February 25, 1906: Future Universal Pictures president Carl Laemmle enters the moving pictures business with Chicago’s first nickelodeon, the White Front Theater.
February 27, 1920: German expressionist painting and design are captured to great effect in Robert Wiene’s dreamlike thriller The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
February 27, 1934: A lawsuit against MGM’s Rasputin and the Empress results in the now-familiar “The events and characters in this film are fictional…” disclaimer.
February 23, 1935: Cowboy Gene Autry saddles up in his first starring role, headlining the unusual sci-fi/western serial The Phantom Empire.
February 27, 1935: It Happened One Night makes Academy Award history by taking Best Picture, Actor, Actress and Director.
February 25, 1953: French filmmaker/star Jacques Tati delights Gallic audiences with a new character, a maladroit, pipe-smoking everyman, in the comedy Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday.
February 23, 1965: Comedy legend Stan Laurel, 74, who once said, “If any of you cry at my funeral, I’ll never speak to you again,” dies of a heart attack in Los Angeles.
February 25, 1995: The inaugural Screen Actors Guild Awards are presented, with top movie honors going to Diane Wiest (Bullets Over Broadway), Martin Landau (Ed Wood), Jodie Foster (Nell) and Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump).
February 27, 1999: Silent film actress Lillian Gish, whose screen career spanned eight decades, passes away at 99.
February 22, 2002: Warner Bros. animator Chuck Jones, the man behind Marvin the Martian, Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner and Michigan J. Frog, dies at 89.
February 25, 2004: The Passion of the Christ, director Mel Gibson’s graphic depiction of Jesus’ final hours and crucifixion, opens and goes on to become the highest-grossing indie film to date.
February 25, 2005: Movie audiences get their first look at no-nonsense grandmother Mabel “Madea” Simmons in Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman.