1935: ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ Comes to Theaters
The MGM movie, Mutiny on the Bounty sailed into theaters on this day in 1935. The movie was based on the novel of the same name (by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall) which was based on real-life events. Directed by Frank Lloyd, the film starred Charles Laughton and Clark Gable and also featured James Cagney, David Niven and Dick Haymes in uncredited roles. Although questioned for its historical accuracy, the the film is considers this version of the story one of Hollywood’s best and it won the Best Picture Oscar for that year. The same could not be said for the 1962 remake that starred Marlon Brando, Trevor Howard and Richard Harris. That filmed was panned by critics and lost over $6 million.
1972: The First Pay TV Channel Appears for the First Time
Today there are over 300 streaming services available to choose from, but on this day in 1972, the first and longest continuously operating pay TV service, Home Box Office (better known as HBO) began airing. Originally just a working title, HBO’s first presentation was of the movie, Sometimes a Great Nation that starred Paul Newman and Henry Fonda. It was transmitted to 325 subscribers. Immediately following, HBO aired its first sports event, an NHL hockey game. The network’s first special, Pennsylvania Polka Festival, aired on February 1973. For the first nine years, HBO only aired for nine hours each day. 24-hour programming began in 1981. HBO’s first original movie, The Terry Fox Story premiered in 1983. In 2015, HBO became available on the Internet via the HBO Now streaming service and in May 2020 it was re-branded as HBO Max.
2019: Go Wildcats!
Inspired by Disney’s film series, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series for the Disney+ streaming service is identified as a mockumentary musical drama. It is set at East High School in Salt Lake Utah (where the original movie was filmed) and follows the school’s new drama teacher, Miss Jenn (Kate Reinders) and her desire to present a stage version of the first HSM movie. The second season focused on the kids bringing Beauty and the Beast to life.
The cast of characters include musical theater enthusiast Nini Salazar-Roberts (Olivia Rodrigo), guitarist, skateboarder and former flame of Nini Ricky Bowen (Joshua Bassett), E.J. Caswell (Matt Cornett) and jock theater enthusiast, transfers student Gina Porter (Sofia Wylie), Big Red (Larry Saperstein) the understudy stage manager, feminist Kourtney Greene (Dara Renee), choreographer Carlos Rodriguez (Frankie Rodriguez), STEM teacher Benjamin Mazzara (St. Cyr) and Seb Matthew-Smith (Serafini) who played the role of Sharpay in the first season. (Image Disney+)
1980: Fonzie in Space
Happy Days had been a hit show for ABC since 1974 but in 1980, it received a most unusual spin-off. Debuting on this day, The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang was an animated series which began airing on Saturday mornings also on ABC. Produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and Paramount Television, the cartoon’s premise was that Fonzie, Richie Cunningham and Ralph Malph helped out an alien teenager named Cupcake and somehow got stuck in time with her. Each episode, the group would travel from one era to another traveling in a time machine that resembled a phone booth. Because of this, some have considered the show a knock-off of Doctor Who, but in reality, that booth was the only similarity. Henry Winkler, Ron Howard and Donny Most reprised their roles in animated form along with Didi Conn who played Cupcake and Frank Welker who voiced Fonzie’s dog, Mr. Cool. (Image: Hanna-Barbera)
- 1836: Milton Bradley (founder of Milton Bradley Co.)
- 1847: Bram Stoker (author)
- 1927: Patti Page (singer)
- 1949: Bonnie Raitt (singer)
- 1950: Mary Hart (journalist)
- 1952: Alfre Woodard (actress)
- 1966: Gordon Ramsay (TV chef)
- 1968: Parker Posey (actress)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.