April 24th in history:
The first fatal accident during a space mission happened on this date in 1967. Soyuz 1, the Soviet Union’s first manned space flight in two years, crashed upon landing after two days in orbit. The crash killed the lone crew member, Vladimir Komarov, who was on his second space mission. The capsule’s parachute apparently failed to open properly.
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched successfully on this date in 1990, aboard the space shuttle Discovery.
New Yorkers could get high in the sky without leaving the ground on April 24th, 1913, on the day that the Woolworth Building opened in Manhattan. You could see a long distance from the top of the skyscraper, which was 792 feet tall…the tallest building in the U.S. for nearly 20 years, until the Empire State Building was constructed.
The movie musical “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” starred Oscar-winner Barbra Streisand, who was born on April 24th, 1942. Streisand’s character in the movie believes she has been reincarnated. Another winner of the Best Actress Oscar, Shirley MacLaine, is a real-life believer in reincarnation. MacLaine, also a star of screen musicals such as “Can-Can” and “Sweet Charity,” came into the world as Shirley Beaty on this date in 1934.
April 23rd in history:
April 23rd is believed to be William Shakespeare’s birthday, in 1564. It is also the date when Shakespeare died in 1616 – and the date when his play “The Merry Wives of Windsor” opened in 1597, with Queen Elizabeth in the audience.
Both Shakespeare and Elizabeth are key characters in “Shakespeare in Love,” the movie which won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1998. The Best Picture of 2008, “Slumdog Millionaire,” stars actor Dev Patel, born April 23rd, 1990, as a game-show contestant.
A favorite beverage at movie theaters and elsewhere went through a radical change on April 23rd, 1985. The Coca-Cola Company announced it was changing the formula of Coke, replacing it with “New Coke.” After massive protests, the original formula was re-introduced less than three months later.
April 22nd in history:
The first “Earth Day” was observed on April 22nd, 1970.
Historians say Christopher Columbus wasn’t trying to prove the Earth was round in his voyage to the Americas in 1492, but was trying to find a shorter route to Asia across the ocean. Columbus was sponsored by Queen Isabella of Spain, born on this date in 1451.
Settlers raced to claim their own piece of earth when the Oklahoma Territory was opened at noon on April 22nd, 1889.
Eddie Albert was in “Oklahoma!” (the movie musical, that is), playing the peddler Ali Hakim. Albert was born on April 22nd, 17 years after the opening of the Oklahoma territory.
Eddie Albert is most famous for playing lawyer-turned-farmer Oliver Wendell Douglas on “Green Acres,” but he also received two Oscar nominations in his long career. Jack Nicholson has the most Oscar nominations among male actors, with 12 to his credit. Nicholson, born on April 22nd, 1937, already had been nominated for “Easy Rider” and “Chinatown” before winning the first of his three Oscars, for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
April 21st in history:
According to legend, the twins Romulus and Remus founded the city of Rome on April 21st in 753 B.C.
The Seattle World’s Fair opened on this date in 1962. April 21st of 1965 was the opening date of the second year of the New York World’s Fair.
Nobody saw Rosie Ruiz at the starting line of the Boston Marathon on April 21st, 1980, but many people saw her cross the finish line, seemingly setting a women’s record. Ruiz was disqualified after witnesses reported that she wasn’t seen running in the 26-mile race until about the last mile.
April 20th in history:
The mass shootings at Columbine High School near Denver occurred on April 20th, 1999.
The Red Baron shot down his last two targets on April 20th, 1918. Baron von Richthofen was shot down himself the next day, while pursuing a Sopwith Camel flown by a Canadian pilot.
Silent movie star Harold Lloyd, known for performing stunts at dizzying heights, was born on this day in 1893.
And on April 20th, 1926, Warner Brothers and Western Electric announced a method for providing sound to motion pictures. It was called the “Vitaphone.”
April 19th in history:
The American Revolution began on April 19th, 1775, with fighting between the American colonists and the British at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.
April 19th is the birthday of British actor and comedian Dudley Moore (1935), and American actress Kate Hudson (1979). Hudson was born the year after her mother, Goldie Hawn, co-starred with Moore in “Foul Play,” a comedy thriller about an assassination attempt on the pope.
A new pope was elected on this date in 2005. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger took the name Pope Benedict XVI.
April 18th in history:
Paul Revere and other colonists rode through the Boston area during the ‘Midnight Ride’ of April 18th, 1775, to warn of movements by the British army. The American Revolution began the next morning.
The towns reached by the late-night riders included Brookline, Massachusetts, where late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien was born on this date in 1963.
The old Yankee Stadium opened on this date in 1923, with the Yankees defeating the Boston Red Sox, 4-1.
A group the U.S. never joined, the League of Nations, disbanded on April 18th, 1946.
And it’s the birthday of “Ugly Betty” star America Ferrera (1984).