Birthdays: King Henry V of England, John Dryden, Sir Issac Walton-author of the Compleat Angler, Melanie Griffith, Whitney Houston, David Steinberg, Bob Cousy, Jill St. John, Robert Shaw, Robert Aldrich, Sam Elliot is 74, Gillian Anderson is 49, Pamela Lyndon Travers –the creator of Mary Poppins, Marvin Minsky, Eric Bana is 51, Audrey Tautou is 39, CGI animator Philippe Bergeron is 58
1854- Henry David Thoreau published “Walden”, the first great work about nature conservation.
1919- The first story of Zorro appeared in All Story Weekly magazine. Created by Johnstom McCulley.
1929- Hollywood theater mogul Alexander Pantages was convicted of assaulting a young woman in a broom closet. The conviction was later overturned. The young woman, Eunice Pringle, later admitted that Joe Kennedy, who was trying to buy out Pantages' theatre chain for his RKO, paid her $10,000 to falsely accuse Pantages of rape. It was the first successful defense case of attorney Jerry Geisler, who became famous for getting movie stars and other Hollywood elites out of trouble with the law. The word in the studios when a movie star was naughty was “Get Geisler!”
1930- Max Fleischer's cartoon "Dizzy Dishes" introduces Betty Boop. A singing star named Helen Kane sued Fleischer claiming that they stole her distinctive Boop-Ooop-a-Doop from her, but the case was thrown out when it was revealed Kane had stolen it herself from another singer. Betty was supposed to be a dog character to match her male counterpart Bimbo. But Animator Grim Natwick had done a lot of drawing of girls in Paris and New York and turned the character into a saucy little flapper.
1942- The premiere of Walt Disney’s Bambi.
1944- Antoine Du Saint-Exupery, the author of the Little Prince, died when he crashed his fighter plane. He was not shot down by the Germans, just wasn’t a very good pilot. The main protagonist of the little prince is an aviator who crashes his plane.
1947 -The British government in an attempt to bolster revenue for their shattered postwar economy, announced a 300% import tariff on Hollywood films. The Big Eight-Hollywood studios retaliate by stopping the export of movies to Britain. The British film industry has a heyday and Disney starts producing films locally in Britain like 'Rob Roy Highland Rogue' and such.
1960- Near Cuernavaca Mexico, Harvard professor Timothy Leary took some magic mushrooms and experienced his first hallucinogenic trip. He called it “ a conversion.”
1963 - Britains rock & roll TV show, Ready Steady Go, premieres.
1967- Joe Orton, English actor/playwright (Leaf, Murdered), died at age 34.
1969- HELTER SKELTER- Charles Manson's cultists murder pregnant actress Sharon Tate and several houseguests of her husband/director Roman Polanski. One other guest killed was socialite Jay Sebring, who made cocaine fashionable and invented the 1970's blow-dry hair style for men. A Polish tourist named Woijech Frykowski who had the misfortune to be visiting that night was shot twice, bludgeoned and stabbed 51 times. Kill the Pigs was scrawled on the wall in blood. Charles Manson had a messianic concept that he could lead the Apocalypse devolving out of a race war if his followers first killed celebrities to advertise their cause. Manson had a hit list that included Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen and Liz Taylor. The California spawned Hippy-Flower-Child culture lost it’s innocent fun after Manson.
1993- Heidi Fleiss, The” Hollywood Madam” arraigned for prostitution. The film community shuddered when she threatened to reveal the names of her clients in her “black book”. Most were suppressed except actors Charlie Sheen and Sean Penn who admitted as much early on. Fleiss wrote a memoir called “Pandering” and still thinks prostitution is an honorable profession. “I ran an 85% cash business.”
1995- Rocker Jerry Garcia died, the Grateful Dead broke up.