Tag Archives: cinema

Almanac – March 07

1274 – Saint Thomas Aquinas died. He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology, his influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy was conceived in development or refutation of his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory.

He is held in the Roman Catholic Church to be the model teacher for those studying for the priesthood, and indeed the highest expression of both natural reason and speculative theology.

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1671 – Rob Roy MacGregor born.  Scottish folk hero and outlaw of the early 18th century, sometimes known as the Scottish Robin Hood. Rob Roy is anglicised from the Gaelic Raibeart Ruadh, or Red Robert – he had red hair.

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1942 – Lucy Parsons died.  American labor organizer and radical socialist and anarchist communist, described by the Chicago Police Department as “more dangerous than a thousand rioters”  (in 2004, the City of Chicago named a park after her.)

Born circa 1853 in Texas, probably as a slave, to parents of Native American, African American and Mexican ancestry, in 1871 she married Albert Parsons, a former Confederate soldier. They were forced to flee north from Texas due to intolerant reactions to their interracial marriage, and settled in Chicago, Illinois.

She died in a house fire in Chicago, believed to be 89 years old.   Her lover, George Markstall, died the next day from injuries he received while trying to save her.  After her death, police seized her library of over 1,500 books and all of her personal papers.

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1988 – Divine died. American actor, disco singer and drag queen. A character actor who often performed female roles in both cinema and theater, Divine adopted a female drag persona in his musical performances, leading People magazine to describe him as the “Drag Queen of the Century”.

Often associated with independent filmmaker John Waters, he starred in ten of his films, usually in a lead role.

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Almanac – August 13

August 13 is designated International Lefthanders Day by Lefthanders International. It was first observed 13 August 1976, and as its name suggests, it is meant to promote awareness of the inconveniences facing left-handers in a predominantly right-handed world. It celebrates the uniqueness and difference of between seven to ten percent of the world’s population.

1876 – The first complete performance of Richard Wagner‘s Der Ring Des Nibelungen opera cycle took place…or, rather, it began – it continued on the 14th, 16th and 17th. I dont know what happened on the 15th, but I guess everyone needs a day off.

1899 – Alfred Hitchcock born.  English film director and producer.

Over a career spanning more than half a century, Hitchcock fashioned for himself a distinctive and recognisable directorial style. He pioneered the use of a camera made to move in a way that mimics a person’s gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism and  framed shots to maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative film editing. His stories frequently featured fugitives on the run from the law alongside “icy blonde” female characters. Many of Hitchcock’s films have twist endings and thrilling plots featuring depictions of violence, murder, and crime, although many of the mysteries function as decoys or “MacGuffins” meant only to serve thematic elements in the film and the psychological examinations of the characters. Hitchcock’s films also borrow many themes from psychoanalysis and feature strong sexual undertones.

1930 – Three large meteorites plunged into dense Amazonian jungle near the border of Brazil and Peru. Fishermen reported “large balls of fire that fell from the sky like thunderbolts,” and a Catholic missionary wrote: “The Sun became blood-red and darkness spread over everything almost as if a thick cloud had intercepted the Sun’s rays.”

1946 – H. G. Wells died.   English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games. Together with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback, Wells has been referred to as “The Father of Science Fiction”, although actually most of his novels had nothing to do with science fiction. Some described lower-middle class life (Kipps; The History of Mr Polly), leading him to be touted as a worthy successor to Charles Dickens, but Wells described a range of social strata and even attempted, in Tono-Bungay (1909), a diagnosis of English society as a whole. Wells also wrote abundantly about the “New Woman” and the Suffragettes (Ann Veronica).

1964 – The last executions in the UK took place – Peter Allen was hanged in Liverpool, Gwynne Evans in Manchester. They were both executed at the same time, so neither can be claimed as the absolute last.

Mr. Frankenstein

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Almanac – July 30

762 – Baghdad  founded by caliph Al-Mansur.

1751 – Although official executions for Witchcraft was supposed to have ceased in England in 1682 [1722 in Scotland], a Mrs. Osborne on this day became the last known person to be killed as a result of a witch-trial, being given the water test [float and you’re guilty, sink and you’re innocent] until she drowned – so was thus presumably innocent.

1818 – Emily Brontë born. English novelist and poet, best remembered for her solitary novel, Wuthering Heights. Although it received mixed reviews when it first came out, and was often condemned for its portrayal of amoral passion, the book subsequently became an English literary classic. She published under the pen name Ellis Bell.


1958 – Kate Bush born , English singer-songwriter who’s first hit single  was – coincidence or not – Wuthering Heights.

2003 – Sam Phillips died. American businessman, record executive, record producer and DJ who played an important role in the emergence of rock and roll in the 1950s. He was a producer, label owner, and talent scout throughout the 1940s and 1950s and  founded Sun Studios and Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Through Sun, Phillips discovered  Howlin’ Wolf, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis , Johnny Cash  and Elvis Presley.

2007 – Ingmar Bergman died. Swedish director, writer and producer for film, stage and television. described by Woody Allen as “probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera,”  Bergman is recognized as one of the most accomplished and influential film directors of all time.

Mr. Frankenstein

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