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This Day in Pop Culture for August 4

Oscar Pistorius

2012: First Amputee Competes in the Olympics

On this day in 2012 in London, Oscar Pistorius of South Africa became the first amputee to compete at the Olympics by running in an opening heat of the men’s 400-meter. Pistorius finished second out of five runners and advanced to the semifinals, where he finished eighth out of eight runners. Nicknamed “Blade Runner” because of the J-shaped carbon fiber blades he wears to run, Pistorius inspired people around the world. The future seemed bright for the athlete, but all of that changed in February of 2013 when Pistorius was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend. On September 12, 2013, Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide. Pistorius will not be eligible for parole until at least 2023. (Image: Wikimedia)

(Wikimedia)

1942: ‘Holiday Inn’ Premieres in New York

Ever wonder why the hotel chain, Holiday Inn, chose that name? It was inspired by the Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire musical, Holiday Inn, which premiered at the New York Paramount Theatre on this day in 1942. The movie’s odd plot centers around an inn that is only open on the holidays. Each holiday offered good excuses for the two leads to perform various musical numbers. The film contained 12 songs all written by Irving Berlin including “Easter Parade.” The movie earned an Oscar for Best Original Song (“White Christmas”) and two nominations for Best Score and Best Original Story (which was also written by Berlin). The movie also starred Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale. While the movie has been shown on TV numerous times, one scene has often been edited out. During the song number which appears during the celebration about President Lincoln’s birthday, a blackface minstrel show is incorporated into an act. Holiday Inn is often confused with the 1954 movie White Christmas which was sort of a remake, featured the same song and also starred Crosby. Astaire was also supposed to star in the latter film, but he declined.

Birthdays

  • 1821: Louis Vuitton (fashion designer)
  • 1901: Louis Armstrong (trumpet player)
  • 1955: Billy Bob Thornton (actor)
  • 1961: Barack Obama (44th President of the U.S.)
  • 1981: Meghan Markle (actress)
  • 1992: Cole Sprouse (actor)

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Jeffrey Totey View All

I write about arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.

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