BACK to Blog Posts

August 12, 2007 sun
August 12th, 2007

Birthdays: King George IV, Cecil B. DeMille, The alien Alf- 1757, Cantinflas-original name Mario Moreno, Buck Owens, George Hamilton, Edith Hamilton, Diamond Jim Brady, William Goldman, Mtsislav Rostropovitch, Xenia Sharpe (educator who invented the childrens reader Dick and Jane, See Dick Run...etc.) Kathy Lee Bates-the author of the song America the Beautiful, Klara Schickelgruber- Hitler’s mother, Dominique Swain, Pete Samprass, John Casale- I'm not Fredo!

1822-Vicount Lord Castelreagh, British foreign secretary during the Napoleonic wars, went mad after eating hot buttered toast and killed himself with a butter knife. He had been warned by his doctor Lord Graydon against eating hot buttered toast. Shortly afterwards his doctor Lord Graydon also committed suicide, but he didn't have any hot buttered toast. A satirical epitaph was penned by Lord Byron:
The human race will ne'er survey
A nobler grave than this;
Here lie the bones of Castlereaugh...
Stop, Traveller, and piss.

1869- San Francisco lunatic Joshua Norton, who called himself Norton Ist, Emperor of the United States, today published an Imperial Edict outlawing the Democratic and Republican Parties. Hmmm… he may be on to something!

1877-THE BIRTH OF RECORDED SOUND. Thomas Edison announced his sound recording invention and demonstrates it by recording "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on a tin cylinder. Edison never quite understood the possibilities of a music industry and was convinced that the recorded sound was going to be a used primarily for people to listen to the voices of deceased family, sort of like a voice from the grave. That idea was so popular that it translated to the Logo of the RCA Company with the familiar image of the dog listening to "His master's voice". The original incarnation of that dog listening to his master's voice supposedly had the dog and recorder sitting on a coffin. A few years later Emile Berliner from Georgia later invented the flat record disc. Edison thought the disc was clumsy and too fragile. In the future he declared, everyone would use recording cylinders.

1915 - "Of Human Bondage," by William Somerset Maugham, published. Maughm finished the book while staying at Shanghai's leading hotel.

1927- the William Wellman movie “WINGS” opened with Howard Arliss and Buddy Rogers, the only silent film to win best picture at the Academy Awards- because the awards were only started the following year and by then sound was all the rage.

1932 Aldous Huxley's Brave New World first published. Before anyone ever heard of stem cells Huxley had written a scholarly paper on the moral dangers inherent in controlled eugenics. Writer H.L. Mencken urged him to put his ideas in a fiction form to reach a wider audience. The title comes from Shakespeare's the Tempest " Oh Brave New World, that has such people in it!'Huxley spent some time in Hollywood trying to get screenwriting work, and even wrote a treatment for Alice in Wonderland to pitch to Walt Disney.

1951- Bob McKimson’s Warner Bros short Hillbilly Hair. The short includes the long routine animated by Emery Hawkins when Bugs Bunny takes over calling a square dance and uses it to torture the two twin brother Hillbillies who are after him.

1961-Soviet and East German troops start building the Berlin Wall, which remained a symbol of Cold War tension until it was pulled down spontaneously by Berliners in 1989.

1981- IBM introduced its first PC- personal computer and PC-DOS I.. Unlike Apple, IBM shared the basic hardware design, so a myriad of cheaper competitor PC’s soon flooded the market.

1988- Martin Scorcese’s film The Last Temptation of Christ opened in theaters to howls of protests from religious groups. There had been more inflammatory interpretations of the Christ story on screens in the past like Pasolini’s Gospel According to Saint Matthew and the Canadian film Hail Mary, but the church groups weren’t that media savvy yet. Like all these protest efforts, all the controversy did was boost it's box office.

1999- In Yorkshire England Tish, the world’s oldest goldfish, died at age 43.

2007-Producer and game show maven Merv Griffin died at age 81. The creator of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, his last message on his website was" I had planned to go on vacation, but this is not the destination I intended."