October 13 – Babes in Toyland, Strange Days (indeed!)

1903

An operetta by US composer Victor Herbert (his first major hit) called Babes in Toyland opens in Broadway’s Majestic Theatre.The songs Toyland (popular as a lullaby) and March of the Toys are still frequently heard. The title has been recycled since for a number of films (including a 1934 Laurel & Hardy film and a 1961 Disney film).

Babes is a follow-up to the major success (293 performances) of Paul Tietjens‘ (now nearly forgotten) 1902 The Wizard of Oz stage musical. Also hosted at the Majestic, it replaced Toto with a cow named Imogene.

Herbert was also a filmscore pioneer. Some of his music for 1905 operatta Mlle. Modiste is reprised (after his 1924 death) in 1931 film Kiss Me Again and much-recorded.

1995 (20 years)

The Johnny Mnemonic-like sci-fi, cyberpunk Kathryn Bigelow film Strange Days is released.

Cop turned street-hustler accidentally uncovers a police conspiracy in 1999 Los Angeles. The plot includes SQUID recorders (which also appear in Neal Stephenson book Snow Crash). Alas, the $40M film makes $8M.

The of-the-day soundtrack includes tracks by Brit rockers Skunk Anansie, strange Belgian techno band Lords of Acid and Tricky.

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