March 18th in history:
On March 18th, 1850, businessmen William Fargo and Henry Wells combined their express mail businesses to start American Express. They started another famous delivery and banking company a short time later, with Wells getting first billing.
A former governor-general of Canada started a tradition on this date in 1893, when he pledged to donate a silver challenge cup to the best hockey team in Canada. The cup still exists, only now it’s awarded to the best team in the National Hockey League. And it still bears the name of its donor, Lord Frederick Stanley.
And March 18th, 1965 marked the first time a man stepped out of a spacecraft while it was orbiting the Earth. That first “space walk’ by Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov lasted 12 minutes.
February 22nd in history:
Another legendary sports event happened on this date in 1980: the “Miracle on Ice,” in which the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team surprised the world by beating the Soviets, 4-3, in the semi-final round of the Winter Games. The Americans went on to win the gold against Finland in the games at Lake Placid, New York.
Actor Kirk Douglas once served as royalty at a winter carnival in Lake Placid. During the week of the Miracle on Ice game, Douglas was hosting “Saturday Night Live” in New York, featuring NBC announcer Don Pardo, born on this day in 1918. Pardo has been the SNL announcer for most of the show’s run, and also worked on the original versions of “Jeopardy” and “The Price is Right.” He broke the news of President Kennedy’s assassination on WNBC-TV in New York in 1963.
David Letterman was getting ready to move his talk show from NBC to CBS when it was announced on February 22nd, 1993 that CBS had bought the Ed Sullivan Theater, to keep Letterman’s show in New York.
On this day in 1964, the Beatles returned to England after their famous first visit to the U.S., which included three straight appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” The band had pre-recorded its performance which would be seen on “Sullivan” the next night.
The Mayflower departed from Southampton, England on August 5th, 1620, to take religious pilgrims to America.
The pilgrims had intended to settle at the mouth of the Hudson River in New York, instead of in Massachusetts. The New York harbor eventually became the home of another immigrant…the Statue of Liberty. The cornerstone for the statue was laid on this date in 1884 on Bedloe’s Island. It took two years to re-assemble the statue, originally built in France.
“American Bandstand,” hosted by Dick Clark, made its debut as a daily nationwide dance show on ABC, August 5th, 1957.
And hockey coach Herb Brooks was born August 5th, 1937. Brooks is best known for coaching the U.S. men’s hockey team to Olympic gold at the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid.