April 16th in history:
On April 16th, 2004, the cruise ship Queen Mary 2 began its first trans-Atlantic crossing from England to New York.
The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 overshadowed the trip made by Harriet Quimby on April 16th of that year. Quimby became the first woman to fly over the English Channel on that day, making the trip in just under an hour.
The next-to-last manned flight to the moon, Apollo 16, was launched on this date in 1972.
And April 16th is the birthday of the composer of “Moon River,” Henry Mancini (1924).
April 15th in history:
When the ocean liner Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on April 15th, 1912, it sent out a fairly new Morse code distress signal: “SOS.” Telegraph operator David Sarnoff became famous by claiming he was the first person to receive the distress signal, and that he spent three straight days at the telegraph collecting news of the disaster. Sarnoff later was employed by General Electric, which created the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and occasionally has owned NBC, which was founded by Sarnoff. GE was incorporated on April 15th, 1892.
April 15th is known for another famous code: the U.S. tax code, which says this is the date on most years when income taxes are due. The original tax deadline was in March, until it was moved to April 15th in 1955.
Actress Elizabeth Montgomery, born on this date in 1933, made her movie debut in 1955, in “The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell.” Montgomery is best known for her TV role as suburban witch Samantha Stephens on “Bewitched.”
April 10th in history:
The worst submarine accident in U.S. history happened 50 years ago today. The USS Thresher broke apart on April 10th, 1963, during diving tests in the Atlantic, 200 miles from Cape Cod. One hundred twenty-nine people died aboard the sub. Faulty welding was blamed for a leak which shut down the nuclear reactor aboard the Thresher. The sub also was unable to surface.
The ill-fated voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic began on April 10th, 1912. The ocean liner sank five days into the trip. Titanic was launched was at Southampton, England, even though it was registered to the port of Liverpool.
Actor Gene Hackman has starred in a submarine drama (“Crimson Tide”) and a disaster film about an ocean liner (“The Poseidon Adventure”). Hackman was a nominee at two Oscar ceremonies held on April 10th. In 1968, Hackman had his first nomination for “Bonnie and Clyde.” He scored his first Oscar win on this date in 1972 for “The French Connection.”
And the Liverpool band that recorded “Yellow Submarine” officially broke up on April 10th, 1970. That was the day Paul McCartney released his first solo album, and announced that he was leaving the Beatles. McCartney replaced Stu Sutcliffe as the bass player for the Beatles when Sutcliffe quit the band in 1961. Sutcliffe was 21 when he died of a brain hemorrhage on this day in 1962.
February 24th in history:
There was celebration in England on this date in 1981, as 32-year-old Prince Charles announced his engagement to 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer. The royal wedding happened that July, making Diana the Princess of Wales.
The duties of many festival princesses include riding on floats in a parade. There were no floats in U.S. parades until February 24th, 1868, when a float was introduced at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.
Mardi Gras is celebrated on the day before the start of Lent. The Gregorian calendar, announced on February 24th, 1582, made changes in how the dates of Lent and Easter are determined every year. The calendar also declared that some years ending in “00″ would not be leap years.
French actress Emmanuelle Riva saw 22 leap years come and go before she received an Oscar nomination. She celebrates her 86th birthday today at the Academy Awards, as the oldest-ever nominee for Best Actress, for the film “Amour.”
The record for oldest acting nominee ever is still held by Gloria Stuart, nominated for supporting actress at age 87 for “Titanic,” in which she played Rose as an old woman. Billy Zane portrayed young Rose’s fiance Cal in “Titanic.” He was born on this date in 1966.
December 19 in history:
A romantic epic about a famous ocean liner that sank in 1912 opened in movie theaters on this day in 1997. The James Cameron film Titanic, starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet, tied the record 11 Oscars won in 1959 by Ben-Hur. Titanic also set box office records which were broken a decade later by another Cameron movie, Avatar.
Unlike the Titanic, three ships that left England for America on December 19th, 1606, did reach their destination. The ships brought more than 100 settlers to the Virginia colony, where they established the community of Jamestown.
The city of Jamestown, New York, has a museum dedicated to hometown celebrity Lucille Ball and her first husband, Desi Arnaz, who were married for 20 years. Lucy’s second marriage, to comedian Gary Morton, lasted 28 years until her death. Morton, who produced Lucy’s TV series after “I Love Lucy,” was born on this date in 1924. It’s also the birthday of actress Elaine Joyce (1945), known for many television appearances and stage shows including the musical “Sugar.” Like Morton, Joyce also is famous as the spouse of a comedy legend, playwright Neil Simon.
September 1 in history:
The last known passenger pigeon in captivity, named Martha, died on September 1st, 1914 at the Cincinnati Zoo. Ironically, the Ohio legislature was asked to protect passenger pigeons in the 1850′s, and a study committee concluded that the species was so plentiful, there was no need for protection.
The passenger pigeon disappeared two years after the “unsinkable” ocean liner Titanic disappeared in the waters of the Atlantic. But Titanic did not remain lost forever. On September 1st, 1985, a team led by undersea explorer Robert Ballard found the wreckage of Titanic on the ocean floor, about 400 miles from Newfoundland.
The James Cameron film “Titanic” featured Kathy Bates as “the unsinkable” Molly Brown. Bates won the Best Actress Oscar for ”Misery” in 1990, the same year that Jeremy Irons was named Best Actor for “Reversal of Fortune,” playing real-life attempted-murder suspect Claus von Bulow. September 1st is the birthday of both von Bulow’s wife, Martha “Sunny” von Bulow (1931 or 1932), and his defense attorney Alan Dershowitz (1938).
August 16 in history:
Several “kings” in different fields have connections to August 16th…
This is the day in 1977 that Elvis Presley, “King of Rock and Roll,” died at the Graceland Mansion in Memphis. Elvis was just 42.
Babe Ruth, who’s been called the “King of Swat” and the “Home Run King,” died on August 16th, 1948. And it was the day former Ugandan leader Idi Amin died in 2003. Forest Whitaker won an Oscar for playing Amin in the movie “The Last King of Scotland.”
Director James Cameron declared, “I’m king of the world!” when his movie “Titanic” took the Best Picture Oscar for 1997. Cameron was born on August 16th, 1954. It’s also the birthday of Fess Parker (1925), who became famous in the ’50s for playing Davy Crockett, “king of the wild frontier.”
And many men dreamed of becoming rich as kings when they headed to the frontier of Canada and Alaska in search of gold. The Klondike gold rush began on this date in 1896, when three men discovered the precious metal in the Klondike River.