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April 15, 2007 sunday
April 15th, 2007

Birthdays: Leonardo DaVinci, composer Domenico Gabrieli, Nanak Ist – the Guru of the Sikhs 1469, Charles Wilson Peale, Theodore Rousseau, Henry James, Bessie Smith Queen of the Blues, Heinrich Klee, Kim Il Sung, Claudia Cardinale, Roy Clark, Emma Thompson is 48, Olympic runner Evelyn Ashford

Fordicidia-Ancient Roman Festival where 31 pregnant cows are sacrificed in honor of Tellus, the Earth-Mother.

1729- The Saint Matthew’s Passion oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach was first sung at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig.

1738-The Bottle Opener invented.

1755- Dr. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language first published. Johnson first created the system of listing a word’s phonetic pronunciation, ancient roots and how to use the word in a sentence. The excellence of Dr. Johnson’s dictionary made him the virtual dictator of English writing in his time. Dr. Johnson allowed a bit of personal pique into his lexicographical prima non pares. He was annoyed that Lord Chesterfield pledged to finance his effort, but only sent a check for a measly ten pounds. When the book was a success his lordship claimed credit as Johnson’s benefactor. Dr. Johnson defined the word “Patron”- One who contributes Indolence and pays in Flattery.”

1871- Wild Bill Hickok became sheriff of Abilene Kansas, then a wild boom town filled with drunk cowboys and yahoos.

1874- The first Paris show of Impressionist Painting.

1927- First Hollywood star's footprints in cement ceremony at Grauman's Chinese theater. Called Hollywood's most enduring publicity stunt. Norma Talmadge, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Sid Grauman himself are the first to leave their prints. Grauman also invented the classic Hollywood premiere with spotlights, red carpet runways and chauffered limousines.

1934- Chief of production Darryl Zanuck quit Warner Bros. over an argument about employee salary cuts to take over a struggling little movie studio called Twentieth Century Fox, which he turns into a giant.

1935-Kodachrome film developed. First as motion picture film, later for home photography.

1947- Jackie Robinson takes the field with the Brooklyn Dodgers. First black player to join the Major Leagues. Up until then the Brooklyn Dodgers in their history had never won more than 2 pennants. After Robinson and Campanella and other Negro league players were added they won 6 in 7 years and a World Series. At one game after a particularly nasty barrage of boos and catcalls from the crowd Dodger stars Duke Snyder and Pee Wee Reese went over and publicly put their arms around Robinson in front of the crowd..

1952- The Franklin Savings Bank issued the first credit card in the U.S.

1953- Famed illustrator Charles R. Knight died peacefully in a Manhattan hospital. The man who inspired the lush look of such films as 1933 King Kong, his last words were to his daughter Lucy, “Don’t let anything happen to my drawings.”

1955- The First MacDonald's Restaurant franchise opens in Des Plains, Ill. Ray Kroc, a travelling milkshake machine salesman, buys into a franchise restaurant idea cooked up by two brothers named MacDonald from Santa Bernadino. He urged the brothers to go national with their pre-prepared food system but the brothers wanted to stay local. So he offered them 1 million bucks for their idea and name (would you go to" Kroc's?") and the rest is history. The oldest surviving MacDonald’s from 1953 in Downey California was recently destroyed despite the efforts of historians and replaced with a plastic plaque.

1962-AUNTIE EM, AUNTIE EM! actress Clara Blandick, 80, the Auntie Em of the Wizard of Oz, took an overdose of sleeping pills and tied a plastic bag around her head. She left out on a table her resume and press clippings so the newspapers would get her obituary right.

1983- Tokyo Disneyland opens.

1990- Kennan Ivory Wayans comedy show In Living Color premiered on FOX TV. The show made stars of Marlon Wayans, Damon Wayans, Keesha Wayans, Jamie Fox, Jim Carrey and Fly-Girl Rosie Perez.


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