Friday, September 30, 2011

This is all I'm going to say

The drum beats are getting louder for Gov. Christie to lumber into the presidential race

I wonder if they still have President Taft's special bathtub somewhere in the White House.

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

Room Service is the only time the The Marx Brothers worked with material not specially created for them.

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

This was Montgomery Clift's debut film, but because it was shelved for 2 years, the first film the public saw of Clift was The Search, which he was Oscar-nominated for.

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.

Cinerama technicians were working on the system right up to the last minute. The was no time for a trial run. It wasn't until the actual premiere in front of an audience that the entire presentation of this film, from start to finish, took place.

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.

Billington was the first Englishman executed in New England.

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

(Mark McGwire was born on October 1, 1963, however, so this no longer matters. 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 Neville Chamberlain flew to Germany to meet Hitler at Bertesgaden to discuss the situation, on this date.

Hitler assured him that there would be plenty of peas to go around, 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

(Remember kids, if you are going to drink til you drop, drop where you drink), on this date.

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

The Flintstones' address changed several times as the series went on: from 222 Rocky Way to 345 Stonecave Rd. to 301 Cobblestone Way. The final ("official") address given was 301 Cobblestone Wy., Bedrock, 70777. (This is the real ZIP codes for Slaughter, LA.) The Rubbles live next door at 303 Cobblestone.

September 30, 1982 -
Cheers, the comedy television series that ran eleven seasons from 1982 to 1993, premiered on this date.

It was produced by Charles-Burrows-Charles Productions in association with Paramount Television for NBC-TV, having been created by the team of James Burrows, Glen Charles and Les Charles. It was nearly canceled during its first season when it ranked dead last in ratings.

And so it goes.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

For this relief, much thanks I give

September 29, 1948,
Laurence Olivier's powerful interpretation of Shakespeare's melancholy Dane, Hamlet premiered in New York Cuty on this day.

The first English sound film version of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. The film went on to be the first non-American film to win the Oscar for Best Picture and Laurence Olivier became the first person ever to direct themselves to a best actor or actress Oscar.

September 29, 1953 -
The family comedy Make Room for Daddy, starring Danny Thomas, premiered on ABC TV on this date. The title Make Room for Daddy actually grew out of an in-joke within Danny Thomas' family. Whenever Danny was away on a nightclub tour, his children more or less had the run of the house. When he returned from a tour, it was time to spread out and "make room for daddy", hence the show's title.

September 29, 1954 -
The movie musical A Star Is Born, (the third version of the film, fourth, 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.

The film was re-edited several times. Premiering at 181 minutes, the studio (Warner Bros.) cut the film by 30 minutes despite the objections of director George Cukor and producer Sidney Luft (Judy Garland's husband). In 1983, all but 5 minutes of the cut footage was found and re-instated, but some footage had to be reconstructed using production stills.

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.

At Fred MacMurray's insistence, all episodes were filmed out of sequence during the show's entire run using a technique now known as the MacMurray method. MacMurray would do all of his scenes in 65 nonconsecutive days.

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.

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

The film received such poor reviews upon it's initial release that Charles Laughton could never be persuaded again to direct a film. He was scheduled to direct a version of The Naked and the Dead after finishing Night of the Hunter.

September 29, 1957 -
An explosion at the Chelyabinsk-40 complex, a Soviet nuclear fuel processing plant, irradiates the nearby city of Kyshtym with strontium-90, cesium-137, and plutonium.

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 survives and files a lawsuit.

Now don't you wish you were at that party !!!

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 was once Paris Hilton's step-grandmother), is convicted of slapping a Beverly Hills police officer.

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."

And so it goes.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Party like it's 5772! -

Hey kids, tonight is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, L'Shanah Tovah to you all.

hope you got those good high holy day tickets from a reputable agent and not a scalper. And let's all say the joke together - I keep writing 5771 in my check book

September 28, 1949 -
The first of the 12 films Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis made, My Friend Irma, premiered on this date.

September 28, 1994 -
Tim Burton's lover letter to the early career of Edward D. Wood, Jr., Ed Wood premiered on this date.

Tim Burton said that he was drawn to the story because of the similarities between Edward D. Wood Jr.'s relationship with Bela Lugosi and his own friendship with Vincent Price late in the actor's life.

