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April 5 is First Contact Day

First Contact Day won’t officially happen until April 5, 2063, when Dr. Zefram Cochrane takes off from Earth in the first warp-capable vessel, Phoenix–constructed from remnants of a nuclear missile in an underground bunker outside Bozeman, Montana–attracting the attention of a passing Vulcan survey ship, spurring the Vulcans to make, you guessed it, first contact with humans. (In the mirror universe, the date is celebrated for a different reason. It’s named a holy day because when the Vulcans land to greet them, Cochrane grabs a shotgun and leads a group of Terrans to kill them all.)

We can be forgiven for celebrating early since the Star Trek universe has always played around with intersecting timelines. In the film Star Trek: First Contact, the Borg arrive from the 24th century on April 4, 2063, to try to sabotage Phoenix (even though Earth will provide them with some tasty space peeps to assimilate in the future). The 24th-century Enterprise also time-jumps to repair the craft, borking the Prime Directive to beat the Borg collective.

April 5, 2022–41 BFC–may have been the most exciting (Before) First Contact Day yet, when a trailer for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was released.

The newest addition to the Star Trek canon stars the OG space captain, Christopher Pike, shown left on Star Trek: The Original Series–the moniker offends my Trekkie eye but I bow to the will of the people–as a burned dude in a rolling iron-lung/personal-sauna contraption. (They could tune the thing to his brainwaves yet could only construct it to give yes-or-no answers? Even a Magic 8-Ball can say “maybe.” Come on now.)

 

 

It was also announced on April 5, 2022, that Star Trek: Picard will shoot a third, final season and will bring back many characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation, including Riker, Geordi, Worf, Deanna Troi, Dr. Crusher, and Data.

 


If you’re reading this in 2063, Happy First First Contact Day! If you see some people with pointy ears, don’t shoot!

 

copyright notice 2022 Worldwide Weird Holidays 2022

November 15 is George Spelvin Day

George Spelvin DayToday is George Spelvin Day. Who is he, and why does he have his own day? He was “born” on November 15, 1886, and is still going strong. How is that possible?

George Spelvin began as a pseudonym used in theatrical playbills to hide the fact that a performer was “doubling“—playing two roles in a play or musical. Actors changed costumes and makeup, sometimes adding a second, disguised photo to the program, all to (hopefully) fool theatergoers. Listing a player’s name twice would ruin the effect.

Sometimes a playwright or director added a fictitious actor and role to the cast list to trick audience members into thinking the character would appear. This misdirection could make a plot twist or other device harder to figure out and thus more effective and entertaining.

George Spelvin first appeared on a Broadway Playbill on November 15, 1886, opening night of Karl the Peddler, a play by Charles A. Gardiner. In 1906, Winchell Smith “cast” him in Brewster’s Millions. After the show’s success, Smith considered Spelvin a good luck charm and added him to many other shows.

Spelvin appeared in the credits of films such as D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation (1915) and the Academy Award-winning From Here to Eternity (1953). He showed up on television and soap operas, including The Guiding Light and Edge of Night. He called himself George Spelvinsky, Georges SpelvinetGiorgio Spelvino or Gregor Spelvanovich for European roles.

Over time, the Spelvin family expanded. George Spelvin, Jr. shared billing with his “father” in the 1929 play Kibitzer. Georgette Spelvin debuted in the short-lived Broadway production of Love Girl (1922). The clan had a “black sheep” as well: Georgina Spelvin, used by porn actress Chele Welsh as her screen name in adult films such as The Devil in Miss Jones (1973) and mainstream fare like Police Academy (1984).

Although doubling has lost its stigma, pseudonyms remain popular. Actors’ Equity Association members wishing to work under a non-union contract may use alternate names to avoid fines and possible revocation of union membership. Performers who become unhappy while shooting a movie may try to substitute a false name in the credits, to disassociate themselves from a potential box office bomb.

The Spelvin name has grown so well-known that it has become an in-joke for sophisticated audiences. (Alan Smithee, used by disgruntled directors, enjoys a similar status among moviegoers.) Spelvin’s British counterparts are Mr. F. AnneyMr. Bart and Walter Plinge, who has his own holiday on December 2nd.

Have a happy George Spelvin Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

June 15 is Magna Carta Day

magna carta dayMagna Carta Day, explained in the style of Jeff Spicoli:

In 1215, the king of England was a total wad, so a bunch of rich baron dudes got together and decided his divine right was bogus, so they drew up some cool rules they called the Great Charter until somebody said it sounded way more righteous in Latin. They took it to the king on June 15th and told him, “Sign it, or you’ll never party again,” which was a gnarly scene for a minute, but then he signed it. 

The Pope was not cool with that and said, “Later, dudes!” and kicked all the baron guys out of the church. But none of it matters anyhow because Julius Caesar’s calendar was a mess so we use a different one now, which means the Carta got signed on June 8th but then, like, did it even happen?

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

May 4 is Star Wars Day

star wars day

artwork: starwarz.com

Today is Star Wars Day. Its date is a play on words referencing the line, “May the Force be with you.” “May the fourth be with you” has become a rallying cry for fans.

It was inaugurated on May 4, 2011, at the Toronto Underground Cinema in Canada and has quickly spread around the world. Festivities include costume and trivia contests, Internet tributes, mashups and parodies.

Disney purchased Lucasfilm from its owner (and Star Wars creator) George Lucas in late 2012. Since May 4, 2013, the company has observed the holiday with events at Disney World and Disneyland. Today, its Star Wars homepage links to 37 purveyors of officially-licensed merchandise, from New Zealand Mint coins to Pendleton blankets.

If you’ve missed today’s celebrations or want to extend them 24 hours, you’re in luck. There is another. A new Star Wars holiday has arisen, this one from the pun “revenge of the fifth.” (By the way, on May 4, 2015, astronauts on the International Space Station watched Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. That got us thinking: Is there any distance great enough from which Hayden Christensen’s performance looks good?)

But wait, there’s more! In 2007, the Los Angeles City Council declared May 25th Star Wars Day to honor the 30th anniversary of the original movie’s release date. Diehard fans will take any excuse to celebrate. It puts us one day closer to the next installment.

Happy Star Wars Day(s), everybody!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays