The Engineer’s Room: The Best of February

February gets the short end of the calendar stick, date-wise. There’s a popular myth that the Roman Emperor Augustus stole a day from February when Sextilis was renamed August in his honor, so his month would be as long as July, previously named in honor of Julius Caesar. That’s not how it actually happened, but it’s still the Roman’s fault.

The original Roman calendar only had 10 months. Rome had an agrarian culture at the time, and not much happens on a farm in the winter, so the calendar simply stopped with December,[1] then picked back up again with the Spring equinox in March. Numa Pompilius, second king of Rome, thought this was a bit haphazard so he added two months to the year (January and February) c. 713 BCE, creating a 355 day lunar calendar.[2]

The calendar now had 12 months, but it didn’t stay in sync with the seasons, since they’re based on the solar year, not the lunar year, so every few years an additional 27-day “intercalary” month would be added in February to even things out. Julius Caesar stepped in c. 45 BCE to adjust the days in each month to create a 365 day year with an additional “Leap Day” added on February 24 every 4 years.[3] This was a dramatic improvement, but there were now too many Leap Years, so the calendar slowly drifted out of sync with the seasons.  The Julian calendar was used until October 1582 when the Gregorian calendar (named for Pope Gregory XIII) was introduced by the Catholic Church to keep Easter in the Spring.[4] This adjusted the calendar to re-align it with the seasons.[5] The new rule for Lead Days is:

There is a Leap Day (February 29) added to every year that is evenly divisible by 4 (a Leap Year) except for years evenly divisible by 100 (the centuries), which are not Leap Years, unless the year is evenly divisible by 400, when they are Leap Years.[6]

So, 1900 was not a Leap Year (divisible by 100) but 2000 was a Leap Year (divisible by 400). The next Leap Year will be 2020. Simple, no?

February may be short, but it is chock full of holidays and observances from Black History Month (February is the birth month of both Abraham Lincoln, on the 12th, and Frederick Douglas, on the 14th), and Valentine’s Day (the 14th) to the Anniversary of the Islamic Revolution (the 11th). Some February holidays vary a bit from year to year, such as the Super Bowl (the 1st Sunday), Ice Cream for Breakfast Day (the 1st Saturday), and International Purple Hijab Day (the 2nd Saturday). Of the literally hundreds of holidays celebrated in February none are more significant than the dual celebrations on February 1st of Groundhog Day’s Eve and Richard W. Kroon’s birthday.[7]

To honor Richard W. Kroon’s birthday this year, we have compiled a list of his favorite movies, cartoons, and television series. This includes programs that remain his all-time favorites as well as shows he loved at the time and still carry sentimental value. When the list ballooned past 400 entries, we realized that it had gotten out of control, so the difficult process of narrowing it down to a more manageable size began.[8] To make room for other entries, there is only one film per franchise, so only a single Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, James Bond, or Pink Panther film.[9] Many classics were in the top 250, but did not make the final cut into the top 125, including Citizen Kane (1941), Casablanca (1942), Gone with the Wind (1939), and The Third Man (1949). Whimsical favorites also had to go, including Booby Traps (1944), a World War II Warner Bros. training cartoon featuring Private Snafu, and Shatner of the Mount (2009), a loving tribute to William Shatner’s alter ego, Capt. Kirk.

There is still something for everyone on the list, from French New Wave (Francois Truffaut’s 1973 La Nuit américaine) to Japanese Anime (1979’s Star Blazers – far superior to the better known Speed Racer from 1967). There’s the expected amount of science fiction, comedy, cartoons, and adventure, but also a surprising number of musicals  and even a couple of TV competition shows. The programs are listed alphabetically, so here we present the tops of the tops:

The full list of Richard W. Kroon’s 125 favorite programs, each with its corresponding EIDR ID, follows.


