the scariest movie of all time and that Alan Arkin's performance "may be the greatest evocation of screen villainy ever."

October 26, 1982 -
TV's longest dream sequence, St. Elsewhere, premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

Actor William Daniels said that when he was offered the part of Dr. Craig, he was not only given the pilot script to read, he was given the first three scripts to read. He said producers did this to show that his character was prominent in some episodes but not others. Daniels said it gave him a sense of the ensemble nature of the show.

October 26, 1984 -
James Cameron's sci-fi classic, The Terminator starring the occasionally nude Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton premiered in the US on this date.

While shooting this film, James Cameron often resorted to what he called "guerilla filmmaking" as a way of getting around acquiring permits needed to film certain scenes. This involved the production crew and actors quickly arriving at a specified location, shooting the scene and leaving before the police arrived. As a result, some of the people seen in a few shots are actual everyday citizens completely unaware they're in a movie.

October 26, 2001 -
Richard Kelly's cult classic film, Donnie Darko, starring Jake Gyllenhaal went into limited release in US theaters on this date.

At the wrap party for the film, Seth Rogen and Jake Gyllenhaal agreed that they had no idea what the movie was about.

Today's moment of Zen

Today in History:
October 26, 1440 -
Gilles de Rais, French marshal and (alleged) depraved killer of 140 children, was strangled then thrown onto slow fire on this date.

A brilliant young French knight, he was believed to either have cracked over the torture and death of his true love, Jeanne d'Arc, the Maid of Orleans or some theorists consider Gilles the victim of a plot to acquire his lands.

On this date, in 1825, New York City becomes a World Port with the opening of the Erie Canal; a river waterway between Hudson River and Lake Erie opened. It cut through 363 miles of wilderness and measured 40 feet wide and 4 feet deep. It had 18 aqueducts and 83 locks and rose 568 feet from the Hudson River to Lake Erie.

Toll receipts paid back the $7.5 million construction cost within ten years. (This will all be on the test.)

October 26, 1881 -
Wyatt Earp, his two brothers and Doc Holliday showed up at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, to disarm the Clanton and McLaury boys, who were in violation of a ban on carrying guns in the city limits.

This became the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Billy Clanton and Tom and Frank McLowery were killed; Earp's brothers were wounded. “OK” probably referred to two families, Ormsby & Kimberly, who owned the nearby corral.

October 26, 1944 -
Freemason and Vice President Harry S Truman publicly denies (yet again) ever having been a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Unfortunately for him, while never an active member, he did pay the $10 membership dues in 1922 in order to get backing for a judgeship he was seeking back in Missouri.

I can't even imagine the feeding frenzy that would have go on today.

October 26, 1965 -
Queen Elizabeth decorated The Beatles with the Order of the British Empire, at Buckingham Palace, on this date.

The Beatles, ever polite, allowed Her Majesty to add chintz curtains and tufted sofas in their living rooms.

October 26, 1970 -
Doonesbury, the comic strip by Gary Trudeau, premiered in 28 newspapers across the U.S. on this date.

The strip is still going strong: a new strip occasionally published on Sundays.

Who knew? (Who reads newspapers anymore?)

October 26, 1979 -
Kim Jae Kyu, director of South Korea's central intelligence agency, "accidentally" shot President Park Chung Hee to death, also killing Park's bodyguard. Park had been president (dictator, effectively) since 1961. Kim was executed the following May for his attempted coup d'etat. (I hate when someone in my cabinet tries to assassinate me.)

In 2005 at the New York Film Festival, the film, The President's Last Bang, recounted the events.

October 26, 1984 -
19-year-old John McCollum shot and killed himself while listening to Ozzy Osbourne records on this date. One year later, McCollum's parents file suit against Ozzy and CBS Records, alleging that the song Suicide Solution from the album Blizzard of Ozz contributed to their son's death.

Except that the song's subject was quite plainly alcohol addiction. The trial court dismissed the McCollum's complaint. (Please, only watch the video once, with adult supervision. And for heaven's sake, don't try to play it backwards!)

October 26, 1991 -
A sudden wind uprooted a 485-pound umbrella, part of an outdoor 'art project' installed by Christo, in the Tejon Pass north of Los Angeles and struck Lori Keevil-Matthews, 33 years old, of Camarillo, California, crushing her to death against a boulder.

That must really suck being killed by an old Hollies song.

And so it goes