Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Baby, it cold outside

It's a perfect day to celebrate National Hot Tea Day.

So have a cuppa.

January 12, 1934 -
George Cukor's star-studded extravaganza Dinner at Eight, went into general release in the US on this date.

Jean Harlow got along with all of her co-stars, except Wallace Beery. She had worked with him before in The Secret 6 and the two had developed a dislike for each other that carried over. Beery thought that Harlow wasn't experienced enough as an actress and treated her rudely. Harlow found Beery gruff and boorish. Since the two were playing a husband and wife that can't stand each other, the real-life feelings worked to the comic benefit of the characters.

January 12, 1944 -
Probably Alfred Hitchcock's most underrated film, Lifeboat, opened in NYC on this date.

This movie was shot entirely on a restricted set in which the boat was secured in a large studio tank. Alfred Hitchcock, always striving for realism, insisted that the boat never remain stationary and that there always be an added touch of ocean mist and fog compounded of oil forced through dry ice.

January 12, 1955 -
Kraft Television Theatre presented the first drama written by Rod Serling, Patterns on this date.

The drama was so popular that it became the first live drama in television history to be broadcast twice due to popularity.

January 12, 1960 -
Michael Todd, Jr. released Scent of Mystery in "Smell-o-Vision", starring Denholm Elliott, Peter Lorre, Leo McKern, and Diana Dors into general release on this date.

Producer Michael Todd, Jr. famously said of this movie that he was the first movie producer in history to make a movie "and then admit that it smells". He was not amused when most critics were quick to agree with him. Sadly, for all concerned, the critics were right. It was a critical disaster, and a financial failure.

January 12, 1966 -
Holy homoeroticism!!!

ABC-TV premiered the tightly colored underwear wearing, perfectly genitally arranged comedy Batman on this date.

After ABC cancelled the series, the producers waited to see if anyone else would pick it up, then bulldozed the Batcave set when it appeared nobody would. Two weeks later, NBC offered to pick it up, unaware that the set had already been dismantled; unwilling to invest in the high cost of rebuilding the entire set, NBC ultimately declined to acquire the series.

January 12, 1967 -
You're pretty high and far out son, what kind of kick are you on son?

Dragnet reappeared in color when their iconic episode The LSD Story premiered on this date.

When the revival was in the planning stages, Jack Webb had originally planned on bringing in his former co-star Ben Alexander to reprise his role as Officer Frank Smith. However, Alexander was appearing on the ABC series The Felony Squad and that network would not let him out of his contract to appear on the revival. Webb then chose Harry Morgan to reprise his role of Officer Bill Gannon, from the earlier series.

January 12, 1971 -
Oh Geez, stifle yourself.

The first episode of All In The Family made television history by broadcasting the sound of a toilet flushing on this date.

This is not, however, the first time a toilet tank is seen on television. That honor goes to Leave It to Beaver premiere episode, Captain Jack back in 1957.

January 12, 1981 -
Aaron Spelling's glitzy soap opera Dynasty, starring John Forsythe, Linda Evans and Joan Collins premieres on ABC-TV on this date.

John Forsythe (Blake Carrington) is the only actor to appear in all 220 episodes of the series. Joan Collins and John Forsythe did not get along. Ironically, she got along fine with Linda Evans.

January 12, 1991 -
Australian new wave group Divinyls hits #1 on the Australian ARIA chart, #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and #10 on the UK charts with their song I Touch Myself on this date.

This was certainly not the first song to touch on the subject of masturbation, but it was one of the most obvious. Very few places banned it, probably because it was so lighthearted. In order to honor the memory of Christina Amphlett, everyone should touch themselves while the song is playing.

January 12, 1997 -
Fox-TV premiered the pilot episode of King of the Hill on this date.

Stephen Root was uncredited during the first few seasons. This was because he was also on NewsRadio, and his contract prevented him from being credited on another network's show. After the show was cancelled in 1999, he was able to be credited for this show.

Another potential job through ACME employment agency.

