Tag Archives: Plan 9 From Outer Space

Almanac – December 10

1951 – Algernon Blackwood died. English short story writer and novelist, one of the most prolific writers of ghost stories in the history of the genre – it’s been said that his short story collection Incredible Adventures (1914) “may be the premier weird collection of this or any other century”.

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1967 – Otis Redding died. American singer and songwriter, record producer  and arranger. Considered one of the major figures in soul music and rhythm and blues, and one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music, his singing style influenced other soul artists of the 1960s, and he helped to craft the powerful style of R&B that formed the basis of the Stax Sound.

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1978 – Edward D. Wood, Jr. died. American screenwriter, director, producer, actor, author, and film editor. In the 1950s, Wood made a number of low-budget genre films. In the 1960s and 1970s, he made sexploitation movies and wrote over 80 pulp crime, horror, and sex novels. In 1980 he was posthumously awarded a Golden Turkey Award as Worst Director of All Time. Be that as it may, I find films like Plan 9 From Outer Space, Glen Or Glenda and Bride Of The Monster far more enjoyable than many a blockbuster by “proper” film-makers (the James Bond franchise, for starters – yawn).

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1993 – The last shift leaves Wearmouth Colliery in Sunderland. The closure of the 156-year-old pit marked the end of the old County Durham coalfield, which had been in operation since the Middle Ages.

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2005 – Richard Pryor died. American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, writer, and MC.

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Almanac – October 19

1903 – Tor Johnson born.  Swedish professional wrestler (billed as The Super Swedish Angel) and actor. During his career as an actor, Johnson befriended director Edward D. Wood, Jr., who directed him in a number of films, most notably Bride of the Monster and Plan 9 from Outer Space, both which co-starred Bela Lugosi. Very friendly to work with on movie sets, actress Valda Hansen, who worked with Johnson in 1959’s Night of the Ghouls (also directed by Wood), described him as  “like a big sugar bun.”

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1944 – Peter Tosh born. Jamaican reggae musician who was a core member of the band The Wailers (1963–1974), and who afterwards had a successful solo career as well as being a promoter of Rastafari.

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1945 – Gloria Jones born. American singer and songwriter. She was the driver of the car that crashed and killed Marc Bolan at 4am on 16 September 1977.

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1945 – Divine born. Also known as Harris Glenn Milstead,  an American actor, singer and drag queen, often associated with independent filmmaker John Waters and starred in ten of Waters’s films, usually in a leading role. Concurrent with his acting career, he also had a successful career as a disco singer during the 1980s, at one point being described as “the most successful and in-demand disco performer in the world.”

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1988 – Son House died. American blues singer and guitarist. House pioneered an innovative style featuring strong, repetitive rhythms, often played with the aid of slide guitar, and his singing often incorporated elements of southern gospel and spiritual music.

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1995 – Don Cherry died. African-American jazz trumpetist whose career began with a long association with saxophonist Ornette Coleman. In the 1970s he ventured into the developing genre of world fusion music, incorporating influences of Middle Eastern, traditional African, and Indian music into his playing.

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2000 – Hortense Ellis died. Jamaican reggae artist , and the younger sister of  Alton Ellis.

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Almanac – October 10

732 – Battle of Tours: Near Poitiers, France, the leader of the Franks, Charles Martel, and his men, defeat a large army of Moors, stopping the Muslims from spreading into Western Europe.

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1580 – After a three-day siege, the English Army beheads over 600 Irish and Papal soldiers and civilians at Dún an Óir, Ireland.

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1911 – The Wuchang Uprising leads to the demise of Qing Dynasty, the last Imperial court in China, and the founding of the Republic of China.

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1917 – Thelonious Monk born. American jazz pianist and composer considered one of the giants of American music. Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including “Epistrophy”, “‘Round Midnight”, “Blue Monk”, “Straight, No Chaser” and “Well, You Needn’t”.

