Birthdays: Yukon poet Robert Service, The inventor of the pneumatic tire Andre Michelin 1853, Ethel Merman, Dizzy Dean, Peter Ustinov, Henry Mancini, A.J. Foyt, Marilyn Horne, Sade, Michael Wilding, Eartha Kitt, Debbie Allen is 68, John Carpenter, Diane Fossey, Kate Moss is 44, Tsianina Joelson, Animator Raul Garcia
1940- Lee Francis, then Hollywood’s top madam, was busted for prostitution.
1942-Actress Carol Lombard and her mother died in a plane crash in the Sierra Mountains while returning from a war bond drive. Her husband, movie king Clark Cable was so disconsolate that he volunteered for air force combat squadron instead of doing USO work, and went on dangerous missions trying to get killed.
1954- THE WAR ON COMICS- Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee chaired the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. They concluded that one of the contributing factors to adolescent moral decay was four-color comic books! The media called comics “The Ten Cent Plague”.
The probe was sparked by a book called The Seduction of the Innocent by psychiatrist Frederic Wertham. He charged among other things that Batman & Robin were gay because when not fighting crime, Bruce Wayne & Dick Grayson lounged around all day in silk pajamas, with no women! That Superman was a fascist, and Wonder Woman’s strength and independence made her a lesbian!
Despite public testimony by Walt Kelly, Milt Caniff, Al Capp and Bill Gaines, 350 comic book companies including the EC "Tales from the Crypt" label were driven out of business. The strict comics-code was established. The comic book industry, which had been selling one million books a month, never regained that level of prosperity in the US again.
1962- Television pioneer Ernie Kovacs died when he plowed his Corvair into a tree at Beverly Glen and Santa Monica Blvd. Kovacs had a fondness for all night poker and vodka parties. Friend Jack Lemmon said Ernie was so fanatical for a good card game that once when over a friend's house, no table large enough could be procured for a game, Kovacs ordered the front door taken off its hinges and a tablecloth thrown over it so they could all play.
1962-First day of shooting on the film Dr No with a young actor named Sean Connery in the role of James Bond. Ian Fleming thought the casting of Connery would be a disaster, he had wanted Cary Grant or David Niven.
1974- Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws first published.