Category: Today in history

WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT?

May 3rd in history:

May 3rd, 1494, was the day Christopher Columbus sighted Jamaica for the first time.

The tallest building you can see in Chicago is the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower. When the tower reached its maximum height on May 3rd, 1973, it was the world’s tallest building.

Visitors to Profile Lake in New Hampshire used to be able to look up into the hills and see “The Old Man of the Mountain,” a rock formation that resembled an old man’s profile – until May 3rd, 2003. That was the day most of the rocks forming the face tumbled down the mountain.

From the mountain to the “Valli”…singer Frankie Valli of the Four Seasons, known for hits like “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “My Eyes Adored You,” was born on May 3rd, 1934.

STONEWALL AND THE ROCK

May 2nd in history:

Rock and Engelbert

The search for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden ended with a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2nd, 2011.  Bin Laden and four other people were shot and killed by Navy SEALs under cover of darkness.  It was still May 1st in the U.S., when President Barack Obama announced bin Laden’s death on television.  The raid was dramatized in the 2012 film “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was shot by his own troops on May 2nd, 1863, at the Civil War Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia.  The troops reportedly mistook Jackson and his companions for Union soldiers.  Jackson died eight days later.

German flying ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known by the nickname “The Red Baron,” shot down 80 enemy pilots during the first World War.  The Baron was born on this date in 1892.  Other people born on May 2nd who became famous under assumed names: British singer Engelbert Humperdinck (born Arnold Dorsey in 1936), and pro wrestler turned actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (1972).

KING ME!

May 1st in history:

May 1st seems to be a big day for “kings” …

On May 1st of 1328, the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton recognized the Kingdom of Scotland as independent from the Kingdom of England. That declaration was reversed exactly 379 years later – May 1st, 1707 – when the Act of Union joined the Kingdoms of Scotland and England to form Great Britain.

King Kamehameha I established the Kingdom of Hawai’i on this date in 1785.

The star of “Blue Hawaii,” Elvis Presley (the King of Rock and Roll), married Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas on May 1st, 1967.

The Empire State Building, a popular hangout of King Kong, was dedicated in New York on May 1st, 1931.

An obituary of Jack Paar called him the original “King of Late Night,” as host of the “Tonight Show” in the late ’50s and early ’60s.  Paar was born on this date in 1918.  Paar inherited the “Tonight” job from Steve Allen, whose TV shows often featured comedian Louis Nye, born today in 1913. Nye’s TV work included a recurring role as Sonny Drysdale on “The Beverly Hillbillies”.

LOUIS, LOUIS, ME GOTTA GO

April 30th in history:

The treaty authorizing the Louisiana Purchase was approved on April 30th, 1803. Exactly nine years later, on this date in 1812, Louisiana became the 18th state in the union.

The “Louisiana Purchase Exposition” marking the 100th anniversary of the purchase opened in St. Louis on April 30th, 1904. Better known as the St. Louis World’s Fair, it was the inspiration for the movie musical “Meet Me in St. Louis,” and it was said to be the place where Dr Pepper and the ice cream cone became popular.

April 30th also was the opening day for the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

The ’39 fair opened exactly 150 years after the day George Washington was sworn in as president in New York – April 30th, 1789.

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.

Also, a couple of Superman-related birthdays today. Famous Superman fan Jerry Seinfeld was born in 1954. His 90’s sitcom “Seinfeld” often included references to the Man of Steel. And Lane Smith was born this day in 1936. During the 90’s, Smith played Perry White on the TV series “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

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.