Sunday, April 23, 2017

Running late this morning

April 23, 1896 -
Thomas Edison presented the first publically-projected Vitascope motion picture (with hand-tinting) in the US to a paying American audience on a screen, at Koster and Bial's Music Hall in New York City (at 34th Street and Broadway), with his latest invention - the projecting kinetoscope or Vitascope.



Customers watched the Edison Company's Vitascope project a ballet sequence in an amusement arcade during a vaudeville act.


April 23, 1958 -
Orson Welles'
noir thriller Touch of Evil, starring Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh, was released on this date.



Janet Leigh's agent initially rejected her participation in this film due to the low salary offered without even consulting the actress. Orson Welles, anticipating this, sent a personal letter to the actress, telling her how much he looked forward to their working together. Leigh, furious, confronted her agent telling him that getting directed by Welles was more important than any paycheck.


April 23, 1977
-
Please get ready to shake your groove thang - Thelma Houston's remake of the song, Don’t Leave Me This Way reached no.1 on the Billboard charts on this date.



Thelma Houston won the 1977 Grammy Award for Best R&B Female Vocal Performance for the song.


April 23, 1988 -
... And I am not frightened of dying. Any time will do, I don't mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There's no reason for it – you've got to go sometime....



Pink Floyd's album Dark Side Of The Moon, after spending the record total of 741 consecutive weeks (over 14 years) on the Billboard 200, left the charts for its first time ever.

How did they ever make ends meet?


Today in History:
April 23, 303
-
St George, the future patron saint of England, literally lost his head when he annoyed the Emperor Diocletian so much that the emperor had him separated from his head.



According to legend, George, saved a Libyan king's daughter (Cleodolinda) from a fiery dragon.  You'd think people would be more patient with a local dragon slayer.


William Shakespeare was born on this date in 1564 and wrote a lot of plays then died in the end—on April 23, 1616.



His accomplishments are all the more remarkable when you consider that he died on the same day he’d been born.


April 23, 1616
-
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra died the very same day as Shakespeare. Mr. Cervantes was a brilliant Spanish humorist, best known for his novel Don Quixote, in which an old man suffering from acute mental illness rides around the Spanish countryside hallucinating, then dies.



Sometimes that's all there is.


April 23, 1867 -
The Zoetrope was patented (#64,117) by William E. Lincoln of Providence, Rhode Island on this date. The device was the first animated picture machine.



It provided an animation sequence of pictures lining the inside wall of a shallow cylinder, with vertical slits between the images. By spinning the cylinder and looking through the slits, a repeating loop of a moving image could be viewed .


April 23, 1899  -
A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist.



(This is some kind of trifecta for writers.) Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, writer and avid butterfly collector, was born in Saint Petersburg on this date. His work included Lolita, Pnin and Pale Fire.


April 23, 1936 -
I may be a living legend, but that sure don't help when I've got to change a flat tire.









Roy Orbison, the coolest singer in sunglasses,was born on this date.  ( Luxuriate in the voluptuousness of despair.)


April 23, 1940 -
A fire broke out in the Rhythm Night Club in Natchez, Mississippi on this date. More than 200 people died, making it one of the worst fires in US history at the time.



News of the tragedy reverberated throughout the country, especially among the African American community, and blues performers have recorded memorial songs such as The Natchez Burning and The Mighty Fire ever since.


April 23, 1967 -
The USSR launched Soyuz One on this date.



The next day, forced to return to earth, cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov became the first casualty of space flight when his capsule's parachute opened improperly.

Oops.


April 23, 2005 -
The first video uploaded to YouTube, entitled Me at the zoo, made its online debut on this date. The 19-second video was shot by Yakov Lapitsky and shows YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo.



It racked up 19 million views in its ten years online. It currently has over 37 million views.



And so it goes


1369

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Earth Day!



On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment.



Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.



So go outside and hug a tree.



If you don't want to be this familiar with nature, give a warm but firm shake hands to your house plants.


