No self-respecting blog dedicated to American treasures (in this case, of course, the American Treasure Tour!) could consider itself fairly represented without discussing some of the icons of Hollywood. The celebrities who have impacted culture. That is why we are going to spend a little time with Marilyn Monroe today. Her image is reflected throughout both our Music Room and our Toy Box (in the latter, one instance has her popping out of a cake next to a picture, significantly enough, of President Kennedy).
Marilyn, nee Norma Jean Mortenson, has been the subject of fascination for obsessed fans and critics since she achieved fame. Her first career was as a model, then she had small parts in movies prior to her "discovery" in two 1950 films: The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve. From there, she rocketed to stardom. For twelve years, she achieved a level of recognition few people have reached. Unfortunately, she also became dependent upon alcohol and prescription medication. She died at the age of 36 in her home under mysterious circumstances, which ultimately served to intensify her mystique for people after her untimely death.
In which of the following films did Marilyn Monroe not perform?
A) Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
B) Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay!
C) The Misfits
E) Don't Bother to Knock
The year was 1859, and the event that happened on this date proved to be a highly volatile one that some have argued began the Civil War, even before the shots were fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor: October 16th was the day of John Brown's raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now located in the state of West Virginia, which broke off from Virginia in the middle of the war). Some considered Brown a maniac bent on the destruction of the country, while others saw him as a martyr for the cause of abolition. Regardless of one's position, it cannot be denied that his actions on that day would be easily forgotten.
Alas, October 16th offers anniversaries of toxic situations close to a century apart. On this date in 1962, not one year into his presidency, John Kennedy was handed pictures taken from high above Cuba that revealed a stockpile of missiles supplied by the Soviet Union. The Cuban Missile Crisis could be considered the high point of the Cold War, during which time American citizens felt the very real fear of nuclear war between the two superpowers. Fortunately, cool heads prevailed and the Russians agreed to remove the missiles from Cuba on condition that the United States disarm their missiles in Turkey. Peace resumed, although the quiet tensions of the Cold War persisted until 1991, when the Soviet Union officially dissolved.
Eugene O'Neill, arguably America's first critically acclaimed playwright, was born today in 1888. His plays, much like his personal life, were dominated by tragedy and cynicism, but many of them are considered true classics, including The Iceman Cometh, Long Day's Journey Into Night, and The Emperor Jones. In 1936, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Another American original celebrates his birthday today. In sharp contrast to some of the other grim anniversaries we at the American Treasure Tour blog have offered you, we would also like to tip our hats to David Zucker, who is turning 66. Mr. Zucker, along with his brother Jerry and friend Jim Abrahams, made some extremely funny movies during his career. His most famous (and in some humble opinions, one of the best parodies ever made) is the 1980 film Airplane! that skewered the popular disaster films of the 1970s and gave a number of well-known dramatic actors the opportunity to jump start their careers as comedians, including Robert Stack, Peter Graves, and most famously Leslie Nielsen. [Please take heed: Although this film is a comedy, it does contain some adult humor and some content that may be deemed offensive or inappropriate by some viewers. The American Treasure Tour blog cannot in good conscience recommend this to all audiences, and encourages parents to screen the film prior to showing it to their children. Thank you, and enjoy your movie experiences with caution]
Quote: Striker, listen and you listen close. Flying a plane is no harder than riding a bicycle. It's just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes. - Rex Kramer (Robert Stack's character in Airplane! ]