This Week in Film History, 04.27.14

May 2, 1926: Former USC football player “Duke” Morrison–later known as John Wayne–has his screen debut, a bit part in the college gridiron drama Brown of Harvard.

April 27, 1930: From Erich Maria Remarque’s novel, Lewis Milestone films All Quiet on the Western Front, a harsh look at the futility of war. 

April 30, 1938: An early rendition of what is to become the character of Bugs Bunny first appears in Warner Bros.’ Porky’s Hare Hunt.

May 1, 1941: Denied a playdate at Radio City Music Hall, Orson Welles’ much-talked-about Citizen Kane opens at the RKO Palace in New York City.

April 29, 1944: The 221st and final Our Gang comedy short, Dancing Romeo, is released by MGM. Television will reignite interest in the years to come.

May 1, 1945: Radio City Music Hall officials deem newsreel footage of the liberation of German concentration camps “too gruesome” for exhibition.

May 1, 1949: MGM removes Judy Garland from the title role in Annie Get Your Gun and replaces her with Betty Hutton.

April 27, 1956: Stateside audiences get their first look at Japan’s biggest “star” with the U.S. release of Godzilla, King of the Monsters.

May 2, 1957: A new (and bloodier) era in screen horror is launched by England’s Hammer Films’ Curse of Frankenstein, with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

April 28, 1972: Ralph Bakshi‘s Fritz the Cat, based on Robert Crumb’s comic and the world’s first X-rated cartoon feature, debuts in New York.

April 29, 1980: Master of screen suspense Alfred Hitchcock dies at the age of 80, three months after being knighted by the British monarchy.

May 1, 2000: Bodybuilder-turned-screen Hercules Steve Reeves, star of countless European “sword-and-sandal” films, dies at the age of 74.

May 3, 2002: Spider-Man, starring Tobey Maguire in the title role, swings into theaters and spins out a then-record $114.8 million opening weekend.

April 30, 2013: Deanna Durbin, Universal Pictures’ 1930s and ’40s “singing sweetheart,” passes away at age 91.