Saturday, September 30, 2023

So what are you up to today?

(As I mentioned yesterday, I'm in Westport CT, waiting for the rain to stop, to work on the 11th Slice of Saugatuck event. Hope to see you out there.)

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

This is the only film The Marx Brothers made at RKO. During salary negotiations with the studio, erstwhile member Zeppo Marx represented The Marx Brothers, threatening to rejoin the group if their demands weren't met. This was the only time Zeppo represented his brothers, as their agent. He secured a salary of $250,000 for the team from RKO, their biggest payout ever.

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

Montgomery Clift had learned to ride horses while at military prep school, but it was a different kind of riding than he was required to do in this role. He asked experienced Western actor Noah Beery Jr.. for help and worked hard to become convincing on screen. Beery later said, "The thing he enjoyed most was becoming a hell of a good cowboy and horseman." Howard Hawks always had high praise for how hard Clift worked on the picture.

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, The Naked City debuted on ABC-TV on this date.

Each episode in Season 1 was 30 minutes long and reviews were mixed. The ratings were low enough for ABC to cancel it after just one season. However, one of the show's main sponsors, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company, along with the show's producers, successfully lobbied the network to revive the show. Season 2 premiered in 1960 as an hour-long series to give more time to character and plot development.

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

Fred and Wilma Flintstone were the first animated married couple ever shown on American television in the same bed together. They have been mistaken as the first couple ever shown in bed together on any American TV show, but that title goes to the 1947 series, Mary Kay and Johnny.

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 programme:

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.

From the start of the series, writers and producers made it a point to never show anyone leaving the bar drunk to drive home. The series would come to be recognized and cited by anti-drinking and driving groups for depicting and helping promote designated driver programs.

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.

Lansbury earned Emmy nominations for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series for the each of the show's twelve seasons but failed to win any.

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

This was Mariah's 9th #1 hit in the US. It was also only the second single to debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The first was You Are Not Alone by Michael Jackson.

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

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, 1882 -
The first commercial hydroelectric power plant ,the Vulcan Street Plant,(later known as Appleton Edison Light Company) begins operation on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin, United States, on this date, supplying electricity to private and commercial customers in North America.

Powered by a water wheel, a single dynamo provides 12.5 kilowatts, just enough for 180 lights of ten candlepower each which lit the Appleton Paper and Pulp Company building, the Vulcan Paper Mill and the home of H.J. Rogers, who was the president of the Appleton Paper and Pulp Co at the time.

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

Roger Maris
tied Ruth's record on September 27, 1961. Aaron Judge hit his 61st home run Wednesday, tying Roger Maris’ single-season American League home run record. (Mark McGwire born on October 1, 1963, hit 70 home runs in 1998, 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 of legume security in Europe, 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. If Alec Guinness tells you something, listen to him. Also watch your own PSAs.)

September 30, 1962 -
Labor leader Cesar Chavez organized the National Farm Workers Association, on this date

His union would later merge with one created by Dolores Huerta, another prominent activist for farmers' rights, to create United Farm Workers.

And so it goes

Friday, September 29, 2023

Life is too short for bad coffee

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. Starbucks is once again not really participating this year - Screw them. (Sunday is International Coffee Day. The inclusion of alcohol in your coffee to celebrate is between you and your maker.)

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.)

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.

Danny Thomas was forced against his will to have Jean Hagen as his television wife. He could not stand her attitude, or what he considered her slovenly appearance. During one rehearsal, he is said to have have shouted, "For God's sake, Jean, put on a little lipstick." She left after the third season, and at the beginning of the fourth season, to assure that she could not come back, he had her character die.

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.

George Cukor
offered Marlon Brando the role of Norman Maine on the set of Julius Caesar. "Why would you come to me?" asked Brando. "I'm in the prime of my life... If you're looking around for some actor to play an alcoholic has-been, he's sitting right over there"- pointing at his costar James Mason, who got the part.

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!)

The character of Maria Vargas is said to be based on Rita Hayworth, who was actually offered the part. Hayworth was a Latina who later married a prince, Prince Aly Khan. However, some elements were taken from Ava Gardner's life as well. The stormy relationship between Maria and tycoon movie producer Kirk Edwards (Warren Stevens) is based on Gardner's own relationship with billionaire film producer Howard Hughes.

