Birthdays: George Gershwin, T.S. Elliot, John Chapman (also known as Johnny Appleseed)-1774, Winsor McCay-1869, Theodore Gericault -1791, Olivia Newton-John, Cheryl Tiegs is 69, Marty Robbins, Linda Hamilton, Pope Paul VI, Jack Lalanne, Melissa Sue Andersen, Phillip Bosco, James Cavaziel, Surena Williams, Linda Hamilton is 61.
1560- A Spanish expedition under Don Pedro de Ursua left Peru for the deep Amazon. Lost in the limitless rainforest almost all his men die or go mad. The expedition at one point was taken over by a deranged conquistador named Aguirre who declared himself 'Emperor of the Kingdom of El Dorado'! The incident is the subject of Werner Herzog's 1972 movie "Aguirre the Wrath of God".
1575-Writer Miguel de Cervantes was captured by Barbary Pirates and held a slave for five years until his family ransomed him. He wrote Don Quixote in 1604.
1687- The Ancient GREEK PARTHENON WAS BLOWN UP during a minor Venetian raid on Turkish held Athens. A random shell ignited a gunpowder magazine the Turks had been storing inside of it. For two thousand years the Greek masterpiece had survived mostly intact. Later on in 1801 English Lord Elgin will back up his frigate to the shore and pry off the frieze marble sculptures for his collection.
1835- Donizetti’s opera Lucia De Lammermoor premiered.
1887- Emile Berliner patented the gramophone, rejecting Thomas Edison's cylinder in favor of a flat disc record on a turntable.
1926- Bullock's Wilshire department store opened. The Tea Room quickly became the in place for Hollywood Society to see and be seen in.
1937- "Queen of the Blues" Singer Bessie Smith died after a car accident in Mississippi. She crashed her Packard into a parked car. She was 43. One account said she died because she was refused treatment in a segregated hospital, but the truth was she was treated by a white doctor at the scene and sent to the nearest hospital, which was a black one.
1941- Max Fleischer's "Superman" cartoon debuts. They were much more expensive that the usual short cartoons- $90,000 to the usual $40,000, but Paramount wanted them.
1957- The musical West Side Story opened. The legend goes composer Leonard Bernstein was in the hospital to be operated on for a deviated septum. While recuperating he ran into lyricist Steven Sondheim, who was also recovering from an operation. To pass the time while convalescing they started talking about the idea of an updated Romeo and Juliet set to music in the slums. One early title was Gang Way!
1960-THE NIXON-KENNEDY TELEVISED DEBATE. The first televised presidential debate that really ushered in the era of the "media-candidate". People who heard the debate on radio thought Vice President Nixon had won because he scored more points on issues. But far more who saw it on Television lauded Kennedy because of his cool, calm Presidential bearing as opposed to Nixon's pale sweaty-lipped nervousness.
As he watched the debate on TV, Nixon’s running mate, Senator Henry Cabot-Lodge III, murmured “ We’re gonna lose…” For years Nixon put down his electoral defeat to the fact that he refused stage makeup before going on camera.
One New York Times analyst referred to Kennedy & Nixon as the Roadrunner & Wile E. Coyote of American politics.
1961- Nineteen year old folk singer Bob Dylan made his debut in a Greenwich Village coffee house Gerde’s Folk City.
1962- The Beverly Hillbillies debuts. The story goes that CBS mogul William Paley disliked farm-humor type shows, and this was premiered behind his back while he was on vacation.
1964-The premiere of Gilligan’s Island. The good ship Minnow was named for Newton Minnow, the FCC Chairman who first called television “A Vast Wasteland”.
1983- Filmation's "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe". The popular toy was originally supposed to be a product tie -in to the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Conan the Barbarian, but toy maker Mattel balked at the films R rated violence, so changed the toy's name. I Have The Powerrrrrr!!!
1987- A market research group called Q-5 tried to use a bank of computers number-crunching demographic surveys to design the ultimate safe, wholesome, politically-correct children's show. They came up with "The Little Clowns of Happytown"-. Of the 26 children's series in syndication it remained dead last in ratings, He-Man, Jem and G.I. Joe on top. The people have spoken.
1990- The Motion Picture Association changed the rating for the naughtiest movies from X to NC-17.