Today in History -
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 abolishes the practice of flogging. Among the crimes for which this was the penalty are: stealing poultry from the coop (12 lashes), being lousy (6), stealing a wig (12), and being naked on the spar deck (9).

This reform is perhaps the signature moment in Millard Filmore's presidency.

It's the birthday of Ed Sullivan, born in New York City (1902) 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.

Ed Sullivan: the last television host who tried to appeal to everyone in America.

September 28, 1920 -
A Cook County grand jury indicts the Black Sox 8 - the White Sox players paid to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds.

Even though they are found not guilty, Commissioner Landis bans them all from professional baseball for life.

September 28, 1978 -
A nun at the Vatican discovers 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 refuses 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 keeps the cadaver in a refrigerated coffin for years.

And so it goes

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'm running around all over the place today

So it's an abbreviated day today

September 27, 1947
Delmer Daves stylish noir-thriller, Dark Passage, opened on this date.

I really hate to say this but this was the first film in which Humphrey Bogart wore a full hairpiece.

September 27, 1975 -
The documentary film by Albert and David Maysles, Grey Gardens, premiered in the New York Film Festival on this date.

The house, Grey Gardens, was sold by Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale in 1979 to Benjamin C. Bradlee, former editor of the "Washington Post", and Sally Quinn. The pair completely restored the house (the sale agreement forbids razing the house), but the Bradleys only stay there in the month of August..

Today in History:
Today is the 105 year anniversary of the publication of Albert Einstein's paper "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?", introducing the equation E=MC2.

Before this, E equaled just about anything you wanted it to equal. Just think what the atomic bomb would have been like if E = banana peels or dog turds.

September 27, 1854 -
The wooden steamship Arctic sinks in foggy weather after colliding with the iron bow of the Vesta. 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 survive -- and none of them women or children. It is the first major ocean liner disaster in the Atlantic. The "Artic" disaster shattered high Victorian notions of how men were supposed to respond under duress.

September 27, 1959 -
Typhoon Vera, otherwise known as the Isewan Typhoon, kills 4,464 people on the Japanese island of Honshu and injures 40,000 more. 1.5 million are made homeless.

September 27, 1964 -
The Warren Commission issued its final report,

concluding that President Kennedy had been assassinated and was probably dead.

September 27, 1972 -
Enema enthusiast, Gwyneth Paltrow, was born on this date.


And so it goes

Monday, September 26, 2011

In case this comes up today

The 50 US State Capitals

Once again proving, everything you need to know you can learn from the movies.

September 26, 1945 -
Bryan Ferry (the Lord of Louche) lead singer of the group Roxy Music and solo artist, was born on this date.

In June 2011, Ferry was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honors for his contribution to the British music industry.

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

Upon release in 1962 the film was a failure in the box office, but its subsequent airings on late night television helped to gain it a strong cult following. Today it is regarded as a landmark in psychological horror.

September 26, 1968 -
(The real) Hawaii Five-O premiered on CBS TV on this date.

Almost all of the regular actors who starred or had recurring roles on the series before the final season (including Zulu, James MacArthur, Al Harrington, Kam Fong and Doug Mossman), eventually left the series. Jack Lord and Herman Wedemeyer continued to play McGarrett and Duke, respectively, even into the last season. (Mossman appears in one episode of Season 12, but not as a member of Five-O.) The only regular whose disappearance was explained on-screen was Kam Fong, whose character Chin Ho Kelly was killed off in the final episode of Season 10.

Today in History:
September 26, 1895 (I've just read that 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 30's. What a wonderful way to be remembered.

September 26, 1580 -
Francis Drake returned to Plymouth, England, on this date, ending a three-and-a-half year journey around the world.

It was nearly four more 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, 1687 -
Troops laying siege to Athens led by Venetian general Francesco Morosini rain cannon fire down on the Acropolis and the Turkish soldiers garrisoned inside. One cannonball penetrates the Parthenon, which happened to serve as the Turks' gunpowder magazine.

The roof, walls, and 16 columns are blown off by the resulting explosion.

Oops, sh*t happens.

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 dies later that day from blood loss.

According to legend, Bessie had been refused treatment by a closer, whites-only hospital.

September 26, 1960 -
Kennedy and Nixon face off in the first televised presidential debate. 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, 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.