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

Robert Mitchum was very eager for the part of the preacher. When he auditioned, a moment that particularly impressed Charles Laughton was when he described the character as "a diabolical shit" Mitchum promptly answered, "Present!"

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.

The pilot for this series was the first professional acting job for Bob Denver, who had been a grade school teacher and postal worker before joining the cast. Denver's sister was a casting agent's secretary, and had his name added to the audition candidates for the role of Maynard G. Krebs.

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.

The show was originally going to be named The Fred MacMurray Show, but Fred MacMurray didn't like the idea.

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

Uncle Martin's Martian name was Exigius 12½.

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

The face and voice of Captain Scarlet were both based on Cary Grant. In fact, Captain Scarlet's voice artist, Francis Matthews was chosen to voice the character based on the fact he could do a Cary Grant impression. In fact series creator Gerry Anderson came close to moving heaven and earth to get Matthews who had been either uninterested or unavailable.

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

This series had more direct and indirect spin-offs than any other American television series. The following series can trace their roots back to this show: Barefoot in the Park, Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Blansky's Beauties, Mork & Mindy, Out of the Blue, Joanie Loves Chachi and possibly others.

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

Four directors who worked on the series, all of whom are best known as film directors, later won the Academy Award for Best Director: Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, and Robert Zemeckis.

September 29, 1986
American got to met the people who worked at the Sugarbaker & Associates design company went the CBS-TV series Designing Women, starring Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Annie Potts, Jean Smart, and Meshach Taylor, premiered on this date.

According to creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason during the 2006 Designing Women Reunion the character of Anthony played by Meshach Taylor was supposed to be a one off. But fans loved the character of Anthony so much that he was offered a full time role on the show. He joined the main cast officially for the second season in 1987.

September 29, 1987 -
We all were forced to endure the trials and tribulations of some very oblivious baby boomers, when thirtysomething, starring Ken Olin, Mel Harris, Melanie Mayron, Timothy Busfield, Patricia Wettig, Peter Horton, and Polly Draper, premiered on ABC TV on this date.

The word "thirtysomething" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary as a direct result of its popular usage from this series.

September 29, 1991 -
MTV debuts Nirvana's video for their single Smells Like Teen Spirit on this date, giving most Americans their first look at the band. A little over a month later, the song is #1 on the Hot 100.

The girls who played the cheerleaders in the video were originally supposed to be very fat and unattractive (Cobain's idea). The director, Samuel Bayer, did not like this idea, but still allowed the cheerleaders to have "sleeve" tattoos and the symbol for anarchy on their shirts. He says he recruited them from a local strip club, which helps explain their unorthodox cheers. For a while, MTV refused to air the video. When they finally did, it was on their alternative show 120 Minutes. When the song became a hit, the video went into hot rotation.

Another unimportant moment in history

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.


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, 1988 -
The Space Shuttle Discovery, (STS - 26) lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral to launch a communications satellite, on this date.

This is the first manned space mission since the space shuttle Challenger disaster two and a half years ago.

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."

Before you go - If you find yourself in Westport CT. tomorrow, look for me meandering the streets at the Slice of Saugatuck event - (it benefits the Homes with Hope’s Gillespie Food Pantry.)

The Chamber of Commerce has donated almost $50,000 to the food pantry over the years.
And so it goes

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Beer is the answer...but I can't remember the question.

Munich is smack dab in the middle of Oktoberfest season once again after the cancellation of the past few years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today is National Beer Drinking Day here in the US- 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 as I mentioned yesterday, everything is connected, so please enjoy the day.

Today is World Rabies Day. It is held every year on September 28, the date of the death in 1895 of Dr Louis Pasteur. The day aims to raise awareness about the impact of rabies on humans and animals, provide information and advice on how to prevent the disease.

In 1895 , nine-year-old Joseph Meister was the first person to be inoculated against rabies. The inoculation was carried out by Dr Louis Pasteur.

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

The house where Hazel and the Baxters lived was also used as the home of Gidget Lawrence and her father on the 1965 TV sitcom Gidget. It also served as the home of teenager Ann-Margret and her father (Paul Lynde) in the 1963 musical Bye-Bye Birdie. Two decades later, the house appeared in the movie franchise Lethal Weapon, as the home of Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover). The house is located on Blondie Street, a residential neighborhood set at Warner Ranch in Burbank. The same faux block also included the Bewitched home, the Father Knows Best, The Partridge family home, the Nelson house on I Dream of Jeannie and the Donna Reed Show home. The 1998 movie Pleasantville used the entire block for its version of an idealized TV neighborhood.

