1953: The First Corvette is Assembled
On this day in 1953, workers at a Chevrolet plant in Flint, Michigan, hand-assembled the first Corvette. Two days later, it rolled off the assembly line. It featured a Polo White exterior and red interior, two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, a wraparound windshield, whitewall tires and detachable plastic curtains instead of side windows. The doors opened from the inside and didn’t have exterior door handles. The designer, Harley J. Earl, wanted to create an American car that could compete with Europe’s MGs, Jaguars and Ferraris, but he also wanted it to be more affordable. The car carried an initial price tag of $3,490 and could go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 11 or 12 seconds. (Image: Wikimedia)
1956: ‘The King and I’ Dance on the Big Screen
The award-winning film The King and I opened in theaters on this day in 1956. Directed by Walter Lang for 20th Century Fox, the movie is based on the stage musical of the same name by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein which in turn was based on the novel, Anna and the King of Siam, by Margaret Landon which was based on the memoirs of the Anna Leonowens who became a school teacher to the children of King Mongkut of Siam back in the early 1860s. The King and I movie starred Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner and was huge hit with fans and critics alike except for those in Thailand where the film was banned (and still is) due to the film’s representations of the king. The movie earned nine Academy Awards nominations and won five for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Music-Scoring of a Musical Picture and Sound Recording. The movie also won two Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture and Best Actress. An animated version of the movie by Warner Bros. was released in 1999 with a lot less fanfare.
- 1926: Mel Brooks (actor)
- 1932: Pat Morita (actor)
- 1942: Frank Zane (bodybuilder)
- 1946: Gilda Radner (actress)
- 1948: Kathy Bates (actress)
- 1966: John Cusack (actor)
- 1971: Elon Musk (designer of SpaceX)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.