Today in History -
If you were ever an altar boy or ever took Latin, I don't need to tell you what jacta alea est means. But if you're like most Americans, to whom Latin is about as familiar as Urdu, let me translate: it means the die is cast. At least that's how it's usually translated. Back in the early days of English, when the phrase was first translated, that's how they would have said "the dice are thrown."

This Latin snippet is important for a couple of reasons. Firstly because it demonstrates the popularity of gambling with dice in the ancient world, which is an important bit of trivia for keeping wayward adolescents interested in the classics; secondly because it's a short little Latin phrase you can drop into conversation to impress snobs; thirdly because the event of its utterance changed the course of western civilization for ever.

The line was uttered by Julius Caesar on this very date in 49 BC (There is some disagreement on this date - this is clearly one of those dates that most of historians, around at the time, were too busy at the local orgy to clearly denote when a short bald Italian soldier crossed a rivulet.) Caesar and his army had just crossed the Rubicon, a little stream in northern Italy. The Roman Senate had long ago established a rule that Roman citizens should be forbidden from crossing the the Rubicon with their armies, since they figured anyone coming south toward Rome with an entire army probably wasn't up to any good (this should be enacted immediately in the USA - no bald men in a short skirt on horse should ever cross the Potomac with their own army.)

(If the Roman Senate had really wanted to play it safe, maybe they should have designed the infrastructure of their empire so that all roads didn't lead to Rome - but that's beside the point.)

You may be wondering why Caesar would set out to break the law this way. He had, after all, been a popular and successful general and had been governor of Gaul for some time. But that's exactly why he decided to cross the Rubicon: he had become so popular and so powerful that the Roman Senate ordered him to disband his army and give up Gaul. Which has always made me wonder why the Roman Senate didn't say jacta alea est after issuing their demands. Maybe they were just too eager to get back to their dice.

Anyway, by crossing the Rubicon, Caesar had officially committed treason and launched the Roman Civil War. I've also saved you several hours of watching DVD's of the series Rome. Except for the naked parts.

The rest is history and thusly, unimportant to most Americans.

January 12, 1856 -
A person with normal eyesight would have nothing to know in the way of 'Impressionism' unless he were in a blinding light or in the dusk or dark.

John Singer Sargent, American Gilded Age portrait painter, was born on this date.

January 12, 1928 -
Ruth Snyder became the first woman to die in the electric chair on this date.

She was electrocuted by “state electricianRobert G. Elliott at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York, along with Judd Gray, her lover and co-conspirator, for the murder of her husband, Albert on March 20, 1927. This was billed in the press as “The Dumb-Bell Murder.”

The case was the inspiration for the novel Double Indemnity by James M. Cain, which was later adapted for the screen by Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler. Cain also mentioned that his book The Postman Always Rings Twice took inspiration from the crime. The man who snuck the camera into the execution chamber Thomas James Howard Jr. is the grandfather of actor George Wendt, and great-grandfather of actor and comedian Jason Sudeikis.

January 12, 1967 -
Dr. James Bedford (a psychology professor at the University of California) became the first person to ever be cryogenically preserved with the intent of being resuscitated in the future.

Dr. Bedford remains were switched to a different tank in 1991 and it would appear that everything has held up thus far. (Remember though, as much as you want it to be true - Disney is not a Popiscle inside Cinderella's castle.)

January 12, 1992
“... My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it I can sing it for you.”

The HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic Computer) 9000 computer became operational in the HAL plant in Urbana, Illinois, on this date in the film, 2001, A Space Odyssey.

January 12, 2010 -
A powerful 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti and crushed thousands of structures, from schools and shacks to the National Palace on this date. Thousands of people were believed dead and untold numbers were trapped. An estimated three million people were in need of emergency aid.

The quake left over 200,000 people dead. Some 4,500 prison inmates escaped during the earthquake. By April they were terrorizing neighborhoods and fighting turf battles.

And so it goes

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

jacta alea est, certe