This Week in Film History, 06.15.14

June 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 16, 1916: The merger of Famous Players and Jesse Lasky Feature Play Co. brings together Lasky, Adolph Zukor and Samuel Goldfish (Goldwyn).

June 16, 1943:  Over the objections of her playwright father, Eugene, 18-year-old Oona O’Neill weds 54-year-old Charlie Chaplin.

 June 16, 1959:  Gone with the Wind actor and film/TV Superman George Reeves, 45, is found dead of an apparent suicide.

June 16, 1960: Unprecedented secrecy surrounds the opening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, with the director stipulating no patron be admitted once the film starts.

June 17, 1970: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, sexploitation maestro Russ Meyer’s first major studio film (co-written by critic Roger Ebert), opens.

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

June 16, 1978: Paramount’s film adaptation of the Broadway hit Grease, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, opens and becomes the biggest-grossing musical to date.  

June 15, 1988: The diamond-themed comedy Bull Durham, with Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon, debuts and spurs a revival of interest in minor-league baseball.

June 17, 2008: Actress/dancer Cyd Charisse, co-star of The Band Wagon and Brigadoon, dies at age 87 after suffering a heart attack.

June 19, 2013: A heart attack claims the life of 51-year-old film/TV heavy James Gandolfini, best known as the star of The Sopranos.   


  • Blair Kramer

    All the actors who ever played Superman were just pretenders, except one. George Reeves was, and remains, the one and only true Superman!