On this day in 1862, the elder of the Lumiere brothers, Auguste was born. His younger brother Louis was born on 5 October 1864. They were moving picture pioneers. They invented, for example, the perforation on the sides of film that allow it to be perfectly fed through cameras and projectors. But they are most known for their films. Together, they made almost 200 films. Admittedly, most of them were like Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat, which is 48 seconds long and simply shows a train arriving at the station. But they did arguably make the first comedy, The Sprinkler Sprinkled. I find this period fascinating because you get to see how a gimmick very quickly leads to the production of art. It is only 20 years from these earliest films to The Birth of a Nation, which pretty much has all of the modern film syntax. Another interesting thing about the Lumiere brothers (mostly Louis, I think), is that they had a great eye for photography. The shots are always well framed. This isn’t a surprise, given how much work they did with still photography. But most films at that time were not as well made.
The great professional wrestler Tor Johnson was born in 1903. He is best known for a still popular Halloween mask and, of course, his star role in Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space. Here he is, and yes, he was a sex machine:
The great musician Peter Tosh was born in 1944. I didn’t realize that he was murdered during a home invasion—just a couple of years after I got into his music. Here he is doing “Legalize It”:
Other birthdays: essayist James Henry Leigh Hunt (1784); painter Theodoros Vryzakis (1814); painter Umberto Boccioni (1882); oceanographer Walter Munk (96); writer John le Carre (82); actor Michael Gambon (73); actor Divine (1945); actor John Lithgow (68); and the really bad film director Jon Favreau (47).
The day, however, belongs to Vinicius de Moraes who was born on this day in 1913. He is certainly one of the greatest Brazilian songwriters of the 20th century. And he’s probably the best lyricist. He wrote the lyrics to “Garota de Ipanema,” which is better known as “The Girl from Ipanema.” He was also a great performer. Here he is with a very young Toquinho:
Happy birthday Vinicius de Moraes!