On This Day … 20 January [2023]


Events

  • 1929 – The first full-length talking motion picture filmed outdoors, In Old Arizona, is released.

People (Births)

  • 1878 – Finlay Currie, Scottish-English actor (d. 1968).
  • 1920 – DeForest Kelley, American actor (d. 1999).
  • 1966 – Rainn Wilson, American actor.

Old Arizona

In Old Arizona is a 1928 American pre-Code Western film directed by Raoul Walsh and Irving Cummings, nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The film, which was based on the character of the Cisco Kid in the 1907 story “The Caballero’s Way” by O. Henry, was a major innovation in Hollywood. It was the first major Western to use the new technology of sound and the first talkie to be filmed outdoors. It made extensive use of authentic locations, filming in Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park in Utah, and the Mission San Juan Capistrano and the Mojave Desert in California. The film premiered in Los Angeles on 25 December 1928, and went into general release on either 28 December 1928 or 20 January 1929.

In Old Arizona contributed to creating the image of the singing cowboy, as its star, Warner Baxter, does some incidental singing. Baxter went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. Other nominations included Best Director for Irving Cummings, Best Writing for Tom Barry, Best Cinematography for Arthur Edeson, and Best Picture.

Finlay Currie

William Finlay Currie (20 January 1878 to 09 May 1968) was a Scottish actor of stage, screen, and television. He received great acclaim for his roles as Abel Magwitch in the British film Great Expectations (1946) and as Balthazar in the American film Ben-Hur (1959).

In his career spanning 70 years, Currie appeared in seven films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, of which Around the World in 80 Days (1956) and Ben-Hur (1959) were winners.

DeForest Kelley

Jackson DeForest Kelley (20 January 1920 to 11 June 1999), known to colleagues as “Dee”, was an American actor, screenwriter, poet, and singer. He was known for his roles in Westerns and as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy of the USS Enterprise in the television and film series Star Trek (1966-1991).

Rainn Wilson

Rainn Percival Dietrich Wilson (born 20 January 1966) is an American actor, comedian, podcaster, producer, writer, and director. He is best known for his role as Dwight Schrute on the NBC sitcom The Office, for which he earned three consecutive Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Born in Seattle, Wilson began acting at the University of Washington, and later worked in theatre in New York City after graduating in 1986. Wilson made his film debut in Galaxy Quest (1999), followed by supporting parts in Almost Famous (2000), Steven Soderbergh’s Full Frontal (2002), and House of 1000 Corpses (2003). He also had a recurring part as Arthur Martin in the HBO series Six Feet Under from 2003 to 2005. From 2018 to 2021, he starred as Trevor on the CBS sitcom Mom.

Wilson was cast as Dwight Schrute in The Office in 2005, a role which he played until the show’s conclusion in 2013. Other film credits include lead roles in the comedies The Rocker (2008) and Super (2010), as well as supporting roles in the horror films Cooties (2014) and The Boy (2015). In 2009, he provided his voice for the computer-animated science fiction film Monsters vs. Aliens as the villain Gallaxhar and voiced Gargamel in Smurfs: The Lost Village. He has played a small recurring role of Harry Mudd on Star Trek: Discovery (2017) and Star Trek: Short Treks (2018), as well as a supporting role in The Meg (2018). He is also the voice of Lex Luthor in the DC Animated Movie Universe.

Outside of acting, Wilson published an autobiography, The Bassoon King, in 2015, and co-founded the digital media company SoulPancake in 2008. In 2022, Wilson changed his name on his social media accounts in an effort to raise awareness for climate change.

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