November 6 in history:
Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States on November 6th, 1860. Over the next 12 months, several Southern states would secede and form the Confederacy. Their first presidential election was exactly one year after Lincoln’s election, on this date in 1861. Former U.S. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis had already been appointed Confederate president before winning the election.
The Civil War ended and the Confederacy folded before Davis got to finish his six-year term. After a few years under the Stars and Bars, the Southern states returned to the Stars and Stripes, forever. Saaaay, that might make a good song title! Composer John Philip Sousa thought so. “The Stars and Stripes Forever” is one of the most popular marches written by the “March King,” born on November 6th, 1854.
Sousa commissioned the development of the sousaphone, and another musician who has an instrument named after him shares Sousa’s birthday. Belgian Adolphe Sax, born on this date in 1814, patented the saxophone when he was 31.
Both the sousaphone and saxophone are popular marching-band instruments played at football games. The very first official college football game in the U.S. was played in New Jersey on November 6th, 1869, at Rutgers University. In that first contest, each score was worth only one point, and they played until 10 total points had been scored. Rutgers beat Princeton, 6 to 4.
The streets of one New Jersey city inspired the names of spaces on a classic board game for which Parker Brothers obtained patents on this date in 1935. Pass “Go” and collect $200 if you knew that the landmarks on a “Monopoly” board are actual places in Atlantic City.
October 30 in history:
On October 30th, 1991, a search began in the Atlantic for the missing fishing boat Andrea Gail, which had left a port in Massachusetts a few days earlier. The boat and its six-person crew were never found, apparently lost during a severe storm. The story of the shipwreck inspired the 2000 movie “The Perfect Storm.”
Hurricane Sandy, also called a “superstorm,” was causing death and destruction along the Atlantic Coast on October 30th, 2012. The storm had reached land on the 29th near Atlantic City, New Jersey. The 1980 movie “Atlantic City” was made by French director Louis Malle, born on this date in 1932.
Louis Malle married actress Candice Bergen around the time “Atlantic City” was filmed. Candice’s father, ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, was starring on “The Chase and Sanborn Hour” on NBC on October 30th, 1938, heard by close to 70 percent of the American radio audience that night. But a competing program on CBS grabbed headlines and panicked listeners by portraying a fictional Martian invasion of New Jersey in the form of radio news reports. “The Mercury Theatre of the Air,” hosted by 23-year-old Orson Welles, dramatized the H.G. Wells novel “The War of the Worlds.” The publicity over the Martian drama led New Jersey-based Campbell Soup to become the sponsor of “The Mercury Theatre,” renamed “The Campbell Playhouse.”
An alien visitor landed in Milwaukee on the 1978 episode of “Happy Days” which introduced Robin Williams as the character “Mork from Ork.” The climactic scene of the episode pitted Mork versus Fonzie in a rumble at Arnold’s Drive-In. Henry Winkler, alias “The Fonz,” was born October 30th, 1945.
September 7 in history:
A girl named Elizabeth started life as a princess when she was born in England on September 7th, 1533. Her father was King Henry VIII. Her mother was Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth Tudor became queen of England when she was 25, and reigned for nearly 50 years.
Citizens of Egypt got to elect their own president for the first time on this date in 2005. Before that, the Egyptian parliament chose the president. The winner of the election was Hosni Mubarak, who had already been president for 24 years. Mubarak’s opponents claimed the voting was rigged.
Nikita Khrushchev didn’t wait to be elected “First Secretary” of the Soviet Communist Party. He took power on September 7th, 1953, and remained in control for 11 years.
And a two-day contest called the Atlantic City Pageant began in New Jersey on this date in 1921. Margaret Gorman, representing Washington, D.C., won that first pageant. It was a tourism gimmick, designed to bring visitors to the city after Labor Day, and was later renamed the Miss America Pageant.
June 26th in history:
The first portion of the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey, opened on June 26th, 1870.
At the Coney Island amusement park in New York, the “Cyclone” roller coaster operated for the first time on this date in 1927.
President Kennedy made a famous trip to Berlin on this day in 1963, where the West German audience cheered upon hearing Kennedy proclaim “Ich bin ein Berliner.”
Singer Terri Nunn was a “Berliner” in the ’70s and ’80s, as a member of the musical group Berlin. Nunn was born on June 26th of 1961 — the year the Berlin Wall was built. Nunn performed lead vocals on the Oscar-winning song “Take My Breath Away” from “Top Gun.” She also acted in the movie “Thank God It’s Friday,” which won the Oscar for Best Song in 1978 for Donna Summer’s “Last Dance.”