(sorry about the colorized clip) Natalie Schafer's contract stipulated that there be no close-ups of her in the show. The reason was producers knew her real age, which was 13 years older than Jim Backus, who played her character's husband. It was not until years after the series ended that her co-stars found out her actual age.

September 26, 1969 -
Beatles release the Abbey Road album in London, on this date.

This was the last song mixed for Abbey Road, and it was the last time all 4 Beatles were in the studio together. It was the result of 2 unfinished songs woven together. Before they broke up, The Beatles had a lot of partially completed songs, many of which ended up in their solo work.

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.)

Ann B. Davis, Florence Henderson and Barry Williams were the only three cast members that appeared in all 117 episodes during the shows five-seasons.

And so it goes

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Even if it seems tacky

Do yourself a favor and have a quintessentially New York experience

go downtown and walk a few of the blocks of the San Gennaro festival (tonight's the last night.)

Today is National One-Hit Wonder Day. Celebrate responsibly - listen to only one or two of them at a time.

I fervently wish that these two bald headed men in tight skinned leather pants have another hit before I die.

September 25, 1943 -
The music goes around and around and it comes out here
An excellent Merrie Melodies cartoon, A Corny Concerto was released on this date.

It's the only cartoon in which Porky Pig hunts Bugs Bunny (unless you count Porky's Hare Hunt, the first cartoon to feature the rabbit character eventually known as Bugs).

September 25, 1961 -
One of the greatest sports movies of all time, The Hustler, premiered on this date.

During the filming, one of the production days happened to fall on St. Patrick's Day. Prior to Jackie Gleason's arrival to the shoot at the pool hall, the lighting crew took out all the clear gels, and replaced them with green ones. Upon seeing this, Gleason was so impressed he said, "Boys! This looks beautiful! Take the rest of the day off!". He left, and production was shut down for that day!

September 25, 1965 -
The Beatles Cartoon Show premiered on ABC-TV on this date. It racked up a 13 score (or 52 share), then unheard of in daytime television.

The Beatles themselves did not provide the voices for their cartoon counterparts and apparently did not care for the show (although I'm sure they did not tear up their royalty checks.)

September 25, 1970 -
Everybody was implored to 'Get Happy' when The Partridge Family on this date.

Originally, the only cast member who was supposed to sing was Shirley Jones. However, after the producers heard David Cassidy's demos of the songs, they decided to let him sing as well.

Today in History -
On this day in 1789 Congress proposed twelve amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Habeas Corpus Christi and Freedom from Unreasonably Surging Seashores were ultimately rejected but the other ten passed and have come to be known as the "Bill of Rights."

In honor of this important anniversary, I have chosen to celebrate my favorite amendment, in the hopes that it may also soon be yours. I am speaking of the Ninth Amendment.

Like that of Beethoven, the Constitution's Ninth is the standard against which all others must be measured. Unlike Beethoven's, it doesn't climax with a resounding choral tribute to Joy (but that could be fixed).

Here is the ninth amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

This important amendment should not be neglected just because of some awkwardly placed commas.

Under the first amendment, for example, I have been given the right to say any stupid thing that pops into my head. (This should not be confused with the responsibility of doing so, which is reserved to journalists. Glenn Beck seems confused about this.) This is an enumerated right. My right not to have to listen to anyone else's idiotic opinion is not enumerated, but it's just as important.

In the second amendment, in order to preserve peace and order in the state, I have been granted the right to stockpile dangerous weapons. Unenumerated but no less important is my right not to be caught in the crossfire while you fire off a couple of clips at a Sunday School picnic. (The NRA generally seems to have missed this subtle point.)

Under the eighth amendment, I have the right not to be drawn and quartered, boiled in pitch, burned at the stake, or belittled by a British producer on national television. But this does not overrule my right to be entertained.

Let us all take a moment to give thanks to the Ninth Amendment, which preserves us not only from the tyranny of government, but the far more dangerous tyranny of one another.

September 25, 1890 -
The "1890 Manifesto", sometimes simply called "The Manifesto", is a statement which officially ceased the practice of plural marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

Announced by church president Wilford Woodruff on this date, the Manifesto was a dramatic turning point in The Mormons renounced the practice of polygamy after six decades in exchange for statehood for Utah. This was a great day in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as many of the church leaders are finally able to sleep with both eyes closed.

