Friday, April 22, 2011

25 Years Ago This Month: April 1986

It turns out April 1986 was a rather uneventful month at the cinema in the United States. The two biggest box office money earners were basically flops. First was Ridley Scott's Legend starring a pre-Top Gun Tom Cruise.

The second was the low-budget creature feature Critters starring Dee Wallace and a teenage Scott Grimes.




If we ignore a forgotten film from 1974 and a nearly forgotten horror flick called The Hand, Oliver Stone's first important directorial feature was released this month. Salvador stars James Woods as a journalist who travels to El Salvador to document the 1980 civil war and becomes entangled with both the guerrillas and the right-wing military.



Completely forgotten to all but the die-hard cult fans is Crimewave, an early career B-movie directed by Sam Raimi (the Spider Man films) and written by the Coen brothers.

On the 8th Clint Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel, CA.
On the 26th Arnie became a Kennedy by marrying JFK's niece, Maria Shriver.

Non-movie events:

5th - A terrorist bomb in a West Berlin disco killed two American servicemen and a Turkish woman and also injured hundreds more. It is widely presumed the La Belle disco was targeted because it was frequented by American servicemen, 79 of whom were injured in the explosion. A connection was made to Qadaffi's government in Libya and President Reagan ordered air strikes, killing Qadaffi's 15-month old adopted daughter. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the Stasi files were made public and evidence was found that eventually led to the arrests and convictions of 5 suspects.

11th - Halley's Comet made it's closest approach to earth during this once-every-75-years orbit. My family dragged me to the beach in the middle of the night to see a whole lot of nothing. Now I have to wait until i'm 83 years old to see it.

17th - IBM introduced the very first megabit chip. How quaint.

A pregnant woman unwittingly attempted to carry a bag with explosives onto an El Al flight from London to Tel Aviv. Her fiance, a Jordanian named Nezar Hindawi, had given her the bag which carried the bomb, unbeknownst to her. He sent her to meet his family ahead of their marriage, claiming she should go first without him because it would take him longer to get a visa. Remember this story when they ask you if anyone else packed your bags and you lie knowing that your wife or husband packed part of it.

20th - In his second year as a professional, Michael Jordan scored 63 points in Game 2 of the 1st round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Celtics, a record that still stands today (for a playoff game). It's worth noting that the game went to two OTs and the Bulls lost both that game and the series.

21st - An incredible live TV event: Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone's secret vault beneath the Lexington Hotel in Chicago to find...absolutely nothing. America learns the meaning of anti-climax. Rivera's name becomes synonymous with hack journalist.

26th - Chernobyl

29th - Roger Clemens struck out 20 Seattle Mariners in nine innings (first time that mark was set) at Fenway. The feat has only been accomplished 3 times since - by Kerry Wood, Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens again!

Birthdays

3rd - Some actress I'm completely unfamiliar with - Amanda Bynes - turned 25 earlier this month.
9th - Leighton Meester, co-star of last year's Country Strong.
18th - Maurice Edu, USA World Cup squad member and Glasgow Rangers midfielder.

Deaths

13th - Stephen Stucker, who played Johnny, the control room funny man in Airplane!, died of AIDS-related complications.
23rd - director Otto Preminger, an Austrian Jew who fled the country in 1935. He continually challenged taboos and the Hays Production Code on several occasions, including his refusal to cut the words 'virgin' and 'pregnant' from the comedy The Moon is Blue. He tackled controversial subjects such as heroin addiction (The Man with the Golden Arm) and rape (Anatomy of a Murder). And he directed Laura, one of the classics of film noir.
26th - actor Broderick Crawford, who won an Oscar playing Willie Stark in All the King's Men.

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