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Fatty Arbuckle Scandal 1921 One of the most tragic figures in movie history was Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle. A onetime cabaret singer, Arbuckle was among the most popular actors in silent comedies from 1914 to 1921. Starting as an extra at Keystone Studios, the surprisingly nimble Arbuckle quickly graduated to starring roles in the studio's slapstick comedy films where he was noted for his terrific accuracy in throwing pies and other missiles. Later, like Charlie Chaplin, Arbuckle matured as a performer, adding brilliantly subtle aspects to his comedy routines. A box-office favorite, he was making a seven-figure salary at Paramount Pictures in 1921. Midway through that year Arbuckle was so popular that he was put to work on three feature comedy films simultaneously! Shortly after completing them, Arbuckle's career abruptly ended in scandal. He was accused of sexually assaulting small-time actress Virginia Rappe at a party he was hosting in a suite at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco on Labor Day 1921. Rappe died four days later in a maternity hosptal of peritonitis from a ruptured bladder, presumably caused by the 266-pound Arbuckle forcing himself on her. (There was also an apocryphal story of Rappe being raped with a champagne or cola bottle. How this slanderous story started is anyone's guess.) Rappe had become violently ill and irrational at the party. Arbuckle and several partygoers tried to succor Rappe and eventually moved her to another hotel room where she was examined by three different doctors over the next three days. A postmortem on Rappe's body found no signs of sexual assault whatsoever. In all likelihood Rappe death's was due to medical negligence or malpractice. Moreover, Rappe was hardly the virginal victim that the popular press and D.A.'s office portrayed her to be. The mistress of director Henry Lehrman, Rappe had had at least four abortions by the time she was 16, she had an out-of-wedlock child that she had abandoned, and she was afflicted with gonorrhea. In the summer of 1921 the 26-year-old Rappe, who hadn't had an acting job in two years, recently underwent another illegal abortion. Rappe was also suffering from a chronic illness that was exacerbated by her taste for poor-quality Prohibition booze. The accusations against Arbuckle were based solely on a malicious complaint fabricated by party attendee Maude Delmont, a known extortionist who claimed to be a "lifelong friend" of Rappe's--but had only known Rappe for two days prior to the Labor Day party. Arbuckle was astounded when a horde of reporters descended upon his Hollywood mansion to tell him he was being investigated for rape and possible murder charges in Rappe's death. Beginning in late September, Arbuckle was tried three times for rape and manslaughter in the space of seven months. He spent $700,000 on legal fees to beat the bogus charges. The prosecution's case was absurdly weak and should have been dropped. In fact, complainant Delmont was never called as a witness because her wild story of Arbuckle assaulting Rappe for an hour did not jibe with the physical evidence nor the timeline of events at the party. Nevertheless, the San Francisco D.A.'s office doggedly pursued the charges against Arbuckle because of intense pressure by reformers and moralists. The first two trials resulted in hung juries. At the first trial, Arbuckle fared terrifically when he eagerly took the stand to defend himself. It ended with the jury voting 10-2 in favor of acquittal. One stubborn holdout was a militant feminist so determined to convict Arbuckle that she refused to read any portions of the trial's transcript or listen to other jurors' opinions--to the point of childishly putting her hands over her ears! The second trial, in which Arbuckle's legal team badly advised him not to bother to take the stand because his innocence was obvious, was surprisingly 9-3 in favor of conviction! At the third trial, in April 1922, Arbuckle wisely took the stand. The jury deliberated for a mere six minutes before returning with a not guilty verdict that was loudly cheered by the gallery. Furthermore, the jury also insisted a formal apology to Arbuckle be read into the trials' official transcript. Film historians generally believe Arbuckle was totally innocent of any wrongdoing and was the victim of malicious prosecution. Nevertheless, his acting career abruptly ended because newly appointed Hollywood censorship czar Will Hays banned distributors from showing any Arbuckle comedies despite being acquitted! Although filmdom was deprived of a master comic's work, Arbuckle stayed in movies by directing films under an assumed name. He was just beginning to make an acting comeback--with six two-reel comedie--when died of heart failure in 1933 at age 46. According to Arbuckle biographer David A. Yallop, in an era when Hollywood stars routinely engaged in all sorts of debauchery, Roscoe, ironically, "was probably the most chaste man in Hollywood."