It's also Record Store Day. This year, Record Store Day, an international celebration of independent record stores, takes place Saturday, April 22.

Click here to see which stores in the NY area are participating


April 22, 1935 -
Universal Studios released the sequel to the original Frankenstein movie, Bride of Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive and Elsa Lanchester on this date.



Boris Karloff protested against the decision to make The Monster speak, but was overruled. Since he was required to speak in this film, Karloff was not able to remove his partial bridgework as he had done to help give the Monster his sunken cheek appearance in the first Frankenstein. That's why The Monster appears fuller of face in the sequel.


April 22, 1939 -
Warner Bros. released the film, Dark Victory, starring Bette Davis (in one of her favorite roles) and George Brent (her favorite actor with whom she had an affair) on this date.



Bette Davis pestered Warner Brothers to buy the rights to the story, thinking it a great vehicle for her. WB studio chief Jack L. Warner fought against it, arguing that no one wanted to see someone go blind. Of course, the film went on to become one of the studio's biggest successes of that year.


April 22, 1942 -
One of Hitchcock's brilliant World War II efforts (and with his first all-American cast), Saboteur, premiered in Washington D.C. on this date.



Alfred Hitchcock's original director's cameo was cut by order of the censors. He and his secretary played deaf-mute pedestrians. When Hitch's character made an apparently indecent proposal to her in sign language, she slapped his face. A more conventional cameo in front of a drugstore was substituted.


April 22, 1950 -
Peter Frampton, musician, singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, was born on this date.



If you were a teenager in the mid 70s, you were issued your standard copy of Frampton Comes Alive to face your 'awkward' years.


April 22, 1953 -
Twentieth Century Fox releases the surrealistic science fiction film Invaders from Mars, directed by William Cameron Menzies on this date.



This was actually one of the first science-fiction scripts written in the 1950s. The revised version of the script was completed in September 1950. The film wasn't produced until 1952 and released in early 1953.


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


Today in History:
April 22, 1451
-


April 22, 1870 -
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov was born on this date He later became Lenin, invented the Communist Party in Russia and made himself first Head Bastard of the Soviet Union.



It's interesting to note that Alexander Kerensky, the leader of Russia's provisional revolutionary government in 1917 until overthrown by Lenin, was born on the same day as Lenin, only eleven years later.



Well, it's interesting to some people.


April 22, 1904 -
Robert Oppenheimer was born on this date. Mr. Oppenheimer is known as the father of the atomic bomb.



The bomb's mother has never been identified to anyone's satisfaction, which only underscores the lax security at Los Alamos.


April 22, 1923 -
I never kept up with the fashions. I believed in wearing what I thought looked good on me.



Bettie Mae Page was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on this date.


April 22, 1946 -
I thank God I was raised Catholic, so sex will always be dirty.



John Waters, film director, actor and raconteur, was born on this date.


April 22, 1964 -
President Johnson opened the New York World's Fair in Flushing Meadow, Corona Park, New York, on this date.



The Fair also is remembered as the vehicle Walt Disney utilized to design and perfect the system of "audio-animatronics," in which a combination of sound and computers control the movement of life-like robots to act out scenes. In the It's a Small World attraction at the Pepsi pavilion, animated dolls and animals frolicked in a spirit of racially-insensitive unity on a boat-ride around the world.



Once the fair was over, Walt feverishly pushed his Imagineers to build him an 'actual' President. Historians argue that this was the beginning of Ronald Reagan campaign for the Presidency.


April 22, 1994 -
Richard M. Nixon suffered a fatal stroke on this date. His body was laid to rest in the unhallowed grounds of his Presidential Library.



His head was severed from his body and wooden stakes were driven through his heart to make sure he was dead.



And so it goes


1370

Friday, April 21, 2017

How faint the tune

April 21, 1951 -
Les Paul and Mary Ford topped the charts with their hit of the classic How High the Moon on this date.



Although it was written by lyricist Nancy Hamilton and composer Morgan Lewis for the 1940 musical Two For The Show, the definitive version of "How High The Moon" was recorded by the husband and wife team of Les Paul and Mary Ford. This recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1979.


