Friday, October 31, 2014
Thursday, October 30, 2014
1938: Orson Welles broadcasts an adaptation of War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, performed as the Halloween episode of a radio drama series called Mercury Theatre on the Air. The first two thirds of the story is retold through a series of fake news bulletins, informing listeners that Martians have attacked the Earth and will probably kill all of us. This causes a majority of listeners to completely freak out. The hoax is basically what made Orson Welles a household name.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
1787: Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni is performed for the first time in Prague, a show chock-full of murder and mayhem, masquerade parties, demon choruses, graveyards, ghostly statues, and ultimately a first class ticket to hell. Top it off with an appropriate moral; he who lives wickedly, dies wickedly, and you’ve got yourself a fulfilling Halloween experience, wouldn’t you say?
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Monday, October 27, 2014
Sunday, October 26, 2014
1881: The famous gunfight at the OK Corral takes place in Tombstone, Arizona, lasting only 30 seconds. A shame Kevin Costner’s movie wasn’t that short.
(GO THERE!) The well-preserved town still stands as a major tourist attraction.
-And Val Kilmer still stands as Doc Holiday, in our book.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
1993: The master of macabre, classic horror film actor Vincent Price, well known for his creepy characters and distinctly chilling voice, dies of lung cancer. And Halloween just wasn’t the same without him.
Friday, October 24, 2014
1901: With her only child dead and her only husband killed in the Civil War, aging schoolteacher Annie Edson Taylor feared she was destined to end up in the poorhouse. But then she came up with a brilliant plan. First, she would pay professional coopers to construct a heavy duty, elongated and well-cushioned barrel. Then, on October 24th, her 63rd birthday, she would climb inside and ride it over the edge of Niagara Falls, a feat that would hopefully bring enough publicity and wealth to carry her comfortably into senectitude.
The stunt is a resounding success, and Annie becomes the first person ever to accomplish it, emerging from the certain-death-capsule with only a small gash on her head, though she made it clear she would rather “walk up to the mouth of a cannon” than ever try it again. Unfortunately, the story ends with Annie spending most of her earnings on private detectives in a futile search for the missing barrel, no doubt sold by her concurrently absent manager. Still, Annie Edson Taylor remains one of the most gutsy people in the history of daredevilry.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
That’s right, the Smurfs are actually French.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
1926: Smarty-pants J. Gordon Whitehead sucker punches legendary magician, escapologist and stunt performer Harry Houdini in the stomach several times, rupturing his appendix. Houdini refuses medical attention and goes on to perform what would be his final show, collapsing several times in the duration. He dies a few days later in a Detroit hospital on Halloween. And this time it was no trick (or treat.)