Today is National Coconut Cream Pie Day

Coconuts are good for you. The water from the coconut has traditionally been used when commercial IV solutions of plasma have not been available. Coconut oils accelerate the metabolism. Of course, if you put them in a pie you may not notice the effect.

In case you are asked: The coconut is not a nut. In fact, it isn’t a fruit either. It is a seed!

May 8, 1942 -
(Unusual, for his career), John Huston's second directorial outing, the soap-opera, In This Our Life, starring Betty Davis, Olivia de Havilland, George Brent, and Dennis Morgan, premiered in New York City on this date.

John Huston carried on a torrid affair with Olivia de Havilland during the shoot. Warners studio head Jack L. Warner said, "Anyone could see that . . . it was Valentine's Day on the set . . . When I saw the rushes I said to myself, 'Oh-oh, Bette has the lines, but Livvy is getting the best camera shots'."

May 8, 1943 -
Another Tex Avery masterpiece, Red Hot Riding Hood, was released on this date.

Director Tex Avery was famous for his off the wall cartoons, which were aimed more toward adult audiences than children. Here, however, he pushed the limits of what was considered acceptable, and in several places the film was toned down in order to satisfy the U. S. censors.

May 8, 1946 -
David O. Selznick's very silly but highly entertaining, Duel in the Sun, premiered in New York on this date. (Even if you hate this film, you must watch the ending.)

The film's musical score was the subject of a famous soundstage exchange between producer David O. Selznick and composer Dimitri Tiomkin. After Selznick first heard Tiomkin's love theme, he was visibly disappointed and admonished the composer, "You don't understand. I want real f**king music!" To which Tiomkin angrily replied, "You f**k your way, I f**k my way. F**k you - I quit!" Their differences were eventually patched up, and Tiomkin's music was used in the final film.

May 8, 1958 -
Hammer Studios had its turn at the classics when Horror of Dracula premiered in the US on this date.

The filming of Dracula's destruction included a shot in which Dracula appears to peel away his decaying skin. This was accomplished by putting a layer of red make-up on Christopher Lee's face, and then covering his entire face with a thin coating of mortician's wax, which was then made up to conform to his normal skin tone. When he raked his fingers across the wax, it revealed the "raw" marks underneath.

May 8, 1963 -
The first James Bond film, Dr. No, starring Sean Connery as the MI6 agent 007, premiered in US on this date.

Maurice Binder designed the gun barrel opening at the last minute, by pointing a pinhole camera through a real gun barrel. The actor in the sequence is not Sean Connery, but stuntman Bob Simmons. Connery didn't film the sequence until Thunderball.

May 8, 1970 -
Just shortly after the break up of the Beatles is announced, Apple Records released The Beatles final original album Let It Be, on this date.

Although Let It Be topped album charts in both the US and the UK, and sales were very good, the album did not receive good reviews and has been hotly debated over it overly produced Phil Spector embellishments.

May 8, 1976 -
John Sebastian's theme song to the TV series Welcome Back, Kotter, Welcome Back, hits No. 1 on the Billboard Charts on this date.

Since it was written for the TV show, the song was less than a minute long. Viewers loved the song and related to the message about returning to the place where you laughed and your dreams were born. It became clear that there was demand for a full-length song, so Sebastian wrote a second verse and it was released as a single. Although the song does not have the word "Kotter" anywhere in the lyrics or title, the first pressings of the single were released as "Welcome Back, Kotter," to make sure everyone connected the song with the TV show.

May 8, 1984 -
Joanie (Erin Moran) and Chachi (Scott Baio) tied the knot (finally) on Happy Days, on this date.

The comedy series, starring Henry Winkler, Tom Bosley and Marion Ross (Ron Howard and Anson Williams had already left the show), was winding down in its final season on ABC-TV.

May 8, 2010
On a Mother’s Day-themed episode, the 88-year old Betty White, more than 70 years in show business, six Emmy Award winning actress, hosted Saturday Night Live, thanks to a push by fans on Facebook.

Unusual for a host, Betty White appeared in every sketch, including the cold open, Weekend Update and prerecorded shorts. She won her seventh Emmy for her appearance.

Word of the Day

Today in History:
On May 6, 1758, Maximilien-Francois-Marie-Isidore de Robespierre was born (this is not the Today in History fact but follow along, we'll get to it). Even in the revolutionary context of his age, Mr. Robespierre stands out as one of the most revolting figures in history.

M. Robespierre fought valiantly to help revolutionary France achieve liberty, fraternity and equality but inadvertently caused an unfortunate turn of weather known as the "rain of terror."