April 21, 1981 -
 “Weird AlYankovic made his first national television appearance on The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder.



He never receives royalties from the single’s initial release because the record company has gone bankrupt.


April 21, 1990 -
Sinead O'Connor topped the charts with a cover of Prince's Nothing Compares 2U on this date.



The video was the first time most people saw what O'Connor looked like and were surprised that she was bald. She shaved her head when she first started recording because she wanted to make a statement and not be known for her beauty. Some people believe this is the saddest song ever recorded (but wait.)



Did you make it through Jimmy Scott's version without crying?


April 21, 1990 -
The largest anti-drug PSA effort in history: the Saturday morning simulcast of Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue broadcast on the ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox networks respectively.



This monumental anti-drug (and, to a lesser extent, anti-alcohol) collaboration came at the acme of Nancy Reagan's "just say no!" era,


Today's PSA


Today in History:
April 21, 753 BC
-
Today is the traditional date of the foundation of Rome by Romulus and his brother, Remus, as a refuge for runaway slaves and murderers who captured the neighboring Sabine women for wives (they are hoping to finish building it any day now.)



But since the Gregorian Calendar was just a gleam in Pope Gregory eye - who knows.  But by all means, please bring enough lubricant with you to the commemorative orgy tonight.


April 21,1792 -
Jose da Silva Xavier, Tiradentes, considered by many to be Brazil's George Washington, was having an extremely bad day. The Portuguese rulers of Brazil were not happy with his seditious talk of independence. Tiradentes was hung in Rio de Janeiro on this date. His body was broken into pieces.

With his blood, a document was written declaring his memory infamous. His head was exposed in Vila Rica. Pieces of his body were exposed in the cities between Vila Rica and Rio, in an attempt to scare the people who had listened to the independence ideas of Tiradentes.



He began to be considered a national hero by the republicans in the late 19th century, and after the republic was proclaimed in Brazil in 1889 the anniversary of his death (April 21) became a national holiday.


April 21, 1836 -
With the battle cry, 'Remember the Alamo!' Texan forces under Sam Houston defeated the army of Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, assuring Texas independence .



According to legend, Santa Anna was astride a mulatto, or "yellow" prostitute, Emily Morgan, who came to be celebrated in song as The Yellow Rose of Texas.

Now you know.


April 21, 1910 -
Halley's comet reappeared on this date. It had been last seen in 1835, the year Samuel Clemens was born.



The Earth passes safely through the comet's tail with no perceptible effect, of course, not counting the death of Mark Twain on this date.

This time, the reports were not exaggerated.


April 21, 1918 -
German fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, known as The Red Baron, was shot down and killed over Vaux sur Somme in France on this date.



There is no truth to the rumor that Snoopy fired the fatal shot.


The following people were born on this day:
Alexandra Mary Windsor (1926),




Iggy Pop (James Newell Osterberg) (1947) ,




Patti LuPone (1949),




Tony Danza (1951)




and Robert Smith (1959)




Make of this coincidence what you will


April 21, 1932 -
The only thing experience teaches you is what you can't do. When you start, you think you can do anything. And then you start to get a little tired.



Elaine May, one of the funniest human being who ever lived, was born on this date.


April 21, 1962 -
President John F. Kennedy took time out of his busy schedule, of banging starlets and interns, two, three at a time, to push a button in Palm Beach, Florida and officially open the Top of the Needle (the first revolving restaurant in the United States,) atop the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington on this date.



The President was so high on pain killers that he did not realize that he wasn't in Seattle at the time.


April 21, 1997 -
The ashes of Timothy Leary and Gene Roddenberry were launched into orbit (this marked the beginning of the space funeral industry,) on this date.



I guess this is the highest Dr. Leary will ever get.


April 21, 2003 -
Nina Simone, dubbed the high priestess of soul, died in France on this date.



Kids go out and buy one of her CD's, your life will be better for it.



And so it goes.


1371