October 16, 1894: Rodeo star Lee Martin, from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows, becomes the first screen cowboy when he rides for the camera at Thomas Edison’s New Jersey studio.
October 15, 1915: The Supreme Court finds Edison’s Motion Picture Patents Company guilty of restraint of trade against the independents, spelling the trust’s doom.
October 17, 1916: Swimming star-turned-actress Annette Kellerman causes a sensation when she appears in the nude in Daughter of the Gods.
October 14, 1926: After three years of unbilled bit roles, Gary Cooper gets his first feature film credit in the frontier drama The Winning of Barbara Worth.
October 12, 1940: Famed screen cowboy Tom Mix, 60, is killed in an automobile accident while driving through Arizona.
October 15, 1940: “Chaplin Speaks” as Adenoid Hynkel, ruler of Tomania, in Charlie’s satire on Hitler’s rise to power, The Great Dictator.
October 18, 1941: John Huston’s directorial debut, The Maltese Falcon, wins acclaim for both him and its star, former screen heavy Humphrey Bogart.
October 13, 1950: Show business takes a biting look at itself as All About Eve, starring Bette Davis and Anne Baxter, premieres in New York City.
October 17, 1956: Producer Mike Todd’s all-star casting coups on Around the World in 80 Days, which opened today, give rise to the phrase “cameo role.”
October 12, 1958: At the Brussels World’s Fair, an international panel of 117 cinema historians votes Sergei Einsenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin the best film of all time.
October 14, 1959: Errol Flynn, roguish star of Warner Bros. action classics through the ’30s and ’40s, dies of a heart attack at age 50.
October 17, 1966: A month after the Production Code is revised, Georgy Girl is the first film released with the label “suggested for mature audiences only.”
October 18, 1967: Disney’s The Jungle Book, the final animated feature produced by Walt Disney himself, opens.
October 14, 1972: Director Bernardo Bertolucci’s steamy Last Tango in Paris premieres at the New York Film Festival amid great controversy.
October 12, 1978: Rival Chicago film critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel take their local show nationwide with the debut of Sneak Previews on PBS.
October 12, 1994: Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg announce the formation of Dreamworks SKG, the first major studio in over 50 years.
October 14, 1994: American audiences learn what a Quarter Pounder is called in France, courtesy of Quentin Tarantino’s groundbreaking crime thriller Pulp Fiction, opening today.
October 15, 1999: What is the first rule of David Fincher’s Fight Club opening on this date? You do not talk about David Fincher’s Fight Club opening on this date!
October 16, 2007: The King and I co-star Deborah Kerr, winless in six Best Actress Academy Award nominations, passes away at 86.