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Release of Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein

Contributed by Andy "CandyGram4Mongo"

Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein are 2 Mel Brooks movies that defined an era in comedy for many people born in the late 1950s and early 1960s. At a time when standup acts such as Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce had started trending towards shock humor, these 2 Mel Brooks movies were an ode to clean humor that incorporated brash political incorrectness, subtle innuendo, physical humor reminiscent of Vaudeville, and perfectly timed delivery by masters of their trade.

Classic quotes from Blazing Saddles would be pilloried in today's Politically Correct world, but still bring a smile to many faces:

  • "The sheriff's a ni.. I said the sheriff's a ni.."
  • "One wrong move and the ni55er gets it"
  • "It's twue... it's twue!!!"
  • "Somebody's going to have to go back for a sh^tload of dimes"
  • "Wheya de whyt wimmen at?"

Similarly, Young Frankenstein was the most amazing black-and-white comedy for decades, particularly for anyone who had seen all of the Bela Lugosi movies.

At a point where the US was just starting to reconcile the chaos and animosity following the Vietnam War and its associated counter-culture movement, these 2 movies came out that had laughs (and jeers) for everyone, lampooning 2 genres of films that nearly all Americans could relate to - Westerns and Horror.

Furthermore, these 2 movies and Monty Python and the Holy Grail have become the most-quoted films among the now gray-haired community of Information Technology professionals.

For preppers whose plan includes "Comfort Food", board games, and other tools to help everyone maintain an even keel when SHTF, these 2 titles may be worth having available to break the tension.

The Heir to the Hearst Fortune has been Kidnapped! Sort Of

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

As a child, Patty Hearst, would play amongst the statues at Hearst Castle. Today, the family fortune is smaller, but it is still a hefty amount. Patty is now 19 years old, living with her fiancé in a 4-plex in Berkeley. There is a knock at the door, shots are fired and the heir to the Hearst fortune is kidnapped. The kidnappers identify themselves as the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). They want peace and harmony NOW, or they'll blow your head off. Yep. They are Maoists. The SLA demands that the Hearst family donate a weeks worth of groceries to every poor person in California. They can't do it, although they do establish a food bank. Months later the SLA robs a bank. The bank video shows Patty Hearst. She has renamed herself Tania, and she is holding an M1 carbine. Her picture becomes the icon for the 1970s. Eventually, she is taken into custody and put on trial. Her defense is that she was brainwashed. This is not a proper legal defense, so she is sentenced to 7 years in prison. Yet another rich girl finds that the world can be an unforgiving place no matter how much money her daddy makes. [1]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
President Jimmy Carter commuted Patty Hearst's sentence to time served. At that point it was 22 months. The idea of Stockholm syndrome was not fully appreciated at the time. Later, President Clinton pardoned her. Is there really such a thing as brainwashing? Not really, but it is possible to bully people through physical stress, threats and indoctrination. I don't know if this really happened to Patty, but it seems reasonable to think so. Patty has returned to her life. She married a policeman, one of the security detail that guarded her while she was out on bond. He has since passed away. Now she writes, takes small parts in movies and raises dogs. Life goes on.

World War 2 is still raging

Contributed by Southpaw Ben

In 1974, the last two known Japanese holdouts from World War 2 surrendered. The first was Second Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda, an intelligence officer. Given orders in 1945 that under no circumstances was he to surrender or to take his own life. Originally living with 3 other soldiers, they saw a leaflet announcing that the war was over in October 1945, and another one with written orders from their general to surrender as the war was over, however, they examined the leaflet and decided that it was not a genuine order, so they continued to holdout and wage minor guerrilla actions. In 1949, one of the group left and surrendered, causing the other three to be even more careful to avoid detection. In 1954, one of the remaining three soldiers was killed in a shootout with police, and Onoda's final compatriot was killed by police in 1972. In 1974, Norio Suzuki went looking for Onoda, and told him how the war had ended, but Onoda still refused to surrender until he was given orders by a superior officer. Returning with a picture of himself and Onoda, Suzuki had the Japanese government locate Onoda's commanding officer Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, who was flown to the Philippines, where he ordered Onoda to surrender. Upon his surrender, he turned over his sword, his Arisaka type 99, which was still functional, 500 rounds of ammunition, several hand grenades, and a dagger that his mother gave him to kill himself with if he was captured. The second holdout to surrender in 1974 was also the last holdout from World War 2. Private Teruo Nakamura was originally with a band of other holdouts, he parted ways with them in 1956, when he went off and constructed a small hut with a 20 meter by 30 meter field fenced in around it. He was discovered accidentally by a pilot, and was finally arrested on December 27, and was sent to a hospital in Jakarta.[2][3]

My Take by Southpaw Ben
When one looks at Japanese soldiers from World War 2, one can't help but to admire their determination and obedience, even if you disagree with their motives behind fighting or Japan's reason for participating in World War 2 in general. It's also interesting to compare the receptions of Onoda and Nakamura returning from holding out. Onoda, a ethnically​ Japanese officer, was greeted with much fanfare, while Nakamura, who was merely a private and born in Tiawan, had a much less enthusiastic reception.

