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October 17 is Wear Something Gaudy Day

While Festivus may be the most famous holiday invented by sitcom writers, there is a lesser-known day called Wear Something Gaudy Day that’s fun and doesn’t require the airing of grievances.

Airing from 1977 to 1984, Three’s Company was adapted from a British show called Man About the House. Initially, it was turned down by all three networks—yes, there were only three networks—for its racy premise of two women sharing an apartment with a young, clumsy heterosexual man who pretends to be gay so the landlord will allow the living arrangement. Eventually, ABC came around and gave the show the go-ahead.

The sitcom soon became a hit, with its mashup of broad comedy, inspired farce and great slapstick. Though we’re not sure on which episode the following occurs, we can say with confidence that the plot involves a misunderstanding. (They all do.)wear something gaudy dayThe main male character, Jack Tripper, has a friend named Larry Dallas who is a sleazy used-car salesman. Larry’s sartorial elegance is questionable at best: he’s known as a three-button guy, meaning he has to have at least three buttons open to showcase his fluffed up chest hair for the ladies.
wear something gaudy day
After taking a little too much ribbing about his tacky clothing, Larry declares that it is Wear Something Gaudy Day. And just like that, an unofficial holiday is born. Why do we celebrate it today? Why not? Fans of this show are in good company.

It didn’t set out to change the world, it just made us laugh and that is why we love it.
Lucille Ball

Happy Wear Something Gaudy Day. You know what to do!

Here are two non-sitcom related holidays occurring today:
National Mulligan Day: learn how the “do-over” got its start
National Edge Day: celebrated by straight edge punks since 1999

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

 

July 21 is Invite an Alien to Live with You Day

Today is Invite an Alien to Live with You Day. Relax! We aren’t talking about the aliens that a certain reality star turned politician has said are coming to murder us and steal our jobs—although, once we’re dead, they’d technically just be taking advantage of sudden employment opportunities.

invite an alien to live with you day

When “Ay” met “Nanu nanu”

This type of illegal alien comes from the planet Ork. Robin Williams was born on July 21, 1951; he was introduced to us as Mork on February 28, 1978, when his spaceship crashed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and he wandered onto the set of Happy Days.

On September 20, 1977, the show had aired an episode that would later inspire the term “jump the shark,” which connotes the moment when the quality of a particular program begins to decline. In it, Fonzie dons water skis—still wearing his signature leather jacket, of course—and proves his courage by jumping a shark tank.

When series creator Garry Marshall announced, less than five months later, that his eight-year-old son had suggested they put a spaceman on the show, everyone involved thought it was a horrible idea. Actors agreed: Dom DeLuise and Roger Rees backed out of playing Mork. Two days before the shoot, a staffer tracked down a comic she’d seen doing an alien bit and brought him in.

As writer Brian Levant told E!,  “It is 3:30, we have a run-through of this episode, which is considered to be the biggest piece of s–t in the history of the show and it was brilliant. The run-through lasted an hour and fifteen minutes of a 22-minute show. And it was Robin Williams’ literal birth as an entertainer.”

Marshall’s spinoff Mork & Mindy premiered on September 14, 1978, and ran for four seasons, seen by an average of 55 million to 60 million per week. Viewers were taken in by Williams’ frenetic, madcap style and impish charm. He was a walking verb orbited by exclamation points.

After he committed suicide on August 11, 2014, it was revealed that he’d been suffering from Lewy body dementia, a progressive brain disease that can cause visual hallucinations, memory loss, decreased mental focus, rigid body movements, sleep disorders, anxiety and depression. Today would have been his 65th birthday.

Perhaps the best way to celebrate today is to acknowledge our sadness and then remind ourselves of the gifts he gave us by watching Mork and Mindy, his comedy specials or a marathon of our favorites from his movie career. He once said, “The truth is, if anything, I’m probably addicted to laughter.” We certainly got hooked on him.

There are hundreds of Robin Williams quotes online. Many are scripted lines, which shouldn’t count, in our opinion. So we’ll say up front that he spoke the following words as Mork from Ork. We don’t know if he ad-libbed any of it, as he was famous for doing, but it sums up what we hope he knew:

“I don’t know how much value I have in this universe, but I do know that I’ve made a few people happier than they would have been without me, and as long as I know that, I’m as rich as I ever need to be.”

