Tuesday, May 22, 2018

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

May 22, 1931 -
The Pre-code adaptation of the classic tale Trilby, Svengali, starring John Barrymore, Marian Marsh, and Donald Crisp, premiered in the US on this date.

The film stirred controversy due its nude modeling scene featuring a teenage Marian Marsh. The actress wore a body stocking for the scene and, in the long shot where she runs from the room, an older body double was used instead of her.

May 22, 1947 -
David Lean's classic, Great Expectations, premiered in NYC on this date.

David Lean was not a particularly well-read man, and only became aware of the power of Charles Dickens' story when his wife Kay Walsh dragged him along to a theatrical production of Great Expectations in 1939.

May 22, 1967 -

Today was the first day a soft spoken man slipped into your home and made himself more comfortable. But don't let his demeanor fool you, he was the power behind the throne of a kingdom where most of the royalty were mere "puppets".

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood premiered on WQED on this date.

May 22, 1980 -
Namco released the phenomenally popular arcade game, Pac-man (known as Puck-man), in Japan on this day.

An instantaneous hit, Pac-man is still considered a landmark in video gaming history.

May 22, 1992 -
The man most of America went to bed with every night for 30 years, finally got tired of having to try to satisfy so many people.

Johnny Carson's final appearance on the Tonight Show was broadcast on this date.

May 22, 2001 -
NBC aired the final episode of Third Rock From The Sun, The Thing That Would Not Die on this date.

Both this series and the Star Trek series Deep Space Nine ended with the song Fly Me to the Moon as the characters said goodbye.

Today's moment of zen

Today in History:
May 22, 337
Emperor Constantine died on this date. Although quite dead, his embalmed corpse continues to act as head of state, receiving state dignitaries and daily reports from ministers as if nothing had changed. Constantine's macabre leadership continues through winter.

Sometimes, it good to be the King, even after you're dead.

May 22, 1813 -
One of the most controversial personalities of the nineteenth century, Richard Wagner was born on this date. Wagner wrote some of its most controversial music. Hitler is said for most of his life to have kept only three books on his nightstand: Wagner's autobiography, Machiavelli's The Prince, and Young Aryan Youth, lederhosen around their ankles, sitting in a tub of Chocolate Pudding. (How Hitler ended up with Wagner's nightstand is a question best left alone.)

Wagner considered it his life's mission to create a new and purely German music, in German, about Germany, for Germans, and is therefore best known for having scored the helicopter scene in Apocalypse Now.

May 22, 987 -    
Louis V le Faineant, known as the Lazy, king of France (all of 20 years old,) was allegedly poisoned by his mother, on this date. It was reported that he fell off his horse during a hunting accident the day before.

Kids, when your mother tells you to clean up your room - do it!

May 22, 1856 -
Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner was beaten unconscious with a cane on the Senate floor by South Carolina’s Preston Brooks on this date.

Brooks, a pro-slavery Democrat, attacked Senator Sumner, a Republican abolitionist from Massachusetts, so badly that he was unable to resume his duties for three years. Brooks resigned from his seat but was re-elected.

And you thought, things were contentious in the Senate now-a-days.

May 22, 1906 -
The Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were granted a U.S. patent for their “new and useful improvements in Flying Machines.” (US No. 821,393)

It is the first airplane patent in the U.S.

May 22, 1907 -
Laurence Kerr Olivier
, director, producer and one of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th Century, was born on this date.

Interestingly, Olivier is buried alongside some of the people he has portrayed in theatre and film, for example King Henry V, General John Burgoyne and Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding.

May 22, 1939 -
and Germany allied themselves with the Pact of Steel on this day, forming the basis for the Axis powers, which would later include Japan.

Despite the fact that the two became allies, Hitler and Mussolini still did not trust each other, so the pact was a very uneasy alliance even after the Tripartite Agreement Pact in 1940, when Japan joined.

May 22, 1962
A bomb, placed by Thomas G. Doty in the lavatory of Continential Airlines Flight 11 (a Boeing 707-124 ), carrying 45 passengers and crew, exploded, tearing the airliner apart. This had the unfortunate distinction of being the very first sabotage of a commercial jet airliner in the world.

Wreckage rained down from south of Cincinnati to Unionville, Missouri where the major sections of the aircraft crashed. One passenger managed to survive that terrible night but died early the next morning from his injuries. He was 27 year old Takehiko Nakano, an engineer from Illinois.

May 22, 1964 -
Lyndon B. Johnson
formally outlined his goal to create a "Great Society" through social reform during commencement exercises at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, on this day.

Two main goals of the Great Society social reforms were the elimination of poverty and of racial injustice. The most long-lasting programs of the Great Society include Medicaid and Medicare.

May 22, 1969 -
The lunar module of Apollo 10 (named Snoopy, with Thomas P. Stafford and Eugene A. Cernan aboard) separated from the command module, on this date, (named Charlie Brown piloted by John W. Young) and flew to within nine miles of the moon's surface in a dress rehearsal for the first lunar landing.

