2001: Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Moulin Rouge!’ Debuts
Described as an “Australian–American jukebox musical romantic comedy film,” Moulin Rouge! debuted in American theaters on this day in 2001. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the movie starred Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman in her first singing role. The film was set in 1899 Paris, was loosely based on the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice and featured modern pop music that ranged from “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” to “Rhythm of the Night” to “Your Song.” Although most of the production went on without a hitch, it was reported the Kidman injured her ribs during one of the dance sequences and actually broke a rib while getting into a corset trying to achieve an 18-inch waist. Moulin Rouge! was nominated for eight Oscars including Best Picture, the first musical to do so in ten years following Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast. However, Luhrmann was not nominated for Best Director. The film only won two for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design.
2008: Universal Studios is on Fire
Talk about your bad days. On this day in 2008, a worker at Universal Studios Hollywood in Studio City, California was using a blowtorch to warm up some asphalt shingles that were to applied to a façade. However, when he was finished with the project, he left the shingles without checking to see if all of the spots had cooled. They hadn’t. This resulted in a three-alarm fire which wasn’t put out for another 24 hours. This fire destroyed three acres of the studio’s backlot tour which included “New York Street,” “New England Street” and the attraction known as “King Kong Encounter.” Not only that, but it is believed that between 40,000 and 50,000 archived digital video and film copies were destroyed along with 118,000 to 175,000 audio master tapes belonging to Universal Music Group which were located in Building 6197. These tapes had contained unreleased recordings from various artists.
1980: 24-Hour News
Cable News Network begins broadcasting.
1890: Adding Machine
The U.S. Census Bureau uses Herman Hollerith’s tabulating machine to count census returns.
2009: Run Down Cars
General Motors files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy – the fourth largest in U.S. history.
- 1926: Andy Griffith (actor)
- 1926: Marilyn Monroe (actress)
- 1937: Morgan Freeman (actor)
- 1973: Heidi Klum (fashion designer)
- 1974: Alanis Morissette (singer)
- 1981: Amy Schumer (actress)
- 1996: Tom Holland (actor)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.