This Weekend In History

November 26, 1942

The film classic Casablanca premieres. It starred Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
Bogart’s character Rick never says the famous line. “Play it again, Sam.” There is the following exchange though:
Rick: You know what I want to hear.
Sam: No, I don’t.
Rick: You played it for her, you can play it for me!
Sam: Well, I don’t think I can remember…
Rick: If she can stand it, I can! Play it!

November 27, 2005

In exchange for a multimillion-dollar fee, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith and rapper 50 Cent took to the stage at New York City’s famous Rainbow Room in the early morning hours of November 27, 2005, as headline performers at the $10 million bat mitzvah of Long Island 13-year-old Elizabeth Brooks

According to the ensuing coverage of the event in the New York Daily News, guests at the Brooks bat mitzvah began their celebration unaware of what lay ahead. When a soprano-sax player who looked suspiciously like Kenny G turned out, in fact, to be Kenny G, the bizarrely star-studded event was only getting started. In the hours preceding the appearances of Aerosmith and 50 Cent, former A-list stars Don Henley, Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty all graced the stage at the Rainbow Room, entertaining guests who had been given gift bags containing upwards of $1,000 in personal electronics, including digital cameras that 50 Cent’s bodyguard reportedly tried and failed to stop guests from using to snap keepsake photos of the event. Within days, however, those photos had appeared on numerous blogs, along with thousands of snarky comments. 

The father who spent $10 million celebrating his daughter’s coming-of-age was defense contractor David H. Brooks, CEO of DHB Industries, a Long Island company that manufactured body armor for the United States military. Two years after the lavish event, Brooks was served with a 71-page federal indictment featuring charges of insider trading, tax evasion and raiding his company’s coffers for personal gain—including for the $10 million he used to pay for his daughter’s lavish bat mitzvah. He died in prison in 2016. 

November 28, 1942

A fire at the Coconut Grove nightclub in Boston kills 491 people. This was the deadliest U.S. nightclub fire and the second deadliest single-building fire in U.S. history (1903 Chicago Iroquois Theater fire was the deadliest single-building fire, killing 602).
The fire spread quickly, filling the building with flames and smoke in less than five minutes. The main entrance was a revolving door which became jammed and then broke when the crowds tried to push through it. When the door broke, the oxygen-starved fire shot flames through the air gap, incinerating anyone in it. All but one of the other exits were either non-operational or hidden in non-public areas. Some were bolted shut and some opened inwards and were rendered useless as the crowds piled up against them.
It is believed the fire started when a 16-year-old busboy used a match for light while screwing in a light bulb that had been unscrewed by a patron. Moments later, flammable decorations nearby caught on fire, spreading to a fabric-covered false ceiling which burned rapidly.
The fire led to numerous new fire codes, including the requirement for revolving doors to have an adjacent outward-swinging door and for exit signs to be visible at all times.