September 25, 1919 -
President Woodrow Wilson became seriously ill and collapsed after a speech. The cause of his incapacitation was the physical strain of the demanding public speaking tour he undertook to obtain support of the American people for ratification of the Covenant of the League. After one of his final speeches to attempt to promote the League of Nations in Pueblo, Colorado, on this date, he collapsed. On October 2, 1919, Wilson suffered a serious stroke that almost totally incapacitated him, leaving him paralyzed on his left side and blind in his left eye. For at least a few months, he was confined to a wheelchair. Afterwards, he could walk only with the assistance of a cane. The full extent of his disability was kept from the public until after his death on February 3, 1924.

Remarkably, Wilson was, with few exceptions, kept out of the presence of Vice President Thomas R. Marshall, his cabinet or Congressional visitors to the White House for the remainder of his presidential term. His second wife, Edith, would continually tell people for the next five years that the President was in the bathroom and couldn't be disturbed. This was, as of 2011, the most serious case of presidential disability in American history and was later cited as a key example why ratification of the 25th Amendment and a large supply of TP at the White House was seen as important.

September 25, 1980 -
John Bonham, drummer for the seminal rock band, Led Zeppelin, actually did choke to death in his sleep on a regurgitated ham sandwich on this date.

The coroner's report concludes that it was his own vomit and no one else's.

there are 90 days until Christmas (I'm sure many of you have failed the naughty/ nice test already. Maybe you still have time.)

And so it goes

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Jim

To celebrate the late Jim Henson's 75th birthday, today Google has created a great Google Doodle for the day

Check it out

September 24, 1991 -
Nirvana's album Nevermind was released 20 years today.

At this point Teen Spirit is still smelling fairly strong indeed.

September 24, 1938 -
This cartoon set the bar for outlandishness in animation - Porky in Wackyland was released on this date.

Watch it a few times to really get everything that's going on in this one.

September 24, 1945 -
Michael Curtiz' tense film noir, sometimes mislabelled as a 'women's picture', Mildred Pierce, was released on this date.

Joan Crawford must have seen some of herself in the character of Midred Pierce, as she also supported herself as a waitress and saleswoman before she achieved success as an actress.

September 24, 1958 -
The Donna Reed Show premiered on ABC-TV on this date. Ladies (and some men), don't you always wears heels, pearls and chic frocks to do the housework?

The first season opening credits of The Munsters were an outrageous parody of the opening credits of The Donna Reed Show, which always began with Donna Reed lovingly passing out lunches to her departing family members as they left the house one by one. Yvonne De Carlo, as Lily Munster, did the same thing.

Today in History:
September 24, 1896 -
... In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day.

On this date in 1896, a young Minnesota woman gave birth to a depressive young alcoholic named Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald.

The boy did badly in school and went to train for war in 1918. While training at Camp Sheridan in Alabama, he fell in love with Zelda Sayre, the mentally unstable daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge.

The war ended before Fitzgerald could be sent overseas and shot, however, so he went to New York to become rich and famous. He became neither, so Zelda broke off their engagement.

Fitzgerald then moved back to Minnesota. A year later he became a famous writer. He moved to Connecticut, Zelda married him, and they became drunken celebrity wrecks.

They spent a lot of time in Europe. This lasted until Zelda went mad and Fitzgerald died.

Fitzgerald is best remembered for having said the rich were different, even though Hemingway kept telling him to act like a man and strip down, grease himself up and get into a boxing ring.

Oh yeah, he also wrote several books.

... Things are sweeter when they're lost. I know--because once I wanted something and got it. It was the only thing I ever wanted badly, Dot, and when I got it it turned to dust in my hand...

September 24, 1954 -
Steve Allen sat down at his piano and the Tonight Show premiered on NBC on this date.

Simply called Tonight, the show was a blend of comedy, interview and musical performance that set the basic template for future late-night television.

September 24, 1961-
Students of Great Comedy lined up around the block to enroll in Whatsamatta U when The Bullwinkle Show moved to primetime on NBC TV on this date.

The first story of the season was an epic multi-part adventure about the moose and squirrel's search for the elusive Kirwood Derby. In November 1961, Durward Kirby threatened to file suit. Jay Ward reportedly responded to the threat, in his usual style, by offering to let Kirby use any name of his choosing for any character from his show.