At first this rain caused only French loyalists to lose their heads, but M. Robespierre's egalitarian convictions led him to conclude that citoyens from all walks of life should lose theirs as well. The celebrated chemist Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, for example, was beheaded on May 8, 1794 for having identified oxygen, which people mistakenly thought to be one of the noble gases.

M. Robespierre ended up losing his own head on the guillotine; this was called poetic justice by some Frenchmen and irony by others. This disagreement eventually produced the Napoleonic Age, in which soldiers had to crawl on their stomachs until Napoleon was disabled by the sight of Elba.

May 8, 1877 -
The First Annual New York Bench Show of Dogs, given under the auspices of the Westminster Kennel Club, was held on this date at Gilmore's Garden (the forerunner of Madison Square Garden) in New York City, drawing an entry of 1,201 dogs.

The Westminster Show is second only to the Kentucky Derby, in terms of continuously held sporting events in the United States. (Both events were held despite the Great Depression, World War, and pandemic years.) . It proved so popular that it took four days instead of the three days originally scheduled. The club donated proceeds from the fourth day to the ASPCA for creation of a home for stray and disabled dogs.

May 8, 1886 -
John Stith Pemberton was druggist and drug addict in North Carolina, plagued by his morphine addiction. Pemberton began work on a coca and cola (kola) nut beverage. It was intended to stop headaches and calm nervousness, but others insist he was attempting to create beverage to help control his addiction, also afflicting other wounded Confederate veterans (he was shot once and slashed with a saber). At that time, beverages containing coca leaf, which in turn contains cocaine were believed to be helpful in combating dependence on opiates. He began this process at his Columbus laboratory, but soon after the war, moved his entire operation to Atlanta.

He created the formula in a brass kettle in his backyard on May 8th 1886. He instructed his assistant, Venable, to mix it with ice water and chill it. They drank it, and both loved it (of course they did - who wouldn't love a drink with cocaine in it). But then Venable accidentally mixed it with carbonated water. They decided to sell it as a fountain drink, as an alternative for root beer and ginger ale.

Pemberton's bookkeeper, Frank Mason Robertson suggested that they name it Coca Cola for the Coca leaves and Kola (cola) nuts in it. Indeed, Coca-Cola was originally advertised (in part) as a cure for morphine addiction.

Oh, for the original formula.

May 8, 1912 -
Paramount Pictures is the second oldest-running movie studio in Hollywood (second only to Universal Pictures, which was founded eight days earlier). Paramount traces its history back to this date, when it was originally founded as Famous Players Film Company by Hungarian-born Adolph Zukor.

He had been an early investor in nickelodeons (film theaters that cost 5 cents for admission), and saw that movies appealed mainly to working-class immigrants. With partners Daniel Frohman and Charles Frohman, he planned to offer motion pictures that would appeal to the middle class by featuring leading theatrical players of the time (leading to the slogan "famous players in famous plays").

May 8, 1945 -
Let's face it, Harry S. Truman was a bit of a shlub for most of his adult life. He was a failed businessman. He was a minor cog in a a political machine when he was picked to be Senator for his home state, Missouri. Roosevelt picked him to be his Vice President to spite his former Vice President, Henry Wallace, who was thought too liberal. Truman's vice-presidency was relatively uneventful, and contact with the White House was minimal; he was not asked for advice nor informed of major decisions. Truman might have slipped into historical obscurity had Roosevelt not to have a massive stroke and died on April 12, 1945.

Truman's birthday was coming up and Germany, well, the part of it that didn't commit suicide in the bunker or fled to Argentina wanted to give the new President a special gift. So on May 7th, the Chief-of-Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command, General Alfred Jodl, one of the only German's left standing, signed the unconditional surrender documents for all German forces to the Allies.

All active operations were to cease at 23:01 Central European Time on May 8 1945, Truman's 61st birthday.

And what did Jodl get for this special gift - a necktie party at the end of his trial at Nuremberg. It was later learned that Jodl was neither guilty of crimes of war punishable by death under international law, nor of other crimes which would have made him a criminal or abuser of military power.

Oops, that what you get for trying to be nice!

May 8, 1970 -
In front of Federal Hall and under the statue of George Washington, construction workers stormed a student protest against the Vietnam War and the killing of the students at Kent State, on this date. The construction workers chased both students and bystanders through the streets, beating and kicking them; police reportedly looked on and did nothing.

Known as the Hard Hat Riots, it sparked two weeks of protests, counter protests and marches. Around 100 people, including seven policemen, were injured on what became known as "Bloody Friday". Six people were arrested, but only one of them was a construction worker associated with the rioters. President Nixon then invited the hardhat leaders to Washington, D.C., and accepted a hardhat from them.

And so it goes.

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