Today In...

April 3
the following Al and Al-related events occurred.....

1803: Household-product pioneer James Gamble is born in Enniskillen, Ireland. Fleeing to the United States at age sixteen, James would settle down in Cincinnati, Ohio of all places and start producing and marketing soaps. In 1837 James's father-in-law, Alexander Norris, would suggest that James partner up with candle-making brother-in-law William Procter, as both soap and candles required the same raw material (lye made from animal fat and ash). Procter and Gamble would soon set up shop primarily as a candle store but also selling James's soap products. Ironically, today the Procter and Gamble corporation owns a plethora of household brands including Charmin, Pampers, Pringles, Bounce, Bold, Downy, Duracell, Olay, Pepto Bismol, Scope, Tampax, Iams, Oral-B, Old Spice, CoverGirl, Gillette, Ivory, Secret, Head and Shoulders, and many, many others...with not a candle in sight. Though most of the brands under the P&G; umbrella were acquired over the years, one product the company launched on its own would be Tide, introduced in October 1946 as the first "heavy-duty" detergent. Truly a breakthrough in soap innovation, as the product's unique chemical compound allowed molecules to separate grease and dirt from clothes while also getting in deeper than previous detergents and soap flakes ever had before, the overnight success of Tide would lead to a whole line of branded laundry solutions. During the 1988 Al-TV special Al would report during a newsbreak that in the wake of the then-surviving Beatles going to court over the use of the song "Revolution" in a Nike commercial, "their old record label has in the meantime sold every song they ever did to various other commercial sponsors." Among the modified Beatles song titles that scroll up the screen is the ode to detergent, "Ticket to Tide."

1897: Classical composer Johannes Brahms dies in Vienna of cancer, ending a life and career that had resulted in over 160 pieces of music. Johannes would come up very briefly during Billy Joel's "interview" on the 1996 AlMusic special when Al asks him to name as many classical composers as he can. Billy rambles off, "Beethoven and Chopin and Liszt and Brahms, Debussy, Picasso." Al has to stop Billy to see if he can accept Picasso and confers with off-camera "judges," who approve via a game show-style "ding."

1924: Arguably America's most beloved actor (well, unless you're Frank Oz), Marlon Brando, is born in Omaha. Al would report in 1993's AlMusic special that a Gilligan's Island movie was about to go into production, with Brando casted as the lovable Skipper. Much later, in the Straight Outta Lynwood original "Close But No Cigar," Al would claim that he loved Jillian more than Marlon had loved soufflé, a jab at the actor's excessive weight gain later in his life.

1941: Singer Jan Berry is born in Los Angeles. Jan's group, Jan and Dean, would become one of Al's influences in writing the beach-styled original "Trigger Happy."

1942: Vegas fave Wayne Newton is born in Roanoke, Virginia. Al would first invoke Wayne during the 1992 Al-TV special while "interviewing" Ozzy Osbourne, asking him to name his biggest musical influence. Ozzy stammers, "What's that black guy's name? Uh, from that rap band?" Al asks if he means Wayne, which apparently he does! Al would get to briefly interview Wayne for real, though, backstage at the December 1996 Blockbuster Music Awards, during which he was able to get Wayne to reveal that his favorite band was Metallica. And finally, Al and Alice Cooper would sing a duet of Wayne's perennial hit "Danke Schoen" at the close of VH1's November 1999 Fairway to Heaven golf outing...since it was being held in Las Vegas.

1947: Writer and director Pat Proft is born in Columbia Heights, Minnesota. After being one of the creative forces behind the Police Squad! television series but before going solo with 1998's spoof Wrongfully Accused, Pat would co-write the first two Naked Gun movies, each of which Al had graced with an appearance.

1953: The weekly magazine TV Guide, mentioned in Al's TV salutes "The Brady Bunch" and "Syndicated Inc.," is published for the first time in Philadelphia suburb Radnor, Pennsylvania, with Lucille Ball and her newborn on the cover. Within its first year the journal would accumulate over one-and-a-half million readers.

1961: "Okay, here's the pitch: I play everyone in the movie! The guys, the girls, the children, the buildings, and even all the organs inside the characters! Hee hee hee!" That's right, Oscar-nominated comedian and movie star Eddie Murphy is born in Brooklyn. One of the very few true shining lights during one of Saturday Night Live's most notorious lesser periods, that of the early 1980s, Eddie would be propelled into superstardom following a series of theatrical hits such as 48 Hrs., Trading Places, and of course Beverly Hills Cop. While riding such a high, in 1985 Eddie would make a laughable attempt at a pop/rock career with his Rick James-produced hit "Party All The Time." Al would later include the song in his "Polka Party!" polka! In May 1997 Eddie would find himself in a rather embarrassing situation (no no, not starring in Meet Dave) after being pulled over by police in West Hollywood only to be found with prostitute Atisone Seiuli...who just happened to be a crossdressing male. Although Al didn't specify it, it seems as if the incident would partly inspire the cautionary line in the Taylor Swift parody "TMZ" about how celebrities who pick up "some transvestite" can expect to see their story posted on the Internet seconds later, even though Eddie's little adventure predated TMZ by several years. Now, how many Spice Girls are left that he hasn't knocked up??