CONTACT! Sending a Message to the Stars without Waiting for a Reply

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

At 1,000 feet across, the Arecibo Observatory is the largest radio telescope in the world. It was originally built to detect incoming ballistic missiles and to conduct experiments in radio astronomy. The dish just sits there reflecting radio energy across a range while the radar detector hanging above it is moved around to intercept the desired part of that range. It's an innovative design, so the designer is granted a patent along with another fellow named William J. Casey. (Yes. He will become the director of the CIA in another 7 years. Imagine that.) But on the scientific front, "El Radar" needs more frequency range. Thus, the wire mesh has been replaced by metal plates. Nobel Prizes are in someone's future, but to test the new equipment and to commemorate the event in pomp and ceremony, a radio message is sent to the stars. Which stars? Just pick one! Since a massive cluster of stars in the constellation Hercules is in position, they decide to send the message there, 25,000 light years away. This is not a serious attempt to communicate, but make a note in your diary. In 50,000 years, start listening for a reply. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
What kind of knucklehead would send a message that could not possibly get a reply until 50,000 years later? That knucklehead would be Carl Sagan, the author of "Contact". I'm not going to beat up on Carl too much. The boss was watching and he had to do something, but sending messages to the stars in general suffer from several limitations.

1. It takes a freakishly long time to get a reply (if any).

2. No one may be listening at the time the message reaches them, or if they are listening, they may be long gone by the time we receive their reply.

The mostly likely scenario is that they NEVER reply because they NEVER existed in the first place. We are the first. Scientists resist that scenario and rightly so. Science has been misled by the assumption that we are the center of the universe, the apex of God's creation and stuff like that. I'm a religious guy, so I'm happy to concede that God created us. If He created someone before us, they are sure taking their sweet time letting us know about it. In fact, if they exist at all it should have already happened. Since it hasn't happened, my bet is that we are the first, and we need to act that way instead of waiting around for the aliens to show up to make things better... or to eat us. I'm just saying. [9] [10]

Notable Births

  • Chris Kyle (died 2013, age 38 shot by a man with PTSD): He remains the most lethal sniper in American military history. [11] [12]
  • Kari Byron: Mythbusters team member. [11]
  • Kate Moss: Supermodel. She looks like she is on heroin. "Heroin chic" was in style. [11] [13] [14]
  • In Movies....: Christian Bale (Batman Begins), Joaquin Phoenix (Her), Amy Adams (The Arrival) and Leonardo DiCaprio. [11]
  • In Comedy....: Jimmy Fallon and Seth Green (the voice of "Chris" on Family Guy). [11] [15]

This Year in Film

  • Death Wish: Charles Bronson plays a man seeking revenge against hoodlums for the death of his wife. [16]
  • In Comedy...: Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and The Longest Yard. [16]
  • Disaster films...: Airport 1975, The Towering Inferno and Earthquake. (The theater shakes.--alexshrugged) [16]

This Year in TV

  • Happy Days: with Ron Howard. [17]
  • Little House on the Prairie: with Michael Landon. [17]
  • Nova: The science show on PBS. [17]
  • The Rockford Files: Tongue-in-cheek detective show with James Garner. [17]

This Year in Music

  • Money: Pink Floyd. (They seem a little negative on capitalism.--alexshrugged) [18] [19]
  • Kung Fu Fighting: Carl Douglas. Heard in the movie Kung Fu Panda. [20] [19]
  • Waterloo: ABBA. And in the musical Mamma Mia. [21] [22] [19]
  • Smokin' in the Boys Room: Brownsville Station. "Now, teacher, don't you fill me up with your rules..." [23] [19]
  • Hooked on a Feeling: Blue Swede. And in the movie, Guardians of the Galaxy'. "Hey. The Galaxy Won't Save Itself". [24] [25] [19]

This Year in Video Games

  • The first video game magazine is published: Play Meter focuses on arcade games. [26]
  • Auto racing games are introduced: Gran Trak 10 is the 1st. Speed Race features collision detection. That is, when you run into something the game realizes it. (There were no hardware graphics chips helping you out, guys. It's math and it's hard to do.--alexshrugged (an early video game programmer)) [26]
  • NASA creates the first "first-person-shooter" game: Maze War. (With the Apollo program in mothballs, NASA has a lot of free time on its hands.--alexshrugged). [26]

