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August 17: Here’s Looking at You, Kid

August 17, 2013

casablanca-17fga0mHoward E. Koch, who terrified America by writing Orson Welles’ radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds,” died in Woodstock, New York at age 93 on this date in 1995. Koch was best known as one of the three screenwriters (the others were twins, Philip and Julie Epstein) of the 1942 Humphrey Bogart film, Casablanca, directed by Michael Curtiz, which won an Academy Award for Best Picture. Other films Koch worked on included Sergeant York, Rhapsody in Blue (a George Gershwin bio-pic), Sea Hawk (starring Erroll Flynn), and Mission to Moscow, for which he was recruited by the War Office of Information. The latter film, with its pro-Soviet perspective, helped shorten his career as Koch was blacklisted in 1951, which drove him to move to Great Britain for five years. To see four very fraught minutes of Casablanca, look below.

“We’ll always have Paris.” —Howard E. Koch, Casablanca