As we await the bewitching hour of 10 o'clock tonight (EDT) in Boise, where the little-regarded Wisconsin Badgers face very long odds against the upstarts from Florida State University, I'm heartened to know that one of the biggest upsets in history occurred on this very day in 1952.
Yes, folks, it was the night Humphrey Bogart stole the Academy Award for Best Actor -- the only Oscar of his sterling film career. Playing the gin-swilling riverboat captain Charlie Allnut in "The African Queen'' was a perfect role for a drink-swilling actor, and Bogie nailed it. The loser: Marlon Brando, a heavy favorite after his turn in "A Streetcar Named Desire.''
Come to think of it, "The African Queen'' might be much better viewing fare than another day of first-round NCAA games. Bogart and co-star Katharine Hepburn deal with spectacular odds of their own as they encounter scary white-water rapids, blood-sucking parasites and, finally, the dreaded German warship The Louisa. There is a scene near the end of the movie when the German captain announces:
"By the authority vested in me by Kaiser William II, I pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution.''
But we know our heroes will somehow escape the nooses.
You gotta believe...