September 24, 1964 -
We all visited 1313 Mockingbird Lane for the first time when The Munsters premieres on TV on this date.

Bill Mumy was the original choice for Eddie Munster, but his parents didn't approve of the extensive makeup that would be used for his character. He would eventually guest on the episode "Come Back, Little Googie", playing an incorrigible brat, during the first season.

September 24, 1969 -
The trial of the "Chicago Eight" (later seven) began. Demonstrations began outside the court house, with the Weatherman group proclaiming the "Days of Rage" in protest of the trial. The Chicago Eight staged demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago to protest the Vietnam War and its support by the top Democratic presidential candidate, Vice President Hubert Humphrey. These anti-Vietnam War protests were some of the most violent in American history as the police and national guardsmen beat antiwar protesters, innocent bystanders and members of the press.

Five defendants (Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Rennie Davis) were convicted of crossing state lines to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention; the convictions were ultimately overturned.

Luna 16 was the first robotic probe to land on the Moon and return a sample to Earth.. An automatic drilling rig was deployed and 101 grams of lunar soil was collected.

The samples were returned to Earth on September 24, 1970 and marked the first time lunar sampled were recovered by an unmanned spacecraft.

September 24, 1991 -
Theodor Seuss Geisel, an American writer and cartoonist best known for his classic children's books under the pen name Dr. Seuss, including The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, died on this date.

No greater tribute was given to the Doctor than when the Reverend Jesse Jackson appeared on SNL following his death.

And so it goes

Friday, September 23, 2011

And so, Today must be the first day of Fall

Today is the first day of autumn.

By happy coincidence, it's also the first day of fall.

Many people in the northern hemisphere are disturbed by the changes they see around them at about this time each year. It gets darker earlier, temperatures drop, leaves change color and die, and the Red Soxs tend to drop out of playoff contention.

There have been myths about the changing of the seasons as long as there have been children to lie to. Some primitive peoples believed that leaves changed color because Nature was pining for her abducted daughter; others blamed it on the seasonal absence of sunlight-fed chlorophyll, allowing xanthophyll, carotene, and antocyanin to determine leaf color. We may never know the truth.

The first day of autumn is sometimes also referred to as the Autumnal Equinox. Don't be alarmed by the title. It's just fall.

With courage and some heavy drinking, we can get through this thing.

September 23, 1962 -
The Jetsons debuted on Sunday night's prime time lineup on this date.

This cartoon series marked the debut of color television on the ABC network.

The youth of America want to know, "Don't they use a pooper scoop in the future?"

Today in History -
September 23, 480 BC -
It's the birthday of the Greek poet Euripides, born near Athens on this date.

Euripides has the greatest number of plays that have survived for the modern reader -19 of them—including Medea.

Remember Euripides, I ripa dos.

September 23, 63 BC -
Gaius Octavius Thurinus (Augustus Caesar) was born on this day. The first real Roman Emperor, Caesar introduced the famous Pax Romana. This was a political policy which stated that any country which did not object to being conquered by Rome would be conquered by Rome.

Countries not wishing to be conquered by Rome stood in violation of this policy, and were therefore invaded until they agreed to be conquered. This ensured peace throughout the world.

September 23, 1779 -
During the Revolutionary War, While on break from Led Zeppelin, the American navy under Scotsman John Paul Jones (Robert Stack), commanding from Bonhomme Richard, defeated and captured the British man-of-war Serapis on this date. Jones, chose to name the ship after Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard’s Almanac.

Fierce fighting ensued, and when Richard began to sink, Serapis commander Richard Pearson called over to ask if Richard would surrender and Jones responded, "I have not yet begun to fight!"--a response that would become a slogan of the U.S. Navy. Pearson surrendered and Jones took control of Serapis. Imagine the amount of Rum consumed (it was an American Ship, I'm sure there was no sodomy!)

The Bonhomie Richard sank two days after the battle.

September 23, 1939 -
Sigmund Freud commits suicide with the help of his personal physician, Max Schur. The good doctor administered 21mg of morphine -- a lethal dose, in three large doses of morphine in the space of several hours.

Sometimes 21 mg of morphine is just 21mg of death.

