On this day 100 years ago, the renowned Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman was born. Portraying the consciousness and emotions surrounding death, the church, family, betrayal, and agony, Bergman directed over 60 films (most of which he also wrote), including the influential Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), The Seventh Seal (1957), Wild Strawberries (1957), The Silence (1963), Persona (1966), Scenes from a Marriage (1973), and Fanny and Alexander (1982).
He first saw the film Black Beauty at age six and it affected him deeply, keeping him in bed speechless for days. At nine, he got a toy projector and created his own puppets and a theater, living some of the happiest years of his life before being subjected to the harsh rules of a conservative, minister father. Ironically, the stark and austere Swedish filmmaker was a huge fan of Ghostbusters, Sex in the City, and The Muppets, which produced a famous parody of his style. LEARN more and WATCH a video… (1918)
Notoriously averse to any of Hollywood’s advances, he did eventually make films in English (The Touch and The Serpent’s Egg) and work with American actors (Elliott Gould and David Carradine, respectively), but mostly stayed true to his artistic vision from his homes in Sweden and Germany.
When asked in his old age to name his demons, Bergman—one of the greatest artists of the 20th century—admitted to a long list of them, including fear, crowds, rage, and regimentation, but the worst of them he called the “Demon of Disaster”. Ever in a high state of disaster-preparedness, he imagined that everything he did in a day, everything he planned for that day onwards, would go terribly wrong.
In 2004, Bergman emptied his apartment in Stockholm and his room at the theater where he produced dozens of plays, and retreated to his beloved Fårö (the island where he wrote his scripts and filmed many of his most famous movies), never to leave again. He died there at age 89, three years later, instructing his nine children to sell everything at auction. Fortunately for the world, they disregarded his wishes.
MORE Good News on this Day:
- Citizens of Paris stormed the Bastille prison during the French Revolution, freeing seven prisoners and branding the memory of Bastille Day forevermore (1789)
- In Joplin, Missouri, the George Washington Carver National Monument became the first United States National Monument in honor of an African-American (1943)
- Jane Goodall arrived at the Gombe Stream Reserve in present-day Tanzania to begin her famous study of chimpanzees in the wild (1960)
- Elvis Costello and The Attractions made their live debut at The Garden, in Cornwall, England (1977)
- The movie premier of Pink Floyd’s The Wall was held at The Empire, Leicester Square, London, England (1982)
- David Lange led his Labour party to a landslide victory in New Zealand by promising to ban nuclear weapons and establish the world’s first and only nuclear-free nation, which, as Prime Minister three years later, he did (1984)
- The Peach Festival in South Carolina broke the world record for the most guitarist performing in unison for the longest period of time, when 432 guitarists played ‘Louie Louie’ for 30 minutes (1989)
- Duped financial clients who lost millions in the largest Ponzi scheme ever felt some vindication when Bernard Madoff arrived at a federal prison to begin serving a 150-year sentence (2009)
And, Happy 30th Birthday to Irish MMA fighter Conor McGregor, who needed only 13 seconds to become the Featherweight Champion in 2015, while setting the record for the fastest title victory in the organization’s history.
And, on this day in 1912, Woody Guthrie was born in Okemah, Oklahoma. The folk singer and songwriter who traveled with farmers displaced during the Dust Bowl, became famous for writing “This Land Is Your Land.” He was a major influence on Bruce Springsteen and the young Bob Dylan, whom he mentored before he died in 1967. Woody’s protest songs were often performed on his guitar decorated with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists.
This Land Is Your Way had never been sung on radio or TV or recorded by a famous performer, but some children’s school songbooks printed it and it was so well received that within a decade millions of people knew the words and could sing along… Guthrie also is the father of folk musician, Arlo Guthrie (who did Alice’s Restaurant, and Coming Into Los Angeles). WATCH Woody perform below…