This Week In Film History, 02.17.13

February 18, 1913: The Edison Film Co. introduces its synchronized film-phonograph Kinetoscope process for showing “sound films” in New York.

February 18, 1929: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces their first annual Award Winners… on the back page of the organization’s Bulletin.

February 22, 1934: A Depression-weary American public flocks to Frank Capra‘s comedy It Happened One Night, starring Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable.

February 23, 1935: Gene Autry opens in his first starring role, headlining the unusual science fiction/western serial The Phantom Empire.

February 18, 1938: Howard Hawks‘ classic screwballer Bringing Up Baby opens, but will only last a disappointing two weeks in theaters.

February 21, 1957: Actress Jean Seberg‘s portrayal of Joan of Arc comes too close to reality when she’s burned while tied to the stake on the set of Saint Joan.

February 23, 1965: Comic legend Stan Laurel, 74, who once said, “If any of you cry at my funeral, I’ll never speak to you again,” dies of a heart attack in Los Angeles.

February 18, 1966: The Silencers, the first of a string of successful high-camp actioners starring Dean Martin as superspy Matt Helm, opens.

February 21, 1966: Perturbed by the race-baiting aspects of the character, Jack Palance rejects the part of the psychotic Maggott in The Dirty Dozen; the role will go to Telly Savalas.

February 20, 1999: Film critic Gene Siskel, renowned for his 20-year TV tandem with Roger Ebert, passes away at the age of 53.