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, 1967 -
Gladys Knight & the Pips' single, (written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records,) I Heard It Through the Grapevine was released on this date.

Along with Papa Was A Rollin' Stone, Barrett Strong considers this the best song he wrote with Norman Whitfield. Other hits they wrote together include Ain't Too Proud To Beg, Just My Imagination, and Money (That's What I Want).

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.

Brittany Snow said that Rebel Wilson improvised most of her lines and would go on 20-minute tangents that would have the whole cast and crew in stitches.

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

This big emotional breakup ballad was released as a promotional single from Miley Cyrus' Bangerz album on August 25, 2013. It immediately rolled up to #2 on the iTunes sales chart in the aftermath of Cyrus' controversial MTV VMA performance joining We Can't Stop in the Top Five.

Another ACME Safety Film

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, 1891 -
The disfranchisement of a single legal elector by fraud or intimidation is a crime too grave to be regarded lightly.”

We've brought this up before but it bears repeating - Benjamin Harrison was the first president to have electric lights in the White House, but he was terrified of turning them on himself. Afraid of electrocution, he made his servants do it. Harrison spent the rest of his time at the White House with the lights on in his bedroom at night.

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, 1918 -
After the Liberty Loan parade in Philadelphia on this date, thousands of people became infected with the Spanish Flu, causing the death of more than 12,000 in the city.

Soon, the city was in crisis. Hospitals overflowed and bodies piled up in morgues. Philadelphia had the highest death rate of any major American city during the pandemic. Nearly 14,000 people died in six weeks, one death every five minutes; more than 17,500 died in six months.

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, 1924 -
Two U.S. Army planes landed in Seattle, Washington, completing the first round-the-world flight in 175 days, on this date. The flight had begun from Seattle on April 6th with four aircraft named "Seattle, Chicago, Boston, and New Orleans."

The Seattle experienced technical difficulties and crashed in dense fog into a mountainside near Port Moller on the Alaska Peninsula (the crew miraculously survived). The Boston came down while crossing the Atlantic (the crew was rescued.) The Chicago flown by (Lt. Lowell Smith (pilot) and 1st Lt. Leslie Arnold) and the New Orleans flown by (Lt. Erik Nelson (pilot) and Lt. Jack Harding) completed the journey.

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 actually was class clown, but I don't know how that happened because I've never been considered an outwardly funny person-as the people in this room will attest..

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

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

I guess today is their birthday

Google is celebrating it's 'official' 25th 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, 1961 -
The science fiction film The Day the Sky Exploded (also known as Death Comes from Space and Death From Outer Space), directed by Paolo Heusch and starring Paul Hubschmid and Fiorella Mari, is released to US theaters.

Though the Americans and British among others had been making science fiction films earlier in the Fifties, this 1958 Italian co production is considered the first entry by that country into the sci fi genre.

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, 1976 -
The TV drama Dawn: Portrait of A Teenage Runaway, starring Eve Plumb premiered on NBC-TV, on this date.

Eve Plumb has said in interviews that to this day she still "gets crap" from hardcore Brady Bunch fans who didn't like that she did this movie instead of doing the Brady Bunch Variety Hour; where a "fake Jan" had to take her place.

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

The Breaks was the first rap song to sell over 500,000 copies, earning a certified Gold record. Rapper's Delight, released a year earlier, certainly sold a lot more (as Kurtis attests), but that song was released on the independent label Sugar Hill Records, which apparently never sent it to the RIAA for certification. Kurtis Blow was signed to Mercury Records, a major label that followed the standards and used their Gold records for promotion. When Kurtis signed with Mercury in early 1980, he became the first rapper signed to a major label. His self-titled debut album (with The Breaks) was the first rap record released on a major label.

Another job posting from The ACME Employment Agency

(Something unexpected came up - Sorry but it's an abbreviated posting today.)
Today in History:
September 27, 1777 -

Lancaster, Pennsylvania became the capital of the United States, for one day after the Second Continental Congress evacuates Philadelphia to avoid invading British forces. There were not enough accommodations within the city to even properly house the representatives in Congress and with the city of Philadelphia located just a 2-3 day march away, the representatives also felt they were still at risk. Within three days the Representives of the Continental Congress had settled in York, Pennsylvania and remained there for months until the British finally abandoned Philadelphia.

