472 — Olybrius becomes Emperor of Rome

Olybrius is one of the least distinguished Emperors in Roman history. He reigned over the Western Roman Empire for only seven months, and for that whole time, he was little more than the puppet of the men who had put him on the throne, the general Ricimer and his nephew Gundobad.

Olybrius was of the Roman senatorial class, and by his marriage (to Placida, daughter of Emperor Valentinian III) a member of the Imperial House of Theodosius – the last of that House, in fact. He spent most of his reign distracted by religious matters while Ricimer and (after Ricimer’s death) Gundobad ruled in his name. He died of dropsy, and only three more Emperors followed him before the western empire died too.

Referenced in:

Imperial Rome — Aska

1956 – “Forbidden Planet” premieres

As adaptations of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” go, “Forbidden Planet” is out there. Out there in space, in fact.

Starring Anne Francis and Leslie Neilson – yes, the guy from The Naked Gun films and all the rest – it tells the story of a mad scientist, his beautiful daughter, the monster that he created and the brave man who saves the daughter from the monster and wins her heart in the process.

Both commercially and critically, it is one of the most successful science fiction films of all time, winning Oscars for its special effects. The most special of these is Robby the Robot, who would go on to appear in numerous other films.

Referenced in:
Science Fiction Double Feature – Rocky Horror Picture Show original cast

1983 – Ted Kennedy criticises the SDI

If there was one Democrat who kept the torch alight in the long, dark years between Carter and Clinton, it was Ted Kennedy. His early promise had fizzled, the deaths of his brothers and his own misadventure at Chappaquidick leaving him mired in grief and public disapproval. But by the time the Eighties rolled around, Kennedy was the elder statesman of the Democratic Party (which spent entire decade shut out of the White House).

He did a good job of being the loyal opposition: supporting where he agreed, and criticizing with polite intelligence where he did not. He was a particular opponent of the more sexist policies of the Reagan government, and also of many of its foreign policies – and their use to justify massive defence expenditures. Few things aroused Kennedy’s ire more than the Strategic Defence Initiative (or “Star Wars” as the media dubbed it), which was ludicrously expensive, impossible to create with then existing technology (and remains so today) and widely seen as likely to reignite the Cold War arms race. Thanks to Kennedy and many, many others, the SDI never became a reality.

Referenced in:
One-Way Ticket To Pluto — Dead Kennedys