In Other News

  • Show me the money!: Congress visits the gold in Fort Knox. As of this writing it will also be the last time. [27] [28] [29]
  • President Nixon resigns: Serious calls for impeachment after the Watergate coverup forces him out of office. (Looking at what Bill Clinton did, Nixon must be spinning in his grave.--alexshrugged) [30]
  • President Gerald Ford pardons Nixon: (I thought he was innocent. What does an innocent guy need with a pardon? This does not go over well with the voting public. Hello Jimmy Carter.--alexshrugged) [30]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1974, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Berkeley Historical Plaque Project – Hearst, Patty – Kidnapping. Retrieved on 31 March 2017. “In 1974, 19-year-old UC student Patty Hearst, granddaughter of California publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped from the Benvenue Avenue apartment she shared with her fiancé. Witnesses fled as the kidnappers fired guns while locking the struggling, blindfolded Hearst into the trunk of their car. Worldwide media attention focused on Berkeley.”
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroo_Onoda
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teruo_Nakamura
  4. Arecibo Observatory - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 31 March 2017. “Although the present configuration is substantially the same as the original drawings by George and Helias, (though with three towers instead of the original four), the U.S. Patent office granted Helias a patent,[18] for the brothers' innovative idea. Another assignee on the patent, William J. Casey, later became director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Ronald Reagan.”
  5. William J. Casey - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 31 March 2017.
  6. Arecibo message - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 31 March 2017. “Since it will take nearly 25,000 years for the message to reach its intended destination (and an additional 25,000 years for any reply), the Arecibo message is viewed as a demonstration of human technological achievement, versus a real attempt to enter into a conversation with extraterrestrials. In fact, the core of M13, to which the message was aimed, will no longer be in that location when the message arrives.”
  7. Cornell News: Arecibo message anniversary. Retrieved on 31 March 2017. “Twenty-five years ago next week, humanity sent its first and only deliberate radio message to extraterrestrials. Nobody has called back yet, but that's OK -- we weren't really expecting an answer.”
  8. Cornell News: Arecibo message anniversary. Retrieved on 31 March 2017. “'It was strictly a symbolic event, to show that we could do it,' explains Donald Campbell, Cornell University professor of astronomy, who was a research associate at the Arecibo Observatory at the time. Arecibo Observatory is operated by the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, managed by Cornell University for the National Science Foundation. The real purpose of the message was to call attention to the tremendous power of the radar transmitter newly installed at Arecibo and the ability of the telescope's 1,000-foot diameter dish antenna to project a powerful signal into space. But many of those present took the event seriously, according to Harold Craft, Cornell's vice president for services and facilities, who was then director of the Arecibo Observatory.”
  9. Carl Sagan - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 31 March 2017.
  10. Alex Shrugged notes: My remarks come from a reading of the book "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle" by Barrow and Tipler. On your newsstands now! Get your copy before they are all gone! Yeah. It's dense reading, but informative.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 1974 Births - Wikipedia.
  12. Chris Kyle - Wikipedia.
  13. Kate Moss - Wikipedia.
  14. Heroin chic - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 March 2017. “Heroin chic was a look popularized in mid-1990s fashion and characterized by pale skin, dark circles underneath the eyes, dark red lipstick and angular bone structure. The look, characterised by emaciated features and androgyny, was a reaction against the 'healthy' and vibrant look of models such as Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer.”
  15. Jimmy Fallon - Wikipedia.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 1974 in film - Wikipedia (1974). Retrieved on 27 January 2017.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 1974 in television - Wikipedia (2017).
  18. Money - Pink Floyd HD (Studio Version) - YouTube. Retrieved on 30 March 2017. “Money - Pink Floyd from the Dark Side of the moon”
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 1974 in music - Wikipedia (1974). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  20. Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas - Full HD - - YouTube (2017). Retrieved on 30 March 2017.
  21. Abba - Waterloo - YouTube. Retrieved on 30 March 2017.
  22. Waterloo performed by Meryl Streep and company (Mama Mia Credits) - YouTube. Retrieved on 30 March 2017.
  23. Brownsville Station-Smokin in the Boys room - YouTube. Retrieved on 30 March 2017.
  24. 1. Blue Swede - Hooked on a Feeling - YouTube. Retrieved on 30 March 2017. “Hooked on a Feeling”
  25. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Official Trailer #1 (2017) Chris Pratt Sci-Fi Action Movie HD - YouTube (2017). Retrieved on 30 March 2017.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 1974 in music - Wikipedia (1974).
  27. Brad Meltzer. History Decoded: The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time. Workman Publishing Company, Inc.. ISBN 9780761178651. “The last time anyone was allowed inside Fort Knox was in 1974, following a congressional call to see the gold.” 
  28. Inside Fort Knox 1974. YouTube (1974). Retrieved on 23 June 2016. “In 1974 the media was allowed into Fort Knox.”
  29. Gold all there when Ft. Knox opened doors - Numismatic News. Numismatic News (September 15, 2009). Retrieved on 23 June 2016. “America’s gold bullion depository at Ft. Knox, Ky., was built in the 1930s to be impregnable to enemy invasion, but 35 years ago on Sept. 23, 1974, it was invaded by 120 members of a press contingent that I was part of, and a dozen members of Congress and representatives of the Mint and Treasury Department.”
  30. 30.0 30.1 1974 - Wikipedia.

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