Monk is the second-most recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed over 1,000 songs while Monk wrote about 70.

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1924 – Edward D. Wood, Jr. born. American screenwriter, director, producer, actor, author, and film editor, in the 1950s, Wood made a number of low-budget genre movies, in the 1960s and 1970s, made pornographic movies and wrote over 80 pulp crime, horror, and sex novels.
Films included  Glen or Glenda, Jail Bait,  Bride of the Monster, The Violent Years, Night of the Ghouls, The Sinister Urge, Orgy of the Dead, and of course that low-budget zombie/UFO classic    Plan 9 from Outer Space.

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1957 – A fire at the Windscale nuclear plant,  Cumbria, U.K. was the world’s first major nuclear accident , ranked in severity at level 5 on the 7-point International Nuclear Event Scale. The name Windscale developed such a poor reputation generally  that the authoroities changed it to Sellafield.

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1985 – Orson Welles died. American actor, director, writer and producer who worked extensively in theater, radio and film. He is best remembered for his innovative work in all three media, most notably Caesar (1937), a groundbreaking Broadway adaption of Julius Caesar and the debut of the Mercury Theatre; The War of the Worlds (1938),  possibly  the most famous broadcast in the history of radio; and Citizen Kane (1941), which is consistently ranked as one of the all-time greatest films.

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2010 – Solomon Burke died, American singer-songwriter, entrepreneur, mortician, and an archbishop of the United House of Prayer For All People, known as “King Solomon,” the “King of Rock ‘n’ Soul,” and as the “Bishop of Soul,” and described as “the Muhammad Ali of soul,” and as “the most unfairly overlooked singer of soul’s golden age.”

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Almanac – August 16

1819 – The Peterloo Massacre took place in Manchester, when the Militia attacked an orderly group of people gathered to listen to speakers on parlimentary reform, at which the well-known radical politician Henry Hunt was to speak. The crowd, numbering some 60,000 and including many women and children, was unarmed and entirely peaceful. The magistrates, who had brought in special constables from Lancashire and the Cheshire Yeomanry, nevertheless became nervous and ordered Hunt’s arrest.

As the yeomanry attempted to obey them, they were pressed by the mob. The hussars were sent in to “help”, and, in the general panic which followed, 11 people were killed and about 500 injured. The ‘massacre’ aroused great public indignation, but the government stood by the magistrates and passed the Six Acts to control future agitation.

1920 – Charles Bukowski born. German-born American poet, novelist and short story writer. His writing was influenced by the social, cultural and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles. It is marked by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually publishing over sixty books. In 1986 Time called Bukowski a “laureate of American lowlife”.

1938 – Robert Johnson died.  American blues singer and musician. His landmark recordings from 1936–37 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians, and, if not exactly a father of rock n roll, at the very least an uncle. His shadowy, poorly documented life and death at age 27 have given rise to much legend, including a Faustian-style  myth – music skills obtained from the Devil at a crossroads. His death – possibly murdered by poison –  is even more shadowy – three different burial grounds claim to house his remains.

1945 – Kevin Ayers born.  English singer-songwriter and  a major influential force in the English psychedelic movement. BBC DJ John Peel wrote in his autobiography that “Kevin Ayers’ talent is so acute you could perform major eye surgery with it.”  Ayers was a founding member of the pioneering psychedelic band Soft Machine in the late 1960s, and was closely associated with the Canterbury scene.

1956 – Bela Lugosi died.  Hungarian actor of stage and screen. He was best known for having played Count Dracula in the Broadway play and subsequent film version, as well as having starred in several of Ed Wood’s low budget films in the last years of his career, including Plan 9 From Outer Space.

1962 – Beatles drummer Pete Best was fired by manager Brian Epstein and replaced with the more image-friendly Ringo Starr. Who said the Beatles weren’t a manufactured boy band ?

1977 – Elvis Presley died.

Mr. Frankenstein

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