July 24 in history:
Someone’s in the kitchen with Nikita…and on July 24th, 1959, it was U.S. Vice-President Richard Nixon. He and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev met in the kitchen area of an American home exhibit in Moscow and, through interpreters, debated eastern culture vs. western culture. The videotaped discussion became known as the “Kitchen Debate.”
Fifteen years later, Nixon had moved up to the job of president, but his presidency would soon come to an end. On July 24th of 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Nixon would have to release secret tape recordings to the Watergate prosecutor. Nixon resigned shortly after the release of one tape showing that he wanted to use the CIA to block an FBI probe into Watergate.
In the 1999 Watergate comedy “Dick,” President Nixon was played by actor Dan Hedaya, born July 24th, 1940. Hedaya is better known as Nick Tortelli, the ex-husband of Carla on “Cheers” and its spin-off, “The Tortellis”.
During his 1968 campaign, Nixon made a brief appearance on the TV comedy show “Laugh-In,” saying “Sock it to me?” Ruth Buzzi was a “Laugh-In” cast member for the show’s entire six-season run. She was born on this date in 1936.
Sarah Ferguson (“Fergie”) married into the British royal family on July 23rd, 1986. Fergie’s marriage to Prince Andrew made her the Duchess of York. Andrew and Sarah were married for 10 years. Their daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, drew attention at the 2011 wedding of Prince William for their clothes, especially their designer hats.
Vanessa Williams had to stop wearing her royal headgear…the Miss America crown…on this date in 1984. She was the first African-American contestant to be named Miss America, and the first to resign. Williams was pressured to give up the title two months before the end of her reign because of publicity about nude photos of her, taken a year before she won the pageant.
On July 23rd of 1952, a revolution began in Egypt which led to the abdication of King Farouk I.
July 23rd was the birthday of Ethiopia’s last monarch, Emperor Haile Selassie (1892). And it was the day that U.S. President U.S. Grant died in 1885.
On July 22nd, 1796, a portion of land along Lake Erie was named “Cleaveland,” in honor of Gen. Moses Cleaveland, the head of the surveying party. A printer later shortened the new city’s name to “Cleveland,” Ohio.
Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame includes the Eagles, whose drummer Don Henley was born on this date in 1947. Also born on July 22nd, actor David Spade (1964) from “Saturday Night Live” and “Just Shoot Me!”
The fatal shooting of bank robber and gangster John Dillinger happened on July 22nd, 1934 outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago. Three government agents fired at the 31-year-old Dillinger.
July 21 in history:
The first U.S. train robbery west of the Mississippi happened on July 21st, 1873, near Adair, Iowa. The James-Younger Gang got away with about three thousand dollars from a safe and from the train’s passengers.
Tennessee schoolteacher John T. Scopes didn’t get away with violating state law by teaching evolution in class. On July 21st, 1925, a jury in Dayton, Tennessee convicted Scopes at the “monkey trial” which featured defense attorney Clarence Darrow and prosecuting attorney William Jennings Bryan debating evolution and the Bible. The trial was later dramatized in the play “Inherit the Wind.”
Spencer Tracy played the fictional version of Darrow in the original 1960 movie of “Inherit the Wind,” two years after starring in the film “The Old Man and the Sea,” based on an Ernest Hemingway novel. Hemingway was born on this date in 1899.
July 20 in history:
July 20th of 1921 was the first day of regular air mail service between New York and San Francisco.
On this day in 1976, Viking I became the first spacecraft to land successfully on Mars. The Viking landing occurred on the seventh anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon. July 20th, 1969 was the day that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the lunar surface and left the first human footprints in the moon dust during the Apollo 11 mission.
Actor Josh Holloway was born on the day of the Apollo landing in 1969. Holloway’s best-known character is a passenger on a fateful flight that crash-lands on an island. He played Sawyer on the TV survival drama “Lost.”
Another actor well-known for a sci-fi series died on July 20th, 2005: James Doohan, engineer Scotty of the Starship Enterprise on “Star Trek.” Doohan’s ashes have been sent into space on more than one occasion.
And July 20th is the birthday of a man who went high places without being in an airplane or spacecraft: Mount Everest conqueror Edmund Hillary (born 1919).
On July 19th, 1969, Senator Edward Kennedy reported to police in Edgartown, Massachusetts, that he had been in a car accident the night before on Chappaquiddick Island. He admitted to driving a car into a pond, and said he and others had failed to rescue passenger Mary Jo Kopechne from the car. Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the accident scene.
Thirty years later, on this date in 1999, police and the military were searching the waters off Martha’s Vineyard for a plane piloted by Senator Kennedy’s nephew, John F. Kennedy, Jr. Kennedy, his wife Carolyn, and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette disappeared on July 15th in bad weather during a night flight to Martha’s Vineyard.
July 19th was a happier day for the Kennedy family in 1986. John Junior’s sister Caroline married Edwin Schlossberg on that day.
John and Caroline’s uncle, Sargent Shriver, was the running mate of Democratic nominee George McGovern in the November, 1972 presidential election. McGovern was born July 19th, 1922.
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.