Birthdays: St Proclus of Constantinople 412AD, Jules Verne, Dmitri Mendeleev- inventor of the Periodic Table of Elements, James Dean, William T. Sherman, John Williams is 86, Ivan Ivano-Vano, Lana Turner, Jack Lemmon, Alejandro Rey, Ted Koppel, Nick Nolte, Gary Coleman, Robert Klein, Seth Green
1893- THE FIRST RECORDED STRIPTEASE - discounting Salome. At Paris' famed Moulin Rouge club an artist's model named Mona decided to get an edge in a beauty contest judged by art students by disrobing to music while walking up and down the stage. She was arrested and fined 100 francs and the students rioted.
1914- THE FIRST TRUE CHARACTER ANIMATION- Windsor McCay's "Gertie the Dinosaur" premiered as part of a vaudeville act. Up to then most U.S. animations were attempts to bring popular newspaper comic characters to life, but Gertie was a new character never before seen. Some critics had wondered if animated characters weren’t some kind of man in a special suit, so McCay drew a dinosaur, a character that couldn’t possibly be impersonated by any living thing. The brilliant draftsmanship and timing of this film would inspire the generation of Animation artists of the Golden Age of the 1930's-40s.
1915- THE BIRTH OF A NATION or The Clansman premiered at Clunes Auditorium in Los Angeles. Film pioneer D.W. Griffith's racist movie was considered for many years the first American feature length film. The discovery in 1999 of a 1913 Richard III film predates it. Son of a Confederate veteran, it’s been thought that Griffith was making a personal statement, truth is there was a flood of films to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil War and the book the Clansman by Thomas Dixon was a best seller. President Woodrow Wilson (another son of the Confederacy) endorsed the film, when he called it :"History written with a thunderbolt and I’m afraid all too true."
Birth of a Nations’ inflammatory imagery and this politically incorrect Presidential endorsement helped a rebirth of the defunct Ku Klux Klan, and caused an increase in lynching. But despite the film’s politics, it’s technique influenced world cinema and established once and for all the feature film length as the standard for all future motion pictures. Its original running length was 3 hours.
D.W. Griffith in later years lost his fortune and became a drunken has-been. Watching him at Chasen's Restaurant in the 1940’s beg MGM studio head Dore Schary for work, inspired Billy Wilder to write SUNSET BLVD.
1924, the first execution by gas chamber in the United States took place at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City. It took Chinese gang member Gee Jong six minutes to die.
1928- Englishman John Logie Baird transmitted a still television image across the Atlantic from England to Hartsdale New York. It was a still image of a woman.
1960- Adolph Coors III the heir to the Coors beer empire was killed in a failed kidnapping attempt. Joseph Corbett Jr was apprehended in Canada and charged with the crime. Ironically, Adolph Coors was reputedly allergic to beer.
1961- Nebraska teenager and future movie star Nick Nolte was busted for the first time. He was accused of selling fake Draft cards so his friends could buy alcohol.
1967- Georgy Girlby the Seekers goes to #1 in pop charts.
1976 - TAXI DRIVER, directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader, starring Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, Cybill Shepherd, Peter Boyle, and Albert Brooks, was released.
1994- Screaming, “ You cut me off!” Jack Nicholson destroyed the windshield of a neighbor’s car with a golf club. He settled the matter out of court.
2001- Walt Disney’s California Adventure theme park opened.
2007- Anna Nicole Smith, centerfold, pole dancer, heiress and reality TV star, died from an overdose of prescription drugs. She was 39.