Richard W. Kroon’s 125 Most Favoritest Shows

Title Year Type EIDR ID
1776 1972 Movie 10.5240/4018-48F9-3ABF-A255-70D1-5
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 1954 Movie 10.5240/5FD4-FEE1-22F5-583E-FECC-O
Airplane! 1980 Movie 10.5240/02D1-AF0C-BC1A-D79E-BF76-N
Alien 1979 Movie 10.5240/55AD-7242-833C-F4AA-9776-7
Animal House 1978 Movie 10.5240/E599-4859-88C5-5B02-ADAC-M
Anne with an E 2017 Series 10.5240/4C03-FF0B-0E7E-47C0-69B8-X
Back to the Future 1985 Movie 10.5240/09A3-1F6E-3538-DF46-5C6F-I
Battlestar Galactica 2003 Series 10.5240/73BA-5128-0211-6D88-79D6-J
Big 1988 Movie 10.5240/65D9-0976-8263-78EE-408C-X
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure 1989 Movie 10.5240/D325-83DE-6998-A62D-140B-P
Blade Runner 1982 Movie 10.5240/EA73-79D7-1B2B-B378-3A73-M
Blazing Saddles 1974 Movie 10.5240/48AD-94C7-C55C-C9CC-CD54-X
The Blues Brothers 1980 Movie 10.5240/2CD4-0252-3913-A4C0-0F7D-7
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969 Movie 10.5240/12E3-D65B-8398-4D09-444F-Q
Caddyshack 1980 Movie 10.5240/4EE4-0DCA-5E18-6A06-BF94-F
Castle 2009 Series 10.5240/E94D-9DAB-2F59-680A-746F-W
Chinatown 1974 Movie 10.5240/2411-6FF0-31E2-D49D-870C-7
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 1968 Movie 10.5240/E665-A399-CAFC-BEDB-88F7-8
A Christmas Story 1983 Movie 10.5240/639B-28F7-DE40-F323-66A8-U
Conan the Barbarian 1982 Movie 10.5240/6D8F-6BF8-4318-DF7D-6CC5-V
Coupling 2000 Series 10.5240/1695-FB70-9D9F-98BC-8D2B-S
The Daily Show 1996 Series 10.5240/BE8E-B5BA-E323-D321-EFA7-9
Dark Star 1974 Movie 10.5240/A555-22C6-C10C-51D5-36C2-2
Die Hard 1988 Movie 10.5240/08B0-F8C2-5525-BF22-BA07-4
Downton Abbey 2010 Series 10.5240/5BC6-2FA3-4F64-B17E-0B7D-H
Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century 1953 Short 10.5240/E276-0977-E602-2337-562D-F
Escape from New York 1981 Movie 10.5240/EE54-27B8-9F35-DCE5-4DC8-2
The Fifth Element 1997 Movie 10.5240/42C7-306C-D5A3-EE2E-DAD8-V
Forbidden Planet 1956 Movie 10.5240/8F6B-7224-178A-B810-F961-S
Four Weddings and a Funeral 1994 Movie 10.5240/EB97-70CD-866B-FE2C-A8D4-P
Friday Night Lights 2006 Series 10.5240/4BA6-26D4-2122-3308-4B29-X
From the Earth to the Moon 1998 Series 10.5240/BB65-5765-F01E-0DAA-7221-Q
Game of Thrones 2011 Series 10.5240/C1B5-3BA1-8991-A571-8472-W
George of the Jungle 1967 Series 10.5240/B886-1C49-3480-B9D0-C3EA-C
Get Smart 1965 Series 10.5240/8CA6-F300-DAC9-DD21-97AF-V
Ghostbusters 1984 Movie 10.5240/7EC7-228A-510A-053E-CBB8-J
The Great British Baking Show 2010 Series 10.5240/F1B7-0ABD-065D-6760-72C6-P
The Great Escape 1963 Movie 10.5240/9897-0A62-0AA1-E5FD-7903-C
Groundhog Day 1993 Movie 10.5240/44D2-396A-6638-B599-2DFE-H
Guardians of the Galaxy 2014 Movie 10.5240/327D-78F8-6DE8-14F2-1D37-Q
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 2001 Movie 10.5240/B404-D60D-FEE9-0ACF-EABB-O
Hawaii Five-O 1968 Series 10.5240/AF45-DE73-C2D1-4971-5B7E-J
Highlander 1986 Movie 10.5240/DBA6-1A0B-66B2-ABF7-D345-0
His Girl Friday 1940 Movie 10.5240/6CBA-1246-2356-5299-52C8-E
The Hot Rock 1972 Movie 10.5240/DE85-D1CD-0BEB-6B53-CD47-O
How Green Was My Valley 1941 Movie 10.5240/726E-15EC-2513-9B10-4988-T
How the Grinch Stole Christmas 1966 TV 10.5240/C89F-0FF3-A4A5-6EC5-2988-B