Tags: Roscoe  Fatty  Arbuckle  scandal  1921 
Added: 16th November 2007
Views: 2310
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Posted By: Lava1964
The Twelve Chairs Gorgeous Frank Langella (from Dracula 1979) starred in one of Mel Brooks earlier films. The story goes something like this: An aging ex-nobleman of the Czarist regime has finally adjusted to life under the commissars in Russia. He and the local priest find that the family jewels were hidden in a chair, one of a set of twelve, so they return separately to Moscow to find the hidden fortune. We rented this film because it was the only Mel Brooks movie I hadn't seen. Since I'm a rabid Brooks fan I thought, 'Why not see them all?' It was great!!
Tags: the  twelve  chairs  mel  brooks  frank  langella  dom  delouise  ron  moody  comedy 
Added: 14th April 2008
Views: 1156
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Posted By: Naomi
Romanov Remains Found Nicholas II, the last czar of Imperial Russia, was executed by communist revolutionaries in July 1918. He was murdered along with his wife, son, and four daughters in the basement of a house in Ekaterinburg where they had been under house arrest for several months. The whereabouts of their remains were unkown to anyone until 1979. Only after the Soviet Union collapsed did the outside world know of one mass grave that had been found. By 2007 all the bodies had been accounted for. This 2008 news report tells that modern DNA science was invaluable in the identification process.
Tags: Romanov  remains  czarist  Russia 
Added: 14th November 2013
Views: 626
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Posted By: Lava1964
Black Tom Explosion 1916 Even though the United States was neutral nation in 1916, it was still occasionally affected by acts of war. The most notable to happen on land was the Black Tom explosion on July 30, 1916, in Jersey City, NJ. It was an act of sabotage by German agents to destroy American-made munitions that were to be supplied to the Allies in the First World War. Black Tom was originally a man-made island constructed around a large black rock in New York Harbor that was a well-known hazard to naval navigation. It was eventually connected by the Lehigh Valley Railroad to the mainland and was absorbed into Jersey City. It became a major munitions depot even before the war. Shortly after midnight on July 30, 1916, a series of small fires was discovered on the pier. Some guards tried to fight the fires while others fled, fearing an explosion. They had good reason to fear such a calamity as 2 million pounds of explosives and small arms were stored on Black Tom Island awaiting shipment to Czarist Russia. The feared explosion came; actually there were several explosions. The first and biggest occurred at 2:08 a.m. It had the force of an earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale. Flying fragments caused more than $100,000 in damages to the Statue of Liberty on its gown and torch. (To date, the torch has never been reopened to the public.) Windows 25 miles were shattered and the explosion was felt as far away as Philadelphia. Four people were definitely killed by the blast--including an infant. Some sources claim the fatality total was seven. Blame originally was directed at Black Tom Island watchmen who had lit small smudge-pot fires to drive away mosquitoes, but they were quickly absolved of blame when the true nature of the fires showed obvious evidence of arson. German saboteurs were blamed for the incident which caused $20 million in damages. The Leigh Valley Railroad successfully sued the German government after the war but had no success in collecting any compensation until 1953 when the West German government agreed to pay $95 million. The final payment was made in 1979.
Tags: Black  Tom  Explosion  1916  German  sabotage 
Added: 13th January 2018
Views: 541
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Posted By: Lava1964
Russian Coronation Free Beer Riot - 1896 On Tuesday, May 26, 1896, the elaborate coronation of Czar Nicholas II of Russia occurred in Moscow before an enormous crowd of onlookers. The following day, May 27, to celebrate the new emperor's reign, a massive party was scheduled for the general public. It was to be a large festival with free food, beer, and souvenir cups. The site chosen for the party was Khodynka Field outside Moscow, a venue normally used for military exercises. Khodynka was selected as it was the only place near Moscow large enough to hold the enormous number of citizens who would likely attend. Before the food and drink was handed out, rumors spread that there would not be enough for everyone. As a result, much of the crowd stampeded to get their share. Individuals were tripped and trampled upon. Many hapless onlookers suffocated in the dirt of the field. Of the estimated 100,000 people gathered for the party, 1,389 individuals died and roughly another 1,300 were injured. The Khodynka Tragedy, as it came to be known, was seen as an ill omen for the new czar. Furthermore, the Czar was badly advised to attend a ball on the evening of the catastrophe hosted by the French ambassador to Russia. Nicholas privately wished to observe a period of prayer and mourning for the dead, but his advisors and relatives insisted that he would damage critical Russian-French relations if he did not attend the ball. The decision was seen as callous by many Russian peasants who perceived Nicholas to be frivolous and uncaring toward his subjects.
Tags: Russian  history  Czar  Nicholas  coronation  royalty 
Added: 1st July 2018
Views: 162
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Posted By: Lava1964

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