Day By Day

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This Day In History

Today is National Bill of Rights Day -- a day to celebrate the prolonged process of constitution making. The "founding fathers" who met at the Philadelphia Convention in 1787 set the process in motion by producing a plan of government and submitting it to the States for ratification. Then followed two years of debate during which the basic understandings of what the constitution meant were hammered out and several revisions to the initial plan suggested. Several States ratified the constitution only on the understanding that these revisions would be incorporated into it as soon as the new government was formed. The result was the Bill of Rights. Taken together the first ten amendments to the constitution are intended to protect the citizenry and the States from arbitrary application the power of the Federal Government. It is sobering, and more than a bit disturbing, to note that the current occupant of the White House finds them to be inconvenient.

On this day in 1939 "Gone With the Wind" premiered in Atlanta. Seventy years later it still draws people at revival showings. It has sold more tickets in the U. S. than any film in history and, when adjusted for inflation, is the biggest grossing film of all time. It won ten academy awards, the first film to take more than six. Among the films it beat out for awards that year were "The Wizard of Oz", "Stagecoach", "Mister Smith Goes to Washington", "Wuthering Heights", and "Goodbye Mr. Chips", classics all.

On this day in 1966 Walt Disney left the building. There is an urban myth to the effect that he had his body frozen and stored at Disneyland in hopes that someday he could be revived. It's not true. He was cremated. The story seems to have originated with some Disney animators who cooked it up as a joke.