Idiocracy 2006 Movie 10.5240/05CB-FDD4-D3BE-C9E5-1B9F-0
Inspector Lewis 2006 Series 10.5240/4CDB-9246-FDBE-7A63-0895-L
The Iron Giant 1999 Movie 10.5240/47D5-9541-01D9-D917-1FCA-E
The IT Crowd 2006 Series 10.5240/0C24-0053-62C3-C0DF-E5D0-X
It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World 1963 Movie 10.5240/CB31-EC0F-B019-E864-3D8E-V
La Nuit américaine  (Day for Night) 1973 Movie 10.5240/AD0C-9709-CC43-4FF3-77F5-H
J.P. Patches 1958 Series 10.5240/93C2-CF3A-B167-540D-9151-O
The Jungle Book 1967 Movie 10.5240/86C6-1773-7382-DB26-C68F-A
Killing Eve 2018 Series 10.5240/04D6-0A14-53D2-7284-2AB6-G
Kim Possible 2002 Series 10.5240/5D1E-A8A7-600E-1D20-D59B-K
La Femme Nikita 1990 Movie 10.5240/D787-2D15-3937-DBFF-7565-7
Goldfinger 1964 Movie 10.5240/AD72-F356-90A8-299A-9E59-S
The Last Starfighter 1984 Movie 10.5240/D2D9-0055-5904-0741-4562-6
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 2014 Series 10.5240/1F3A-D3AD-1E81-5C49-7265-E
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 1949 Short 10.5240/7A31-617F-3632-434F-129F-2
The Little Mermaid 1989 Movie 10.5240/0CC2-607D-4F32-2E53-1106-F
The Longest Day 1962 Movie 10.5240/93DB-A59C-C9E4-7968-0949-2
Love Actually 2003 Movie 10.5240/0A05-C9CF-A7CC-2985-3680-4
Män som hatar kvinnor (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) 2009 Movie 10.5240/65DA-5010-8761-2461-0D58-U
Mary Poppins 1964 Movie 10.5240/6B68-0D83-04C7-E393-CBF1-7
MASH 1970 Movie 10.5240/B8BA-F7B4-DF06-0B77-AD24-9
The Matrix 1999 Movie 10.5240/FDBD-5E62-33F8-1876-7966-G
Metropolis 1927 Movie 10.5240/B158-B2CA-62BE-C5EF-50DC-2
The Mickey Mouse Club 1955 Series 10.5240/9135-C4CA-2B20-6FD1-1676-T
Midsomer Murders 1997 Series 10.5240/7868-D254-F8DE-1944-F8FA-X
Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1975 Movie 10.5240/4188-2FFB-A293-D8E8-0A70-Q
Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House 1948 Movie 10.5240/FD14-6139-F92D-8353-AB24-7
The Mummy 1999 Movie 10.5240/7934-7093-4E93-61E9-FD51-N
The Muppet Show 1976 Series 10.5240/1F9B-3D23-68BE-3A2F-3896-U
Murder by Death 1976 Movie 10.5240/1A8B-969E-6817-C3C9-E17F-U
Nashville 2012 Series 10.5240/5517-D437-C655-D4F3-FDD2-R
The Nightmare Before Christmas 1993 Movie 10.5240/7F83-5D50-BC21-D072-CC4C-1
Notting Hill 1999 Movie 10.5240/5918-2756-5D20-1DF1-23F3-B
Offspring 2010 Series 10.5240/2841-C1BA-5DDC-EB33-D7AA-2
The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Movie 10.5240/4702-E47A-DE40-C1C0-DB24-R
Paint Your Wagon 1969 Movie 10.5240/5DD7-DA8D-7D09-5582-F5E7-Z
Peter Pan 1953 Movie 10.5240/1D62-E0DE-8FA5-6E18-4942-N
The Pink Panther Strikes Again 1976 Movie 10.5240/5A27-D3F2-6D31-5923-3EC6-C
Prime Suspect 1991 Series 10.5240/7919-4653-803E-5ECA-EDEB-7
The Princess Bride 1987 Movie 10.5240/CD39-409D-1F11-C404-A4B7-7
The Prisoner 1967 Series 10.5240/C8CE-3B86-2C4F-BAA4-C073-O
The Quiet Man 1952 Movie 10.5240/8252-B1AE-4C7B-184D-724F-I
Rabbit Seasoning 1952 Short 10.5240/2FEE-CAB1-A539-6818-B90E-X
Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981 Movie 10.5240/0B6D-5AFE-E468-B51F-AEFD-X
The Road Warrior 1981 Movie 10.5240/9D03-B6DD-E582-3872-954D-T
RoboCop 1987 Movie 10.5240/FFB3-7428-8A73-E097-BF27-T
