Birthdays: Miles Davis, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Josef Broz Tito, Igor Sikorsky, Pontormo, Bennett Cerf, Claude Akins, Leslie Uggams, Bill Bojangles Robinson, Frank Oz (Richard Frank Oznowicz), Beverly Sills, Robert Ludlum, Anne Heche, Irwin Winkler, Mike Myers is 55, Ray Stevenson is 54, Ian McKellen is 79
1878- Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore premiered at the Savoy in London.
1895- Author and playwright Oscar Wilde sentenced to prison for sodomy.
The terrible conditions of his imprisonment in Redding Gaol will break his health and lead to his early death in exile in 1900. In a 1995 ceremony honoring him in Westminster Abbey it was revealed the laws that sentenced Wilde were still on the books in England.
1906- Putting on the Ritz! Swiss hotelier Cesar Ritz opened London’s Ritz Hotel. The first hotel to feature unheard of luxuries like a telephone and an indoor toilet in every suite!
1911- Thomas Mann visited Venice Italy. On the Lido Beach he was inspired to write A Death in Venice.
1932-Mickey’s Revue, the first Disney cartoon that featured the character that would eventually be called Goofy.
1942- First day shooting on the film “Casablanca”.
1946- Chuck Jones cartoon Hare Raising Hare, where Bugs meets a large shaggy monster named Gossamer “ Monsters are such inn…teresting people…”
1950- Brooklyn Battery Tunnel opened in NYC.
1957- Sid Caesar's Your Show of Show's canceled after nearly a decade. The show used future star writers like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Woody Allen and Neil Simon. They pioneered the executive strategy of network programmer Pat Weaver to not let the show be owned by an entire sponsor, but the network would produce the show and would sell the sponsor commercial time in 30 second chunks. Pat Weaver’s daughter is Sigorney Weaver. Your Show of Showswas finally bested in the ratings by The Lawrence Welk Show.
1965- The Saint Louis Gateway Arch dedicated.
1968- The Rolling Stones release the song Jumping Jack Flash.
1969- John Schlesinger’s film Midnight Cowboy premiered. The first X-rated film to ever win the Oscar for Best Film.
1977- The premiere of George Lucas’ movie Star Wars. The movie opened on the 28th. After Universal passed, Twentieth Century Fox picked up the distribution but let the backend go to Lucas, because they didn't think the film would do any serious business. Even George Lucas didn’t expect the film to break even. Fox's market research department told studio head Alan Ladd Jr, a) don't make this movie; no one will go see a science fiction movie; and b) change the title; no one will go see a movie with "War" in the title. Fox executives had predicted the studios monster hit for that summer would be "Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry" with Peter Fonda and Susan George.
Star Warswas a monster hit.
It was like there were no other movies playing that summer. George Lucas became a seriously rich man and developed THX sound, digital animation and Industrial Light and Magic special effects. The film’s popularity ran so ahead of expectations, that at Christmas when you purchased a Star Wars Game you got a box with a pink IOU note in it pledging to get you the game when they printed more.
1979- Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic Alien opened. It featured the exotic designs of Hungarian artist Giger, and John Hurt with a classic case of chest pains!
1980- Evangelist Oral Roberts claimed he saw a 900-foot Jesus over his bed.
1983- Return of the Jedi opened. It was originally Revenge of the Jedi, but George Lucas changed the name just a month before.
1986- Hands Across America stunt to help hunger has 7 million people at one time holding hands at noon.
1994- First International Conference on the World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee and CERN talked on how to unify existing internet systems into the new World Wide Web.