This Week In Film History, 06.24.12

button-film-historyJune 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 30, 1929: Alfred Hitchcock‘s Blackmail, which nearly saw completion as a silent film, was re-shot with sound, becoming Britain’s first “talkie.”

June 29, 1933: Unable to overcome the scandal that plagued him 12 years earlier, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, 46, dies penniless of a heart attack.

June 30, 1933: The Screen Actors Guild is founded in Hollywood, presided over by actor Ralph Morgan.

June 29, 1934: The Thin Man, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, launches a series of six films MGM will make featuring Dashiell Hammett’s characters.

June 27, 1944: Esther Williams makes a splash in her first “all-singing, all-dancing, all-swimming” musical for MGM, Bathing Beauty.

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 27, 1961: Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour come home to rest with the release of the seventh and final “road” flick, The Road to Hong Kong.

June 28, 1961: The search is on for the perfect James Bond, after United Artists announces it will produce seven films based on Ian Fleming’s superspy.

June 27, 1964: Ernest Borgnine marries Ethel Merman (during a spell of “temporary insanity,” she’ll claim later). The union lasts less than some of her high notes: 32 days.

June 29, 1967: Screen sex kitten Jayne Mansfield, 44, is killed in a car accident on a Louisiana highway. The sight of her wig nearby will stir up “beheading” rumors.

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 27, 1973: The tuxedo is passed on, as Roger Moore plays superspy James Bond for the first time in Live and Let Die.

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 30, 1983: Spanish-born director and master of cinematic surrealism Luis Bunuel dies in Mexico at 83.

June 30, 1989: Spike Lee‘s controversial look at race relations in a Brooklyn pizza parlor, Do the Right Thing, opens.

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