September 23, 1944 -
Frank Capra's screwball comedy, Arsenic and Old Lace finally gets it US general release on this date. The film was based on a hit play and had to wait to be released until after it Broadway run had ended.

Some 20 years before filming this movie, actress Jean Adair had helped to nurse a very sick vaudeville performer named Archie Leach back to health; by the time she was asked to reprise her Broadway "Arsenic and Old Lace" role as Aunt Martha for this film, Adair and Leach, now known as Cary Grant, were old friends.

September 23, 1949 -
It's the birthday of the Boss.

... nuns run bald through Vatican halls pregnant, pleadin' immaculate conception. And everybody's wrecked on Main Street from drinking unholy blood...

If Bruce didn't exist, we'd have to invent him.

September 23, 1950 -
Congress passes the McCarran Act, also known as The Internal Security Act of 1950, overriding Harry Truman's veto. The act provides for severe restrictions on civil liberties, suspension of free speech, and placing of undesirable Americans in concentration camps.

Much of the Act has been repealed, but some portions remain intact.

So watch it, bub.

September 23, 1952 -
Responding to accusations that he diverted $18,000 in contributions into his pocket, Senator Richard M. Nixon rescues his candidacy for Vice President by insisting that he had never accepted any money.

Although Nixon does admit he accepted a cocker spaniel named Checkers for his daughter Tricia. The televised monologue rescues his political career.

Little is know about this political operative, Checkers. Recently unclassified FBI documents reveal that Checker advised Nixon not to shave just prior to his famous televised debate with Kennedy. Checkers was also recorded on his deathbed in late '68 advising Nixon's men about creating a list of enemies of the future President.

September 23, 1969 -
An article in the Northern Illinois University student newspaper The Northern Star propagates the rumor that "Paul is dead."

But if you play I'm so Tired from the White Album (and smoke an enormous amount of dope,) you hear the question Is Paul McCartney Dead?

And Revolution #9 implores, Turn me on dead man.

Well, sort of. Remember it's I buried Paul and not Strawberry Jam.

September 23, 1969 -
First broadcast of Marcus Welby MD on ABC-TV on this date.

Robert Young became so well identified with his wise doctor persona that he became famous as the commercial spokesman for an aspirin product, saying, "I'm not a doctor but I play one on TV", while wearing a lab coat.

All those free aspirin must have been a great help to Mr. Young, who was a raging alcoholic by this time.

September 23, 1970 -
The only American film Akira Kurosawa almost directed, Tora! Tora! Tora!, was released on this date. Akira Kurosawa agreed to direct the Japanese part of the film only because he was told that David Lean was to direct the American part. This was a lie, David Lean was never part of the project. When Kurosawa found out about this, he tried to get himself fired from the production - and succeeded.

At the time of its initial movie release, Tora! Tora! Tora! proved to be a major box office flop in U.S. theatres although it was a major hit in Japan; however, over the years, video releases provided an overall profit

September 23, 1990 -
PBS premiered Ken Burns powerful 11 hour miniseries The Civil War on this date.

The documentary took six long years to make - two years longer than the actual war.

And so it goes

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's the last day of summer

I know with the rain and fog today it doesn't feel like it, but summer has come to an end today and fall is around the corner tomorrow

September 22, 1960 -
Joan Marie Larkin, singer/ musician extraordinaire was born on this date.

If you love Rock and Roll, you have to love Joan

September 22, 1957 -
The comedy-western series Maverick, premiered on ABC-TV on this date .

James Garner claimed that during filming one day they had less than an hour until overtime would have to be paid, but they still needed to shoot a complicated fight scene. Spying a group of tall weeds, he suggested that he throw his opponent into the weeds and have the fight proceed with much shaking of the weeds, and people being ejected from the weeds, only to immediately run back in. The results were extremely funny, and thus the cast and crew began to look for "funny" ways to cut corners, turning the show into a semi-comedy.

September 22, 1964 - Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, who kept the world safe on The Man from U.N.C.L.E, made their first appearance on NBC-TV on this date.

In the original, unaired version of the pilot episode (shot in color), the Head of U.N.C.L.E. was called Mr. Allison, played by Will Kuluva. When the program finally aired it was shown entirely in black and white with Kulava's scenes re-shot, featuring Leo G. Carroll as Mr. Waverly.