This was not the first time the Continental Congress had fled Philadelphia during the Revolution. The prior winter, in December of 1776, as the British Army was getting too close to Philadelphia for comfort, the Continental Congress left Philadelphia and for a time Baltimore served as the Capital of the United States.

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 118th 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, 1937 -
The last known Balinese tiger, which was an adult female, was killed in SumbarKima, West Bali, on this date. However, sightings of this subspecies still persisted for years later, up to the 1940s, but were never proven.

Being the first subspecies of tigers to go extinct, Bali tigers were never held in captivity and never displayed in a public zoo. In addition, they were never captured on film or motion picture alive. Strangely, body parts such as skulls, skins, and bones, are preserved in museums today.

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

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Remember, everything is connected, somehow

September 26, 1774 or 1776 or 1783 (Who knows, I wasn't there.) -
Frontier missionary and pioneer nurseryman John "Johnny Appleseed" Chapman was born in Leominster, Massachusetts on this date. After collecting apple seeds from cider presses in western Pennsylvania he embarked on a long trek westward, walking barefoot, planting a series of apple nurseries from Pennsylvania to central Ohio and beyond.

It was more than two 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, 1955
The little remembered but very popular syndicated series, in it's time, The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Richard Greene, Archie Duncan, Alexander Gauge, and Bernadette O'Farrell, premiered on CBS-TV on this date.

Blacklisted in Hollywood, Ring Lardner Jr. and Ian McLellan Hunter, wrote almost the entire first season of this British-filmed series under a variety of pen-names. The show's British producers were fully aware of this deception, but Lardner and Hunter still changed pseudonyms every few episodes to keep the American syndication executives from asking to meet the series' writers.

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

Director/writer Herk Harvey thought up the idea of the film after driving past the Saltair Amusement Park while traveling through Salt Lake City.

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.

Alan Hale Jr. was on location in Utah filming a movie when he got a call to come back to Los Angeles to do a test for the series. He rode a horse to a nearby highway, hitchhiked to Las Vegas and flew to L.A. to test with Bob Denver.

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

Jack Lord lived in Beverly Hills when he was asked at the last minute to read for the part of McGarrett. He read for it on Wednesday, flew to Hawaii on Friday, and was in front of the cameras the following Monday. He later became a permanent resident, and prominent figure in Hawaii, contributing to many local causes and charities, and often mentioned publicly in consideration for political office.

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.)

During the series run, Florence Henderson lobbied the producers constantly to allow Carol Brady to get out into the workforce. Henderson thought this would be more in line with how she was in real life. The producers kept the character of Carol Brady unemployed, though she frequently did volunteer work and fundraising for charity.

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 94 minute theatrical cut of this film was edited from around 185 hours of footage equating to about one million feet of exposed film.

September 26, 1986 -
The episode of Dallas that had Bobby Ewing returning from the dead, his death is attributed to his wife Pam's bad dream, aired on this date.

When Victoria Principal opens the shower door in the infamous Bobby shower scene, actor John Beck was the one in the shower. The shock to Pam was supposed to be that he had been killed. The shot of 'Patrick Duffy' was inserted later. Actually Pam would not have been shocked to see Mark (John Beck) in the shower considering that his character had been brought back during the "dream season" and she had married him earlier in the very same show.

September 26, 1982
Audiences first got to ride around with Kitt when Knight Rider, starring David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare, Patricia McPherson, and the voices of William Daniels, and Richard Basehart, premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

David Hasselhoff and William Daniels (the voice of K.I.T.T.) did not meet until the production's Christmas party, six months after filming season one. Until that point, Hasselhoff had not seen the face behind the voice of the car.

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.

September 26, 2006 -
Martin Scorsese's The Departed, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg, premieres in New York City, on this date.

Martin Scorsese really wanted Al Pacino for the role of Costello, because he had never worked with Pacino before, but he turned it down. Jack Nicholson was Scorsese's second choice. Pacino would later go on to appear in Scorsese's The Irishman.

Today's moment of Zen

Today in History:
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.)

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 -
More than 10 years before the Vietnam War would officially begin, US Army Lt. Col. Peter Dewey was shot to death while leading a team sent to gather information and search for lost American pilots.

He was killed driving an unmarked Jeep near the Saigon golf course. He was ambushed by the Viet Minh who may have mistaken him for a French officer.

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, on this date. 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 (72 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