LAW AND ORDER

April 29th in history:

On this date in 1992, four white Los Angeles police officers were acquitted of assault charges in the videotaped beating of Rodney King, an African-American driver who was stopped after a chase. Riots broke out in L.A. after the verdict, and continued for several days.

On April 29th, 1974, President Richard Nixon released transcripts of White House tapes related to the Watergate investigation. Many offensive words on the tapes were replaced in the transcripts with the phrase “expletive deleted.”

Of all the villains committing crimes in the “Batman” movies of the ’80s and ’90s, two were women: “Catwoman,” played by Michelle Pfeiffer, and “Poison Ivy,” played by Uma Thurman. Both Pfeiffer (1958) and Thurman (1970) celebrate their birthdays on April 29th.

READ THE BOOK

April 28th in history:

On April 28th, 1947, explorer Thor Heyerdahl and five crewmates began a voyage on the raft “Kon-Tiki,” to prove that people from South America could have settled Pacific islands. Heyerdahl wrote a popular book about his 101-day journey.

The 1932 novel “Mutiny on the Bounty” described the mutiny of April 28th, 1789, against British Captain William Bligh. He and 18 sailors were set adrift after an uprising aboard the Bounty in the South Pacific.

The Marlon Brando movie version of “Mutiny on the Bounty” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” both received Oscar nominations for best picture in 1962. The author of the book “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee, was born April 28th, 1926.

UNITED NATIONS

April 27th in history:

The 1967 World’s Fair, the “International and Universal Exposition,” opened in Montreal on this date. It was better known as Expo ’67, marking Canada’s 100th birthday. The fair site remained open as a theme park until 1981.

The British East India Company was granted a monopoly on the tea trade in North America on April 27th, 1773, when the British Parliament passed the Tea Act. That decision led to the original Boston Tea Party later that year.

Born on April 27th: U.S. Grant (1822), Union Army commander in the Civil War and 18th president of the United States, and Cuba Gooding Sr. (1944), lead singer of the ’70s group The Main Ingredient.

WAR AND DISASTERS

April 26th in history:

On April 26th, 1986, a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Soviet Union exploded during a test. Until an earthquake triggered an accident at a Japanese nuclear plant in 2011, the Chernobyl blast generally was considered the worst accident ever at a nuclear power plant.

A wartime bombing raid occurred on this date in 1937, when German planes attacked the Spanish town of Guernica, killing about one thousand people. The attack was immortalized in a mural by Pablo Picasso.

The German secret police force called the “Gestapo” was founded on April 26th, 1933. April 26th was also the birthday of Hitler aide Rudolf Hess (1894).

LEAVE THE GUN, TAKE THE BATMOBILE

April 25th in history:

Two members of the Corleone family from the “Godfather” movies have real-life birthdays on April 25th: Al Pacino (1940) and Talia Shire (1946).

In 2003, Pacino’s portrayal of Michael Corleone in “The Godfather Part II” was chosen as one of the 50 greatest movie villains of all time by the American Film Institute. The same AFI survey listed Batman as one of the 50 greatest movie heroes. The character of Batman was introduced in Detective Comics #27, published on April 25th, 1939.

On the “Batman” TV series of the 1960s, the Batmobile displayed four different license plates issued by Gotham City, including “BAT-1.” On this date in 1901, New York became the first state in the U.S. to require cars to carry license plates.

Actor Hank Azaria, born on this date in 1964, has never played a Batman villain, but the Spiderman villain Venom is one of many voices he has done for animated TV series.  Among Azaria’s regular character voices on “The Simpsons” are Comic Book Guy, and Moe the bartender, said to be based on Al Pacino.

ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER

April 24th in history:

Shirley and BabsThe 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.

AS YOU LIKE IT

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.