December 4 in history:
Pan American World Airways used to fly to 86 countries, but on December 4th, 1991, Pan Am stopped flying completely. The shutdown ended 64 years of service by the airline. Ironically, the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” depicted Pan Am making commercial flights into space in the early 21st century.
Fifty-one countries belonged to the United Nations when it started in 1945, and on this date in ’45, Senators in Washington voted to let the United States join the U.N. The U.S. had stayed out of the previous international organization, the League of Nations, which was championed by President Woodrow Wilson after the first World War. On December 4th, 1918, Wilson boarded a ship to travel to the peace talks at Versailles, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to travel to Europe.
Another man named Wilson who spent much time surfing on the ocean, and performing songs about the ocean, was born December 4th, 1944…Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys.
On December 4th, 1980, the sitcom “Bosom Buddies” aired its second episode on ABC, featuring Tom Hanks as a guy named Kip Wilson who lives in a women’s hotel, pretending to be “Buffy Wilson.” Hanks is married to Rita Wilson, starred in “Charlie Wilson’s War,” and named his volleyball companion “Wilson” in “Cast Away.”
Hanks is a two-time Oscar winner, who received his first Oscar nomination for the 1988 movie “Big,” where he performs a duet on a giant piano keyboard with Robert Loggia. During his 60-year career, Loggia was nominated for Oscars and Emmys, and starred in movies including “Scarface” and “Jagged Edge.” Loggia died on this date in 2015.
September 12 in history:
“How do I love thee…?” Elizabeth Barrett showed her love for fellow poet Robert Browning by eloping with him in England on September 12th, 1846. Barrett’s father did not approve of Browning.
Astronauts Mark Lee and Jan Davis became the first married couple to travel together in space on September 12th, 1992. They were among the seven crew members aboard the shuttle Endeavour. The eight-day mission was the first space flight for Davis, and the second for Lee.
“To the moon, Alice!” On September 12th, 1970, “The Jackie Gleason Show” ended an eight-year run on CBS. The hour-long variety show often featured musical episodes of “The Honeymooners” with Gleason as Ralph Kramden and Art Carney as Ed Norton.
The Gemini 11 mission was launched on this date in 1966. Astronauts Pete Conrad and Richard Gordon conducted tests to link two space capsules in orbit, a skill that would be needed on flights to the moon.
Pete Conrad was portrayed by actor Peter Scolari in an episode of the TV miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon.” Scolari, best known for his roles on “Newhart” and “Bosom Buddies,” was born September 12th of 1955.