This Day in Pop Culture for January 10
1953: ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ Comes to Theaters
Cecil B. DeMille’s film about the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, The Greatest Show on Earth, debuted in theaters all across the country on this day in 1953. The filmed starred Charlton Heston played the circus manager and Jimmy Stewart who played a clown who never took off his makeup. The movie also featured about 1,400 real circus performers from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey 1951 tour. It was nominated for five Oscars and won two for Best Picture and Best Story. The movie also won the Golden Globe for Best Cinematography, Best Director, and Best Motion Picture – Drama. Still, many movie critics have voiced their opinions that they didn’t think that the film deserved those awards.
1927: First Science Fiction Movie is Released in Theaters
If you were alive in 1927, you might have enjoyed watching Metropolis, the first feature-length science fiction movie. That is, if you lived in Germany. Metropolis was directed by Fritz Lang who also wrote the script with his wife, Theavon Harbou. The silent film featured Freder, the rich young son of the city’s leader and his love interest, Maria, who together try to overcome the separation of the classes in their city. At a cost of five million Reichsmarks, it was the most expensive movie ever made up to that point. The original version of the film was quite long and contained some footage that some found inappropriate, so large portions of the story were taken out after the German premiere and then were considered lost for decades. In 2008, a copy of Lang’s original cut of the movie was found in a museum in Argentina. The 95% restored version of that film was shown again in Berlin and Frankfurt on February 12, 2010.
- 1935: Bob “Gilligan” Denver (actor)
- 1935: Dick Enberg (sportscaster)
- 1951: Crystal Gayle (country singer)
- 1955: H.K. Simmons (actor)
- 1956: Imedla Staunton (actress)
- 1967: Dave Matthews (singer)
- 1973: Sean Paul (rapper)
- 1812: The first steamboat on the western waters of the U.S. finished its route from Pittesburgh to New Orleans 82 days after it started.