This Day in Pop Culture for August 4

‘Holiday Inn’ Premieres in New York
Ever wonder why the hotel chain, Holiday Inn, chose that name? It was inspired by the Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire musical, Holiday Inn which premiered at the New York Paramount Theatre on this day in 1942. Believe it or not, the movie’s plot centers around an inn that only opens on holidays and of course, each holiday offered good excuses for the two singers/dancers/actors to perform various musical numbers. The film contained 12 songs all written by Irving Berlin including “Easter Parade.” The movie earned an Oscar for Best Original Song (“White Christmas”) and two nominations for Best Score and Best Original Story (which was also written by Berlin). The movie also starred Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale. While the movie has been shown on TV numerous times over the years, one scene has often been edited out. During the song number “Abraham,” which appears during the celebration about President Lincoln’s birthday, a blackface minstrel show is incorporated into an act which has been seen as offensive by some viewers. Holiday Inn is often confused with the 1954 movie White Christmas which was sort of a remake, featured the same song and also starred Crosby. Astaire was also supposed to star in the latter film, but he declined.

(Darren Wilkinson/Wikimedia)
First Amputee Competes in the Olympics
On this day in 2012 in London, Oscar Pistorius of South Africa became the first amputee to compete at the Olympics by running in an opening heat of the men’s 400-meter. Pistorius finished second out of five runners and advanced to the semifinals, where he finished eighth out of eight runners. Nicknamed “Blade Runner” because of the J-shaped carbon fiber blades he wears to run, Pistorius inspired people around the world. The future seemed bright for the athlete, but all of that changed in February of 2013 when Pistorius was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend. On September 12, 2013, Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide. In June 2015, Pistorius was recommended for early release as early as August 2015, but is currently still serving his sentence. It was reported yesterday (August 3, 2017) that the paralympian was sent to the hospital presumably to treat a heart condition.

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