February 10th in history:
The play “Death of a Salesman” made its Broadway debut on February 10th, 1949, starring Lee J. Cobb as salesman Willy Loman. It has been revived frequently in New York, with later productions starring George C. Scott, Dustin Hoffman, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. “Salesman” won a Pulitzer prize for playwright Arthur Miller, who died on this date in 2005, on the 56th anniversary of the play’s premiere.
Willy Loman dies in a car crash at the end of “Salesman.” Auto safety was the topic on this day in 1966 when attorney and consumer advocate Ralph Nader made his first appearance ever before a Congressional committee. Nader had just published the book “Unsafe at Any Speed,” criticizing a lack of safety features in American-made cars.
A car crash in the desert sets off a wild chase in the 1963 comedy “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” Jimmy Durante plays the dying driver who tells rescuers about a buried treasure in stolen money. It was the last feature film appearance for Durante, born February 10th, 1893. Durante is also known to modern audiences for singing during the opening credits of “Sleepless in Seattle” and as the narrator of the animated Christmas special “Frosty the Snowman.”
August 8 in history:
August 8th of 1988 (8/8/88) marked the end of an era at Wrigley Field in Chicago: the era of daytime-only baseball games at the park. The Cubs played a night game on their home field for the first time, against the Philadelphia Phillies. They couldn’t finish the game, because it was rained out in the 4th inning.
The Nixon era at the White House ended on August 8th, 1974, when Richard Nixon became the first president to resign before the end of his term. Nixon made the announcement on nationwide TV that night, less than two years after carrying 49 states in the 1972 election. Nixon’s resignation speech came exactly six years after the night in 1968 when he accepted the Republican Party nomination for president for the second time.
The Watergate scandal leading to Nixon’s resignation was the subject of the film “All the President’s Men.” Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman starred in the movie as Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Hoffman, also known for “The Graduate,” “Tootsie,” and “Rain Man”, was born August 8th, 1937.
One of Dustin Hoffman’s most famous movie lines is “I’m walking here!,” shouted by the character Ratso Rizzo while crossing a street in the 1969 film “Midnight Cowboy.” On August 8th of 1969, the Beatles took their famous walk across Abbey Road in London, immortalized on the cover of the “Abbey Road” album. Photographer Iain Macmillan took six photos of the band walking — three where they face right, and three facing left.