Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May 3: Mills College Allows Men to Enroll

On this date in History ... May 3, 1990:

Mills College, a women’s college, voted to allow men to enroll as a means to  to help their financial situation.  

The decision resulted in a 2 week strike by students and faculty.  Over 300 students blockaded the administration offices and boycotted classes. Faculty and alumni supported the student movement by offering pay cuts, to teach more classes, to collect more endowment pledges and more alumni donations, showing the administration they could survive their financial needs. 

On May 18, the trustees reversed their decision, becoming the only women's college that reversed its financial decision to become coed because of the will of its students, alumnae, and faculty.

May 2: J. Edgar Hoover Dies

On this date in History ..... May 2, 1972:  

Just before the Watergate scandal erupted, J. Edgar Hoover dies after re-creating and leading the FBI for nearly 5 decades, serving under 8 presidents. 

He built the corruption-ridden agency into an efficient crime-fighting machine, establishing a centralized fingerprint file, a crime laboratory, and a training school for agents. 

After WWII, he worked closely with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and Senator Joseph McCarthy, the architect of America's second Red Scare.  

By 1969, Congress was suspicious of the FBI’s abuse of power and for the 1st time Hoover found himself under criticism and the Congressional microscope.  Because of these inquiries, Congress passed laws requiring congressional approval of FBI appointments and limited time in office to only 10 yrs.

May 1: Movie "Citizen Kane" is released

On this date in History .... May 1, 1941:  

Citizen Kane is released.  It bombs at the box office and only after it’s re-release years later did it actually receive the accolades it deserved.  

It is the film that gave us the famous single word line of "Rosebud".

Previews of the film drew great reviews from critics, except for one. The acclaimed Queen of Hollywood Gossip, Hedda Hopper, didn’t like the way Charles Foster Kane portrayed her friend William Hurst.  She went to Hurst himself to complain who began running a campaign against the film including refusing to run ads for it in his newspapers and gaining support of people such as Louis B. Mayer. 

Wells threatened to sue Hurst and RKO Pictures if the film wasn’t released. Only after its re-release did it become a big hit, grabbing the #1 spot on the poll of America’s Greatest Films.

Click here for a short clip......


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April 29: "Ernest T. Bass"

On this date in History ..... April 28, 1963:  

The character of Ernest T. Bass appears for the first time on The Andy Griffith Show.  

Howard Morris played Bass for only five episodes but is best remembered for this role in spite of his many other accomplishments such as being a classically trained Shakespearean actor. 

He was in the U.S. Army Special Service where his commander was Maurice Evans (played the role of father to Samantha on “Bewitched”). Other soldiers in the unit included Carl Reiner ("Alan Brady" of the Dick Van Dyke show) and Werner Klemperer ("Colonel Klink" of the show "Hogan's Heroes").  Morris directed some of the Dick Van Dyke and Hogan’s Heroes episodes.  

He was a talented voice actor and in high demand for cartoons. Some of his voices included Jet Screamer (“The Jetsons”), Mr. Peebles (“Magilla Gorilla”), Jughead (“The Archie Show”), Hamburgler (McDonalds commercials), Flem (“Cow and Chicken”), various voices on “The Flintstones” and many more. 

Many museums and universities host “Ernest T. Bass Day” in which people bring in unidentified rocks for inspection by the science departments.  

Morris died in 2005.


April 28: Muhammad Ali

On this date in History .... April 28, 1967:  

Muhammad Ali refuses to be inducted in the Army during the war with Vietnam, claiming religious reasons.  He said, “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong. They never called me n*****.”  

He was prosecuted for draft evasion and sentenced to five years and $10,000 but remained out of jail during the appeal. He was stripped of his title and banned from boxing for three years. 

On June 28, 1971, the Supreme Court overturned his draft evasion conviction with an 8-0 vote, saying the government had failed to properly specify why his application for conscientious objector status had been denied.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 26: Lucille Ball Dies

On this date in History .... April 26, 1989:  

Lucille Ball dies a week after open heart surgery, on the day of her friend Carol Burnett’s 56th birthday.  Burnett received the flowers that Lucy had ordered earlier for delivery on her birthday.  

Lucy was the first woman to own her own film studio and the first woman to receive the International Radio and Television Society’s Gold Medal. 

Her annual salary while President of Desilu was reported at $100,000 (in 1965, the average annual salary in the U.S. was under $4700).  

In 1935, she signed her first promotional agreement with Max Factor and again in 1942. Of all the stars, she had the longest association with the Max Factor company.  

She started out as a model but was stricken by rheumatoid arthritis early in her career and spent two years re-learning how to walk. While making a 1933 movie, she was required to shave off her eyebrows and they never grew back.  She was also once fired from an ice cream parlor for forgetting to put bananas in the banana splits.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 24: Library of Congress

On this date in History .... April 24, 1800:

John Adams signs an Act of Congress to move the govt from Philadelphia to Washington DC.  Part of the bill provided for $5000 to establish a library for Congress, "for the purchase of such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress ..., “.  Thomas Jefferson followed this in 1802 by signing the first law creating the post of Librarian of Congress. 

The Library of Congress is the oldest federal cultural institution in the U.S. and is the largest library in the world with over 745 miles of shelves to hold close to 145 million items. It was first housed in the Capital building until the British burned the Capitol in the War of 1812.

Photo courtesy of www.teachingamericanhistory.org
Jefferson sold his personal collection of over 6000 books to rebuild the library.  This collection was considered unique in that it was a working scholar’s collection and not just a “gentleman’s collection” used strictly for display. 

While the library was originally established as a research arm for Congress, it was Jefferson’s belief that “all subjects are important to the library of the American legislature,” that formed the rationale behind the collection policies of the library to this day.