August 6, 1926: The first film released with Vitaphone sound, Warner Bros.’ Don Juan with John Barrymore, features sound effects and an orchestral score.
August 3, 1929: The Four Marx Brothers–Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo–make their screen debuts in Paramount’s The Cocoanuts.
August 6, 1932: The world’s first film festival begins as part of the Venice Biennale, with A Nous la Liberte considered “most entertaining.”
August 4, 1938: Silent serial heroine Pearl White, star of The Perils of Pauline, dies of complications from liver failure in France at 49.
August 8. 1942: The threat of air raids fails to stop a Blitz-ravaged London’s world premiere of Walt Disney animated feature Bambi.
August 4, 1956: The concluding chapter in the history of movie serials is written with the release of the genre’s final entry, Columbia’s Blazing the Overland Trail.
August 7, 1957: Oliver Hardy, corpulent, tie-twiddling half of the acclaimed comedy team with Stan Laurel, dies at age 65.
August 6, 1959: Preston Sturges, screenwriter/director of The Lady Eve, Sullivan’s Travels and other distinctive farces of the ’40s, dies at age 60.
August 5, 1962: The body of Marilyn Monroe, 36, is discovered by her maid in the bedroom of her Brentwood, Ca. home, the victim of an apparent drug overdose.
August 3, 1965: British actress Julie Christie’s star continues to rise with her performance as an ambitious, self-absorbed fashion model in John Schlesinger’s Darling.
August 6, 1969: The first mainstream studio film to be directed by an African-American, Gordon Parks’ The Learning Tree, based on his novel, is released.
August 2, 1976: Fritz Lang, the Austrian-born helmer of Metropolis and The Big Heat, dies in Los Angeles at the age of 85.
August 5, 1983: Dancing in his underwear helps Tom Cruise become a star in the debut of the comedy Risky Business.
August 6, 1992: Harold Russell sells one of the two Oscars he won for The Best Years of Our Lives for $60,500 at an auction.
August 3, 1995: A stroke claims the life of actress/director Ida Lupino (The Bigamist), 77.
August 6, 1999: M. Night Shyamalan’s supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense, starring Bruce Willis, opens and shocks audiences with its “twist ending.”
August 5, 2000: Sir Alec Guinness, whose film work ranged from The Bridge on the River Kwai to Star Wars, dies in his native England at the age of 86.
August 8, 2004: Fay Wray, who co-starred with “the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood” in 1933’s King Kong, passes away at age 96.