April 15th in history:
The ocean liner Titanic hit an iceberg during its maiden voyage, and sank in the North Atlantic on April 15th, 1912. More than 1,500 of the 2,200 people aboard the ship died in the disaster. The wreckage remained undiscovered until 1985, when undersea explorer Robert Ballard and others came upon the remains of Titanic, more than two miles below the ocean surface. Ballard was working for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution based in Massachusetts.
April 15th of 2013 was Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, the day of the annual Boston Marathon. Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Marathon, killing three persons and injuring more than 200 others. The attack led to a week-long manhunt, as police closed in on two brothers suspected of planting the bombs. One was killed by officers, while the other was discovered hiding inside a boat kept outside a house.
When Patriots’ Day falls on April 15th, Massachusetts residents do not have to file their federal income tax returns on that day. This is the tax deadline day for most Americans, and has been since 1955. Before that year, taxes were due in March.
Actress Elizabeth Montgomery made her movie debut in 1955, in “The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell.” Montgomery was born on this date in 1933, and is best known for her TV role as suburban witch Samantha Stephens on “Bewitched.”
This is also the birthday of another actress known for playing a character with special powers…Emma Watson (born 1990), who portrayed Hermione in the “Harry Potter” movies. Watson played herself in the apocalyptic comedy “This Is the End,” written and directed by actor Seth Rogen, born April 15th, 1982. Rogen is also known for the movies “Knocked Up” and “Superbad” and the TV series “Freaks and Geeks.”
April 4th in history:
That line from the U2 song “Pride (In the Name of Love)” refers to the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4th, 1968. King was shot while standing on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, during a visit to support African-American garbage workers who were on strike. The U2 song lyric is inaccurate, because the shooting happened around 6 p.m. In recent years, U2 lead singer Bono has changed the lyrics in live performances to “Early evening, April 4.”
News coverage of the King shooting disrupted regular TV programs in the U.S. that Thursday night, including “Bewitched.” April 4th is the birthday of David White (1916), who played Darrin’s boss Larry Tate on “Bewitched.” White’s family was touched by tragedy when his son Jonathan died in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
“Psycho” star Anthony Perkins, born on April 4th, 1932, was married for nearly 20 years to another person who died in a terrorist attack on an airplane. Model and actress Berry Berenson Perkins was aboard the first plane which hit the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001.
Coincidentally, the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the World Trade Center happened on this date in 1973.
June 13th in history:
The “Pentagon Papers” appeared for the first time in the New York Times on June 13th, 1971. The papers were a classified report on American strategy in Vietnam. The Nixon administration said publication of the papers was treason, and tried to have it stopped. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the government to try to keep the documents out of the newspapers.
A Supreme Court ruling on June 13th, 1966, led to the famous phrase, “You have the right to remain silent.” In Miranda v. Arizona, the high court ruled that Ernesto Miranda should have been informed of his legal rights before he was questioned by police about a series of crimes.
One year later, in 1967, President Lyndon Johnson nominated Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court. Marshall was the first African-American justice, and for 24 years was the only African-American on the nine-member court.
In 1967, Paul Lynde already had started a long run with a popular group of nine, as a celebrity panelist on the game show “Hollywood Squares.” Lynde, born on June 13th, 1926, occupied the “center square” for most of his years on the show, while also appearing on “Bewitched” and his own comedy series.
Richard Thomas was the most famous of the seven kids on “The Waltons,” as the oldest son, John-Boy. Thomas was born on this date in 1951. And Ban Ki-moon, born June 13th, 1944, also belongs to a small select group. He’s only the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations.