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June 20, 2007 weds
June 20th, 2007

Birthdays: Wolf Tone, Jacques Offenbach, Lillian Hellman, Errol Flynn, Audie Murphy, Andre Watts, Cyndee Lauper, Bob Vila, Chet Atkins, Stephen Frears, Brian Wilson, Robert Rodriquez, John Goodman is 55, Martin Landau is 77, Josh Lucas, Nicole Kidman is 40!

1837-QUEEN VICTORIA-Upon the death of her uncle King William IV, little, 19 year old Princess Victoria becomes Queen of the British Isles. She will rule until 1901 and give her name to the era, Victorian. She came to the throne when veterans of the American Revolution and Waterloo were still alive, and she lived to use electric lights, telephones and was the first monarch to watch a movie. Before Victoria, the British Royals were never considered examples of morality. It was said her grandfather George III was insane, her Uncle George IV a bigamist, her other uncle, William IV, a glutton and her mother the Duchess of Kent was living openly with an Irish adventurer named James Conroy. If you wanted to meet the great men of the nation you had to look in the gambling houses or brothels. Victoria changed all that. She and her husband Prince Albert made the pursuit of Morality and family the highest standard of polite society. My favorite Victoria story was this: it had to be explained to her exactly what a lesbian was, after which she dismissed the concept saying: "Women do not do that sort of thing." Another Queen Victoria story undercuts her prudish reputation just a bit: Apparently, there was an admiral whose passion was restoring old ships. He was boring Victoria to death with a long story about his latest project in drydock. To change the subject, Her Majesty inquired as to the health of his wife. The admiral, who was hard of hearing, replied, "Well, Mam, next we are going to turn her over and scrape her bottom." Reportedly, Victoria laughed ‘til tears rolled down her face.

1940- Thirty thousand people gather at the Hollywood Bowl for an America First isolationist rally. There they listened to celebrities like Helen Hayes and Charles Lindbergh protest President Roosevelt’s plans to aid Britain and get us into World War Two.” It is obvious that Britain will lose the war…. It is not freedom when one fifth the country can drag four fifths into a war it does not want!” –quote Lucky Lindy.

1940- Artist Alberto Vargas signs a contract with Esquire Magazine to paint the ‘Vargas Girls’ pin ups that made the magazine famous. He replaced artist Richard Petty who was demanding $1500 a week. Vargas was paid $75 a week. Today an original Vargas goes for $200,000.

1941-Disney's "the Reluctant Dragon" premiered with cartoonist's pickets around the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Police actually have to close part of Hollywood Blvd. out of concern for what the rampaging animators might do. Future UPA producer Steve Bosustow drove up in a limo and picketed in tuxedo and top hat. His chauffeur was Maurice Noble, the designer of the RoadRunner cartoons. Ironically the movie was part documentary about how wonderful life was working at the Disney studio.

1947- Benjamin Bugsy Siegel, the mobster creator of Las Vegas, was murdered while reading his evening paper in his Beverly Hills home. He had bought the mansion from opera singer George London for his girlfriend actress Virginia Hill. The order to whack Bugsy was probably given by his old friend Mayer Lansky. The Mafia syndicate back east was fed up with Bugsy’s Las Vegas’ cost overruns. The second owner of his Flamingo casino Moe Greenberg had his throat cut with a butcher knife. Still, the Flamingo Hotel & Casino and the Las Vegas Strip went on to become a great success.

1948- The Ed Sullivan Show "Toast of the Town" later to be “the Ed Sullivan Show” premiered. Sullivan's show was the showcase that brought new acts like Elvis Presley, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones into the average American living room. Prior to this, Mr. Sullivan was a columnist and radio show personality who co-authored "Red Channels", a book accusing dozens of his compatriots as Communists. His “really, really Big Shewww” may have been given to Sullivan to make him lay off.

1972- THE SMOKING GUN- All through the Watergate scandal the big question was how involved was President Richard Nixon? A conversation in the Oval office was taped this day between Nixon and his aide H.R. Haldeman. Whatever was said on this tape it took two years of lawsuits and a Supreme Court ruling to get Nixon to surrender it. This tape for June 20th had 18 missing minutes. Experts say five separate manual erasures caused the gap. After a feeble attempt to blame it on the fumble fingers of Nixon’s secretary, Rosemary Woods, it’s generally believed ,although never admitted ,that Nixon himself probably erased the incriminating parts of the tape. It was called the “smoking gun”. Three days after the tape was made public in 1974 President Nixon resigned. If Nixon had simply popped this tape into the White House incinerator he would have finished his presidency with honor.