October 12 in history:
There was no welcome mat waiting for him, but Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World on October 12th, 1492. After two months on the Atlantic, Columbus landed at an island north of Cuba, thinking he had reached Asia, and exchanged gifts with the natives.
Citizens of Munich were welcomed to the royal wedding of Bavarian Prince Louis on this date in 1810. Munich decided to repeat the celebration the following year and make it the annual event called Oktoberfest.
Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was not a happy guest at the United Nations on October 12th, 1960. He threw a fit when a representative of the Philippines criticized the Russians for taking over Eastern Europe. Many people say they saw Khrushchev pound the table with his shoe, but apparently there are no still pictures or videos of the incident that prove he really did it.
“Be Our Guest” is a popular song from the Disney movie and stage musical “Beauty and the Beast.” The first Australian production of the show provided a big break for actor Hugh Jackman, who played Gaston. Jackman was born on this date in 1968.
October 10 in history:
On October 10th, 1973, Spiro Agnew became the second U.S. Vice President to resign. He pled “no contest” to a charge of failing to report money he had been paid as a bribe while serving as governor of Maryland. Agnew’s resignation led to the first use of the 25th Amendment to fill a vacancy in the office of vice president.
The U.S. Naval Academy opened in Maryland on this date in 1845, at Annapolis. Commodore Matthew Perry helped establish the academy, years before he traveled to Japan to open formal relations between the U.S. and the Japanese.
Author James Clavell was famous for writing books set in Japan, including “Shogun” and “King Rat.” Clavell was born on October 10th, 1924.
And October 10th was the opening day of the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
October 9 in history:
The Washington Monument opened to the public on October 9th, 1888, 40 years after construction began. The project was halted for many years because of a lack of funding and the intervention of the Civil War. The observation deck 500 feet above the ground was the highest man-made tourist spot in the world…for only seven months, until the Eiffel Tower opened in Paris.
The Eiffel Tower was built for a world’s fair celebrating the centennial of the French Revolution. The guillotine became a symbol of the Revolution, and was the official method of execution in France for almost 200 years. On this date in 1981, France ended beheadings by guillotine as it abolished the national death penalty.
“You’d better keep your head, little girl” is a line from “Run For Your Life,” a song by John Lennon about a man warning his girlfriend not to cheat on him. John’s more uplifting tunes include many love songs written with Paul McCartney, and solo songs such as “Imagine.” Lennon was born October 9th, 1940. It’s also the birthday of another man named John who performed with a famous British rock band of the Sixties, John Entwistle of The Who (1944).
October 8 in history:
Famous fires broke out on the shores of Lake Michigan on October 8th, 1871. The deadliest of those fires occurred in Peshtigo, Wisconsin, along Green Bay. As many as 2500 people may have died in the forest fire that destroyed Peshtigo and other communities. The better-known fire of October 8th was the Great Chicago Fire, which claimed about 300 lives and destroyed four square miles of the city.
Minister and political activist Jesse Jackson, the founder of Operation PUSH in Chicago, was born October 8th of 1941. Jackson shares a birthday with comedian Darrell Hammond (1955), who impersonated him and dozens of other celebrities during a 14-year run on “Saturday Night Live.” Hammond occasionally imitated SNL announcer Don Pardo on the show, and in 2014, was hired to succeed the late Pardo as the program’s new announcer.
Chevy Chase played President Gerald Ford in sketches during the first two seasons of SNL. Chase, born October 8th, 1943, went on to play Clark Griswold in the “Vacation” movie series, and returned to TV as a cast member of “Community.” He co-starred in “Deal of the Century” with Sigourney Weaver, born this day in 1949. Weaver played Ripley in the “Alien” movies, and appeared in “Avatar” and “Ghostbusters.”
Live from New York, baseball fans saw and heard history being made on October 8th, 1956, when Game 5 of the World Series was broadcast from Yankee Stadium. Don Larsen of the Yankees became the first man to pitch a perfect game during a World Series, defeating the Brooklyn Dodgers 2-0.
October 7 in history:
Air France was founded on the same date in 1933, when five existing airlines merged into one.
October 7th was the day NASA established Project Mercury in 1958. The goal of the Mercury program was to have a man orbit the earth. That goal was achieved in 1962, when John Glenn flew aboard Friendship 7.
A cruise ship called the Achille Lauro was hijacked by four Palestinian terrorists during a trip on the Mediterranean on October 7th, 1985. About 400 people aboard were held hostage, and an American passenger was shot and killed and pushed overboard in his wheelchair. Two days later, the hijackers released the hostages and surrendered to the Egyptian government, but they were soon arrested after American fighter jets intercepted the plane they were flying to Tunisia.
October 6 in history:
October 6th of 1889 must have been a busy day for Thomas Edison. On that day, a judge ruled in Edison’s favor on a dispute over the patent for his incandescent light bulb. Another inventor accused Edison of stealing the bulb design from him, but the judge decided that Edison had made improvements on the other man’s bulb. That same day, Edison demonstrated a motion picture for the first time at his New Jersey lab. It was a “talking” picture, coordinated with a phonograph recording.
The first actual “talking picture” to catch on with the public premiered in New York on October 6th, 1927: “The Jazz Singer,” starring Al Jolson.
The first woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress, Janet Gaynor, was born on this date in 1906.
And October 6th of 1991 was the date of Elizabeth Taylor’s eighth and final wedding. Construction worker Larry Fortensky was Taylor’s seventh husband. They had met at the Betty Ford Clinic. The wedding took place at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch.
October 5 in history:
The city of Anaheim, California, was founded in 1857. It would become the site of Disneyland, and the home of the Angels baseball team, which won the World Series in 2002.
Another nearby franchise, the San Diego Padres, has played in the World Series twice without winning. The first time was 1984, the same year Padres owner Ray Kroc died. Kroc, who earned a fortune after buying the McDonald’s hamburger business from brothers Maurice and Richard McDonald, was born October 5th, 1902.
Another popular comedy team made its debut on October 5th, 1969, when the first episode of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” was aired on the BBC.
John Cleese of “Monty Python” has appeared as spy gadget expert Q (or R) in two James Bond films. The very first 007 film, “Dr. No,” premiered in London on October 5th, 1962. This is also the birthday of Donald Pleasence (born 1919), who played the villain Blofeld in “You Only Live Twice”…used as an inspiration for Dr. Evil in the “Austin Powers” spy comedies.