On This Day: Why Snooki Owes Everything to Herbert Hoover


Happy April 7, dear reader! Time to join Movieline on another breezy expedition through the historical arcana and milestones that helped shaped the pop culture you know and love today. Read on for a TV miracle and a trifecta of essential birthdays that will have you raising your coffee cup in their honor in no time.

· 1927: Bell Telephone lab technicians Herbert E. Ives and Frank Gray presented the first long-distance demonstration of television, transmitting an image of then-Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover from Washington D.C. to New York City. The signal was broadcast at a rate of about 18 frames per second (compared to modern standards of 30 FPS), but nevertheless provoked one historian to write: "It was in fact the best demonstration of a mechanical television system ever made to this time. It would be several years before any other system could even begin to compare with it in picture quality." So now you know who you have to thank for Jersey Shore.

· 1939: Francis Ford Coppola is born in Detroit, Mich., bestowed his middle name for the local automaking giant (not to mention the Henry Ford Hospital where he came into the world). NB: In addition to his highly successful winemaking enterprise, Coppola also happens to have directed arguably the greatest American film of the last half-century.

· 1950: Remember yesterday how Walter Huston launched his family's Hollywood dynasty when he was born in 1884? Yeah, well, he also passed away on this day in 1950. Insert frowny emoticon here.

· 1954: Jackie Chan performed his very first stunt without the aid of a double, emerging from his mother's womb in Victoria Peak, Hong Kong. You should see the customary outtakes they edited together at the end of his hospital residency. Hilarious.

· 1964: Russell Crowe, too, came swinging into life on this day, the son of movie-set caterers in Wellington, New Zealand. He has since gone on to modest acclaim as a singer/songwriter and rugby franchise owner, not to mention winning an Oscar for Gladiator in 2001.