1968: Comic book artist and Gorillaz co-creator Jamie Hewlett is born in England's Horsham, West Sussex. Although he was already best known as co-creator of Tank Girl, in 1998 Jamie would team up with Britpop star Damon Albarn to create the creepy "virtual band" Gorillaz. With the members of the band only ever depicted via artwork or as animated characters in their music videos (all of which are designed or produced by Jamie), the actual identities of everyone who has been a part of Gorillaz has been a fun mystery. In 2005 the fictitious group would have a very real hit off their third album with the Grammy-winning single "Feel Good Inc.," which Al would include a year later in his Straight Outta Lynwood medley "Polkarama!"

1975: Undoubtedly the most beloved, most quoted British comedy film of all time, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, has its grand premiere in London. The legendary troupe's second film, and their first consisting of not only new material but also one single storyline, would take on a life of its own in the decades since its original release, even spawning the Tony-winning Broadway musical Spamalot. In Al's Chamillionaire parody "White & Nerdy" he claims to have memorized the film so well that his recitations of the dialogue would leave us ROTFLOL.

1978: The movie that would inspire lightsaber sounds from Stanley's mop in UHF and a "Jedi master" reference in "Theme From Home Improvement," Star Wars, wins seven Oscars at the Academy Awards. Even though it was up for Best Picture, the film only received six of the ten awards it was nominated for (the seventh statue was for a Special Achievement honor for sound designer and R2-D2 "voice" artist Ben Burtt). At the same ceremony Joseph Brooks wins the Best Music/Song Academy Award for the movie You Light Up My Life and its song of the same name, which Al would rework as a "Punk Version" in 1980.

1980: "The horror...the horror." Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam-themed masterpiece Apocalypse Now opens in Argentina. Early in the February 2008 Rifftrax MP3 for Jurassic Park, Al and Mike Nelson would have a little back and forth during a scene in which wormy lawyer Gennaro (Martin Ferrero) arrives at the Mano de Dios amber mine, with Mike commenting that it resembled a budget version of Apocalypse's mission to kill Colonel Kurtz (played by birthday boy Brando). Al would respond, "Terminate with extreme thriftiness," a play on one of this movie's iconic lines.

1984: The single "The Reflex" by Duran Duran is released. The third single off their Seven and the Ragged Tiger album, the song would earn fans due to its synthpoppy beat and its stuttering-like chorus. "The Reflex" would become a huge hit commercially, topping Billboard's "Hot 100" and even putting its parent album back in the top ten of the "Billboard 200" for the first time in half a year. During the September 1984 Al-TV special Al would honor the song's video in his presentation of the "Al-TV Music Video Awards," announcing that it won the "Best Use of a Tidal Wave in Live Concert Footage" award, specifically for a shot in which a waterfall comes flowing out of their concert video screen and rushes right into the audience. Just a year later, Al would briefly include "The Reflex" in his Dare To Be Stupid medley "Hooked On Polkas."

1985: Al wins his very first American Video Award for Best Male Performance, specifically in the "Eat It" video!!! Quite a little award-grabber this "Eat It" is becoming, huh?

1996: Al's second video for Bad Hair Day is shot. "Gump" marks Al's sixth turn in the director's chair. Jim West is sadly missing from the video (reportedly it had something to do with the hair-and-make-up people being completely unable to squash Jim's then-wildly long hair under a short-hair wig), but both Ruth Buzzi and Pat Boone show up! Oddly enough, this video would be released before the just-filmed video for the Spy Hard theme, but as far as production dates go, "Gump" would be the last full-length music video to feature Al's "classic" mustache-and-glasses look.

1996: Authorities arrive at a remote shack-like cabin just outside of Lincoln, Montana to arrest Ted Kaczynski, a.k.a. the Unabomber. Finked on by his brother, Ted was the subject of a nationwide manhunt for literally mailing bombs to people over the course of two decades, bombs which had killed three people and injured numerous others. Al had previously found himself being associated with the mad bomber after a recirculated 1987 FBI forensic sketch of suspect Kaczynski bore an uncomfortably uncanny resemblance to Al (specifically as he appeared in the opening moments of the "Fat" video). The similarity was perhaps most memorably spoofed by Norm MacDonald during a December 1994 Saturday Night Live "Weekend Update" sketch. Al would occasionally revisit the joke himself following Teddy's arrest, such as during that year's AlMusic special. In January 2005 Al would appear on the "1996" episode of VH1's mini-series I Love the '90s Part Deux to further discuss the humorous confusion: "When I got arrested and cavity searched, that was totally inappropriate." Ted, meanwhile, would be found guilty in 1998 and is currently serving a life sentence in Colorado without parole. Poor guy.

