Birthdays: Sir Christopher Wren, Bela Lugosi (born Bela Blasgow from Lugosz), Charles Ives, Arthur Rimbaud, Daniel Sickles, Black Panther Bobby Seale, Juan Marichal, Tom Petty, Art Buchwald, Arlene Francis, Grandpa Jones, Mickey Mantle, Frank Churchill, Thomas Newman, Jerry Ohrbach, Rex Ingram, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Michael Dunn, Snoop Dogg (born Calvin Broadus Jr) is 46, Danny Boyle is 61, Viggo Mortensen is 59
1921- Rudolf Valentino starred in The Sheik, which premiered today.
1939- Frank Capra’s film “Mr Smith Goes to Washington” opened.
1947- 'ARE YOU NOW OR HAVE YOU EVER BEEN...' Judge J. Parnell Thomas banged the gavel opening the House Committee on UnAmerican Activites investigation into Communist infiltration into the Motion Picture Business. HUAC was set up in 1938 as the Dies Committee to keep an eye on pro-Nazis groups operating in German and Italian immigrant organizations, but by 1944 it's emphasis had switched to Communist espionage. Investigations of the army or top civil servants like Dean Acheson was dull stuff, New Deal hating conservatives knew investigating Hollywood would yield the big headlines and jazz up public interest.
Jack Warner, Louis B. Mayer, Ronald Reagan and Walt Disney were the first in line to name names. Lucille Ball, Sterling Hayden, Zero Mostel, Ginger Rogers and Lloyd Bridges admitted they had once held communist party memberships. The anti-commie hysteria turned Hollywood inside out and the bitter feelings remained for the rest of their lives.
1955- Harry Belafonte recorded the Banana Boat Song, that made him a star. “ Come Mister Tally-Man, tally me bananas…Dayo!”
1955- J.R.R. Tolkein’s last book of the Lord of the Rings published. The Return of the King.
1973- The Six Million Dollar Man with Lee Majors premiered.
1977- Lynyrd Skynyrd band members Ronnie Van Zandt and Steve Gaines died when their plane crashed into a swamp while en route to a concert at Louisiana University.