This Week In Film History, 06.19.11

This Week In Film HistoryJune 19, 1905: The first “nickelodeon” opens its doors, on Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh, charging a five-cent fee. First attraction: The Great Train Robbery.

June 24, 1916: Mary Pickford signs Hollywood’s first “million-dollar contract,” guaranteeing her at least $10,000 a week over its two-year term.

June 25, 1951: After 27 years at the helm of MGM, Louis B. Mayer resigns following a heated feud with his eventual successor, producer Dore Schary.

June 22, 1961: The Guns of Navarone, starring Gregory Peck, leads off with a bang at its London premiere and will go on to be the year’s box office champ.

June 22, 1965: Heart failure claims the life of the legendary producer behind Gone With the Wind, Rebecca, A Star Is Born and many more, David O. Selznick, 63.

June 23, 1967: Sidney Poitier becomes the first African-American performer to leave his hand and footprints outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

June 22, 1969: MGM musical legend Judy Garland, 47, dies in London, England; cause of death will be ruled an “incautious self-overdosage of Seconal.”

June 25, 1969: Sam Peckinpah‘s blood-soaked western about aging gunfighters, The Wild Bunch, opens today and will go on to be his undisputed masterpiece.

June 24, 1974: After being judged obscene in a Georgia court, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that Mike NicholsCarnal Knowledge is, in fact, not obscene.

June 20, 1975: Steven Spielberg‘s Jaws opens, eventually grossing $458 million, and the summer blockbuster is born.

June 22, 1987: Legendary Hollywood hoofer Fred Astaire, about whom one screen test said “can dance a little,” dies at the age of 88.

June 22, 1988: Donald Duck and Daffy Duck finally appear onscreen together, as do Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse, in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

June 23, 1989: Batman, with Michael Keaton in the title role and Jack Nicholson as the Joker, debuts with Hollywood’s first $40 million opening weekend.

June 22, 1990: Joe Eszterhas sells his script for the erotic thriller Basic Instinct for a record $3 million to Carolco Pictures.

June 25, 1993: Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan reteam for Nora Ephron’s Sleepless in Seattle, which was inspired by 1939’s Love Affair.