We miss you, Robin.

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

July 9 is Rock ‘n’ Roll Day

rock 'n' roll dayToday is Rock ‘n’ Roll Day. It marks an end as well as a beginning. On July 9, 1956, Dick Clark took over as the host of a show called Bandstand. Less than three weeks before, it had slipped through another man’s hands.

Bandstand premiered in 1950 on WFIL-TV in Philadelphia, PA, and consisted of short musical films—the precursor of music videos—interspersed with interviews of studio guests. Host Bob Horn lobbied to change the format to a TV dance party, with teenagers dancing live to the latest records. The revamped show debuted in October 1952 and was a huge success, making the station owners happy and Horn a wealthy man.

But on June 21, 1956, Horn was arrested for drunk driving. He was fired and producer Tony Mammarella filled in while a new host was chosen. Horn’s poor judgment proved to be the opportunity of a lifetime for radio DJ Dick Clark, who had narrowly escaped disgrace himself in the payola scandal that destroyed the career of Alan Freed, to whom National Disc Jockey Day (January 20) is dedicated.

rock 'n' roll day

Dick Clark, July 1956

Clark’s star rose as Horn’s plummeted: In November, Horn was again arrested for drunk driving, this time causing an accident that injured a small girl. He was indicted on the same day for statutory rape. (He was eventually acquitted.) His reputation in tatters, Horn moved to Texas and changed his last name to Adams.

On August 5, 1957, the show went national, changing its name to American Bandstand. Clark, the man who would become known as the “world’s oldest teenager,” whose birthday (November 30) is celebrated as Perpetual Youth Day, helmed the show for over thirty years.

Bob Horn died of a heat stroke-induced heart attack while mowing his lawn in Houston, TX on July 31, 1966, at the age of 50. He’s buried in Houston’s Forest Park Cemetery (as Bob Horn, not Adams) with “Bandstand” inscribed across the top of his headstone.

Dick Clark died of a heart attack following a medical procedure in Santa Monica, CA on April 18, 2012, at the age of 82. Clark was cremated on April 20, and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.

Let’s have a dance party and remember them both on Rock ‘n’ Roll Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

Donald Duck Day

donald duck dayJune 9 is Donald Duck Day. It celebrates the date in 1934 when he first appeared in a Disney cartoon called “The Wise Little Hen.”

In his 1941 authorized biography, The Life of Donald Duck, he revealed he’d been born on Friday the 13th. When he starred in “Donald’s Happy Birthday” in 1949, his car’s license plate number read 313, which many fans took to mean he was born on March 13th.

This has caused a schism between those who celebrate Donald Duck Day on June 9th and those who insist it should be observed on March 13th. Although his publicist has not returned our calls, we believe Donald Fauntleroy Duck would approve of at least two days dedicated in his honor.

His performance in “Der Fuehrer’s Face” helped it win the 1943 Academy Award for best animated short film. In it, he awakens in a nightmare world where he is a Nazi. (Its original title was “Donald Duck in Nutzi Land” but was changed to “Der Fuehrer’s Face” after the novelty song by that name became a runaway hit.)

Propaganda films weren’t unusual, but because Donald appeared as a Nazi, however unwillingly, the cartoon was considered objectionable and relegated to the Disney vault after the end of World War II. In 1994, a group of 1,000 members of the animation industry voted it one of the 50 greatest cartoons ever made. Ten years later, Disney finally released it in a set called “Walt Disney Treasures: On the Front Lines.”

It’s possible to find the compilation for sale on eBay but prices are high because Disney made only 250,000 sets in 2004. We can’t find it on the Disney youTube channel but if you’re curious, the cartoon is available through a few unofficial sources. Here’s one:

There are links here and here to a version that includes a short explanatory prologue.

We’d like to leave you all with an observation made by Chandler Bing on the TV show “Friends.”

You know what’s weird? Donald Duck never wore pants. But whenever he’s getting out of the shower, he always puts a towel around his waist. I mean, what is that about?

Happy Donald Duck Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays