This Week in Film History, 02.23.14

February 25, 1906: Future Universal Pictures president Carl Laemmle enters the moving pictures business with Chicago’s first nickelodeon, the White Front Theater.

February 27, 1920: German expressionist painting and design are captured to great effect in Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

March 1, 1924:  The first of Walt Disney’s Alice short subjects, mixing live-action and animation, Alice’s Day at Sea, is released.

February 27, 1934: A lawsuit against MGM’s Rasputin and the Empress results in the now-familiar “The events and characters in this film are fictional…” disclaimer.

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

February 27, 1935: It Happened One Night makes Academy Award history by taking Best Picture, Actor, Actress and Director.

February 27, 1940: With a host of extraordinary films on the ballot, the Oscars are nearly swept by Selznick’s Gone With the Wind, which takes home nine.

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.

March 1, 1973: A New York court rules the adult movie Deep Throat to be obscene. A fine double the film’s box office receipts is imposed.

March 1, 1978:Charlie Chaplin‘s body is stolen from his grave in Vevey, Switzerland, and held for ransom. Police will recover it on May 18th.

March 1, 1984: William Powell, consummate urbane leading man of the ’20s through the ’40s, dies at age 91.

February 25, 1995: The inaugural Screen Actors Guild Awards are presented, with top movie honors going to Diane Wiest (Bullets Over Broadway), Martin Landau (Ed Wood), Jodie Foster (Nell) and Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump).