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This month in film history: July

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Posted: Saturday, June 30, 2012 12:37 pm

1, 1948  Dore Schary agreed to become head of production at foundering MGM Studios after resigning the previous day.

    2, 1953  The beautiful, talented, and tragic Patricia Neal married British author Roald Dahl who wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

    3, 1897  The first cinema drama filmed in Sweden, Slagsmal i Gamla Stockholm, a story of two Seventeenth Century cavaliers fighting over the same girl, directed by Ernest Florman and produced by Numa Handels, was released in the nation's capital.

    4, 1985  The first feature film shot in black and white to be converted to full color, the 1942 film Yankee Doodle Dandy, the film bio of George M. Cohan starring James Cagney, was released by MGM. Most critics consider colorization of someone else's work to be an abomination.

    5, 1948  The lifeless body of Carole Landis, who had committed suicide by taking sleeping pills, was found by her former lover Rex Harrison.

    6, 1956  John Ireland, who had been nominated for an Oscar for 1949's All the King's Men, distraught after hitting second wife Joanne Dru two days earlier, took an overdose of sleeping pills and was admitted to the same hospital in which his wife was recovering.

    7, 1952  The beautiful Arlene Dahl, wearing the lingerie she had designed, graced the cover of Life Magazine. As an unknown, she earlier had modeled for the Sears Roebuck catalogue.

    8, 1955  The cast and crew of Giant left for Marfa, Texas to begin filming the George Stevens epic. Stevens worked in comedy for Hal Roach in the silent days and became a director of successful A pictures in the 1930s such as Alice Adams and Gunga Din. His best fims of the '40s were The More the Merrier and I Remember Mama, and in the '50s he would make the classics A Place in the Sun, and Shane. He was born in 1904 in Oakland, and died in 1975.

    9, 2004  Sammy McKim died in Burbank at the age of 79.  Born in Vancouver B.C. in 1924 he became the first of his siblings to enter films after his freckled face was spotted by a casting director while he was visiting a film studio. He and his siblings were never stars but they played numerous bits and small parts over the years. Later in life he worked at Disney in the art department.

    10, 1904  At the third Modern Olympic Games in Saint Louis, German film pioneer Oskar Messter shot some films with synchronized soundtrack, using his Biophon system.

    11, 1944  Accompanied by Private Andrew D. Hotchkiss, Jr. of the U.S. Army, Shirley Temple attended the preview of Since You Went Away, in which she played her first grown-up role.

    12, 1979  American International Pictures, founded in 1954 as American Releasing Corporation by James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff, merged with Filmways.

    13, 1971  Panic in Needle Park, a film about drug addition starring Al Pacino and Kitty Winn, opened at the Loew's Tower East in New York. After seeing Pacino in this film, Francis Ford Coppola would choose him to play the role of Michael Corleone in his upcoming The Godfather.

    14, 1987  It was announced that Daily Variety and Variety, owned by the family of Sim Silverman since its founding in 1905, would be sold to the Cahners Publishing Corp., a British firm.

    15, 1964  Hollywood producer and screenwriter Myles Connolley died in Santa Monica at the age of 66. Born in 1897 in Boston, he was associate producer on films such as Hook Line and Sinker, Half Shot at Sunrise, Consolation Marriage and It Happened in Hollywood. He also earned writing credits on more than 20 films including, Wives under Suspicion, Tarzan's New York Adventure, Two Sisters from Boston, Till the Clouds Roll By and State of the Union.

    16, 1982  Cineplex opened its first United States house, a 14-screen Showcase cinema at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles.

    17, 1951  Lucie Arnaz, the daughter of two TV icons, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, was born in Los Angeles.

    18, 1924  Johnny Weissmuller won the 400-meter swimming event at the VIII Summer Games at Paris. He also struck gold in the 100-meter freestyle, and the 4x200 freestyle medley. He would later become Hollywood's most famous Tarzan.

    19, 1948  Our Miss Brooks, starring the acerbic Eve Arden as schoolteacher Connie Brooks, Gale Gordon as principal Osgood Conklin, and Jeff Chandler as science teacher Philip Boynton, premiered on CBS Radio. The show would be successfully switch to TV in 1952 and become one of the first radio-TV vehicles to be turned into a full-length feature on the big screen.

    20, 1915  The Triangle Film Corporation was formed, with its two main talents, D.W. Griffith and Mack Sennett.

    21, 1938  Just as love continued to find pint-sized Mickey Rooney in his stormy life, art imitated life as Love Finds Andy Hardy opened at the Capitol in Los Angeles. This was the fourth in the successful series, and co-starred two teenage actresses by the names of Judy Garland and Lana Turner.

    22, 1957  The beauteous Lana Turner divorced Lex Barker, the tenth movie Tarzan. Turner had been wed to bandleader Artie Shaw and millionaire Bob Topping.

    23, 1936  Walter Wanger arrived at Louis B. Mayer's MGM office to discuss a contract for Charles Boyer. Mayer asked if rumors were true that Wanger, who would be line producer on the Boyer film, had an under-the-table profit sharing deal with the French actor who was asking for $12,000 a week. Wanger denied the charge. Mayer knew he was lying and clobbered him on the jaw, knocking him to the floor. Mayer broke his fist with the punch and the two men staggered to the first aid station.

    24, 1981  While traveling through Stapleton Airport in Denver, actor Peter Fonda was served a summons accusing him of slashing a poster which read: Feed Jane Fonda to the Whales.

    25, 1980  Dressed to Kill, Brian DePalma's homage to Hitchcock, starring Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, and Nancy Allen, opened nationwide.

    26,  1969  Raymond Walburn died in New York City at the age of 81. Born in Plymouth, Indiana in 1887, he was the son of an actress and was primarily a stage actor until his Hollywood career took off after 1934. A favorite of director Preston Sturges, he appeared in Christmas in July, Hail the Conquering Hero, and the Sin of Harold Diddlebock. Best remembered in roles as authority figures, he played politicians or judges with a comical twist.

    27, 1954  The Senate Juvenile Delinquency Subcommittee, headed by Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, issued a report warning the film industry to police itself with regard to violence in cinema, or the government would step in.

    28, 1948  Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, co-starring horror greats Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney, Jr., with Glenn Strange as the Frankenstein Monster, opened at the Criterion in New York.

    29, 1975  The merchandising rights to the names Laurel and Hardy were owned by their widows and not The Hal Roach Studios, decreed a judge in New York.

    30, 1896  The first poem ever to mention cinema was The St. Stephens Music Hall, printed in the British journal Truth. The poem was about the attractions at the establishment, including the new craze, films.

    31, 1987  The Living Daylights, with Timothy Dalton replacing Roger Moore as 007 James Bond, opened at 1,728 theaters nationwide.