The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect on August 26th, 1920, giving American women the right to vote.
It’s the birthday of the first woman to be nominated as Vice President by a major political party, Democrat Geraldine Ferraro, born in 1935.
Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke to the Democratic Party convention in Denver on this date in 2008, the night before she officially conceded the party’s presidential nomination to Barack Obama.
Women still cannot be elected pope or vote for the pope. On August 26th, 1978, Catholic Cardinal Albino Luciani was elected pope to succeed Paul the 6th. Luciani combined the names of the two most recent popes in naming himself John Paul the 1st.
August 26th is also the birthday of Mother Teresa (born 1910), the European-born nun who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work with the poor people of Calcutta.
August 25 in history:
Thirty-five years after being launched from Earth, the Voyager 1 space probe left the solar system on August 25th of 2012. It became the first man-made object to enter interstellar space
On August 25th of 1609, Galileo Galilei demonstrated his first telescope to lawmakers in Venice, hoping they would purchase it. His introduction of the telescope was once parodied on “The Carol Burnett Show.” In the sketch, when a spectator looked through the telescope and complained that he couldn’t see anything, Galileo responded that you had to put a dime in first.
The New York Sun newspaper claimed in 1835 that a powerful new telescope revealed an unknown civilization on the moon. In a series of stories beginning on August 25th, the Sun told of oceans, beaches, and trees seen on the lunar surface. What became known as the “Great Moon Hoax” also included reports of beavers walking on two legs, and winged humans called “man-bats.”
Moviegoers went batty for “Batman” when director Tim Burton made two movies about the comic-book hero. Burton, born August 25th, 1958, has a fanciful film resume that includes “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure,” “Beetlejuice,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” and new versions of “Alice in Wonderland” and the TV drama “Dark Shadows.”
On the same day Tim Burton was born, the game show “Concentration” made its debut. The show requiring players to match hidden prizes and solve a rebus ran for 15 years on NBC before going into syndication and returning to NBC as “Classic Concentration” in the 1980s. Two men famous for hosting other popular game shows share an August 25th birthday: Monty Hall of “Let’s Make a Deal” (born 1921), and Regis Philbin of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” (1931).
August 24 in history:
The White House and the U.S. Capitol were among the government buildings destroyed or damaged by fire by the British during a raid on Washington, D.C., late in the War of 1812. The British forces attacked on August 24th, 1814.
Many historians believe August 24th of 79 A.D. was the day that the Italian city of Pompeii was destroyed by a fiery eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius. The ruins of Pompeii were buried under several feet of ash for centuries. In 1599, parts of the city were briefly unearthed by an architect named Domenico Fontana.
Actor Joe Regalbuto played reporter Frank Fontana on the sitcom “Murphy Brown.” Regalbuto was born August 24th, 1949, the same day and year as actor Charles Rocket, who also played a fictional TV reporter as the “Weekend Update” anchor on “Saturday Night Live.” Two other men famous for playing “fake” newsmen were born on this date in 1962: original “Daily Show” anchor Craig Kilborn, and David Koechner, alias Champ Kind from the “Anchorman” movies. It’s also the birthday of real-life TV reporter and former “Meet the Press” host David Gregory (born 1970).
August 23 in history:
On August 23rd, 1975, the monarchy in Laos was overthrown in a Communist coup.
Fifteen years later, on this date in 1990, Armenia went in the other direction, declaring its independence from the Soviet Union.
Bolshoi Ballet dancer Alexander Godunov declared his own independence from the Soviets on August 23rd, 1979, defecting to the West while on tour in New York. Godunov stayed in the U.S., and acted in movies. One of his most famous roles was in “The Money Pit,” where he played the ex-husband of “Cheers” star Shelley Long, born on August 23rd, 1949.
Godunov also played one of the hostage-takers in the original “Die Hard” movie. A notorious hostage incident began on this date in 1973 in Stockholm, Sweden, with a botched bank robbery. The robber and an accomplice surrendered five days later, and although threats had been made against them, no hostages were harmed. The incident inspired the concept of the “Stockholm syndrome,” in which hostages come to support or sympathize with their captors.
August 22 in history:
Spectators at the Louvre museum in Paris couldn’t find the “Mona Lisa” on August 22nd, 1911. Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece was missing from its usual spot on the wall, because it had been stolen the night before. The famous painting remained missing for two years, hidden for most of that time in the apartment of the thief, a Louvre employee from Italy.
The gravesite of Richard III, England’s last Plantagenet king, was considered lost for centuries until researchers found it in 2012, under a parking lot in Leicester. Richard was killed on this date in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. Richard had been king of England for only two years. His death put Henry Tudor on the throne, as Henry VII.
In Shakespeare’s play “Richard III,” Richard calls out “My kingdom for a horse” shortly before he is killed. The “horseless carriage” was becoming popular by 1902, when the Cadillac Automobile Company was founded on August 22nd from what used to be the Henry Ford Company. Henry Leland was brought in to close down the old company after Ford left the firm, but he decided to keep it going under the Cadillac name.
Another powerful man named Henry — Henry Kissinger — was nominated as secretary of state by President Nixon on August 22nd, 1973. Kissinger had become famous for “shuttle diplomacy” as Nixon’s national security adviser.
Actress Kristen Wiig was born on that same day in 1973. Wiig has been nominated for several Emmy Awards, mostly for her work on “Saturday Night Live,” and was an Oscar nominee for co-writing the movie comedy “Bridesmaids.”
In 1973, Valerie Harper won an Emmy Award for playing Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Born on August 22nd, 1939, Harper earned four Emmys for her portrayal of Rhoda, including one for her own spinoff series “Rhoda.”
August 21 in history:
The first Lincoln-Douglas debate took place in Ottawa, Illinois on August 21st, 1858. Abraham Lincoln was running against incumbent Senator Stephen Douglas, and their seven debates around Illinois all dealt with the issue of slavery.
The outside wall of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. lists the names of the 48 states that were in the Union when the memorial was dedicated in 1922. Two more states came along in 1959, Alaska and Hawaii. On this date in ’59, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the law making Hawaii the 50th state.
Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in August of 1963. A few days earlier, on August 21st of that year, King tried out the “I have a dream” theme during a speech to an insurance association convention in Chicago.
During this week in 1963, Chicago native Allan Sherman had a top 10 hit with his novelty song “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah! (A Letter From Camp),” in which a kid writes home about his awful experiences at “Camp Granada.” Before becoming famous by doing song parodies, Sherman produced the Goodson-Todman game show “I’ve Got a Secret.” “Hello, Muddah” was based on camp letters from Sherman’s son Robert, who followed in his dad’s footsteps by also producing shows for Goodson-Todman.
While Sherman’s letter-writing kid was suffering at Camp Granada in 1963, Johnny Castle and Baby Houseman were spending time together that summer at Kellerman’s resort in the Catskills, according to the movie “Dirty Dancing,” released on August 21st, 1987. “Dirty Dancing” premiered on the 63rd birthday of actor Jack Weston, who played resort owner Max Kellerman in the film.
August 20 in history:
A classical song often performed on the 4th of July in America was introduced in Russia on August 20th, 1882. Peter Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” was written in honor of Russia’s fight against Napoleon, but it’s popular in the U.S. because of the cannon shots included in the finale.
The “1812 Overture” probably has been played a few times over radio station WWJ in Detroit. WWJ was America’s first commercial radio station when it took to the air on this date in 1920, using the call letters 8MK.
A couple of musicians who had big radio hits in the 1970s were born on August 20th: Isaac Hayes (1942), who wrote the “Theme from Shaft”; and “Stairway to Heaven” writer and singer Robert Plant (1948).