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town 1970 TV 10.5240/4D3D-686F-39D0-4401-8DB5-L
Saturday Night Live 1975 Series 10.5240/52F4-B813-D880-CD5B-9414-P
Schoolhouse Rock! 1973 Series 10.5240/128E-F52C-9315-6D27-630F-H
Sherlock 2010 Series 10.5240/801D-5448-6D78-6ED3-8376-S
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow 2004 Movie 10.5240/EA86-6558-CF8F-D8E7-B6DA-M
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1937 Movie 10.5240/900F-125A-0FE3-DC60-DB60-4
Star Blazers 1979 Series 10.5240/EFC4-5E35-75BA-E116-E8E0-C
Star Trek 1966 Series 10.5240/0C73-26CE-1E02-8827-F63C-H
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan 1982 Movie 10.5240/B960-DFEA-20F7-C28F-3960-L
Star Wars 1977 Movie 10.5240/5868-409E-7BFB-536A-6067-E
The Sting 1973 Movie 10.5240/7AE6-C861-1BCB-71A0-76B0-J
Superman: The Mad Scientist 1941 Short 10.5240/3D3A-382E-B036-8059-DEED-R
Survivor 2000 Series 10.5240/2F76-9868-EFE6-BB21-3088-S
The Avengers 1961 Series 10.5240/3ECB-532D-5FB1-9FB2-C6A0-5
The Thomas Crown Affair 1999 Movie 10.5240/AFF8-C637-2245-E3DB-15A4-H
Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 hours 11 minutes 1965 Movie 10.5240/69E9-08E0-B73A-6DE3-E7A7-C
The Tick 1994 Series 10.5240/5AAA-45EA-18AC-9014-15C6-G
Time Bandits 1981 Movie 10.5240/038C-9FA8-A4AB-3959-FD8D-E
Top Gear 2002 Series 10.5240/90B8-5465-14DD-8FBC-8843-A
Trick or Treat 1952 Short 10.5240/88CD-7CF7-1364-1AA8-A491-9
TRON 1982 Movie 10.5240/81BF-CF67-5AB6-7C25-E0B4-S
Vera 2011 Series 10.5240/F050-3308-8157-BB27-0ECA-X
Veronica Mars 2004 Series 10.5240/17A9-2FAD-F24B-4A2D-7587-M
Wentworth 2013 Series 10.5240/42F5-8AAB-BBB3-6167-B2B1-W
The West Wing 1999 Series 10.5240/7427-4EB8-BB2F-F13B-3F5A-V
What’s Opera, Doc? 1957 Short 10.5240/FA06-64C5-7A7B-BA39-0A97-L
When Harry Met Sally 1989 Movie 10.5240/7D96-772F-ED4A-4A70-6342-U
The Wild Wild West 1965 Series 10.5240/7744-5233-8786-B261-82CA-P
The Wizard of Oz 1939 Movie 10.5240/3D2E-101B-07E2-C2CE-8085-T
The Wonderful World of Disney 1954 Series 10.5240/C602-3830-350C-B574-2782-2
The Wrong Trousers 1993 Short 10.5240/3FBF-905C-ED67-C073-7A69-H
Young Frankenstein 1974 Movie 10.5240/CD3E-8A7D-C9DD-DBB8-EEDC-M





[1] Explaining why December is derived from the Latin decem, meaning “ten,” even though it is now the 12th month of the year.

[2] The lunar year is actually 354 days long, but the Romans didn’t like even numbers, so January was given 29 days and February 28, creating a 355 day year. Much luckier than a 354 day year, but not nearly as accurate.

[3] All of this was inspired by the Egyptian solar calendar, which was much more accurate than the Roman’s lunar calendar.

[4] The Gregorian calendar was initially adopted in Catholic countries. Turkey was the last country to move off the Julian calendar, finally adopting the Gregorian calendar in 1926.

[5] To realign the calendar with the seasons, October 4, 1582 was immediately followed by October 15, 1582.

[6] And there’s the occasional Leap Second, which we won’t get into.

[7] Me.

[8] We tried for a Top 100, but could not manage to trim the list below 125, which is where it stands now.

[9] There’s only a single Matrix film on the list, but for more traditional reasons.