1997: Stupid, stupid, stupid "updated but authentic" tragic love story William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (starring Ratboy + Waifgirl) opens in Hungary. In January 2005 Al would appear on the "1996" episode of VH1's mini-series I Love the '90s Part Deux to offer his opinion of the film. Specifically he said, "I thought the writing was good, but it felt a little dated somehow."

1997: Rice-based side-dish pioneer Vincent DeDomenico passes away. In 1958 Vince followed a neighbor's inspiration and came up with the product known as Rice-a-Roni, a packaged dinner treat that is featured in both the song and video "I Lost On Jeopardy."

1998: James Cameron's overrated epic Titanic opens in China. Following the footsteps of the Zucker Brothers, later in the year Al would spoof the film for his opening and closing segments of Hanson's music video "River," going so far as having Titanic actress Gloria Stuart reprise her role from the film! In 1999 he would parody the movie's equally overrated theme song, "My Heart Will Go on" by Celine Dion, for the Touring With Scissors medley as "Free Delivery." At the end of the animated music video for the Alpocalypse original "If That Isn't Love," the movie would be alluded to as the husband's boat hits an iceberg, causing him to drown in a faux-whimsical fashion. In July 2011 Al would again parody the movie more directly by starring in a video produced for the CollegeHumor web site, appearing as the accordion-playing leader of the ship's ill-fated band, offering songs not so much to soothe the fleeing passengers but rather to spell out their impending doom.

1998: The "hip" scary/sexy/gothic WB quasidrama Buffy the Vampire Slayer premieres in France, over a year after its U.S. debut. In January 2005 Al would appear on the "1998" episode of VH1's mini-series I Love the '90s Part Deux to discuss the show's popular bookworm-turned-lesbian-turned-witch Willow, played by Alyson Hannigan. Al concluded that Willow is proof that "reading is a gateway to witchcraft and lesbianism."

2000: The unfunny, unappealing, unlikable Adam Sandler "comedy" The Waterboy premieres in Venezuela direct to video (lucky guys), marking the end of the film's original international release (whew!). In January 2005 Al would appear on the "1998" episode of VH1's mini-series I Love the '90s Part Deux to talk about his favorite moment from the movie, that of Rob Schneider saying (in a heavy phony Cajun accent) "You can do eet"..."what an inspirational thing to say."

2001: The single "Hate To Say I Told So" by The Hives is released. It would take another year for the song to peak on the Billboard charts. And even then, it didn't do all that well: #86 on the "Hot 100" and #35 on the "Mainstream Rock Tracks" chart. Fortunately, it would reach #6 on the "Modern Rock Tracks" chart, making it popular enough for inclusion on Al's 2003 medley "Angry White Boy Polka."

2001: The really, really crappy WCW-themed comedy Ready to Rumble premieres in Argentina as a direct-to-video movie (lucky dogs). The movie's soundtrack was in fact the first place one could hear Papa Roach's hit "Last Resort," later to be heard in "Angry White Boy Polka."

2002: The reality/celebrity-based "sitcom" The Osbournes premieres in Israel (ooo-kay....). Not only would Al discuss the show on VH1's 100 Moments That Rocked TV in January 2003, but four months later he would also spotlight the show's title clan in his Eminem parody "Couch Potato."

2003: The critically acclaimed Adam Sandler romantic comedy Punch-Drunk Love opens in Australia. A demented clip from the movie, featuring manic phone-sex pimp Philip Seymour Hoffman repeatedly screaming "Shut up! Shut up!" into a phone, would be seen during the opening montage on the Straight Outta Lynwood Tour.

2004 - Concert Date: And it's back to Indiana for The Poodle Hat Tour as the guys play the Evansville Auditorium at The Centre in (gasp!) Evansville.

2005: The quirky hit comedy Napoleon Dynamite premieres in the Czech Republic at the Febio Film Festival. The movie's lanky and awkward title character would, perhaps not surprisingly, also be among the top eight people on Al's MySpace page in his music video for "White & Nerdy."

2013: "You know what we could add to make people forget even more about the very thin storytelling?" Steven Spielberg must have said those words aloud, because the enhanced, upgraded, and totally unnecessary Jurassic Park 3D world-premieres in the Philippines, a day before its official "around the world" release date. Produced to not only commemorate the 1993 dinosaur blockbuster's twentieth anniversary but also ostensibly start the promotion machine for 2014's Jurassic Park 4, none of the groundbreaking special effects from Spielberg's original film were altered or updated at all, with Universal merely going the cheap route by giving the movie an inconsistent "Viewmaster effect." Al not only recounted the plot for his late-1993 "MacArthur Park" parody "Jurassic Park" (complete with an animated music video spoofing the film), but he also themed his entire Alapalooza album around the movie, even parodying its poster art for the album cover. In February 2008 Al also appeared as a guest star on one of Mike Nelson's Rifftrax MP3s, offering a Mystery Science Theater 3000-style commentary track for the movie.

Is there an event I forgot? By all means let me know!!!!

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Recording dates and tour dates available at, compiled by Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz. Most release dates, birthdays, and chart positions according to the Internet Movie Database, the Library of Congress, and the All Music Guide.