Later that day, a disaster was averted after the Lunar Module separated from the descent stage began to roll violently due to the crew accidentally duplicating commands into the flight computer. Quick action by the crew saved them from crashing into the moon (on live TV, no less.)

And so it goes. 


Monday, May 21, 2018

Put on your red shoes

May 21, 1969 -
MGM released the science fiction B-movie The Green Slime to U.S. theaters on this date.

This was the first film ever to be featured on the TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000. An edited version of the film appeared on the show's never-aired pilot episode.

May 21, 1980 -
George Lucas didn't have enough money (the first time). He produces a sequel to his highly successful Star Wars, which somehow is Part V (don't ask or someone will go to great lengths to explain it all to you.)

The Empire Strikes Back premiered on this date.

The film contains, arguably the most shocking revelation - right next to what Rosebud was or Who actually is Keyser Söze?

May 21, 1983 -
David Bowie
, with guitar work courtesy of Stevie Ray Vaughan reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart with Let’s Dance, which stayed on top for one week.

David Bowie was impressed when he saw Stevie Ray Vaughan perform at the Montreaux Jazz festival a year earlier. When Vaughan received the call from Bowie to play on the record, he was (although not literally) in the middle of recording his own album, Texas Flood.

May 21, 1987  -
The series, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, starred Blair Brown premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

This is the first sitcom that from its original conception did not have an studio audience and did not have a laugh track. This was very precedent setting and would set the stage for shows like Arrested Development, Malcom in the Middle, The Simpsons, South Park and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

May 21, 1990 -
The last episode of Newhart aired on CBS-TV on this date.

After the 7th season, Bob Newhart decided the 8th season would be the final season for the show. When he told his wife Ginny Newhart of his decision, she suggested that for the final episode, his character should wake up in bed next to Suzanne Pleshette, and that the series should be a dream.

May 21, 1992 -
Bette Midler
, the last scheduled guest, sang a touching impromptu duet with Johnny Carson, on the Tonight Show, on this date. (This was the apex of TV. It hasn't gotten any better than this.)

This penultimate show was immediately recognized as a television classic, and Midler would win an Emmy Award for her role in it.

Word of the day

Today in History:
May 21, 427BC 
(Obviously is date is merely a best guess; the classical Greeks, at the time, were too busy improving the art of sodomy to bother with perfecting the calendar.)

The Greek philosopher Plato was born on this date.

It was on this date in 1471 that King Henry VI of England was murdered in the Tower of London, concluding Part III of his reign.

Edward IV assumed the throne as the world eagerly awaited Richard III and the dramatic conclusion of the War of the Roses.

May 21, 1904 -
... This is so nice, it must be illegal.

Thomas Wright (Fats) Waller, jazz pianist, organist, composer and entertainer, was born on this date.

May 21, 1917 -
One of the World's Greatest Actors, Raymond Burr was born on this date.

In celebration, may I suggest purchasing a small container of the fabulous nipple rouge bearing this man's name. This year, 'Blushing Bride".

May 21, 1924
Two Chicago teenagers interrupted their daily sodomy practice and attempted to commit the perfect crime just for the thrill of it.

Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb kidnapped 14-year-old Bobby Franks, bludgeoned him to death in a rented car, and then dumped Franks' body in a distant drainage ditch.

They didn't get away with it.

May 21,1927 -
Charles Lindbergh, American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, racist, Neo-Nazi, Isolationist and serial philanderer became the first man to fly alone across the Atlantic Ocean, on this date.

Exactly five years later Amelia Earhart became the first woman to do it, on this day as well.

This was an impressive step for feminism, and she did it without a bathroom break.

May 21, 1952 -
Mr. T was born in the ghetto, on this date.

And his mama cried.

May 21, 1972 -
A deranged Australian geologist took a hammer on this date, to Michelangelo's Pieta, shouting "I am Jesus Christ -- risen from the dead!"

Laszlo Toth was never charged with any crime, instead receiving a free trip to an Italian insane asylum. Toth's name is later adopted by comedian and former SNL regular Don Novello (Father Guido Sarducci) for a long series of pranks by mail.

Everybody's a critic.

May 21, 2011

Radio broadcaster/preacher Harold Camping predicted that the world would end on this day. As far as we can tell, it didn’t.

Ever since then, today has been known as Rapture Day, (so you may want to party like it's 1999.)

And so it goes

Before you go - I haven't posted anything from Henri Le Chat Noir in a while and when I go to look for a new video, I find that he is retiring.

Au revoir mes ami


Sunday, May 20, 2018

If you can, you should be out there

The weather is quite iffy today but that shouldn't stop you.

If you're not out there, walking for a cure, get outside and support them. (This year marks the 32nd annual AIDS Walk New York, the east coast’s first and the world’s largest AIDS fundraising event.) 

Today is Who wants to be a Millionaire Day. It's the day to celebrate the desire to win the lottery and go tell your boss where they can stick it.  Sources say that the word millionaire was coined by Lord Byron sometime in 1816 but I believe he was too busy sleeping with anything that moved to worry about becoming a millionaire.

Remember, most millionaires are not celebrating this day; they are waiting to celebrate Be A Billionaire Day.

May 20, 1891 -
The first public demonstration of a prototype Kinetoscope was given to an invited audience of from the National Federation of Women’s Clubs at Edison’s laboratory on this date.

A three second 'film' directed, produced by, and starring William Dickson is used for the demonstration. It is purported, the second 'film' ever made in the USA

May 20, 1967 -
BBC disc jockey Kenny Everett gave the official preview of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on the radio show Where It's At, broadcast on the BBC Light Program on this date.

He was unable to play the final track A Day in the Life, which the BBC had banned a day earlier due to drug references.

May 20, 1982 -
The last episode of the series Barney Miller aired on this date.

The producers were approached during the run of the series about doing a feature film based on the show using the regular cast members. The film was never made.

May 20, 1993 -
The last episode of the series Cheers aired on this date.

Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman and George Wendt are the only actors to appear in all 273 episodes of the series.

May 20, 1996 -
aired the final episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on this date.

The show was actually cancelled during its fourth season, with The Philadelphia Story serving as the finale. The overwhelming response, with viewers writing in by the truckload to NBC and Will Smith, convinced the network to go back on this decision, allowing it to run for what became two more seasons.

Another book I must have missed.

Today in History:
May 20, 1498
Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama was the first European to reach India by sea on this date. He accomplished this amazing feat by actually taking the correct route and not traveling to the Caribbean, for the tropical drinks and cheap but potent ganja, instead.

His trip helped set up a very profitable trade route for Portugal, which helped it become the foremost exploring power in the early 1500s.

Honore de Balzac was born in France on May 20, 1799 (or May 19th.) The exact date could not be determined as all of France had just started on a drinking binge that has only recently just ended. Balzac created a vast body of literature that he called La Comédie Humaine (“A Vast Body of Literature”).

It consisted of dozens of novels, short stories, and plays interwoven with many of the same characters, places, events, horses, etc. One of his most popular characters was the brilliant and big-hearted Dr. Bianchon. It is rumored that Balzac’s dying words were, “If Bianchon were here, he would save me!

The anecdote is probably apocryphal, as Balzac didn’t speak English.

May 20 1867 -
Queen Victoria laid the foundation stones in the Royal Albert Hall on this date.

Two thoughts immediately came to mind:
a.) Who thought she would do it in the road?
b.) Wow, Keith Richards is really old.

May 20, 1873
Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis receive a U.S. patent (#139121) for blue jeans with copper rivets.

19 years later, on this date, George Sampson patents the clothes dryer. It's just that simple.

May 20, 1921 -
Noble Prize winner, Marie Curie visited the White House on this date.

She did not ask to visit any broom closets with the president.

May 20, 1927 -
Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, N.Y.,

at 7:40 AM aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on his historic solo flight to France on this date.

May 20, 1932 -
Amelia Earhart took off for Ireland from Habor Grace, Newfoundland on this date, becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

She would later land her plane in Ireland after a thirteen-hour, thirty-minute flight from Canada rather than in her intended destination, France.

May 20, 1946 -
Cherilyn Sarkisian, pop singer-songwriter, Academy Award, Grammy Award, Emmy Award, three Golden Globe Awards and a People's Choice Award winner was born on this date.

Wig manufacturer's everywhere celebrate this day as an international holiday.

(Probably coincidentally, but I like to think not, the Supreme Court struck down, 6-3, a Colorado constitutional amendment banning laws that protect homosexuals from discrimination on this date in 1996.)

May 20, 1956 -
The first hydrogen bomb to be dropped from the air was exploded over the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific (Operation Redwing), but it was a much earlier (July 1, 1946,) non-aerial atomic detonation that originally inspired the bikini swimsuit.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, $90 million has been appropriated by Congress "to be used by the Bikinians to clean up their atoll" since 1990. How embarrassing must it have been for the guy who had to call the Bikinians and tell them we had soiled their atoll—that we wanted to help them clean their filthy atoll?

(Which isn't to say it'd be a cakewalk being called a Bikinian.)

May 20, 1960 -
Music DJ Alan Freed, originator of the term "Rock and Roll," was indicted in New York in the Payola scandal of the day.

Freed had accepted $30,650 from five record companies to play their records, although to be fair "pay for play" was the accepted practice up to that point.

May 20, 1989 -
The Chinese government imposed martial law on Beijing on this date, in response to student-led protests that had brought millions of people onto the streets.

The demonstrations continued, however, until the brutal military crackdown on June 3 and 4 in Tiananmen Square, in which thousands of Chinese dissidents were killed by the Chinese military. In a June 9 speech, Deng Xiaoping announced that the government had suppressed a "counterrevolutionary rebellion" in which the "dregs of society" had tried to "establish a bourgeois republic entirely dependent on the West."

I'm still not winning any friends with the Chinese Government.

May 20, 1989 -
While we have the gift of life, it seems to me the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die - whether it is our spirit, our creativity or our glorious uniqueness

Gilda Radner, Emmy Award winning American comedienne and actress, best known for her five years as part of the original cast of the NBC comedy series Saturday Night Live, died at 42 of ovarian cancer on this date.

And so it goes