Showing posts with label February. Show all posts
Showing posts with label February. Show all posts

Sunday, February 25, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 25

Jim Backus was born on February 25, 1913.

The Man Behind Mr. Magoo and Thurston Howell III is Born

James Gilmore Backus, better known as Jim Backus was born on this day in Cleveland, Ohio in 1913. His first acting roles were for radio playing a millionaire aviator Dexter Hayes for Society Girl on CBS in 1940. A-Lad-In His Lamp (1948) was Backus’ first film role, however, only his voice was heard and he was uncredited for the part. In 1949, Backus voiced Mr. Magoo for the first time for the theatrical short, The Ragtime Bear. He would continue to voice different versions of the character for film and TV through 1989. However, most people are familiar with Backus’ role as Thurston Howell, III from Gilligan’s Island. The show originally aired from 1964-1967, but he also appeared in the three reunion films as also voiced the character the Saturday morning animated version of the show as well. Backus appeared in many movies and made guest appearances on many TV shows including The Brady Bunch, The Beverly Hillbillies and I Dream of Jeannie. Backus had only one wife, Henny, whom he wed in 1943 and was with him every day until he died on July 3, 1989 due to complications with pneumonia and Parkinson’s disease.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 24

Rupert Holmes was born on February 24, 1947.

Rupert Holmes is Born

You may have wondered “whatever happened that guy who sang about pina coladas and getting caught in the rain,” and you wouldn’t be the only one. The man we know as Rupert Holmes was born David Goldstein in Northwich, Cheshire, England on this day in 1947. Rupert’s family moved to New York City when he was six-years-old. He attended the Manhattan School of Music majoring in clarinet. In 1969, he and Ron Dante (known for being the lead singer of The Archies) formed the band, The Cuff Links and worked on the song, “Jennifer Tomkins,” but since Dante was prohibited by the Archies studio from any involvement with new recording ventures, he had to bow out the pair’s recording project. Holmes released the song under a new band name called The Street People. The song made it on the Billboard Hot 100 for 15 weeks in 1970. Holmes' first album, Widescreen, was produced in 1974 and got the attention of Barbra Streisand who used some of the songs for her movie, A Star is Born. He also wrote songs for her Lazy Afternoon album released in 1975. The infamous “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" wasn’t released until 1979 on Holmes 5th album, Partners in Crime. His last album, Full Circle, was released in 1982. Shortly thereafter, Holmes began a career as a playwright. His first musical, Drood, was written in 1985. Since then he has written both plays and musicals with his most recent being writing the book for Secondhand Lions: A New Musical which premiered in Seattle, Washington in 2013.

Friday, February 23, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 23

Josh Gad was born on February 23, 1981.

Josh Gad is Born

The voice of Olaf the talking snowman in Disney’s Frozen animated movie was born on this day in Hollywood, Florida in 1981. Josh Gad attended NSU University School where he won the National Forensics League National Tournament Championships for Original Oratory (1998) and Humorous Interpretation and Original Oratory (1999) before attending the Carnegie Mellon College of Fine Arts. One of Gad’s first roles was playing the role of Ryan Church on the sitcom Back to You on Fox from 2007 to 2008. He later played the role as a correspondent on The Daily Show in 2009. He was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for The Book of Mormon in 2012. In 2013, Gad became a household name when he became the voice of Olaf who will return to the big screen for a Frozen sequel coming soon and won the role of Gaston’s sidekick, Lefou, in Disney’s live action version Beauty and the Beast in 2017.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 22

The "miracle on ice" happened on February 22, 1980.

