April 20, 1903: A judgment on appeal in Edison v. Lubin allows a film to be copyrighted in its entirety, rather than each individual frame.
April 20, 1909: Broadway star Mary Pickford signs to appear in films for director D.W. Griffith; her first, The Violin Maker of Cremona, opens a few weeks later.
April 24, 1913: With The Bangville Police, the Keystone Kops arrive on scene. Though they’ll last only a few years, they’ll become synonymous with Mack Sennett’s studio.
April 23, 1931: James Cagney shoves a grapefruit into Mae Clarke’s face, part of his star-making turn in Warner Bros.’ newest gangster drama, The Public Enemy.
April 22, 1935: Here comes the bride…Elsa Lanchester as the Bride of Frankenstein, that is, which premieres today.
April 20, 1938: Roy Rogers’ first starring western, Under Western Skies, is released by Republic Pictures.
April 24, 1942: A harrowing climb atop the Statue of Liberty by Norman Lloyd and Robert Cummings highlights Alfred Hitchcock’s latest suspenser, Saboteur.
April 22, 1953: French director Henri-Georges Clouzot’s nail-biting thriller The Wages of Fear opens.
April 25, 1953: With his turn as a mad sculptor in the 3D shocker House of Wax, Vincent Price’s status as a horror film icon is sealed.
April 20, 1965: Sidney Lumet’s The Pawnbroker, starring Rod Steiger, takes its place in Hollywood history as the first mainstream film to include female frontal nudity.
April 19, 1967: David Niven, Peter Sellers, Terence Cooper and Woody Allen are among the “James Bonds” in the 007 spoof Casino Royale, which opens in the U.S. today.
April 23, 1971: Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song opens and will go on to jump start the “blaxploitation” film movement.
April 25, 1972: British actor George Sanders, 65, is found dead of a drug overdose in a Spanish resort town. A suicide note reads in part, “Dear World: I am leaving because I am bored.”
April 24, 1974: Comic actor Bud Abbott, the fast-talking “thin half” of Abbott and Costello, dies at 78.
April 20, 1977: Mixing comedy and drama for the first time, writer/director/star Woody Allen opens his “nervous romance” Annie Hall and goes on to win a Best Picture Oscar.
April 22, 1991: 1960’s Spartacus is reissued, now containing a double-entendre-filled bathhouse scene with Tony Curtis and Laurence Olivier.
April 23, 1992: Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray, responsible for the Apu trilogy and other classics, dies in Calcutta at age 70.
April 25, 1992: Oscar-winning actress/dancer Ginger Rogers, 83, who “could do everything Fred Astaire did, backwards and in heels,” passes away.
April 20, 1993: Beloved Mexican funnyman Mario Moreno, aka Cantinflas (Around the World in 80 Days), passes away at 81.
April 19, 2002: Writer/star Nia Vardalos’ romcom My Big Fat Greek Wedding opens in limited release and goes on to take in over $240 million, an indie film record at the time.