A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
1764 – Fletcher Christian, who led the mutiny on the Bounty. On April 28th 1789, Christian took over HMS Bounty and set Captain (he was really a lieutenant) Bligh and a few loyal crewmen adrift. Christian sailed off into the Pacific and into history. Over the years, popular culture has treated Fletcher Christian very well. He has always been portrayed in the movies by the leading hunk of that particular generation. In 1935, Clark Gable was Fletcher Christian; in 1962, it was Marlon Brando; and in 1984, it was Mel Gibson. Actually it’s about time for another Mutiny on the Bounty movie. Any suggestions?
– Michael Douglas was born on this day in 1944, and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, was born exactly 25 years later, in 1969. Douglas, the son of old-time Hollywood actor Kirk Douglas, has won 3 Golden Globe Awards and 2 Oscars, one for Best Actor in Wall Street. Zeta-Jones was pretty good dancing with Tony Banderas in The Mask of Zorro.
1966 – The smallest crowd in New York Yankees history watched the Chicago White Sox beat the Yankees 4-1. Nobody seems to want to remember that only 413 people showed up at 65,000 seat Yankee Stadium that day. There is very little speculation and even a lot of confusion as to what day it was. So why did it happen? The Yankees sucked. Mantle was out, Maris was hurt and Whitey Ford couldn’t throw a fit, plus they were a million games out ofthe pennant race. Excellence matters even if you are the New York Yankees.
1981 – Sandra Day O’Conner was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She was the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court and had been appointed by one of the most conservative Presidents ever – Ronald Reagan.
1970 – Erich Maria Remarque, author and World War I German soldier, who wrote All Quiet on the Western Front. It is one of the best anti-war novels ever written. The Nazis, for obvious reasons, hated the book, and it was banned and publicly burned. Remarque, seeing the writing on the wall, fled Europe for the USA, but his sister, Elfriede Scholz, stayed in Germany. She was arrested by the Nazis, convicted and guillotined, in pretty short order, in 1943.
1987 – Mary Astor, one of the few actresses who made the transition from silent films to “talkies.” She won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in The Great Lie (1941) but is best remembered as Bridget O’Shaughnessy the woman who shoots Miles Archer and hires Sam Spade to help her find “the black bird” in The Maltese Falcon.