September 22, 1994 -
You could get a cup of coffee at Central Perk for the first time when Friends, premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

The shows original theme song was Shiny Happy People by R.E.M., but was changed later on to I'll Be There For You by The Rembrandts. And even though he would never admit it, Michael Stipe must be as mad as hell and now that the band has broken up, he's even more pissed off about the missed residuals..

Today in History:
September 22, 1761 -
George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz are crowned King and Queen of the Great Britain. Which is funny because George was not British. He was German. He had been Elector of Hanover. (Although he was the first King of England in a very long time the spoke English as his first language, if at all.)

But he ends his days, completely blind, increasingly deaf and totally insane locked up in Windsor Castle, with his son acting as Regent for the remainder of George III's life.

I've said it before - sometimes it's not so good to be King.

September 22, 1776 -
An American Captain was hanged as a spy with no trial by the British, under the orders of General William Howe, in New York City during the Revolutionary War. He was considered as one of the incendiaries of the burning of NYC.

Moments before his execution, he expressed regret that he couldn't be hanged more than once. This remark catapulted him to posthumous fame (but only after his death), and Nathan Hale is revered to this day.

September 22, 1869 -
Richard Wagner's opera Das Rheingold premieres in Munich on this date.

Beer drinkers around the world rejoice!!!

September 22, 1961 -
President John Kennedy took a break from hanging out with Frank Sinatra and having sex with Marilyn Monroe to sign a congressional act establishing the Peace Corps.

The government-funded volunteer organization was created to fight hunger, disease, illiteracy, poverty, and lack of opportunity around the world.

Sometimes it good to be the President (and sometimes it sucks, as Mr. Kennedy would eventually find out.)

September 22, 1980 -
In a stunning blow to America's feminine hygiene, consumer products manufacturer Procter & Gamble initiates the largest tampon recall in history, pulling Rely Tampons from store shelves.

The action results from the ongoing Toxic Shock Syndrome controversy.

No comment.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Help wipe out the 'Santorum Problem'

Please help Presidential candidate Rick Santorum with his Santorum problem.

Continually clink on Rick Santorum until he gives up his campaign and can stop feeling harassed.

Two giants of animation sharing the same birthday:
September 21, 1912 -
Chuck Jones, animator and director of Warner Brothers cartoons Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, was born on this date.

September 21, 1920 -
Jay Ward, cartoonist (Rocky & his Friends, Bullwinkle), was born on this date.

September 21, 1968 -
The police drama ADAM 12, premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

The "one" in "One Adam 12" stood for the area of the division they were stationed in, "Adam" referred to the type of car they drove (a two-man patrol car) and "12" was for the area they patrolled. However, "one" was the code for Central Division (downtown). Since the unit was shown working in Rampart Division, the actual call sign should have been 2-Adam-12.

September 21, 1975 -
Sidney Lumet's amazing film, Dog Day Afternoon, starring Al Pacino and John Cazale, premiered on this date.

The real bank robber (John Wojtowicz) had watched The Godfather to get ideas the day he robbed the Chase Manhattan bank. Both Al Pacino and John Cazale were in The Godfather.

September 21, 1993 -
The police drama NYPD Blue, premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

Dennis Franz (Detective Andy Sipowicz) is the only cast member to stay with the series throughout its entire run and the only actor to appear in all 261 episodes.

Today in History
September 21, 1327 -
Former King Edward II had a particularly painful end on this date.

Edward had been overthrown by his wife, Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer. Edward had pissed off Isabella royally for among other things, sleeping with men. Isabella and Mortimer had Edward II imprisoned, after his abdication in favor of his son, Edward III.

It was rumored that Edward had been killed by the insertion of a piece of copper into his rectum (later a red-hot iron rod, as in the supposed murder of Edmund Ironside - King Edmund II was murdered in a lavatory; stabbed in the bowels when he sat down to relieve himself). Murder in this manner would have appeared a natural death, as a metal tube would have been inserted into the anus first, thus allowing the iron rod to penetrate the entrails without leaving a burn on the buttocks.

As I have said in the past, sometimes it is NOT good to be the king.

September 21, 1897 -
The New York Sun ran its famous editorial that answered a question from 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon: ``Is there a Santa Claus?''

Obviously, times were different back then given that The New York Sun was printing an editorial about Christmas in September.

