HE DIDN’T START THE FIRE

July 18 in history:

The Great Fire of Rome began on this date in 64 A.D., lasting about a week.  Many accused Emperor Nero of starting the blaze for political reasons, but modern historians believe he was not responsible, and did not stand by while singing or playing on a musical instrument. 

A Titan rocket fired up in Florida on July 18th, 1966, sending the Gemini 10 spacecraft into orbit.  Astronauts John Young and Michael Collins orbited the Earth 43 times before landing three days later. 

The first American to orbit Earth, John Glenn, was born July 18th, 1921.  It’s also the birthday of actor James Brolin (1940), who played an astronaut forced to fake a landing on Mars in the movie “Capricorn One.”

On a 1958 episode of “The Red Skelton Show,” country bumpkin Clem Kadiddlehopper invented a satellite and launched it into space.  Clem was one of the recurring characters played by Skelton on his weekly TV series in the 1950s and ’60s, as well as Junior the Mean Widdle Kid and hobo Freddie the Freeloader.  Red Skelton was born on July 18th, 1913.

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