October 19 in history:
Napoleon tried to conquer Russia in 1812, but the Russian Army would not surrender. The French leader and his army spent a month in Moscow, but could not get enough supplies to stay for the winter, so they retreated on October 19th, 1812.
Boxer Evander Holyfield became the undisputed world heavyweight champion in October 1990 by knocking out defending champ Buster Douglas. Holyfield was born on this date in 1962.
It’s also the birthday of actor John Lithgow (1945), known for films such as “The World According to Garp” and his TV role as a visitor from another world on “3rd Rock from the Sun.”
September 5 in history:
The Munich Olympics of 1972 were disrupted on September 5th, when the terror group Black September invaded the Olympic Village and held the Israeli team hostage. By the time the nearly 24-hour ordeal ended, eleven Israeli athletes and coaches had been killed. Some were shot, while the others died aboard a helicopter that was blown up by a hand grenade.
Twelve years earlier, at the Summer Olympics of 1960, Cassius became a champion in Rome on this date. Cassius Clay, that is…later known as Muhammad Ali. The 18-year-old Clay won the gold medal for boxing in the light heavyweight division, with a unanimous decision against a Polish fighter.
A pre-season football game featuring the Washington Redskins went on as scheduled on September 5th, 1970, despite the death of Redskins coach Vince Lombardi from cancer two days earlier. In honor of their coach, the Redskins defeated the Miami Dolphins 26-21 in the game at Tampa Stadium.
Lombardi’s name is on the Super Bowl championship trophy, and many fans of winning sports teams like to sing the Queen song “We Are The Champions.” Queen’s lead singer, Freddie Mercury, was born on this day in 1946.
February 25th in history:
The U.S. Steel corporation was founded on February 25th, 1901. Businessmen J.P. Morgan, Elbert Gary and Andrew Carnegie combined smaller steel companies into one large firm. Upon its formation, U.S. Steel became the first company worth one billion dollars.
Two actors famous for playing very rich men were both born on February 25th in 1913. German actor Gert Fröbe had the title role in the James Bond adventure Goldfinger in 1964. That same year, Jim Backus began playing millionaire Thurston Howell III on “Gilligan’s Island.” Backus’s other famous roles include James Dean’s father in Rebel Without a Cause, and the voice of nearsighted cartoon character Mister Magoo.
On this day in 1964, boxer Cassius Clay, and anybody who bet on him, was in the money after Clay upset heavyweight champ Sonny Liston at Miami. Liston had had enough after six rounds, and Clay became the surprise champ by TKO. Clay declared himself “the greatest,” and became known as Muhammad Ali.
January 22nd in history:
From “beautiful downtown Burbank,” the first episode of “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in” aired on NBC on January 22, 1968. The fast-paced mix of one-liners, slapstick and political humor lasted five-and-a-half years, making stars of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin, and inspiring the even longer-lasting imitator, “Hee Haw.”
An early feature of “Laugh-In” was “Sock It to Me Time.” The night of January 22nd, 1973, was “Sock It to Me Time” for heavyweight boxing champ Joe Frazier, as he was knocked down repeatedly by George Foreman in a title fight in Jamaica. Foreman won the championship when the fight was stopped in the second round.
Foreman is best known today for selling the George Foreman Grill on TV. Hosts of popular food shows on TV who were born on January 22 include Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet (1934), Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet (1939), and Food Network personality Guy Fieri (1968).