Michelle Pfeiffer - April 29, 2014

Welcome to a beautiful April day!  Why, you may ask, is it beautiful?  It's not because of the weather outside, and it's certainly not because the wonderful snow of this recent winter is now only a memory.  No, it's because today we celebrate a very special member of the exclusive "Faces of the Tour" series - Michelle Pfeiffer.  Not only is it her day of honor on the American Treasure Tour blog today, but it's also her birthday!  So later, when we get to the birthday section and we celebrate (spoiler alert) Duke Ellington and Richard Kline, you can also rest happy knowing that Michelle Pfeiffer is turning 56 as you read this.

It is hard to believe that the California native and daughter of a heating and air-conditioner contractor, Michelle Pfeiffer, is already in her fifties.  Maybe because she's still looking good and, although she may not be quite as active as she was in the 80s and 90s, she's still out there making movies.  She started out as a beauty queen, first as Miss Orange County, then as a runner up for Miss California.  Narrowly losing the audition to become one of Charlie's Angels to Shelley Hack, Pfeiffer worked her way through the early eighties in bit parts, until she received some positive feedback for her role in the failed 1982 sequel Grease 2.  It surprisingly helped her career when Brian de Palma cast her in his cinematic bloodbath Scarface the next year. Her big break came with 1987's The Witches of Eastwick, Dangerous Liaisons the next year, and The Fabulous Baker Boys in 1989.  Pfeiffer took a hiatus from acting at the beginning of the new millennium and has since returned to the big screen, albeit slowly.  We're glad you're back!

QUESTION:

In what Tim Burton film does Michelle Pfeiffer play a woman related to a vampire?

a)  Sleepy Hollow

b)  Edward Scissorhands

c)  Dark Shadows

d)  The Age of Innocence

e)  Amazon Women on the Moon

HISTORY TODAY:

Our history today isn't really that old, although there may be some who do not recall the trial of four Los Angeles police officers who were caught on tape beating up a man with a criminal record named Rodney King.  King was on parole for a robbery he had committed and served time for on March 3, 1991, when cops tried to pull him over for speeding.  He had been drinking and was afraid of getting caught violating his probation, so King led them on a chase that resulted in the harsh treatment that was caught on video.  When the video was released to the news media it went viral.  The complete acquittal of the cops on April 29, 1992, which triggered the Los Angeles Riots.  Racial tensions and a sense of injustice led to the deaths of 53 people and 2,383 people injured, and over one billion dollars' worth of damage to the city, mostly in the poor neighborhoods where the rioters lived.  Once the federal government was able to re-instate peace, the officers went back on trial and received sentences and King successfully sued the city of Los Angeles for millions of dollars.  Ultimately, the money did not help King, and he died at the age of 47 in 2012 of alcohol-related causes.

A man named Ransom E. Olds established his own company in Lansing, Michigan in August of 1897.  The Olds Motor Vehicle Company used new technology to manufacture automobiles called Oldsmobiles.  His assembly line production inspired many imitators, including Henry Ford. Eleven years later, Oldsmobile became part of General Motors, and it stayed there until the name was discontinued on this day in 2004.  When Oldsmobile died, it was one of the longest-produced cars in automotive history. 

BIRTHDAYS:

1899 was a great year for American music because that was the year Edward Kennedy Ellington was born in Washington, DC.  Daisy, his mother, compelled him as a young man to take piano lessons and learn good posture, manners and dress.  The stylish boy was affectionately nicknamed "Duke" by his friends because of his presentation as a person of noble birth.  As it was, his formal education proved of much less value than did his skills as an artist, first as a painter of signs (often advertising banquets or events), then as a musician (he got himself gigs performing at the events for which he painted signs).  Ellington went on to become one of the most influential musicians of his - or any - era, with his big band arrangements, his collaborations with other musicians, and his contribution to making jazz a legitimate art form.  His death in 1974 created a hole in the musical culture of the United States that has yet to be filled.

Every now and again an actor is born who may not have great name recognition, but who everyone knows.  One such person is Richard Kline.  It is a little tough to grasp that the man who played the beloved and loathed Larry Dallas is turning seventy today, but those of us who grew up with the zany antics of Three's Company in all its eight season glory can only think of Larry and the man who made him tick with a smile.  Happy birthday, Richard!  May you have many more!

QUOTE:  Can we all get along? - Rodney King

Answer:  c)  Dark Shadows