March 5, 2020
Day 65 of 366
March 5th is the sixty-fifth day of the year. It is St. Piran’s Day, a national day of Cornwall, observed in honor of the patron saint of tin miners.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Absinthe Day, National Cheese Doodle Day, National Multiple Personality Day, and National Hospitalist Day. The last one is typically observed on the first Thursday in March.
Historical items of note:
- In 1616, Nicolaus Copernicus’s book On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres was added to the Index of Forbidden Books. This was done 73 years after the book was first published.
- In 1770, the Boston Massacre occurred. Five Americans, including Crispus Attucks, were fatally shot by British troops. This event would contribute to the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War five years later.
- In 1853, Howard Pyle was born. An American author and illustrator, he wrote The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood in 1883.
- In 1868, Arrigo Boito’s opera Mefistofele premiered at La Scala in Milan, Italy.
- In 1874, Henry Travers was born. He portrayed Clarence Odbody in 1946’s It’s a Wonderful Life.
- In 1908, actor Rex Harrison was born.
- In 1933, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party received 43.9% of the vote at the Reichstag elections. This allowed the Nazis to later pass the Enabling Act and establish a dictatorship.
- In 1934, actor James B. Sikking was born.
- In 1936, actor Dean Stockwell was born.
- In 1943, Britain’s first combat jet aircraft – the Gloster Meteor – underwent its first flight.
- In 1946, Winston Churchill coined the phrase “Iron Curtain” in his speech at Westminster College, Missouri.
- In 1969, actor Paul Blackthorne was born.
- In 1970, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons went into effect after ratification by 43 nations.
- In 1989, actor Jake Lloyd was born.
In 1970, the film Airport premiered.
The film, directed and written by George Seaton, was based on Arthur Hailey’s 1968 novel of the same name. It was produced on a $10 million budget and made over $100 million, sparking the 1970s disaster film genre that brought us The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, The Hindenburg, Black Sunday, and so many more titles. It even surpassed Spartacus as the biggest moneymaker for Universal Pictures.
Starring Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin, the film is about an airport manager trying to keep the Lincoln International Airport open during a snowstorm. Meanwhile, a suicide bomber plots to destroy a Boeing 707 while in flight. It focuses on day-to-day operations at the airport while intertwining personal stories and life-changing decisions.
Filming took place at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Internation Airport, but the weather was non-cooperative so the production team had to rely on artificial snow to tell their story. It was the final film scored by the legendary Alfred Newman, resulting in a posthumous Academy Award nomination for him, the most received by a composer at that time.
It also spawned three sequels in the era of disaster films – Airport 1975, Airport ’77, and The Concorde… Airport ’79 – of which only the first two were box office hits. The series was later parodied by the 1980 cult classic Airplane!
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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