The Miracle on Ice

The term, "Miracle on Ice" references when the U.S. hockey team won the gold medal during the 1980 Winter Olympics on this day in Lake Placid, New York. Previously, the Soviet Union had won the gold medal in six of the seven previous Winter Olympic Games. The Soviet Union team consisted of professional players while the American team consisted of only amateur players who were also collectively, the youngest team in the tournament. During the final seconds of the game, Al Michaels (reporting for ABC) uttered the phrases, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” The event won the praise of Sport Illustrated who in 1999 named the event as the #1 top sports moment of the 20th century.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 21


The New Yorker first issue was published on Februry 21,1925

The New Yorker Publishes for the First Time

Founded by Harold Ross and his wife, Jane Grant, a New York Times reporter, The New Yorker published its first issue on this day in 1925. It started out as a humor magazine but soon became a place where more series fiction literature and non-fiction journalism could be found written by some of the most influential writers including Shirley Jackson whose “The Lottery” created more mail (most of it negative) in the magazine’s history. Of course, The New Yorker is also well-known for its single-paneled cartoons including many by Charles Addams who created The Addams Family. Many of the early cartoons were drawn with captions written by staff writers. The saying, “Back to the drawing board” originated with Peter Arno’s 1941 cartoon where an engineer walks away from a crashed plane and says, “Well, back to the old drawing board.” The most reprinted comic was drawn in 1993 by Peter Steiner where two dogs sit at a computer and one says, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 20

Emergency Broadcast System was accidentally activated on February 20, 1971

Emergency Broadcast System is Accidentally Activated

Oops. Despite actions to protect this sort of thing happening, the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) was accidentally activated on this day in 1971 at 9:33 a.m. Apparently, a teletype operator played the wrong tape stressing the TV stations stop their regular programming and broadcast the alert of a national emergency. It took 40 minutes and six incorrect cancellation messages to be sent in order for the activation to be terminated. Ironically, many of the stations never received the alert in the first place and those that did ignored the instructions thinking that it was “just a test.” Needless to say, many changes were implemented to the EBS that week. A similar scare happened on January 13, 2018 when Hawaiians received a ballistic missle threat notice telling them to seek shelter immediately. Hawaii Govenor David Ige claimed that the false alarm was a case of simply pressing the wrong button. It didn't necessarily make anyone feel better.

Monday, February 19, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 19

Jeff Kinney was born on February 19, 1971.

'Wimpy Kid' Author, Jeff Kinney is Born

On this day in 1971 in Fort Washington, Maryland, Jeff Kinney was born. Kinney grew up in one sense, but in another, he has always been a kid. A wimpy kid. Kenney initially came up with the idea for the book series back in 1998 but worked on it for eight years before showing it to a publisher. The first A Diary of a Wimpy Kid book was published in 2007. Since then, 11 Wimpy Kid stories have been published with more than 100,000 copies in print in the U.S. alone. His website is typically read by 70,000 kids (and the occasional adult) every day. Three movie adaptations have been made based on his books and a fourth is currently under development with Kinney serving as executive producer.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 18

Pilgrim's Progress was published on February 18, 1678.

Pilgrim's Progress is Published

On this day in 1678, the second most popular book on many Christian’s bookshelves, “Pilgrim’s Progress” was published. It was written by John Bunyan (not the guy with the big blue ox) while his enjoying his stay in prison for preaching without a license. The story, which has never been out of print, features a man named Christian who searches for truth and relief from the burden of sin strapped to his back. Along his journey, he meets a variety of people with their own issues and unique locations including the Doubting Castle, the Valley of the Shadow and Vanity Fair.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 17

Random Acts of Kindness Day began on February 17, 1995.

Random Acts of Kindness Becomes a Thing

You’ve heard of “random acts of kindness” where people do simple things for others, usually strangers, as a way of being kind. The official day began on this day in 1995 and is now a full week celebration. “It’s simply an opportunity to leave the world better than we found it and inspire others to do the same,” says The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAK). “We believe in the power of kindness to improve the way people see and experience the world, and provide a digital platform and free resources to empower individuals, communities, and schools to take action.”

Friday, February 16, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 16

America won the first gold medal for downhill skiing on February 16, 1984.

First American to Win Gold for Downhill Skiing

In January of 1984, Bill Johnson was the first American man to win a World Cup downhill race, at Wengen, Switzerland. So impressed with himself, he boasted that he would take home a gold medal the following month at the Olympic Games in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. On February 16, 1984 he did just that and became the first American man to win Olympic gold in downhill skiing. He practically became an American hero which was short lived. He didn’t make the 1998 Olympic ski team and suffered a terrible crash in 2001 in training for the 2012 games. The crash put him in a coma and left him with brain damage.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 15

"Cinderella" opened in theaters on February 15, 1950.

