1935: The Oldest Warner Bros. Cartoon Character
Despite what many believe, Porky Pig is Warner Bros. oldest cartoon character who first appeared in I Haven’t Got a Hat which was released on this day in 1935. He is best known for stuttering the line “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!” at the end of many of the cartoons. Porky has appeared in over 150 cartoons. Mel Blanc first voiced the pig in 1937’s Porky’s Duck Hunt (which was Daffy Duck’s first appearance) and continued to do so until his death in 1989. From 2003-2005, Porky and Daffy starred in the TV series, Duck Dodgers. Porky’s most recent appearance, albeit in a slightly different form, was in the TV series Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production.
1965: ‘The Sound of Music’ Comes to Theaters
It was on this day in 1965 that many of us learned that the hills were alive with the sound of you-know-what as The Sound of Music was released in theaters. Since then, many of more of us have learned that lesson from numerous annual viewings of the film on TV. Adapted from the Broadway musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, the movie is loosely based on the real Trapp Family Singers. The story follows a young nun, Maria (Julie Andrews) who is sent to act as a governess for the seven children of the wealthy Captain Georg von Trapp (Christopher Plummer). The two fall in love and the family began a career as singers. While not a huge hit with critics (even Plummer has been known to have called the film “The Sound of Mucus”), it was a commercial success becoming the #1 movie for four weeks and the highest-grossing movie of that year. The movie received five Academy Awards (including Best Picture and Best Director) and two Golden Globe Awards (for Best Motion Picture and Best Actress).
1904: Dr. Seuss is Born
Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on this day in 1904 and grew up to become a much beloved author and illustrator of 48 books. Over the years, 200 million+ books have been sold and translated into many languages. His first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, was rejected by over 24 publishers before making it into print in 1937. Twenty years later, Geisel’s released his first bestseller, The Cat in the Hat and established the character as a brand for his writing. His last book before his death, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! was published in 1990. Dr. Seuss died September 24, 1991, at age 87. Even after death, the good doctor is still releasing books. The Horse Museum, based on his drawings and a manuscript found in his home, will be published in the fall of 2019.
1933: ‘King Kong’ Clobbers His Way to His Debut
On this day in 1933 Merian C. Cooper’s film, King Kong, premiered in New York City with much applause and even today, Rotten Tomatoes says that it is the greatest horror film of all time. Of course the actual star of the show was the stop-motion animation created by Willis O’Brien that was highlighted by a musical score by Max Steiner. The Library of Congress said of the film that it was “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant” in 1991. It took until 1976 before the film was remade and then again in 2005. In 2017, Legendary Entertainment released Kong: Skull Island which was followed by Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020.
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.