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October 16 in Nerd History
Here are five things that happened on October 16th for those of us who just do not since there is no try.
Birthdays of honor: Oscar Wilde (1854), Angela Lansbury (1925), Flea (1962), Suzanne Somers (1946), Nico (1938), Bob Weir (1947).
In 1923, 100 years ago today, the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio was founded in Hollywood, California.
Despite the fact that he was still in his early 20s, Walt Disney was already proving to be a bit of a visionary — albeit, his original vision, Laugh-O-Gram Studio, had just gone bankrupt. But critical experience and relationships, including with Ub Iwerks, were forged in that early failure.
Laugh-O-Gram was in Kansas City, but Walt’s brother Roy was in Los Angeles. So Walt decided to move out west and try his luck again — and this time, with the Disney Bros. teaming up, things started to sell. Early wins included a series of shorts inspired by Alice in Wonderland and a series based on a character known as Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. It wasn’t until 1928 that Mickey Mouse would make his first appearance.
Eventually, they’d rename the endeavor to the Walt Disney Company, and it would become one of the most innovative, successful, and influential media companies in history. And this year, a century later, it all culminates with … apparently, mostly Disney100 popcorn buckets being sold at Disneyland.
It’s that time of year when parents of young children start complaining about all the horror movie previews being shown on TV. It’s also the time of year I look in the mirror every morning and dare myself to say a certain word three times — and never get past even one.
Today in 1992 Candyman hit theaters. On the surface there’s not a lot going on here — the premise is that if you look in the mirror and say “Candyman” three times, a dude will show up and start slashing. But this is one of those horror movies that does some nice world building, adding in a touch of fantasy and magical realism, and in the end those only serve to make the whole thing creepier.
Plus, there’s a lot of bees.
If you’re looking for some good scares as Halloween season ramps up, this is one to look to.
Of course, you could also opt for a movie that came out on the same day but in 1998, Bride of Chucky.
This one may not provide the same level of scares and spooks as some others, but it sure as hell delivers on the cheese. Starring Jennifer Tilly in a performance widely regarded by horror fans as one of the all-timers for a cheeseball slasher like Bride, the fourth installment in the Chucky film franchise definitely borders on self-referential parody. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Another great one to add to this watchlist this month.
Today is the day the world was supposed to end. Luckily that was back in 1736, so I think we’re safe.
Mathematician and philosopher William Whiston is quite an interesting figure in history. He helped to promote the ideas of Isaac Newton, completed translations of historical texts still in use today, and was a key figure in the development of the Longitude Act (which sought to improve the ability to determine a ship’s longitude at sea, which was a lot harder back in those days).
But he also wrote a book called A New Theory of the Earth, which postulated that all significant changes in Earth’s history, as well as the creation of the planet’s atmosphere, have to do with comets. He held important offices, including succeding Newton as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, but was expelled due to his strange religious views.
And he created a bit of a public panic when he predicted that a comet would hit the Earth and end life as it was known on October 16, 1736. So today, we celebrate another October 16 passing by without a comet destroying us all.
Perhaps it was no coincidence that 53 years after the founding of Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, “Disco Duck” by Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots hit number one in 1976. It essentially asks the question of what a disco song featuring Donald Duck would be like, but in a legally ambiguous enough way so as to not spur a lawsuit.
Billed as a satirical disco novelty song, Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots now hold the dubious distinction of writing the last novelty song to hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
In other news
We’re on the road this week and won’t be able to provide news quickly enough, so instead, here’s a random news-related gif. We’ll be back to it soon!
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Ten of the cheesiest horror movies from the ’90s
One of the biggest challenges here isn’t so much finding cheesy horror movies that were released from 1990-99, it’s narrowing it the hell down. The ‘90s ushered in an era of direct-to-video and made-for-TV horror that saw channels like Syfy intentionally carry low budgets that encouraged cheese.
With that in mind, the movies on this list are for theatrical releases only. Otherwise, we’d be here for a while and I’d have a lot of crappy movies to catch up on.
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