Category: Today in history

CALIFORNY IS THE PLACE YOU OUGHTA BE

August 11 in history:

Events and people from California stand out on August 11th in history…

On this date in 1934, the first civilian inmates arrived at the federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay.

The Watts riots in Los Angeles began on August 11th, 1965, when violence occurred after police tried to arrest an African-American man in the Watts neighborhood for drunk driving.  The riots lasted nearly a week, with 34 people being killed and more than a thousand others injured.

The movie “American Graffiti” opened on this date in 1973.  George Lucas’s film takes place during a single night near the end of summer in a small California town.

And California native Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computers, was born on August 11th, 1950.

A NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

August 10 in history:

On August 10th, 1792, King Louis the 16th of France was sent to prison, and a royal art collection at the Louvre Palace in Paris was confiscated by the government.  The Louvre reopened as a museum exactly one year later.

On this date in 1846, the U.S. government established the Smithsonian Institution as a museum and research organization.  The original half-million dollar sum used to establish the Institution came from the estate of British scientist James Smithson.

Herbert Hoover became the fourth U.S. president to have his own official museum and library, when the Hoover Library was dedicated on August 10th, 1962 at West Branch, Iowa.  That was Hoover’s 88th birthday.

SPORTS SUPERSTARS

August 9 in history:

To the discomfort of host Adolf Hitler, American Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics in 1936, becoming the first U.S. athlete to win that many golds in one year.  Owens earned his fourth gold medal in a relay on August 9th.

To the discomfort and dismay of many Canadian hockey fans, Wayne Gretzky was traded by the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings on August 9th, 1988.

This is the birthday of several athletes who have entered the Hall of Fame for their respective sports:  basketball star Bob Cousy (1928), tennis pro Rod Laver (1938), Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders (1967), and second-generation hockey star Brett Hull (1964).

Whitney Houston was born on this day in 1963.  At the peak of her singing career, Houston performed the national anthem at the Super Bowl in January, 1991, shortly after the start of the Persian Gulf War.  Her rendition of the anthem became a Top 40 hit.  The Super Bowl performance was controversial because although Houston reportedly did sing live at a microphone, a pre-recorded version was played in the stadium and on TV in order to avoid any mistakes.

LIGHTS ON IN CHICAGO, LIGHTS OUT IN WASHINGTON

August 8 in history:

August 8th of 1988 (8/8/88) marked the end of an era at Wrigley Field in Chicago:  the era of daytime-only baseball games at the park.  The Cubs played a night game on their home field for the first time, against the Philadelphia Phillies.  They couldn’t finish the game, because it was rained out in the 4th inning.

The Nixon era at the White House ended on August 8th, 1974, when Richard Nixon became the first president to resign before the end of his term.  Nixon made the announcement on nationwide TV that night, less than two years after carrying 49 states in the 1972 election. Nixon’s resignation speech came exactly six years after the night in 1968 when he accepted the Republican Party nomination for president for the second time.

The Watergate scandal leading to Nixon’s resignation was the subject of the film “All the President’s Men.”  Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman starred in the movie as Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.  Hoffman, also known for “The Graduate,” “Tootsie,” and “Rain Man”, was born August 8th, 1937.

One of Dustin Hoffman’s most famous movie lines is “I’m walking here!,” shouted by the character Ratso Rizzo while crossing a street in the 1969 film “Midnight Cowboy.”  On August 8th of 1969, the Beatles took their famous walk across Abbey Road in London, immortalized on the cover of the “Abbey Road” album.  Photographer Iain Macmillan took six photos of the band walking — three where they face right, and three facing left.


THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY

August 7 in history:

George Washington established one of the highest U.S. military awards on this date in 1782, when he ordered the creation of the Purple Heart for the Continental Army.  It became a permanent honor after World War I.

High-wire walker Philippe Petit walked for 45 minutes between the rooftops of the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York on this date in 1974.  His feat was immortalized in the 2008 documentary “Man on Wire.”

Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants achieved baseball immortality on August 7th, 2007, by breaking Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record.  Bonds hit homer number 756 against the Washington Nationals.

Another baseball star with an achievement yet to be equaled was born on this date in 1929.  Pitcher Don Larsen remains the only person to throw a perfect game in a World Series, doing it for the Yankees in 1956.

LOVE AND WAR

August 6 in history:

The Japanese city of Hiroshima became the first community destroyed by an atomic bomb in wartime on August 6th, 1945. About 80,000 people died in Hiroshima that day, when the American plane Enola Gay dropped a bomb on the city.

Protesters marking the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing stood outside the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on August 6th, 1966. They gathered there because President Lyndon Johnson was attending his youngest daughter’s wedding inside the church. Luci Baines Johnson was marrying Patrick Nugent.

Another famous “Lucy” had a birthday on this date. Lucille Ball, the star of ‘I Love Lucy,’ was born August 6th, 1911.

AIN’T THAT AMERICAN?

August 5 in history:

The Mayflower departed from Southampton, England on August 5th, 1620, to take religious pilgrims to America.

The pilgrims had intended to settle at the mouth of the Hudson River in New York, instead of in Massachusetts. The New York harbor eventually became the home of another immigrant…the Statue of Liberty. The cornerstone for the statue was laid on this date in 1884 on Bedloe’s Island. It took two years to re-assemble the statue, originally built in France.

“American Bandstand,” hosted by Dick Clark, made its debut as a daily nationwide dance show on ABC, August 5th, 1957.

And hockey coach Herb Brooks was born August 5th, 1937. Brooks is best known for coaching the U.S. men’s hockey team to Olympic gold at the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid.