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Thursday, March 02, 2017

March 2, 1933

Greetings, everybody!  And welcome to the first edition of Throwback Thursday!  Don't worry...this feature is going to remain in place for the rest of 2017.  It won't be bouncing around the schedule as it has the past few weeks. 

For today's topic, I've got one that is quite gargantuan.  It's colossal.  And, it's related to another event that is set to happen within the week!  It's very rare that I can tie a past event to a future event, but we're going to go with it!

So, today is Thursday, March 2.  What sorts of events took place on this date in history?  Have a look!

537 - The Siege of Rome begins

1657 - Over 100,000 people are killed in the city of Edo, Japan (now called Tokyo) following the Great Fire of Meireki - a fire lasting three whole days before being put out

1797 - The Bank of England starts issuing one-pound and two-pound banknotes

1867 - The United States Congress passes the first Reconstruction Act

1882 - Roderick McLean tries and fails to assassinate Queen Victoria in Windsor, England

1902 - Baseball player/American spy Moe Berg (d. 1972) is born in New York City

1903 - The Martha Washington Hotel opens its doors in New York City - it becomes the first hotel to cater exclusively to women

1904 - Author Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel (d. 1991) is born in Springfield, Massachusetts

1917 - Actor/singer Desi Arnaz (d. 1986) is born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba

1942 - Singer Lou Reed (d. 2013) is born in Brooklyn, New York

1950 - Singer Karen Carpenter (d. 1983) is born in New Haven, Connecticut

1956 - Morocco gains independence from France

1961 - In a nationally televised broadcast, John F. Kennedy announces the creation of the Peace Corps

1962 - Wilt Chamberlain sets a record within the NBA - scoring an impressive 100 points during one game!

1969 - The Concorde has its first test flight in Toulouse, France

1972 - The Pioneer 10 space probe is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida

1983 - Compact disc players and compact discs are sold in stores for the first time in North America

1987 - Actor Randolph Scott passes away at the age of 89

1989 - Twelve nations within the European Community makes a vow to ban all CFC's by the year 2000

1990 - Nelson Mandela is elected deputy President of the African National Congress

1992 - Nine nations that were formed as a result of the dissolution of the Soviet Union join the United Nations

1999 - Singer Dusty Springfield dies of cancer, aged 59

2004 - The Ashoura Massacre takes place in Iraq, killing 170 and wounding 500

2008 - Musician and singer Jeff Healey succumbs to lung cancer at the age of 41

And celebrating a March 2 birthday are the following famous faces; John Cullum, Mikhail Gorbachev, John Cornell, John Irving, Peter Straub, Laraine Newman, Jay Osmond, John Cowsill, Jon Bon Jovi, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Laird Hamilton, Daniel Craig, Method Man, Hayley Lewis, Chris Martin, Rebel Wilson, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ben Roethlisberger, Deuce, and Reggie Bush.

(Is it just me, or are there a lot of John's born on the 2nd of March?)

Okay, so what's the date going to be for our very first Throwback Thursday post?  Let's find out.

Looks like the date is March 2, 1933.  So, if my math is correct, that would be eighty-four years ago today.

But what could an event from 1933 have to do with an event that is taking place in March 2017?

By now, I'm sure you have all seen the movie trailers for the upcoming movie "Kong: Skull Island".  The film is set to be released worldwide on March 10, 2017, and the film stars quite a few big names in the movie industry.  Names such as Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, and John C. Reilly among others.  It's unclear as to how the movie will do in theatres as it hasn't really made its debut yet.  But what I can tell you is that this film is supposed to be a re-imagining of a classic film.

Or, reboot as the cool kids call it.

Here's the thing though.  We wouldn't be able to have a movie like "Kong: Skull Island" without the original for the movie to draw inspiration from.  And, while this movie has been remade several times (most notably in 1976 and 2005), the original was made eighty-four years ago.

And it was on this date in New York City (a place that is very much linked to the film in question) that the original film had its premiere.  It wouldn't be until April 1933 before the film was released worldwide, but in New York City, the main attraction was the 1933 film "King Kong", which starred Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot, Robert Armstrong, and a gigantic ape who some would call a hero, while others would call a villain.  It's all a matter of perspective.

Now, the reason why the city of New York was chosen to host the premiere was simple.  After all, the final moments of the film (spoiler alert) takes place atop the then brand new Empire State Building - a New York City landmark.  It made perfect sense for the premiere to be hosted there.

And, of course most of us all know the story behind King Kong, so just to briefly go over it with you, a Cliff's Notes version.  Filmmaker recruits actress to go to a mysterious island to film a project.  Actress falls in love with one of the crew members of the boat taking them to the island.  Group arrives in village where actress is made a sacrificial bride of Kong.  Giant ape arrives to kidnap actress and takes her to prehistoric jungle filled with dinosaurs.  Actress is rescued by ship member.  Kong captured and made to become Broadway sideshow.  Kong escapes, kidnaps actress and climbs building.  And so on, and so on.

But you know, when it comes down to the impact that "King Kong" had on the motion picture industry, that impact is still felt all of these years later.  On the film review website, "Rotten Tomatoes", it currently holds the top spot for the greatest horror film of all time.  And in 1991, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry after being deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress.  Not bad, huh?

And since I have a bit of extra space in this blog entry, here are some more pieces of trivia about the original King Kong film!

- The estimated budget for King Kong was just under $700,000.

- Filming began in October 1931 and wrapped up in February 1933.

- The film grossed over $90,000 during its opening weekend - then considered a record!

- Fay Wray was told when she won the part of Ann Darrow that she would be working with the tallest, darkest leading man in all of Hollywood.  Wray mistakenly believed that it would be Cary Grant.  Instead, it ended up being King Kong!

- King Kong's iconic roar was achieved by combining the roar of a lion and the roar of a tiger, and then the two sounds were played back in reverse and on the slowest speed possible.

- The model of King Kong crafted for the movie was only eighteen inches tall, and was made of metal mesh, rubber, foam, and rabbit hair.

- Co-director and co-producer of the film, Merian C. Cooper, came up with the idea for the film after a dream he had where he imagined a giant gorilla wreaking havoc in New York City.

- In a weird twist of irony, when actress Fay Wray passed away in 2004, the television in the emergency room of the hospital she was in was playing the movie "King Kong"!

- King Kong actually doesn't make his first appearance in the movie until 47 minutes into the film.

- Jean Harlow was offered Fay Wray's part, but she turned it down.

- Fay Wray wore a blonde wig for the role.

- The elevated train sequence was inspired by Merian C. Cooper's childhood, in which his family lived near a train track that kept him up at night.

- Stop motion animation was used to animate the dinosaurs in the film.

And that was the big event...and I mean, BIG event of March 2, 1933!

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