Cinderella Goes to the Ball

It was on this day in 1950 that Walt Disney Studios saw its greatest hit since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs when Cinderella appeared in theaters for the first time. Before it, the studio was over $4 million in debt. To help reduce costs, Cinderella was the first feature to use extensive live action reference. About 90% of the film was actually filmed with a live model before the animation process began. Ilene Woods won the speaking role of Cinderella (Karen Overby was the singing voice) beating out 309 other women without actually auditioning. Woods made some recordings of Disney songs for her friends who then sent them to Walt Disney who thought she had the right “fairy tale tone” to her voice. The movie was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Music and Original Song (“Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo”). Two straight to video sequels were produced many years later and in 2015, a live action version of the story was filmed that starred Lily James.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 14

Mat Redman is a Valentine's Day Baby

Matt Redman was a Valentine’s Day baby born on this day in 1974 in Watford, England. Despite how his lives now, Redman did not have a charmed childhood. His father committed suicide when Matt was seven year old. Then, his stepfather was abusive to both he and his mother and was later jailed. Things turned around for him later though. At age 15, Redman led worship with Mike Pilavachi at the early Soul Survivor festivals. Redman co-wrote the 2005 hit song, “Blessed Be Your Name” and “Our God.” His song “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) reached #1 on the US Billboard Christian Songs chart and he has won two Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song and Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance. Matt is married to Beth Redman, one of the founder of the A21 Campaign, a charity for fighting injustice with human trafficking. They have five children.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 13

The last "Peanuts" comic ran on February 13, 2000.

Charles Schulz's Last Peanuts Comic

On this day in 2000, Charles Schulz’s last Peanuts comic appeared in Sunday papers – one day after he passed away. In it he wrote: “Dear Friends, I have been fortunate to draw Charlie Brown and his friends for almost 50 years. It has been the fulfillment of my childhood ambition. Unfortunately, I am no longer able to maintain the schedule demanded by a daily comic strip. My family does not wish Peanuts to be continued by anyone else, therefore I am announcing my retirement. I have been grateful over the years for the loyalty of our editors and the wonderful support and love expressed to me by fans of the comic strip. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy…how can I ever forget them…”

Monday, February 12, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 12

"Dracula" premiered in New York on February 12, 1931.

'Dracula' Premieres in New York

America’s passion for vampires began on this day in 1931 as Universal’s Dracula premiered. The first in a long string of “classic” monster movies, Dracula was directed by Tod Browning and starred Bela Lugosi, who had been playing the role in the play version of the Bram Stoker story. Lugosi wasn’t Browning’s first choice for the character. Nor was he the second, third or…you get the idea. Newspapers reported that some people fainted in shock at the horror on screen, which pleased Universal as it help assure them that the film would be a big hit. The role was a blessing and a curse for Lugosi, who became forever tied to the character. His last role was for Plan 9 from Outer Space in 1959. It was directed by Ed Wood and is considered one of the worst movies ever made. This year, movie-goers will suffer through Vampire Academy

Sunday, February 11, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 11

Tina Louise was born on February 11, 1934.

The Original Ginger is Born

Actress Tina Louise, known for playing Ginger on Gilligan’s Island TV show was born on this day in 1934. Her breakout role came from 1958’s God’s Little Acre where she received a Golden Globe for “New Star of the Year.” She became Ginger Grant in 1964, a role that she was afraid would ruin her career, and continued playing it until 1967. (Originally the role was offered to Jayne Mansfield, but she turned it down.) Tina continued to act in both film and TV but, she never participated in any of the show’s reunion movies and unlike her co-stars, she did not lend her voice for the animated version of show which ran on Saturday mornings from 1974-1977. However, she did appear occasionally for reunions on talk shows, she appeared with Dawn Wells (who played Mary Ann on the show) for a commercial for the Jeopardy game show and she also made a brief appearance on Roseanne. Tina and Wells are the only two surviving cast members.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 10

The first gold record was given on February 10, 1942.

