November 20 in history:

It was a battle of whale vs. ship, and the whale won on this date in 1820.  A sperm whale rammed the whaling ship Essex twice, leaving a hole which forced the crew to abandon ship in the south Pacific.  Author Herman Melville was fascinated by the attack, and partly based his novel Moby-Dick on the real-life story of the Essex.  An abolitionist newspaper called “The National Era” promoted the newly-published Melville book in its issue of November 20th, 1851.

Another fictional character sharing the name “Dick” has been fighting crime in newspaper comics since 1931.  Dick Tracy was created by cartoonist Chester Gould, who drew the strip for almost 50 years.  Gould was born on November 20th, 1900.

This is also the birthday of Dick Smothers, the younger member of the Smothers Brothers comedy team, born in 1939, and “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” writer Bob Einstein, born November 20th, 1942.  Einstein often appeared on the Smothers Brothers show as a cop who called himself Officer Judy.  He’s best known for his accident-prone stuntman character Super Dave Osborne…and he’s the brother of comedian Albert Brooks.

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