1492 – Christoper Columbus sets sail

Columbus was not the brightest of navigators. His math regarding how far away Asia was by the western route was off by more than double the actual distance. In fact, he expected to sight land even earlier than he actually did, let alone that it was the wrong land. But he sailed out of Palos de la Frontera on the evening tide, leading his tiny fleet of three ships, and quite confident in his own abilities as captain and navigator. Whatever you may think of his mathematics, you cannot deny his courage.

In the course of his first voyage, when searching for Japan, he landed instead in the Bahamas a little over two months after leaving Spain, where he introduced the natives to such European specialities as Christianity, firearms and diseases they lacked immunities for.

Referenced in:

History Is Made By Stupid People — Arrogant Worms

1940 – Martin Sheen is born

Born Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez, the man whose stage name is Martin Sheen was the son of a Spanish father and an Irish mother, who emigrated to the United States prior to his birth. Good Catholics both of them, they gave him eight brothers and a sister.

Sheen adopted his now familiar stage name in order to counteract racism among those casting for acting jobs, although the choice was not one he made without certain regrets. In his own words:

Whenever I would call for an appointment, whether it was a job or an apartment, and I would give my name, there was always that hesitation and when I’d get there, it was always gone. So I thought, I got enough problems trying to get an acting job, so I invented Martin Sheen. It’s still Estevez officially. I never changed it officially. I never will. It’s on my driver’s license and passport and everything. I started using Sheen, I thought I’d give it a try, and before I knew it, I started making a living with it and then it was too late. In fact, one of my great regrets is that I didn’t keep my name as it was given to me. I knew it bothered my dad.

Referenced in:

Swampland of Desire — Dead Milkmen

1932 – “Doctor X” premieres

“Doctor X” was the second Warner Bros. movie to be filmed using the improved Technicolor process which both removed grain and improved the colour and clarity of the film. Starring Fay Wray, Lee Tracy and Lionel Atwill, the film was directed by Michael Curtiz (best known to history as the director of “Casablanca”.

The film’s plot is complex and intricate, a murder mystery and a monster film in one. It was produced before the motion picture Production Code came into force, and thus was able to feature mature themes such as murder, rape, cannibalism, and prostitution.

Seven years later, the film spawned a sequel, “The Return of Doctor X”, but thanks to differences in cast and crew, plus the effects of the Hays Code, the similarity between the two films begins and ends with the titles.

Referenced in:

Science Fiction Double Feature – Rocky Horror Picture Show original cast