This Week in Film History, 03.09.14

March 10, 1910: D.W. Griffith launches the Hollywood film industry with In Old California, the first film to be made in the new municipality. 

March 10, 1922: Hollywood hires former postmaster general Will H. Hays to oversee “moral and artistic standards in motion picture production.”   

March 14, 1930: With “give me a vhiskey with a ginger ale on the side–and don’t be stingy, baby,” Garbo talks! in MGM’s Anna Christie.

March 11, 1931: The German director of Nosferatu and Sunrise, F.W. Murnau, 42, is killed in a car accident on the Santa Barbara Highway.

March 10, 1932: Paramount Pictures abandons the East Coast for Hollywood, shutting down its Astoria, Long Island studios.

March 13, 1934: Walt Disney, accepting his prize for The Three Little Pigs, is the first winner to refer to the gold statuette as an “Oscar.”

March 13, 1940: In roles originally planned for Jack Oakie and Fred MacMurray, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby first team up in Road to Singapore.

March 9, 1945: Filmed over a seven-month period during the Nazi occupation of France, Marcel Carne‘s masterpiece, Les Enfants du Paradis, premieres in Paris.

March 14, 1946: Rita Hayworth heats up movie screens with her rendition of “Put the Blame on Mame” in the steamy drama Gilda.

March 10, 1947: Ronald Reagan is elected president…of the Screen Actors Guild, and a month later will agree to notify the FBI of any communist activity in the union.

March 13, 1947: Harold Russell, who lost both hands in a WWII hand grenade explosion, wins two Oscars for playing a returning G.I. in The Best Years of Our Lives.

March 15, 1950:  Audiences delight to the antics of Francis and sidekick Donald O’Connor in the first of seven films starring the talking mule.

March 9, 1955: After bit parts on TV and in film, James Dean becomes an overnight sensation with his starring film debut in East of Eden, which premieres today.

March 15, 1972: Francis Ford Coppola‘s The Godfather debuts in theaters to unprecedented attention, breaking box office records across the country.

March 9, 1977: Protesting Mohammad, Messenger of God, a group of Black Muslims takes hostages at Washington, D.C., theaters showing the epic.

March 9, 1996: A few weeks after celebrating his 100th birthday, cigar-loving comedian and Academy Award-winner George Burns passes away.