In the mood for a good movie? Some toe-tapping music? A thrilling book? ON THIS DAY will lead you to new possibilities every day, tied to interesting moments from history and popular culture. Whether it’s streamable and downloadable music and film, e-books and e-audio, or physical books and DVDs, we hope you’ll find something to enjoy as you pick up a few bits of history each day.
|On this day in 1873, Alice Guy-Blaché was born. She began directing films for the Gaumont Film Company in 1896, and was the first person to work professionally as a writer and director of narrative fiction films. While there is still some uncertatinty about the exact date, her La Fée au Choux (The Cabbage Fairy) is very likely the first such film ever made. In her 25-year career, Guy-Blaché directed more than 1,000 movies, most of them shorts; about one-third of them survive. She experimented and made early advances in the use of sound and color, and in special effects. A collection of three Guy-Blaché shorts is available for streaming at Kanopy.|
|On this day in 1899, Charles Laughton was born. After a few years on the London stage, Laughton came to Hollywood, and quickly made a name for himself, winning the Academy Award for The Private Life of Henry VIII in 1933. For the next thirty years, Laughton would prove equally adept in comedy and drama, in leading and supporting roles. He was particularly popular in costume dramas. In 1955, Laughton directed The Night of the Hunter; it's now acknowledged as a classic, but was not well received at the time, and it was his only attempt at directing. Laughton plays the title role in the 1945 pirate adventure Captain Kidd, available for streaming at Hoopla.|
|And on this day in 1942, Andraé Crouch was born. Crouch was a gospel singer, songwriter, and producer. Many of his songs have become modern gospel standards, including "Soon and Very Soon" and "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power" (written when Crouch was only 15). He was a key figure in the 1960s and 1970s movement to bring contemporary musical styles into Christian music. Crouch also worked as a producer and arranger with secular musicians (Madonna, Diana Ross, and Rick Astley among them), and he directs the backup choir on Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror." Several of Crouch's albums are available for streaming or download at Freegal.|