A Greek philosopher called Chrysippus , known as the father of the second school of Stoicism, died from laughing too much at a drunken donkey eating rotting (therefore fermented) figs.
Which prove two things, I guess. 1.) Some jokes don't translate. 2.) I guess he wasn't really a Stoic.
April 19, 1927 -
Cecil B. Demille's silent-film version of The King of Kings premiered on this date.
During the shoot H.B. Warner was driven to the set in a closed car with the blinds down, wore a black veil when he left the car for the set, and ate alone. The pressures of playing Jesus ultimately had an effect on Warner and resurrected his former drinking problem.
April 19, 1946 -
Raymond Chandler's film-noir classic The Blue Dahlia premiered on this date.
The pressure of having to finish the screenplay combined with the curve ball of having to write an entirely new ending was too much for Raymond Chandler. He quickly came down with a severe case of writer's block. According to a near-legendary story, screenwriter Raymond Chandler offered to finish the screenplay by working drunk: in exchange for sacrificing his health to produce the requisite pages on time, Chandler was permitted to work at home (a privilege rarely granted to screenwriters) and was provided two chauffeured cars, one to convey the completed pages to the studio and the other for his wife. Chandler turned the script in on time. Many now believe the "drunkenness" was simply a ruse by Chandler to wrangle extraordinary privileges from the desperate studio.
April 19, 1961 -
Frederico Fellini's iconic, La Dolce Vita, premiered in the United States on this date.
Asked how he got the idea for the film, Federico Fellini replied that one year the fashions made the women in Rome look like big flowers. Several extremely exaggerated costumes here and there in the film (such as two women guests' cloaks in the sequence of the party at the castle) point back to this original inspiration.
April 19, 1967 -
MGM released a truly bizarre James Bond spoof, Casino Royale, starring just about everybody, including Woody Allen(?), premiered on this date.
According to interviews with director Val Guest, Peter Sellers became such a problem during the filming that the decision was made to fire him before he had finished all of his scenes. As a result, the end of the marching band torture scene was noticeably altered and Sellers' subsequent scenes were written out.
April 19, 1978 -
The Patti Smith Group released the song Because the Night on this date.
Bruce Springsteen wrote this song. He gave it to Patti Smith in 1976 because he thought it would suit her voice. He was also in a legal battle with his manager, Mike Appel, that kept him from recording for almost three years.
April 19, 1980 -
Blondie song Call Me, featured in the Richard Gere movie American Gigolo went to No.1 on the US singles chart on this date.
Call Me was the most successful of all Blondie singles in the USA, where it was the best-selling single of 1980.
April 19, 1986
Prince's single Kiss hits #1 on the US Billboard Charts, on this date. The #2 song is Manic Monday by the Bangles, which was written by Prince.
The band Mazarati, which was formed by Prince's bass player Brown Mark and signed to his Paisley Park record label, asked Prince for a song for their debut album, so he took a break from his Parade sessions and dashed off a minute-long bluesy acoustic demo for them on a mini tape recorder. Mazarati and producer David Z re-worked the song, giving it an irresistible funk groove. When he heard it, Prince was smart enough to take the song right back. He replaced their lead vocal, added the guitar break in the chorus and included it as a last-minute addition to his Parade album.
April 19, 1987 -
The Simpsons make their television debut in the short Good Night - a segment for The Tracey Ullman Show.
(Once again, I had to hang around the murky world of the internet underground to get this blurry copy of the clip. I'd like to show you a better version of the clip but the goons, I mean lawyers from Fox would break my legs and I've just about gotten used to walking.)
I wonder whatever happened to The Simpsons.
April 19, 1990 -
On the BBC, the television program, French and Saunders Show, airs a Pythonque courthouse sketch featured the guitarists David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, Gary Moore and Lemmy.
The sketch ended with a jam by the musicians. Please watch the clip; you may thank me later.
April 19, 2002 -
The Nia Vardalos written rom-com (some of my friends watch it as a docudrama) My Big Fat Greek Wedding, starring Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine, Andrea Martin, and Joey Fatone, premiered in the US on this date.
The opening scene where Nia Vardalos and Michael Constantine travel in the early morning to open the restaurant was one of the very last scenes filmed. Vardalos said all of the other cast members had finished their scenes and had left, and so the sadness she and Constantine displayed in that car scene reflected the tearful goodbyes they had said.
Word of the Day.
Today in History:
April 19, 1775 -
Alerted by Paul Revere, the American Revolutionary War began at Lexington Common with the Battle of Lexington-Concord on this date. Eight Minutemen were killed and 10 wounded in an exchange of musket fire with British Redcoats.
In New York, Lexington seems to have won as there is no Concord Avenue.
April 19, 1824 -
Notorious drug user, buggerer, sister sleeping, club footed man about Europe, oh yeah, and poet, Lord George Gordon Byron, died from malaria fever in Greece on this date.
His body was set back to England for burial (his heart, literally remains in his beloved Greece, buried under a tree in Messolonghi) but he was so infamous that neither the deans of Westminster and St Paul's would accept his body for proper burial. His family at last buried him in a small family vault in Northern England.)
April 19, 1897 -
The first Boston Marathon was run in Boston, Massachusetts. John J. McDermott of New York ran the 24.5-mile course of the all-male event in a winning time of 2:55:10. It was the first of its type in the U.S.
The course was lengthened to 26 miles 385 yards (42.195 km) to conform to the standard set by the 1908 Summer Olympics and codified by the IAAF in 1921.
April 19, 1906 -
It was a rainy day in Paris. One of those days that song writers write about. Nobel-winning chemist Pierre Curie was preoccupied and in a hurry. He tried to run across the street and did not look both ways. He slipped and then was hit and run over by a horse drawn vehicle. His skull was badly fractured.
Kids' once again - Your mother is always right. Just because you're a Nobel winning - look both ways before crossing.
April 19, 1927 -
Mae West, suspected transvestite, was jailed, on this date, for her performance in Sex, the Broadway play she wrote, directed, and starred in. She was sentenced to ten days in prison. While incarcerated on Roosevelt Island, she was allowed to wear her silk panties instead of the scratchy prison issue and the warden reportedly took her to dinner every night.
She served eight days with two days off for good behavior. Media attention to the case enhanced her career - it didn't make her change her act, but it did bring her national notoriety and helped make her one of Hollywood's most memorable, and quotable, stars.
She said: "I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it."
April 19, 1946 -
He carries the Charles Atlas seal of approval!
Tim Curry, actor and singer was born on this date. Fling toast around the room and do the Time Warp in his honor today!
April 19, 1993 -
More than 80 Branch Davidians died in Waco, Texas as the FBI stages a disastrous final assault on their compound on this date. This brought a sudden end to the 51-day siege.
As you about to see, this helped us a great deal.
April 19, 1995 -
At 9:02 am, 26 years ago today, a large car bomb exploded at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, and injuring 500 including many children in the building's day care center.
Authorities charged Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, with the crime.
Both were convicted. McVeigh was executed in 2001 and Nichols is currently serving a life sentence.
And so it goes.