Birthdays: Anthony Van Dyck, Marcel Marceau, Stephen Sondheim, Karl Malden, Werner Klemperer- Colonel Klink in Hogan’s Heroes, George Benson, James Gavin, Allen Neuharth, Milt Kahl, Fanny Ardant is 70, Lena Olin is 64, Bruno Ganz, Reese Witherspoon is 43, William Shatner is 88.
1687- Jean Francois Lully was court composer to Louis XIV the "Sun King" and by all accounts a champion opportunist. In an age when the Baton had not come into use for conductors, Lully conducted his orchestra by beating a large pole on the ground to the tempo of the music. One day during a performance he poked a hole in his own foot with the pole and died of blood poisoning.
On his deathbed he asked a priest for Last Rites but the priest refused unless he burned his latest opera "Atys" which the church considered blasphemous. Lully admitted his sins and burned the manuscript of ATYS in front of the priest, who then gave him the sacrament. A friend came in afterward and said:" How could you burn your work?" Lully replied:" Don't worry. I have another copy here in my desk. "
1913- Jack London (White Fang, The Call of the Wild) wrote fellow writers HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw and Winston Churchill and asked them how much they get paid. He was unsure what to charge.
1935- The first regular electronic television service began in Berlin as Deutscher Fernseh Rundfunk. Broadcasting from the Fernsehsender Paul Nipkow, it used a 180-line system, and was on air for 90 minutes, three times a week. Very few receivers were ever privately owned, and viewers went instead to Fernsehstuben (television parlors). During the 1936 Summer Olympics, broadcasts, up to eight hours a day, took place in Berlin and Hamburg.
1958- Hollywood producer Mike Todd was killed in a small plane crash. He produced hit movies like Around the World in 80 Days and romanced starlets like Gypsy Rose Lee and Elizabeth Taylor. Taylor and Todd had been married for one year and she was devastated by the accident. Years and many marriages later Taylor said Mike Todd was the only man she actually loved.
1960- Arthur Shawlow and Charles Townes patented the laser beam. Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation or LASER. Pussycats rejoice!
1970- Paul McCartney filed papers in a London court for a formal dissolving of the Fab Fours partnership.
1978- Karl Wallenda, 73 year old scion of the daredevil family the Flying Wallendas, fell to his death from a tightrope between two resort hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
1991- Ivana Trump divorced Donald Trump. A celebrated court case ensued to see how the huge Trump fortune would be divided. Newspapers cried, Ivanna More Money!
1995- First day of shooting on that utterly classic film- Dinosaur Valley Girls!