September 17 in history:
Army Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge became the first person to die in a plane crash on September 17th, 1908. Orville Wright was flying the plane, and Selfridge was his passenger, in a demonstration at Fort Myer, Virginia. The plane went into a nose-dive after a propeller broke.
On this date in 1916, German Baron von Richthofen, the “Red Baron,” shot down his first enemy plane during World War One. The English plane was the first of 80 that Richthofen downed before he was shot down himself a year-and-a-half later.
Soldiers shoot at an airplane carrying IMF agents at the end of the pilot of “Mission: Impossible,” which debuted on CBS on this date in 1966. One year earlier, two series with heroes performing nearly impossible or secret missions premiered on CBS on September 17th, 1965: “The Wild Wild West” and “Hogan’s Heroes.”
“Mission: Impossible” star Peter Graves played an ill-fated pilot in the movie comedy “Airplane!” An ill-fated airplane flight to Las Vegas which has to be diverted to Casper, Wyoming, is a highlight of the 2011 comedy “Bridesmaids,” directed by Paul Feig, born on September 17th, 1962. Feig, also known for directing the 2016 “Ghostbusters” reboot and creating the TV series “Freaks and Geeks,” was born the same day and year as Australian movie director Baz Luhrmann, whose films include “Moulin Rouge!” and the 2013 remake of “The Great Gatsby.”
Below: Triviazoids’ Brad Williams quizzed on September 17 TV trivia on “Live with Regis and Kelly”, as seen in the documentary, “Unforgettable”.
May 2nd in history:
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).
April 20th in history:
The Red Baron shot down his last two targets on April 20th, 1918. Baron von Richthofen was shot down himself the next day, while pursuing a Sopwith Camel flown by a Canadian pilot.
Silent movie star Harold Lloyd, known for performing stunts at dizzying heights, was born on this day in 1893.
And on April 20th, 1926, Warner Brothers and Western Electric announced a method for providing sound to motion pictures. It was called the “Vitaphone.”