This Week In Film History, 09.25.10

September 25, 1906: Winsor McCay’s Gertie the Dinosaur astounds audiences nationwide and will blaze new trails in the art of animation.

September 28, 1914: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum’s movie company releases The Patchwork Girl of Oz, the first feature-length film based on his books.

September 30, 1919: While holding what he believed to be a prop bomb for a publicity photo, Harold Lloyd loses a thumb and finger when it explodes.

September 28, 1928: Sales for Al Jolson’s record of Sonny Boy soar into the millions, the first hit song from a movie soundtrack (The Singing Fool).

September 28, 1929: Silent screen star John Gilbert’s performance in his first sound film, His Glorious Night, meets with cries of laughter from female patrons.

September 29, 1932: The opening of John Barrymore‘s drama A Bill of Divorcement is notable for the film debut of 24-year-old stage actress Katharine Hepburn.

September 25, 1936: A third trial results in the acquittal of legendary musical director Busby Berkeley on second-degree murder charges stemming from a 1935 auto accident.

September 30, 1943: Army Air Force lieutenant Clark Gable (Article) is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal after taking part in five combat missions.

September 29, 1949: My Friend Irma opens, giving moviegoers their first look at the comedy duo of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

September 30, 1955: An undying cult of personality will soon begin, as James Dean gets into a fatal auto accident on a California highway at age 24.

September 26, 1961: Paul Newman is brilliantly convincing as drifting pool shark “Fast Eddie” Felson in Robert Rossen‘s modern-day Greek tragedy, The Hustler.

September 25, 1963: “The urge meets the surge” with the opening of the first of many teen beach comedies starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, Beach Party.

September 25, 1964: Broadway star Julie Andrews, excluded from the film version of My Fair Lady, has her day as Disney’s delightful Edwardian nanny, Mary Poppins.

September 29, 1983: Baby Boomers have a feast of late ’60s nostalgia with the release of Lawrence Kasdan’s ensemble-casted The Big Chill.

September 30, 1993: Walt Disney Pictures announces its acquisition of arthouse powerhouse Miramax Films for a reported $64 million.