FYI December 07, 2017

1703 – The Great Storm of 1703, the greatest windstorm ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain, makes landfall. Winds gust up to 120 mph, and 9,000 people die.
The Great Storm of 1703 was a destructive extratropical cyclone that struck central and southern England on 26 November 1703 (7 December 1703 in the Gregorian calendar in use today). High winds caused 2,000 chimney stacks to collapse in London and damaged the New Forest, which lost 4,000 oaks. Ships were blown hundreds of miles off-course, and over 1,000 seamen died on the Goodwin Sands alone. News bulletins of casualties and damage were sold all over England – a novelty at that time. The Church of England declared that the storm was God’s vengeance for the sins of the nation. Daniel Defoe thought it was a divine punishment for poor performance against Catholic armies in the War of the Spanish Succession[citation needed].

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1941 – World War II: Attack on Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy carries out a surprise attack on the United States Pacific Fleet and its defending Army and Marine air forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (For Japan’s near-simultaneous attacks on Eastern Hemisphere targets, see December 8.)

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1915 – Leigh Brackett, American author and screenwriter (d. 1978)
Leigh Douglass Brackett (December 7, 1915 – March 18, 1978) was an American writer, particularly of science fiction, and has been referred to as the Queen of Space Opera.[1] She was also a screenwriter, known for her work on such films as The Big Sleep (1946), Rio Bravo (1959), The Long Goodbye (1973) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980). She was the first woman shortlisted for the Hugo Award.

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Shortly after Brackett broke into science fiction writing, she wrote her first screenplays. Hollywood director Howard Hawks was so impressed by her novel No Good from a Corpse that he had his secretary call in “this guy Brackett” to help William Faulkner write the script for The Big Sleep (1946).[5] The film was written by Brackett, William Faulkner and Jules Furthman, and starred Humphrey Bogart. It is considered one of the best movies ever made in the genre.

After getting married, Brackett took a long break from screenwriting. When she returned to screenwriting in the mid-1950s, she wrote for TV and movies. Howard Hawks hired her to write or co-write several John Wayne pictures, including Rio Bravo (1959), Hatari! (1962), El Dorado (1966), and Rio Lobo (1970). Because of her background with The Big Sleep, Robert Altman hired her to adapt Raymond Chandler’s novel The Long Goodbye for the screen, with his own emphasis on reworking the private investigator (PI) genre.

The Empire Strikes Back

Brackett worked on the screenplay for The Empire Strikes Back, the first Star Wars sequel. The film won the Hugo Award in 1981. This script was a departure for Brackett, as until then, all of her science fiction had been in the form of novels and short stories. Brackett’s role in writing the script is disputed. George Lucas said that he asked Brackett to write the screenplay based on his story outline. Brackett wrote a finished first draft, which was delivered to Lucas shortly before her death from cancer on March 18, 1978. Two drafts of a new screenplay were written by Lucas and, following the delivery of the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark, turned over to Lawrence Kasdan for a new approach. Both Brackett and Kasdan (though not Lucas) were given credit for the final script.

Laurent Bouzereau, in Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays, said that Lucas disliked the direction of Brackett’s screenplay, discarded it, and produced two more screenplays before turning the results over to Kasdan.[6] Some fans, however, believe that they can detect traces of Brackett’s influence in the dialogue and the treatment of the space opera genre in Empire.[7] io9’s co-founder Charlie Jane Anders has written that while “It’s fashionable to disparage Brackett’s contributions to Empire”, “it’s not true that none of Brackett’s storyline winds up in the final movie — the basic story beats are the same.”[8]

Similarly John Saavedra of Den of Geek website says:

Most importantly, you see that Brackett’s draft, while definitely in need of a rewrite and several tweaks, holds all of the big moments we’d eventually see on screen. We still get a version of the Battle of Hoth (a much more ridiculous one), the wise words of an old Jedi Master, the excitement of zooming through a deadly asteroid field, a love triangle (a MUCH more overt one), a majestic city in the clouds, unexpected betrayals, and the climactic duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader that we would reenact on playgrounds for years to come.


Brackett’s screenplay has never been officially or legally published. According to Stephen Haffner, it can be read at the Jack Williamson Special Collections library at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico (but may not be copied or checked out) and the archives at Lucasfilm in California. It is available on the internet as a PDF file.[10][original research?]

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