Birthdays: Ethan Allen, Marshal Michel Ney, Frank James -Jesse's brother, Francois Poulenc, Ray Bolger (the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz), Al Goldstein the publisher of Screw Magazine, Stephen Ambrose, Sherrill Milnes, Pat Benatar, Sal Mineo, Jim Croce, Rod Stewart, Walter Hill, George Foreman, Linda Lovelace, Roy E Disney Jr, Jermaine Clement of Flight of the Concords is 44
1910- Joyce Clyde Hall started the company that became Hallmark Cards.
1924- Columbia Pictures created, ruled by Harry Cohn, whose motto was "I don't get ulcers, I give them!"
1927- Fritz Lang’s masterpiece film Metropolis premiered.
1929- The comic character Tin Tin first appeared in a Belgian newspaper XXe Siecle.
1939- Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov sold his first story to Amazing Stories Magazine "Marooned off Vesta".
1941- The comedy play ARSENIC AND OLD LACE opened on Broadway. Playwright Joseph Kesselring originally wrote it as a drama based on true events, until he was advised - and, wisely so - to turn it into a dark comedy instead, guaranteeing a larger audience. When someone joked that Mortimer’s evil brother looked Boris Karloff, the character was indeed played by famous horror movie star Boris Karloff. He was an investor in the play. When buying the movie rights Warner Bros agreed to wait until the play ended its theatrical run. They thought plays usually are done in a few months. Arsenic and Old Lace ran for three years, until 1944. It was then made into a classic screwball comedy with Cary Grant and Raymond Massey.
1949- For years the recording industry had been working on ways to improve the 78 RPM record –RPM means Rotations Per Minute. RCA records announced the invention of the 45 RPM record. Columbia (CBS) had announced the LP (Long Playing) 33 rpm record and originally offered to share the technology but RCA (NBC) was having none of it. But the 33 stored more music and could use old 78 rpm turntables adapted so the 45 soon became a vehicle for hit singles.
1958- Jerry Lee Lewis single "Great Balls of Fire" topped the pop charts.
1958- GET MARRIED..OR ELSE! Blond actress Kim Novak had starred in Hitchcock’s Vertigo and was touted as the new Marilyn Monroe. In 1957 she began a love affair with black entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. Davis was a member of Sinatra’s Ratpack and he challenged America’s racial barriers with his great talent. But this high profile interracial match was just too much for Hollywood society to handle. Columbia’s studio head Harry Cohn said of Novak-"That fat Polack Bitch! How could she do this to me?! "
Legend has it Cohn called the Chicago Mafia and put a contract out on Sammy Davis. L.A. mobster Mickey Cohen told Davis’ father that if Sammy didn’t marry a colored girl in 24 hours he would have his legs broken and his remaining good eye poked out.
On this day in Las Vegas’ Sands Hotel, Sammy Davis Jr. married black actress Loray White. Harry Belafonte was the best man. The couple honeymooned separately and divorced 6 months later. But the affair with Novak was over and Harry Cohn died of a heart attack the same year. In 1960 Sammy Davis married blonde German actress May Britt.
1961- Writer Dashell Hammett died.
1970- Masterpiece Theater debuted on US TV with host Alastair Cooke. The first show was the BBC series The First Churchills. These shows were so popular that for awhile people thought PBS meant Preferably British Shows.
2000- AOL and Time Warner announced a $165 billion dollar merger that made it the world’s largest media company. Considered now one of the worst business deals in history, the company lost $80 billion in one year. The deal almost sank both companies, uprooted both chairmen, and they detached permanently in 2009.