Today in History: Dec. 30

This Is The Way It Was,” read the tagline for the Hammer Film Productions movie One Million Years B.C. Well, no. The film, which opened in British theaters fifty years ago today, showed Ray Harryhausen-animated dinosaur dolls attacking humans, but it also offered Raquel Welch in a strategically creative (or creatively strategic) fur bikini. (The film opened in American movie theaters in 1967.)

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The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty was performed for the first time on this date in 1879 at the Royal Bijou Theatre in Paignton, Devon, in England. (Poster at top.)

It was a “copyright performance,” little more than a staged reading to secure copyright for the production in England, while the official premiere was scheduled for the next day on Broadway in Manhattan. Gilbert and Sullivan’s previous play, H.M.S. Pinafore, had been a huge success that same year, so huge that unofficial productions sprang up around the world, so huge that when the one and only official production arrived on Broadway from London in December 1879, audiences skipped it, having already attended performances of it.

Gilbert and Sullivan rushed to finish their next, Pirates, and quickly mounted an official production on both sides of the Atlantic to prevent something similar from taking place.

* * * *
Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft were wed 200 years ago on this date.

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Sonny Liston is believed to have died on this date in 1970. Saddam Hussein was executed 10 years ago today.

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Rudyard Kipling was born on this date in 1865. Bert Parks was born on this date in 1914. Jack Lord was born in 1920 on this date. Bo Diddley was born in 1928 on this date. Del Shannon was born on this date in 1934. The late Jack Riley was born in 1935 on this date. (He died on August 19.) Davy Jones was born in 1945 on this date. Nancy LaMott was born on this date in 1951.

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Russ Tamblyn is 82. Joseph Bologna is 82 today. Michael Nesmith is 74. Patti Smith is 70 today. “Paths That Cross”:

 
Jeff Lynne is 69 today. “When I Was a Boy”:

 
Meredith Vieira is 63. Matt Lauer is 59. Tracey Ullman is 57. Douglas Coupland is 55. Heidi Fleiss is 51. LeBron James is 32.

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One comment

  1. susiesopinions · December 30

    A happy new year to you

    Like

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