Quick Hits: May 13

  • Happy Friday the 13th! The fear of Friday the 13th (known as friggatriskaidekaphobia) has its roots in Norse and Christian mythology. As the Norse myth goes, twelve gods were having dinner at Valhalla when an uninvited thirteenth guest – mischief-maker Loki – crashed the party and tricked Höðr into killing his brother Baldr (son of Odin and Frigg, Friday’s namesake) with a poison-tipped arrow. The Christian influence is the story of Jesus’ last supper and crucifixion. The modern fear of the day may be linked to the publishing of T.W. Lawson’s 1907 book Friday, the Thirteenth, in which a corrupt broker takes advantage of the superstition to manipulate the stock market. Several major 20th-century events occurred on a Friday the 13th, including the 1940 bombing of Buckingham Palace, the 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese, the 1972 plane crash (and grisly aftermath) that inspired Piers Paul Read’s Alive, and Tupac Shakur’s 1996 murder. Since 1980, the Friday the 13th franchise – which includes twelve films, a television series, comic books, video games, and merch – has kept the Friday the 13th superstition at the forefront of popular culture.
  • Danvers (Massachusetts) State Hospital opened on this day in 1878. Danvers was the inspiration for Arkham Sanitorium in the works of H.P. Lovecraft and later, Arkham Asylum in D.C.’s Batman universe. Danvers was also the setting – and the filming location – for the 2001 horror film Session 9.
  • The series finale of Frasier, titled “Good Night, Seattle”, aired on this day in 2004. The episode was watched by more than 33 million people, making “Good Night, Seattle” the eleventh-most-watched series finale of all time.
  • Today would have been Bea Arthur’s 100th birthday. I’ll just leave this here:

And this:

And this:

And this:

  • Happy birthday, Stevie Wonder!
  • Apollo et Hyacinthus, Mozart’s first opera, premiered in Salzburg on this day in 1767; at the time, Mozart was just twelve years old.
  • An upcoming limited series on FX/Hulu will tell the story of Great Britain’s punk pioneers The Sex Pistols. Titled Pistol, the series is based on Pistols guitarist Steve Jones’ 2017 memoir, Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol. All six episodes were directed by Oscar-winner Danny Boyle, and I honestly couldn’t imagine a better person for the job. Pistol will premiere on May 31.
  • Character actor Jack Kehler, best known for playing the Dude’s landlord Marty in The Big Lebowski, has died of leukemia complications at the age of seventy-five. Kehler’s other movie appearances include Men in Black II, Point Break, Wyatt Earp, and Waterworld. His television credits include Murder One and The Man in the High Castle.
  • A new novel by Liz Michalski, Darling Girl, is a modern-day reimagining of Peter Pan. The protagonist, Holly Darling, is Wendy’s granddaughter; the plot kicks off with the kidnapping of Holly’s daughter Eden, who has been in a coma for ten years. Holly is certain she knows who the kidnapper is: Eden’s father, Peter Pan.
  • Last but not least, the final Stranger Things 4 poster is here. It prominently features both the season’s “big bad”, Vecna, and the Creel House, a major set piece for the season.

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