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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

July 14, 1989

I'd just like to remind all of you before I go ahead with today's Tuesday Timeline entry that today is the last day you can vote on which classic cartoon series you want me to review over the next few months.  As you can see in the poll, the votes are really close, so definitely make your voices heard!  If there happens to be a tie, I will do both shows.

So, while you're pondering what choice to pick for the poll, I'll try to entertain you by choosing the topic for today's Tuesday Timeline entry.  And your only hint is that it is all about a film with a rather memorable scene.  So memorable, that people often quote one of the lines ad nauseum all these years later.

Ah, but I can't reveal too much more than that.  For now, let's have a look at what was going on in the world this fourteenth day of July.

1789 - Parisian citizens storm the Bastille in the defining moment of the French Revolution

1798 - The Sedition Act is passed in the United States, declaring it a federal crime to write, publish, or utter false and/or malicious statements about the United States government

1853 - The first World's Fair takes place in New York City

1865 - Edward Whymper and his crew (four of whom pass away on the journey) become the first mountain climbers to ascend the Matterhorn

1874 - A huge fire in Chicago kills 20 people and burns down 47 acres of the city

1881 - Billy the Kid is shot and killed outside Fort Sumner by Pat Garrett

1910 - Animator William Hanna (d. 2001) is born in Melrose, New Mexico

1911 - Harry Atwood lands his airplane on the South Lawn of the White House

1913 - Former President Gerald Ford (d. 2006) is born in Omaha, Nebraska

1918 - Swedish director/producer Ingmar Bergman (d. 2007) is born

1930 - Actress Polly Bergen (d. 2014) is born in Knoxville, Tennessee

1943 - The George Washington Carver National Monument is established in Diamond, Missouri - the first monument honouring an African American

1960 - Jane Goodall begins her famous study of chimpanzees in the wild

1969 - Riots break out in Honduras against migrant workers from El Salvador after El Salvador defeats Honduras in a soccer match

1976 - Canada abolishes capital punishment

1992 - Singer Olivia Newton-John publicly announces that she is battling breast cancer

2000 - A powerful solar flare causes a geomagnetic storm on Earth, known as the Bastille Day Event

And celebrating a birthday today are the following people; Harry Dean Stanton, Nancy Olson, Sid Haig, Vincent Pastore, Tommy Mottola, Bruce Oldfield, Franklin Graham, Eric Laneuville, Joel Silver, Bebe Buell, Vladimir Kulich, Anne Hegerty, Angelique Kidjo, Jane Lynch, Mike McPhee, Jackie Earle Haley, Matthew Fox, Jeff Jarrett, Nina Siemaszko, Ross Rebagliati, Deborah Mailman, David Mitchell, Taboo, Jamey Johnson, Chad Faust, Sara Canning, and Sean Flynn!  Hope you and everyone else celebrating a July 14 birthday is having a great day!

And now for today's date. 

July 14, 1989.

Now aside from it being the 200th anniversary of Bastille Day, it was also the day in which a movie debuted at the box office.  And this particular movie had one of the most memorable scenes of the 1980s. 

Memorable not because it was filled with explosions, deadly stunts, or scary scenes.  It was memorable because...well...see for yourselves.

"I'll have what she's having".  Could a movie quote not be quoted more?  Well, okay, maybe "May the force be with you" is more quoted.  The point is that it was just one scene that got everyone's attention and had a lot of people guffawing at the big screen.

It was just one of the scenes in the movie "When Harry Met Sally", a romantic comedy starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.  A movie that was released exactly twenty-six years ago today.

Written by the late Nora Ephron and directed by Rob Reiner, "When Harry Met Sally" is a movie that asks the question "Can men and women EVER be just friends?".

Well, what do you think?  Can a man and woman be just friends without ever trying to make a move on them?  Well, I can tell you that I believe this to be true.  I've been friend zoned so many times, I feel like I could build my own condo on the spot.

But, enough about me.  Let's talk about the film, shall we?

The film takes place over a period of twelve years, beginning in 1977 and ending in 1989.  The two main characters of the film, Harry (Crystal) and Sally (Ryan) meet each other for the first time after graduating from the University of Chicago.  They share a car together on their way to New York City, where Sally is furthering her education and Harry has just landed a new job.  And it is during this car ride that the subject of men, women, and friendship comes up.

You see, Harry believes that there is no way that a man and a woman can ever be just friends because he feels that the sex card will always be played.  Sally, on the other hand, disagrees, believing that you don't need to have sex in order to stay friends.  And over the next twelve years, Harry and Sally have several chance encounters that really tests both theories.  In some instances, Harry tries to make a move on Sally, but Sally coldly turns him down, and in other instances, Sally wants more out of the relationship, but Harry doesn't seem interested.  Basically, when one person's theory is close to coming true, something happens that causes that theory to be blown out of the water.

And this goes on for TWELVE YEARS.  Man, both of them certainly stuck to their guns, didn't they?  At least, they do until the night of New Years' Eve, where a simple act of trying to set the other one up with someone else sets the stage for the ultimate test of friendship.  And by the end of it all, will that friendship survive or be left in tatters?

Well...I won't spoil it for you.  Even though this movie is over 25 years old, when I used to do the Monday Matinees, I swore that I would never reveal movie endings.  And, I remain true to that stance even now.

But in celebration of the anniversary of "When Harry Met Sally", why not have twenty behind the scenes facts about this film? 

1 - The infamous scene that I showed you above was filmed at Katz's Deli in New York, and at the booth where Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal were sitting reads a plaque that says "Where Harry met Sally - hope you have what she had!"

2 - Sally's picky eating habits were inspired by someone who worked very closely on the film - Nora Ephron.

3 - Billy Crystal suggested the "I'll have what she's having" line.

4 - The woman who says the line?  Rob Reiner's own mother!

5 - You know the part where the random voice shouts out "Hey, everybody, 10 seconds until new year"?  That was Rob Reiner.

6 - Nora Ephron reportedly hated the title "When Harry Met Sally", and she would have changed the title if she could do it over.

7 - Other names that were considered for the film were "It Had To Be You", "Boy Meets Girl", "Blue Moon", and "Playing Melancholy Baby".

8 - Initially the orgasm simulation wasn't in the original script.  Meg Ryan was the one who suggested it, and everyone agreed.

9 - Albert Brooks was considered for the part of Harry, but he turned it down.

10 - Molly Ringwald was offered the role of Sally, but she had to turn it down - though she did play the role in a 2004 London play adaptation.

11 - Harry and Sally are loosely based off of Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron.

12 - There's a small goof in one of the scenes set in 1977.  There is a Mastercard logo on one of the doors they enter - But the credit card company back in 1977 was known as "MasterCHARGE".  Mastercard didn't come into existence until 1979.

13 - Coincidentally, in one scene set in 1982, there is footage of a Boeing 737-300 - which didn't start being flown commercially until 1984.

14 - Nora Ephron received an Oscar nomination and a Writers Guild of America Award nomination for her screenplay.

15 - The movie grossed a total of nearly $93 million at the American box office.

16 - The movie from planning to finish took about five years to complete - partly due to Reiner working on "The Princess Bride" and "Stand By Me".

17 - When asked the question "Can men and women just be friends", interestingly enough, Ryan and Crystal gave the same answers their characters gave, though Crystal admitted that he was more optimistic than Harry.

18 - This film helped launch the career of Harry Connick Jr., who had several songs on the film's soundtrack.

19 - And the work he did on the soundtrack earned Harry Connick Jr. his very first Grammy Award!

20 - It holds a ranking of 88% Fresh on the film review site "".

So, what have we learned from "When Harry Met Sally"?  We learned that sometimes the best friendships can come from the opposite sex.  We learned that some romantic comedies can become huge blockbusters.  We learned that Meg Ryan can do a very convincing job at simulating an orgasm.

And to was 26 years ago today that this film first screened.  Does it make you feel old yet?

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