The First Gold Record Is Awarded

The very first gold record was given to Glenn Miller from RCA Victor Bluebird for “Chattanooga Choo Choo” on this day in 1942. W. Wallace Early, the manager of record sales at that said, “We're mighty proud of that Chattanooga Choo Choo, and the man that made the record, Glenn Miller. You see it's been a long time – 15 years in fact – since any record has sold a million copies. And Chattanooga Choo Choo certainly put on steam and breezed right through that million mark by over 200,000 pressings. And we decided that Glenn should get a trophy. The best one we could think of is a gold record of Chattanooga.” In 1958, the Recording Industry Association of America introduced a gold record award program for any record which received one million dollars in retail sales.

Friday, February 9, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 9

Carmen Miranda was born on February 9, 1909

Carmen Miranda is Born

While you may not know Carmen Miranda by name, you’ve no doubt seen photos or at least tributes to the Brazilian singer and dancer known for wearing very tall hats stuffed with fruit. Carmen was born on this day in 1909. Before her performing career, she sold ties at age 14. She recorded here first single, “Samba Não vá Simbora” in 1929 and appeared on film for the first time in 1932. Her first appearance in an American film was in Down Argentine Way (1940), but her native country became skeptical of her claiming that she gave into American commercialism. She appeared in numerous films including That Night in Rio with Don Ameche (1941), Copacabana with Groucho Marx (1947) and Scared Stiff with Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin (1953). Many assume that Carmen appeared in Disney’s The Three Caballeros dancing with Donald Duck, but that was her sister Aurora. It was Carmen's image that inspired the Chiquita Banana logo in 1943.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 8

"Witness" was released in theater on February 8, 1985.

‘Witness’ Arrives in Theaters

Witness, the American crime thriller about an Amish boy who was a “witness” to a murder, arrived in theaters on this day in 1985. Directed by Peter Weir, the movie starred Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards (including Harrison Ford’s only nomination to date) and won two for “Best Original Screenplay” and “Best Film Editing.” However, the movie was not a hit by those living in the Amish communities where the movie was filmed as they felt that the movie did not portray them accurately. They also voiced concerns that more tourists would come by to stare at them due to the popularity of the film.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 7

"Pinocchio" was released on February 7, 1940.

Pinocchio Becomes a Real Boy

Walt Disney’s second full-length animated feature, Pinocchio, was released on this day in 1940, but it should have been the third. After Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in 1937, Walt had planned to release Bambi as his next movie, but the studio was having difficulty with both the story and making the animals look realistic and so Bambi went on the back burner. Pinocchio has been called “groundbreaking” in that movie was able to create realistic movement to vehicles and the items found in Geppetto’s workshop. Other natural elements like rain, lightning, smoke, shadows and water also looked more realistic than in previous animated works. Although considered one of the best animated films ever created, Pinocchio did not do well of his first official outing in terms of box office sales. However, the film was the first animated movie to win two Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song for “When You Wish Upon A Star.” It wasn’t until the movie’s reissue in 1945 that Disney made a profit on the film. In 1994, Pinocchio was added to the United States National Film Registry for being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." In the mid-2000s, DisneyToon Studios began to work on a sequel, something that John Lasseter cancelled after being named Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2006. However, there is a live action film in the works.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 6

Of Mice and Men was Published on February 6, 1937

'Of Mice and Men' was Published

Both the novella and the stage play of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men were published during the same year, but it was the Novella that was published for the first time on this day in 1937. In 1939, Steinbeck won the Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath and it is said that his work became more sentimental with the following works of Cannery Row and The Pearl. In the 1940’s he tried his hand writing movie scripts with good success for Forgotten Village (1941) and Viva Zapata (1952). However, even that wasn’t enough for this guy. In 1962, he wrote Travels with Charlie, a non-fiction book which chronicled his travels across the states with Charlie – his poodle and he won the Nobel Prize. He died in 1968.