August 19 in history:
Many countries have experienced dramatic changes in leadership on August 19th …
On August 19th, 1945, Ho Chi Minh took power in Vietnam.
This was the date in 1953 when Iran’s elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, was overthrown in a coup arranged by the CIA. Mossadegh was placed under house arrest, as Shah Reza Pahlavi replaced him as leader of Iran.
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was under house arrest on August 19th, 1991, as hard-line members of the Communist government tried to remove him from power. The coup attempt failed after a few days, and the USSR was disbanded that December.
August 19th is the birthday of one U.S. president, Bill Clinton (1946), and of Tipper Gore (1948), the wife of Clinton’s Vice President, Al Gore.
August 17 in history:
Inventor Robert Fulton helped people travel faster by water with his steamboat, the Clermont, which completed its first round trip between New York City and Albany on this date in 1807. The Clermont traveled on the Hudson River at the rate of five miles an hour.
Michael Phelps showed during the 2008 Summer Olympics that he was faster than other swimmers. On August 17th that year, Phelps took his eighth gold for the U.S. at Beijing. No person had ever won that many golds in one Olympiad before Phelps.
President Bill Clinton got into hot water when he was accused of lying under oath about an alleged affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. On this date in 1998, Clinton admitted to a relationship with Lewinsky, and four months later, he was impeached for committing perjury.
Clinton’s admission contradicted his famous quote “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Actress Mae West came up with plenty of famous quotes about sex in her long career. She was born August 17th, 1892.
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.”