February 7, 1914: The Keystone comedy short Kid Auto Races at Venice marks the screen debut of Charlie Chaplin and the first appearance of his “Little Tramp” outfit (which he devised for a later film, Mabel’s Strange Predicament).
February 2, 1922: Hollywood has a real whodunit on its hands when Paramount Pictures director William Desmond Taylor is found shot outside his L.A. bungalow. The case is never solved.
February 5, 1927: Buster Keaton’s comedic masterwork The General, based on a true Civil War incident, is released.
February 1, 1929: MGM’s The Broadway Melody premieres in Hollywood, becoming the first musical with an original score.
February 1, 1935: The first installment of the March of Time newsreel series debuts…“and time maches on.”
February 5, 1936: At the New York premiere of Chaplin’s Modern Times, riot police are called in to control the crowds trying to see the stars attending the festivities.
February 7, 1940: Walt Disney’s second animated feature, Pinocchio, premieres…and that’s no lie.
February 5, 1943: Producer/ “director” Howard Hughes’ controversial frontier drama The Outlaw makes a star of his buxom discovery, Jane Russell.
February 6, 1943: A Los Angeles jury finds Errol Flynn not guilty of statutory rape charges made against him by two teenage girls.
February 5, 1956: “You’re next!,” warns Kevin McCarthy in the sci-fi classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which opens today.
February 5, 1960: Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni share a dip in Rome’s Trevi Fountain, as Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita opens in Italy.
February 1, 1961: John Huston’s drama The Misfits, which would prove to be the final film for stars Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe, opens.
February 1, 1966: Stone-faced comic Buster Keaton, after a stage, film and TV career that spanned half over 60 years, dies of lung cancer at 70.
February 2, 1969: Horror film icon Boris Karloff, star of Frankenstein and The Mummy, leaves the realm of the living at 81.
February 4, 1970: George C. Scott, Karl Malden and General Omar Bradley attend the premiere of 20th Century-Fox’s Patton in New York.
February 1, 1973: A record $5.00 ticket price is being charged at New York’s Trans-Lux East Theatre for Last Tango in Paris.
February 7, 1974: Western movies are never quite the same after Mel Brooks’ spoof Blazing Saddles tickles audiences with its premiere in Los Angeles.
February 1, 1978: Just before he’s to be sentenced for the statutory rape of a teenage girl at Jack Nicholson‘s L.A. home, director Roman Polanski flees the U.S.
February 6, 1985: Just Jaeckin’s Emmanuelle finishes its record 10-year, 32-week-run at the Paris City Cinema, beating out previous record-holder West Side Story.
February 1, 1988: Child actress Heather O’Rourke, co-star of the Poltergeist films, dies of an intestinal ailment at age 12.
February 3, 1989: Maverick filmmaker John Cassavetes, whose work preceded the rise of independent cinema, dies of lung cancer at 59.
February 4, 1994: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, the first of three hit comedies that year for the relatively unknown Jim Carrey, opens.
February 2, 1996: Dancer/actor Gene Kelly, star of Singin’ in the Rain, passes away at 83.
February 7, 2001: “Queen of the Cowgirls” Dale Evans, Roy Rogers’ co-star and widow, passes away at 88.
February 3, 2003: Actress Lana Clarkson (Barbarian Queen) is fatally shot in music producer Phil Spector’s California mansion. Spector is later convicted of second-degree murder.
February 2, 2014: Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46, is found dead in his Manhattan apartment from a drug overdose.