Birthdays: Emperor Hirohito, Duke Ellington, Duke Wellington, Sir Thomas Beacham, Zuben Mehta is 80, Tom Ewell, Rod McKuen, Fred Zinnemann, Jerry Seinfeld is 61, Michelle Pfeiffer is 58, Daniel Day Lewis is 59, Uma Thurman is 46
1771- Artist Benjamin West unveils his painting of the “Death of General Wolfe” at the Royal Academy in London. Wolfe was killed in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, which decided that Canada would be English. West’s portrayal of Wolfe in his actual uniform instead an idealized Grecian god was considered scandalously realistic and revolutionized painting.
1786- The day before his opera THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO was to premiere, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart sat down after dinner and wrote the famous overture. Friends said he liked to think while playing billiards.
1929- The film "All's Quiet on the Western Front" premiered. The world war one battlefield was constructed on a California ranch and dozens of veterans hired to be extras. When the antiwar film debuted in Germany, Nazis agitators were sent out to Berlin theaters to release rats, skunks and snakes in the theaters to scare people away.
1944- Dancing Romeos, the last Our Gang comedy short was produced by MGM, which had bought the franchise in 1938 from Hal Roach.
1949- MGM chief Louis B. Mayer fired Frank Sinatra for making a joke about him. Mayer had hurt his hip riding, and Sinatra joked he got hurt not from falling off his horse, but falling off Jean Howard, a young actress Mayer was chasing.
1986- Los Angeles Central Library burns down. A lot of the costs of rebuilding was raised by private donation, much raised by a wild local televangelist named Dr. Gene Scott. Scott would preach his own strange brand of Bible study while smoking a cigar and wearing funny hats on camera. He also liked to laugh at other evangelists.
25th Anniversary 1992- THE GREAT LOS ANGELES RIOT- Los Angeleanos go berserk after an all white jury in Simi Valley acquitted four policemen who beat up drunk motorist Rodney King while being videotaped. 63 killed, 2500 businesses destroyed, $1.5 billion dollars in damage, 13,200 arrests and large sections of Los Angeles put under martial law. Even Rodney King was moved to go on TV and proclaim: " Can't we all just get along?"