This Date In Movie History: December 17th

December 17th, what more can I say? Maybe it’s because it’s near the end of the year, but there’s all kinds of good stuff about December 17th.

First, the birthdays:

    Milla Jovovich, the first lady of zombie movies, was born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1975

    Giovanni Ribisi, whose father’s name is Gay, was born in 1974

    Writer/director/producer/editor/cinematographer Gregg Araki was born in 1959

    Rhode Island-obsessed director Peter Farrelly was born in 1956

    Penthouse magazine founder Bob Guccione was born in 1930

    Prolific supporting-actor Ernie Hudson was born in 1945

    Cherokee actor Wes Studi was born in 1947

    Bill Pullman, who is somehow often confused with Bill Paxton, was born in 1953

    There were a slew of older movies released on this date that have especially dirty sounding names: The Taint (rereleased 1916); Making a Man (1922); When an Old Maid Gets Busy (1912); Liquid Love (1923); How to Dance the Shag (1937); and No Ifs, Ands or Butts (1954).

    While those just sound dirty, there was one actual dirty movie released in 1972- Behind the Green Door. It was the first time a hardcore pornographic movie got a wide release in the US and kicked off the “Golden Age of Porn.” Emilio Estevez directed a movie about the movie’s producers Jim and Artie Mitchell, titled Rated X. Estevez and Charlie Sheen played the infamous Mitchell Brothers, a role for which Sheen had been preparing his whole life.

    An adaptation of Harriet Beacher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was released in 1913. It was the seventh adaptation of the novel since 1903.

    Disney’s always been keen on the whole money making thing and has never shied away from pimping out their old successes. Disney had rereleases of Fantasia (1969), Lady and the Tramp (1971), and Peter Pan (1982) hit theaters on December 17th.

    Diamonds are Forever (James Bond #7) was released in 1971. It was a box office success and features one of the greatest exchanges of dialog in movie history:

    Plenty O’Toole: Hi, I’m Plenty.
    James Bond: But of course you are.
    Plenty O’Toole: Plenty O’Toole.
    James Bond: Named after your father perhaps.

    Legendary director John Huston had two movies released on this date: the classic adventure The Man Who Would Be King and his final movie, The Dead.

    1982 saw the release of the greatest Muppet movie of all time- The Dark Crystal.

    It’s been five years since The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was released.

    And on a final note, we’ll slip into the future. The Smurfs will finally hit the big screen with a release date of December 17th, 2010 already carved out. Apparently it’s the first of an epic Smurf trilogy. I loved the hell out of the Smurfs when I was a kid and still have 50 or 60 of the little figures packed in a box somewhere. I’m just hoping they don’t smurf it up with toilet humor and pop culture crap.

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