This Week in Film History, 03.16.14

March 18, 1910: An important entry in the nascent horror genre is the Edison Company’s Frankenstein, with stage veteran Charles Ogle as the monster. 

March 20, 1943: “Hello, all you happy people.” Tex Avery’s poker-faced cartoon canine, Droopy, makes his debut in Dumb Hounded.   

March 22, 1944: Hollywood enters the age of TV advertising when Paramount promotes Miracle of Morgan’s Creek in a 30-minute program hosted by Preston Sturges.

March 20, 1948: Vittorio DeSica‘s Shoeshine, nominated only for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar, is given a special award, and next year a Best Foreign Film category will be created.

March 20, 1952: Humphrey Bogart wins his first-and only-Academy Award as the irascible skipper of The African Queen.

March 19, 1953: Television audiences are invited to the Academy Awards ceremony for the first time. Bob Hope hosts in Hollywood, Conrad Nagel in New York.

March 20, 1955: Hollywood discovers a new sound-rock and roll–when “Rock Around the Rock” plays over the opening credits of Blackboard Jungle.

March 16, 1960: The French New Wave comes ashore with Jean-Luc Godard‘s Breathless, an unconventional gangster drama that pays homage to American “B” movies.

March 21, 1961: With one studio effort under his belt, actor/director John Cassavetes releases the independent Shadows, a jazz-infused drama set in New York.

March 18, 1968: One-time Your Show of Shows writer Mel Brooks makes his directorial debut with The Producers, starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder.

March 17, 1970: The Boys in the Band is a groundbreaking, albeit stereotypic, step in mainstream cinema’s depiction of homosexuals.

March 20, 1971:  Producer Albert Ruddy announces all references to “the Mafia” will be eliminated from the script of The Godfather at the request of Italian-Americans.

March 17, 1972: The University of Baltimore is the scene of the premiere of underground filmmaker John Waters‘ infamous “exercise in poor taste,” Pink Flamingos.

March 20, 1992: The simple act of crossing and uncrossing her legs makes Sharon Stone a major star in the controversial suspense thriller Basic Instinct.

March 21, 1994: After being practically ignored by the Academy throughout his career, Steven Spielberg and Schindler’s List take home seven Oscars.

March 22, 1994: Walter Lantz, veteran animator and creator of Woody Woodpecker, dies at the age of 93.