This Week In Film History, 07.17.11

 A list of historic and noteworthy movie events featuring Mabel NormandJuly 17, 1913: An old vaudeville gag is reborn on screen as Mabel Normand becomes the first to throw a pie into “Fatty” Arbuckle’s kisser, in A Noise from the Deep.

July 22, 1934: After seeing MGM’s Manhattan Melodrama at Chicago’s Biograph Theater, gangster John Dillinger is gunned down outside by G-men.

July 17, 1935: Variety, in a story about Midwestern audiences’ preference for sophisticated films, declares in a headline “Sticks Nix Hick Pix.”

July 20, 1938: The major film studios are named to a governmental antitrust lawsuit over their dominance in both production and distribution of motion pictures.

July 23, 1947: The subject of anti-Semitism is dramatized in RKO’s Crossfire and, in November, by 20th Century Fox’s Oscar-winning Gentleman’s Agreement.

July 23, 1948: Film pioneer D.W. Griffith, 73, who last directed in 1931, dies. Studios observe a three-minute moment of silence during his funeral five days later.

July 20, 1950: Playing a wheelchair-bound WWII veteran, newcomer Marlon Brando wows audiences and critics in The Men.

July 20, 1951: After a 16-year run, the Time, Inc.-produced newsreel series The March of Time no longer marches on.

July 17, 1955: Walt Disney’s long-dreamt-of theme park, Disneyland, “the happiest place on Earth,” opens in Anaheim, California.

July 22, 1959: Steve Reeves first flexes his pecs to American audiences in the Italian-made Hercules, beginning a flood of imported “sword-and-sandal” actioners.

July 19, 1961: TWA becomes the first airline to offer in-flight movies on a regular basis. First up, Lana Turner as an unfaithful wife in By Love Possessed.

July 23, 1962: After a six-year stint producing independent films, former studio V.P. Darryl Zanuck is now at the helm of a financially-troubled 20th Century Fox.

July 18, 1963: “Total Filmmaker” Jerry Lewis releases what many will consider his masterpiece, The Nutty Professor, a comedic take on the Jekyll-and-Hyde story.

July 23, 1966: After what one writer called “the world’s longest suicide,” troubled actor Montgomery Clift, 45, is found dead in his New York brownstone.

July 20, 1973: Mystery surrounds the death of martial arts star Bruce Lee, 32, the cause of which will be attributed to a brain edema.

July 23, 1982: A helicopter crash on the set of Twilight Zone-The Movie results in the deaths of Vic Morrow and two child actors.

July 22, 1983: With 89-year-old Abel Gance in attendance, the restored edition of his 1927 epic Napoleon has its “re-premiere” in Paris.