Birthdays: Piero 'the Fatuous' de Medici, King Francis I of France-1494, H.L. Mencken, Maurice Chevalier, Ben Blue, Jesse Owens, Barry White, Alfred A. Knopf, Hans Zimmer, Rachael Ward, Michael Odaatje- author of The English Patient, Margaret Hamilton, Joe Pantoliano “Joey Pants”, Ian Holm is 88, Jennifer Hudson is 39.
1846- Poet Elizabeth Barrett secretly eloped with poet Robert Browning and were married at St. Marlybone Church in Durham England. Her father had refused his permission for the match but the Browning’s did it anyway, and ran off to Italy.
1866-Theater producer Fred Niblo got stuck with a French ballet troupe stranded and broke after the New York Academy of Music burned down. So he combined the dancers with a rather mundane melodrama and created" The Black Crook" and invented the first true Broadway Musical. It ran for twenty years and was continually revived until 1925.
1910- Gustav Mahler’s Symphony # 8, The Symphony of a Thousand, premiered in Munich.
1932- In his Thimble Theatre comic strip E.C. Segar introduced Popeye's perennial nemesis Bluto.
1940- In southern France near Montignac a pet dog fell through a crack in the ground into an underground chamber. When four boys follow in to retrieve the dog they discover the Lascaux Caves Ice-Age paintings, where, a Stone Age man created some of the earliest artwork.
1941-THE WALT DISNEY STRIKE ENDS- Everyone goes back to work after the NLRB, with a lot of behind the scenes pressure from the Bank of America, settled the dispute. Walt Disney had to recognize the cartoonists guild, give screen credits, double the salaries of low paid workers retroactive to May 29th and re-hire animator Art Babbitt. Walt Disney immediately got on a train to Washington to try and convince the feds to reverse the decision or get an injunction in court. He failed. Many of the lead strikers were made to feel so unwelcome, they left anyway and formed UPA Studios. Ironically within a few months the war would break out and artists who had been bitter foes would be compelled to work side by side in the U.S. Army Picture Unit.
1945- Young Captain Ronald Reagan was discharged from the US Army Signal Corps. He never left Hollywood but starred in movies, training films and USO benefits. Yet in his old age he acted the great war hero. Some annoyed veterans told me Marlene Dietrich in fishnet stockings and pumps got closer to the fighting than Captain Reagan ever did.
1954- Television comedian Ernie Kovacs married Edie Adams, the Muriel Cigar Girl. They married in Mexico, and at the insistence of Kovacs used a priest who read the entire service in Spanish, a language neither of them understood.
1953- THE RED REDHEAD? McCarthy investigators accused TV star Lucille Ball of being a communist. She and husband Desi Arnez immediately went and testified that Lucy’s grandfather was an old Socialist who routinely enrolled all his grandkids in the Communist Party as their birthday present. America wouldn’t stand to see their favorite TV family go down, so the matter quickly blew over. Years later Desi would condescendingly joke:" Lucy didn’t even know who the mayor of L.A. was.”” The only thing that was red about Lucy was her hair, and even that wasn’t real!"
1957- Market researcher James M. Vicary explains at a press conference the theory of Subliminal Advertising. His company proposed to unconsciously compel people to buy products by flashing messages at 1/24th of a second during movies. Even though the concept was discredited (givetomsitomoney) by the American Psychiatric Association (givetomsitomoney) a national panic ensued as people feared they were being brainwashed.
1965- The Beatles released 'Yesterday'.
1966-"Gee Mr. French..." Family Affair premiered on TV.
1966- The Monkees TV show premiered. Two young television executives Bert Schneider and Sam Rafaelson convince their network to make "A Hard Day's Night" for American television. Of the four kids in the make-believe band Mike Nesmith was the only real musician. Micky Dolenz had to be taught how to play the drums the first day of shooting. Insiders nicknamed them "The Pre-Fab Four". Still, the show was a major hit, won Emmy Awards and all their albums went gold. The producers took that success and used it to finance the hit film "Easy Rider". Mike Nesmith later inherited a fortune from his mom developing the Liquid Paper Company, and used his fortune to help start MTV.
1992- Anthony Perkins, the star of Hitchcock’s Psycho, died of HIV/AIDS. His widow, Berry Berensen the sister of actress Marisa Berensen, died in one of the hijacked airliners that plunged into the World Trade Center on 9-11.
2003- Country-western singer Johnny Cash died of diabetes at 71.