On this day 45 years ago, “American Graffiti,” the first successful film directed and co-written by George Lucas, premiered. The coming-of-age comedy starring Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howard also featured Harrison Ford, a young actor who had become a professional carpenter because acting roles weren’t paying the bills. (The gig profoundly changed his career as he was cast in Lucas’s next film, Star Wars.) An Oscar Best Picture nominee, Graffiti was produced with a tiny budget of $777,000, and became one of the most profitable films of all time. WATCH a clip with the young Harrison… (1973)

Set during a single night in 1962, the film glimpses the car-cruising, rock-and-roll culture popular among teens of the post–World War II baby boom generation—and it was the inspiration for Happy Days, the hit TV comedy series also starring Ron Howard.

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • African-Americans in the United States voted for first time in a state election— in the southern state in Tennessee (1867)
  • Japan abolished its samurai, farmer, artisan, merchant class system as part of the Meiji Restoration reforms (1869)
  • The world’s first underground tube railway, Tower Subway, opened in London (1870)
  • The U.S. Continental Congress began signing the Declaration of Independence (1776)
  • The Viking replica ‘Gaia’ reached the first Norse settlement in Newfoundland for the 1,000th anniversary of Leif Eriksson’s landing after having left Norway on May 17 (1991)
  • New Orleans re-named their airport the Louis Armstrong Airport, in honor of the trumpet player, singer and bandleader, one of the city’s favorite sons (2001)
  • Liberian President Charles Taylor agreed to cede power (2003)

And on this day in 2004, Eric Clapton bought a 50% share in Cordings to save the historic British gentleman’s outfitters, based in London since 1839, from closure.eric clapton-cordings mens fashion-youtube-thumb

The guitarist said he had been fond of the West End shop since a window display of a tweed suit caught his eye when he was 16, and he became a regular shopper there. Cordings was the originator of the Covert coat and the Tattersall shirt and made riding boots for the Queen Mother.

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