Birthdays April 30
Cloris Leachman..April 30, 1926-2021
American actress and comedienne.
Cloris was born in Des Moines, Iowa. Her father worked at the family owned Leachman Lumber Company. She was one of three daughters one of which was an actress and singer. After winning a scholarship in the Miss America pageant, (placing in the top 16) Leachman studied acting at the Actors Studio in NYC.
She had been cast for the original run of “South Pacific” and also played Katherine Hepburn’s co-star in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”, joined the original Broadway cast of “The Crucible” in 1953 and continued a career on stage.
She appeared in many live television broadcasts in the 50’s and made her major film debut in “Kiss Me Deadly” directed by Robert Aldrich in 1955. She continued to work in television with appearances on Rawhide, The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Gunsmoke, and Lassie to name a few….then on to The Mary Tyler Moore Show for five years as well as her own spinoff series.
Cloris was nominated 22 times for Primetime Emmy Award with 8 wins mainly for The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Leachman starred in 73 films and made many television appearances.
Kiss Me Deadly…1955
The Last Picture Show…1971..she won Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Young Frankenstein..1974…film nominated for Best Writing and Best Sound Academy Awards
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid…1969..film won 3 AA awards…Best Original Score, Screenplay and Cinematography
Castle in the Sky…(animated) 1986 (played Dola the captain of a band of air pirates in the mystical floating city Laputa)
- Allen Hyneck….May 1, 1910-1986
American astronomer, professor and ufologist.
Josef Allen Hyneck was born in Chicago. He received degrees from the University of Chicago, Yerkes University, and Ohio State University. He specialized in the study of stellar evolution and the identification of spectroscopic binary stars.
He was a civilian scientist, and a professor and had the assignment of directing the tracking of an American space satellite as part of “Operation Moonwatch” in the late 50’s. He was also contacted to act as a consultant to “Project Sign”….to study UFO reports and decide whether the phenomena was known astronomical objects.
He was skeptical of UFO reports and described it as a fad that would soon pass. He later changed his attitude as he said one of the main reasons for his change of heart was the completely negative attitude of the Air Force, “that they wouldn’t give UFOs a chance of existing, even if they were flying up and down the street in broad daylight. I began to resent it”. Quite a few instances military pilots (very well trained) reported sightings, “I first began to think that, ….well, maybe there was something to all of this.”
He stayed with Project Sign as it became Project Grudge then on to Project Blue Book. Hyneck began to disagree publicly with the conclusions of Blue Book in the 60’s as to the Portage County UFO Chase (when police officers chased ufos for half an hour) and the Lonnie Zamora case in Socorro, New Mexico.
In 1978 Hyneck presented a statement on UFOs before the United Nations General Asssembly on behalf of himself and ufologist and astronomer Jacques Vallee.
Hyneck published the “Close Encounter scale” that better cataloged UFO sightigs and served as consultant to Steven Spielberg for the filming of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and even made a cameo appearance.
Hyneck’s original Close Encounter Scale
1st visual sighting of UFO
2nd physical trace left behind
3rd encountering an entity
Hyneck oversaw the design of the camouflage effect for the movie Predator and won AA award for Best Visual Effects for film “What Dreams May Come” 1998…based on the book by Richard Matheson starring Robin Williams.
Duke Ellington….April 29, 1899-1974
Edward Kennedy Ellington was an American composer, pianist and orchestra leader.
Duke was born in Washington DC to two pianists. He started taking piano lessons at 7 years old. His childhood friends began calling him “Duke” because of his offhand manner and dapper dress.
He was born a musician but loved baseball. His first job was selling peanuts at Washington Senators’ baseball games. In 1914 while working as a soda jerk at the Poodle Dog Café he wrote his first composition the “Soda Fountain Rag”. He created the piece by ear as he had not yet learned to write and read music.
He continued listening to, watching and imitating ragtime pianists. With guidance of band leader Oliver Perry he learned to read and write sheet music, projected a professional style and improved his technique. Duke started to play gigs in cafes and clubs around Washington DC.
He worked as a freelance sign painter as well as a messenger job with the US Navy and State Departments as he began assembling musical groups to play for dances. His first professional group was “The Duke’s Serenaders” and made 75 cents his first performance in 1917.
In time his groups did clubs in Harlem and Atlantic City and he made 8 records in 1924. His group increased to 11 pieces and performed regular engagements at Harlem’s Cotton Club as well as the radio broadcasts from that club giving Duke national exposure. The orchestra traveled to England, Scotland and Paris.
Some members of his band stayed with the orchestra for decades. Ellington wrote more than one thousand compositions, many of his pieces have become standards. Some of his popular songs are “It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Aint Got That Swing”, “Sophisticated Lady”, and “Satin Doll”. He recorded for most American record companies of his era, performed in and scored several films and composed a handful of stage musicals.
A problem is a chance for you to do your best.
Gray skies are just clouds passing over.
The artist must say it without saying it.
There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.
People do not retire. They are retired by others.
Ellington won several Grammy Awards as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969.
Daniel Day-Lewis…April 29, 1957
Daniel was born in London and attended boarding school where he was introduced to his primary interests woodworking, acting and fishing.
He made his film debut at age 14 in “Sunday Bloody, Sunday” which he played a vandal destroying parked cars..uncredited. He excelled on stage at the national Youth Theatre in London and applied for a five year apprenticeship as a cabinet maker and was turned down for lack of experience but was accepted at a theatre school.
In the 80’s he worked in theatre and television for BBC and picked up small parts in film. His first big role was in “My Beautiful Laundrette” in 1985. He and his other young British actor friends of the time such as Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Tim Roth were dubbed the “Brit Pack”.
He went on to star in “My Left Foot” which won him the AA award for Best Actor in 1989. He continued in films then took a three year break from acting on screen and returned with Martin Scorsese for “Gangs of New York” in 2002 and is noted to have stayed in character between takes. At one point he had been diagnosed with pneumonia he refused to wear a warmer coat as it was not in keeping with the time period.
Daniel starred in over 23 movies. He won three AA awards:
Lincoln.. 2013…Best Actor
There Will Be Blood..2008…Best Actor
My Left Foot…1990…Best Actor
Short list of films
My Beautiful Launderette…1985
A Room With A View..1985
My Left Foot..1989
The Last of the Mohicans..1992
Gangs of New York…2002..Martin Scorsese
There Will Be Blood…2007…Paul Thomas Anderson (father Ernie Anderson…Gouldardi)
Phantom Thread…2017…Paul Thomas Anderson
Special Holidays….April 30
International Jazz Day…brings together communities, schools, historians and enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate jazz and its roots ending Jazz Appreciation Month. The United Nations General Assembly formally proclaimed “International Jazz Day” in 2012.
National Mr. Potato Head Day..On April 30, 1952 Hasbro’s “Mr. Potato Head” became the first toy advertised on television. Mr. Potato Head was originally called “Funny Face Man”. The toy includes several parts that you can stick in a real potato or the plastic one in the kit.
National Oatmeal Cookie Day…recognizes a delicious and nutritious cookie. They have been around since the 1880’s. They are an excellent source of iron and fiber. Reduces the risk of heart disease and lowers cholesterol and is low in fat and calories.
National Bugs Bunny Day…commemorates the date the famous bunny made his first appearance in a film…. in 1938. He appeared in Loony Tunes and Merrie Melodies by Warner Bros. and was created by Leon Schlesinger Productions. Mel Blanc was the voice for Bugs Bunny for over 50 years.
National Arbor Day…celebrate trees. The first Arbor Day took place toward the start of the 1870’s. Trees are sometimes called the “lungs of the earth” because they absorb pollutants through their leaves and filter contaminants in the air and also produce oxygen through photosynthesis.
On This Day
On May 1, 1957 “The Deadly Mantis” was released in Los Angeles. Starred William Hopper (Perry Mason’s Paul Drake as well as son of colomnist Hedda Hopper), produced by William Alland, directed by Nathan Juran (20 Million Miles to Earth, The Brain From Planet Arous, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, First Men in the Moon).
A 200 ft. by 40 ft. paper mache model of a mantis with wingspan of 150 ft. was fitted with a hydraulic system to create the special effects. Two smaller models were also built. Shots of a real praying mantis were used for the scene which the deadly mantis climbs the Washington Monument.
The Deadly Mantis received mostly negative reviews at the time as it was thought to be a ripoff of the film “Them”.