September 21, 1915 -
With a winning bid of 6,600, Mr. Cecil Chubb purchases Stonehenge and 30 acres of land at auction. He donates the monument to the British state three years later.

He donated the monument because he could not reset Stonehenge correctly.

September 21, 1957 -
Perry Mason with Raymond Burr premieres on CBS-TV .

Godzilla, Perry Mason, Ironside, spokes model and owner of Raymond Burr Nipple Rouge - what couldn't he do?

September 21, 1975 -
Self-proclaimed revolutionary Sara Jane Moore attempted to kill President Gerald Ford as he walked from a San Francisco hotel.

A bullet she fired slightly wounded a man in the crowd but once again President Ford walks away unscathed.

September 21, 1983 -
In a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Interior Secretary James G. Watt jokingly described a special advisory panel as consisting of 'a black ... a woman, two Jews and a cripple.'

Although Watt apologized, he later resigned .

And so it goes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

American Youth have many questions

Poor George Clooney, reduced to shilling for some Norwegian Bank:

But youth wants to know:
a.) Did George wear the horse head while engaging in martial bliss with his bride?
b.) Are we to infer that George is as well endowed as said horse?
c.) Was the semi-somnambulant bride just exhausted from her world-wind romance with George or completely blissed out?
d.) Who took the Polaroids?
e.) Why would the sexual exploits of George Clooney (granted a very handsome man, with or without a horse head mask) encourage me to put my money into DnB Nor?

YOUTH wants to know!

September 20, 1952 -
....And Away We go...

The Jackie Gleason Show (AKA The Honeymooners: The Lost Episodes ) premiered on CBS TV this date.

Today in History :
September 20, 1946 -
The first Cannes film festival, the first great international cultural event of the post-war period, begins on this date. Among the selections that year were:

Gilda directed by Charles Vidor

Notorious directed by Alfred Hitchcock

The Seventh Veil directed by Compton Bennet

Make Mine Music directed by Joshua Meador, Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney, Bob Cormack, Hamilton Luske

Wonder Man directed by H. Bruce Humberstone

September 20 1970 -
A jury in Miami, Florida finds vocalist Jim Morrison guilty of profanity and indecent exposure for whipping out his mojo at a Doors concert in Coconut Grove the previous year.

Oh you naughty Mr. Mojo Rising ...

September 20, 1973 -
A Beechcraft D-18 charter plane crashes into a tree near Natchitoches, Louisiana, killing singer/songwriter Jim Croce, his lead guitarist, and the entire flight crew.

I guess if he could have put time in a bottle, the first real thing he would have done would be chartering a different plane.

September 20, 1973 -
On the same day, in their so-called 'Battle of the Sexes,' tennis star Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, at the Houston Astrodome .

In recent years, a persistent urban legend has arisen, particularly on the Internet, that the rules were modified for the match so that Riggs had only one serve for King's two, and that King was allowed to hit into the doubles court area.

This is false: the match was played under the normal rules of tennis.

September 20, 1975 -
David Bowie's Fame, single goes #1 for 2 weeks

John Lennon helped write this song - he came up with the title and also sang the background "Fame" parts in the high voice. They started working on the song when Bowie invited Lennon to the studio, and Lennon played rhythm guitar on a jam session that resulted in this track. Bowie met Lennon less than a year earlier at a party thrown by Elizabeth Taylor. Lennon was one of Bowie's idols, and they became good friends.

September 20, 1984 -
Claire and Cliff Huxtable move into their award winning show Cosby Show on NBC-TV on this date.

The Cosby Show is one of only three American programs that have been #1 in the Nielsen Ratings for five consecutive seasons, along with All in the Family and American Idol.

September 20, 1988 -
Greg Louganis wins the gold medal in springboard diving at the Summer Olympics in Seoul, one day after he struck and injured his head on the board in the preliminary round.

His comeback earned him the title of ABC's Wide World of Sports "Athlete of the Year" for 1988.

And on a personal note:

Happy Birthday Angela and

Happy Anniversary John and Maria.

Also DADT is official repealed today, so the US joins these other countries in allowing gays to serve openly in the military:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Uruguay.

Last time I checked, Canadian rivers didn't flow with blood and toads didn't rain down from the sky.

And so it goes