July 15th in history:
The middle of July is a popular time for political parties to choose their presidential candidates. President Harry Truman accepted the Democratic nomination on July 15th of 1948, and Jimmy Carter gave his acceptance speech during the 1976 Democratic convention on the 15th. Bill Clinton won the nomination on July 15th, 1992 at the Democratic convention, and Republican Barry Goldwater was nominated on this day during the Republican convention in 1964.
Goldwater’s nomination happened on the 26th birthday of his son, Barry Goldwater Jr., who was born in Arizona and later served as a Republican Congressman from California for seven terms. Another Arizona native, singer Linda Ronstadt, was born on July 15th of 1946.
Linda Ronstadt is famous for recording rock songs and Spanish-language albums. A language barrier was broken on this date in 1799 when a rock known as the “Rosetta Stone” was discovered in Egypt. The stone has the same message printed three times, in hieroglyphics and two other languages, allowing experts to translate Egyptian sign language.
Some folks might need a Rosetta stone to figure out abbreviations used in messages on Twitter (LOL). The internet service limiting messages (“tweets”) to 140 characters was launched July 15th, 2006.
January 26th in history:
On January 26th of 1962, the U.S. sent the Ranger 3 probe to the moon. The spacecraft missed the moon by several thousand miles and kept going.
On this date in 2006, Western Union stopped providing the service it became famous for: sending telegrams. The company officially got out of the communications business and shifted to financial services and money transfers. In 2005, the number of telegrams sent by Western Union was 1 percent of the number sent in 1929.
And President Bill Clinton sent an infamous message to Americans on January 26th of 1998. In front of TV cameras, Clinton insisted “I did not have sexual relations” with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Months later, Clinton admitted he DID have relations with Lewinsky, setting the stage for his impeachment on perjury charges.
January 18th in history:
Former U.S. President John Tyler died on January 18th, 1862, shortly after being elected to the Confederate Congress. Tyler was the first vice president to succeed a U.S. president who died in office, following the 1841 death of William Henry Harrison.
John Tyler fathered 15 legitimate children by two wives, and was accused of fathering more children in affairs with slaves. A notorious presidential affair was revealed on this date in 1998, when the “Drudge Report” web site said that President Bill Clinton had had an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton publicly denied the affair at first, but admitted to it months later.
The leading man of the 1957 movie An Affair to Remember, Cary Grant, was born on January 18th, 1904. Grant’s film career lasted from the 1930s to his retirement in the 1960s, and included four Hitchcock movies and four films with Katharine Hepburn.
Hepburn’s 1969 movie The Madwoman of Chaillot was the last feature film for comedian Danny Kaye, born on this day in 1911. Kaye, known for physical humor and fast-talking wordplay, also starred in White Christmas and The Court Jester, as well as a 1960s variety show on CBS.
Danny Kaye was one of the original owners of the Seattle Mariners baseball team. Actor and director Kevin Costner, born January 18th, 1955, had one of his biggest hits as an Iowa farmer who builds a baseball diamond in a cornfield in “Field of Dreams.” Costner also starred in the popular sports movies “Bull Durham” and “Tin Cup,” and the frontier epic “Dances with Wolves,” which earned him Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture
December 19 in history:
Bill Clinton became the second U.S. president to be impeached, when the House approved impeachment charges against him on December 19th, 1998, halfway through his second term. Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice, for lying about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The scandal threatened to sink the Clinton presidency, but Clinton was acquitted by the Senate and finished his term.
A romantic epic about a famous ocean liner that sank in 1912 opened in movie theaters on this day in 1997. The James Cameron film Titanic, starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet, tied the record 11 Oscars won in 1959 by Ben-Hur. Titanic also set box office records which were broken a decade later by another Cameron movie, Avatar.
Unlike the Titanic, three ships that left England for America on December 19th, 1606, did reach their destination. The ships brought more than 100 settlers to the Virginia colony, where they established the community of Jamestown.
The city of Jamestown, New York, has a museum dedicated to hometown celebrity Lucille Ball and her first husband, Desi Arnaz, who were married for 20 years. Lucy’s second marriage, to comedian Gary Morton, lasted 28 years until her death. Morton, who produced Lucy’s TV series after “I Love Lucy,” was born on this date in 1924. It’s also the birthday of actress Elaine Joyce (1945), known for many television appearances and stage shows including the musical “Sugar.” Like Morton, Joyce also is famous as the spouse of a comedy legend, playwright Neil Simon.
Before becoming a playwright, Neil Simon wrote for popular TV variety series including “Your Show of Shows” with Sid Caesar, and “The Garry Moore Show.” On this date in 1961, the Moore show featured Julie Andrews singing “My Favorite Things,” perhaps one of the earliest times that the song from “The Sound of Music” became associated with the Christmas season. Andrews did not appear in the original Broadway production of “Sound of Music,” and did not make the movie until three years after the Garry Moore Christmas show.
November 3 in history:
It may be the most famous wrong headline in newspaper history…”DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.” Based on the early returns on election night in 1948, the Chicago Tribune published the first edition of its November 3rd paper with the Dewey headline. Later in the night, incumbent President Harry Truman won a full term by defeating Republican Thomas Dewey. Shortly after the election, Truman happily posed for a picture, holding up the incorrect headline.
We know for a fact that presidents elected on November 3rd include Franklin D. Roosevelt (second term) in 1936, Bill Clinton defeating President George H.W. Bush in 1992, and Lyndon Johnson winning a full term with a victory over Barry Goldwater in 1964.
“The Andy Griffith Show” was a top 10 hit in 1964…and in every year that it was on CBS. Two cast members of the Griffith show and its spinoff, “Mayberry RFD,” both were born on November 3rd in 1933. Aneta Corsaut played Mayberry schoolteacher Helen Crump, who dated and then married Sheriff Andy Taylor. Ken Berry was brought in to play town councilman Sam Jones, who became the main character on “Mayberry RFD” when Griffith ended his own show in 1968. Berry also starred on “F Troop” and “Mama’s Family.”
October 26 in history:
The route for the Pony Express mail service between Missouri and California was roughly two thousand miles, which could be covered by horses and riders in about 10 days. When telegraph lines finally extended from coast to coast, there was no more need for the Pony Express. The service shut down for good on October 26th, 1861.
A spacecraft has to travel several days from the earth to reach the far side of the moon. The Soviet craft Lunik 3 took the first photographs ever made of the moon’s “dark side”. The U.S.S.R. released those photos on this date in 1959.
Two women born on October 26th in the 1940s have come a long way, taking vastly different paths to fame:
Hillary Rodham (born 1947) was a student commencement speaker at Wellesley in 1969, and was featured in Life Magazine as a result. Married Bill Clinton, became First Lady, elected U.S. Senator, was appointed secretary of state, and ran twice for president, winning the Democratic nomination in 2016.
Jaclyn Smith (born either 1945 or 1947) appeared in magazines in her twenties, as a model for Breck shampoo. She was the only one of “Charlie’s Angels” to stay with the original series for its full five-year run. And she also became a First Lady…playing Jackie Kennedy in a TV movie biography.
October 11 in history:
Teddy Roosevelt became the first U.S. president to fly in a plane on October 11th, 1910. The flight at St. Louis happened more than a year after Roosevelt left the White House. He was the passenger of pilot Archibald Hoxsey.
Teddy’s flight occurred on the birthday of his niece, future First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, born in 1884. October 11th, 1975 was the wedding day for another future First Lady, and a future President. Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton were married in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The Clintons have been popular targets for satire on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” which made its debut on the couple’s wedding night. Actress Joan Cusack, born October 11th, 1962, spent one year as a cast member on “SNL”. Three years after being dropped from the show, Cusack got an Oscar nomination for “Working Girl.” She’s also well-known as the voice of cowgirl Jessie in the “Toy Story” movies.
Jane Krakowski once played a famous animated character in a live-action movie, as Betty Rubble in “The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas.” Krakowski, born this day in 1968, is better known from “30 Rock” as Jenna Maroney. She shares a birthday with the original Wilma Flintstone, Jean Vander Pyl (born 1919).