Birthdays: Roman Emperor Tiberius 42BC, Paul Hindemith, George S. Kaufmann, W.C. Handy, Burgess Meredith, Daws Butler, Bob Watson, Zina Garrison, Dwight Gooden, Maggie Gylenhall is 37
1924- THE MURDER OF THOMAS INCE- Thomas Ince was a film director and early Hollywood studio owner who’s property later became the site of MGM. This day he boarded William Randolph Hearst’s yacht Oneida for a birthday party in his honor. On the boat among the guests was Charlie Chaplin and Hearsts’ mistress Marion Davies. When the boat docked Ince was dead and everyone very troubled. The official cause of death was a heart attack but there was no autopsy or investigation and the Hearst press quickly hushed things up. The legend goes Hearst discovered Chaplin and Davies in flagrante-delicto and in a jealous rage shot Ince when he came in between them. We’ll never know for sure.
1932- VAUDEVILLE DIED- Vaudeville was the generic name for one admission to a showcase of short theatrical acts- singers, comics, jugglers, trained animals, etc. Vaudeville gave their first opportunities to many great twentieth century performers like Chaplin, Jolson, the Marx Brothers, Mae West , Gypsy Rose Lee and W.C. Fields. But it was slowly supplanted by more modern forms of entertainment like Movies and Radio. If you asked experts to pinpoint a date for the official end of the popular venue, many it would say it was the date that the New York Palace Theater on Broadway, the premiere palace for Vaudeville, switched from live shows to purely Movies.
1946- The Television Academy of Arts and Sciences founded. Fred Allen once said: "We call television a Medium because nothing on it is Rare or Well Done."
1952- The first time in a Peanuts comic strip where Lucy pulls away the football as Charlie Brown was attempting to kick it.
1960- CLARK GABLE DIED- The 59 year old star had just completed the film the Misfits, a film in which director John Huston demanded a great deal of physical exertion. He had told his agent that the unprofessional antics of his moody co-star Marilyn Monroe had driven him so nuts they were going to give him a heart attack. Gable had one after shooting, and on this day while convalescing in Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital reading a magazine, a second heart attack killed him. He wrote his own epitaph, but it was never used- " Oh Well, Back to Silents."
1990- Disney’s feature film the Rescuers Down Under premiered. The first traditionally animated film to be painted digitally on computer instead of acetate cels and paints.
1996- Warner Bros Space Jam, where Bugs Bunny met NBA star Michael Jordan.
2001- The film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone premiered to great fanfare and massive box office. Harry Potter’s creator J.K. Rowling had been so poor she at one time had been on the dole, now she was one of the richest women in the world. In England second only to Madonna and the Queen.