August 9, 2007 thurs
August 9th, 2007
Birthdays: King Henry V of England, John Dryden, Sir Issac Walton-author of the Compleat Angler, Melanie Griffith, Whitney Houston, David Steinberg, Bob Cousy, Jill St. John, Robert Shaw, Robert Aldrich, Sam Elliot, Gillian Anderson, Pamela Lyndon Travers –the creator of Mary Poppins, Eric Bana, Audrey Tautou
1588- Queen Elizabeth I visited the camp at Tilbury to inspect the troops that would defend England from a landing by the Spanish Armada. The Armada had been driven off ten days ago but they were still somewhere in English waters so it still seemed like a good idea to visit. She thrilled the men by delivering the most famous speech of her career: “ I know that I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, Aye, and of a King of England too!”
1854- Henry David Thoreau published “Walden”, the first great work about nature conservation.
1929- Hollywood theater mogul Alexander Pantages was convicted of assaulting a young woman in a broom closet. The conviction was later overturned. It was the first successful defense case of attorney Jerry Geisler, who became famous for getting movie stars and other Hollywood hoi poloi out of trouble with the law. The word in the studios when a movie star was naughty was “Get Geisler!”
1930- Max Fleischer's cartoon "Dizzy Dishes" introduces Betty Boop. A singing star named Helen Kane sued Fleischer claiming that they stole her distinctive Boop-Ooop-a-Doop from her, but the case was thrown out when it was revealed Kane had stolen it herself from another singer. Betty was supposed to be a dog character to match her male couterpart Bimbo. But Animator Grim Natwick had done a lot of drawing of girls in Paris and New York and turned the character into a saucy little flapper.
1936- Jesse Owens wins four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics. Host head of state Adolph Hitler refused to shake hands with him.
1941- One of the more legendary British air aces in the Battle of Britain was Wing Commander Douglas Bader. He was all the more novel because he had no legs. His wing commander said "Legs or no legs, I've never seen such a goddam mobile fireball!" This day Bader’s Spitfire was finally shot down by the Luftwaffe over Belgium. Bader bailed out and was captured. But the German pilots were so impressed with this handicapped ace that they treated him like a rock star, touring him around airfields where other pilots could wine and dine him. Bader’s tin legs were damaged when his plane went down so the RAF dropped a substitute pair over a German airfield for him. But later, as a POW, he tried so many times to escape that the German commandant of his prison camp took away his legs. “I wish all my prisoners were so easily manageable.”
1942- Walt Disney's "Bambi" premiered.
1944- Antoine Du Saint-Exupery, the author of the Little Prince, died when he crashed his fighter plane. He was not shot down by the Germans, he was just a terrible pilot. The main protaganist of the little prince is an aviator who crashes his plane.
1945-NAGASAKI- the second Atomic Bomb "Fat Man" was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. The B-29 bomber "Boxcar” was plagued by a violent thunderstorm and they wasted precious fuel searching for their target. When they made it back to base after the 14 hour flight two of their four engines had run out of gas. Nagasaki was the second choice target. The first Kokura, was so fogged in scientists couldn't study the bomb's effect. 63,000 people killed was one effect.
1945- At the same time President Harry Truman was reporting to Congress and the nation about his trip to Potsdam and plan for post war Germany. He said among other things that it was vital for democracy in Germany to break up the huge centralized corporations and foster the rights of workers to form unions. Hmmm…we could use a plan like that in the US today….
1947 -The British government in an attempt to bolster revenue for their shattered postwar economy, announced a 300% import tariff on Hollywood films. The Big Eight-Hollywood studios retaliate by stopping the export of movies to Britain. The British film industry has a heyday and Disney starts producing films locally in Britain like 'Rob Roy Highland Rogue' and such.
1960- Near Cuernavaca Mexico Harvard professor Timothy Leary took some magic mushrooms and experienced his first hallucinogenic trip. He called it “ a conversion.”
1963 - Britains rock & roll TV show, Ready Steady Go, premieres.
1969-HELTER SKELTER- Charles Manson's cultists murder pregnant actress Sharon Tate and several houseguests of her husband/director Roman Polanski. One other guest killed was socialite Jay Sebring, who made cocaine fashionable and invented the 1970's blow-dry hair style for men. A Polish tourist named Dominic Frykowski who had the misfortune to be visiting that night was shot twice, bludgeoned and stabbed 51 times. Kill the Pigs was scrawled on the wall in blood. Charles Manson had a messianic concept that he could lead the Apocalypse devolving out of a race war if his followers first killed celebrities to advertise their cause. Manson had a hit list that included Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen and Liz Taylor. The California spawned Hippy-Flower-Child culture lost it’s innocent fun after Manson.
1974- “KNEEL WITH ME, HENRY.” Richard Nixon, aka Tricky Dick, resigned and left the Presidency of the United States in disgrace. I was a young zitty cartoonist in the offices of Penthouse Magazine in New York trying to sell some spot cartoons when I heard the news. New President Gerald Ford’s real name was Leslie Lynch King. His parents divorced when he was two and his mom’s second husband Gerald Ford Sr renamed him. Sharing in the disgrace of the presidency was Ford’s chief of staff, Dick Cheney and assistant attorney General Donald Rumsfeld.
1993- Heidi Fleiss , The” Hollywood Madam” arraigned for prostitution. The film community shuddered when she threatened to reveal the names of her clients in her “black book”. Most were suppressed except actors Charlie Sheen and Sean Penn who admitted as much early on. Fleiss wrote a memoir called “Pandering” and still thinks prostitution is an honorable profession. “I ran an 85% cash business.”
1995- THE HIGH TECH BUBBLE- Netscape first appeared on the stock market. The 15 month old company started by a Silicon Graphics exec and a 22 year old college senior immediately shot up to $1.07 billion dollars in value. This IPO signaled the beginning of the gold rush in high tech stocks which five years later came crashing down as violently. Stocks like Lucent Technology which sold at $84 dollars a share in 1998 dropping to 39 cents a share in 2001.
1999- The US Government tax people closed Nevada’s Mustang Ranch, the most famous legal house of prostitution in the US.