May 22nd in history:
Only two volcanic eruptions occurred in the U.S. during the 20th century. One was the Mount St. Helens eruption of 1980. The other happened on May 22nd, 1915, with an explosion at Lassen Peak in northern California.
Another powerful act of nature, an earthquake, struck southern Chile on this date in 1960, killing thousands of people. Known as the Valdivia quake, it was the strongest earthquake ever recorded, measuring 9.5 on the Richter Scale. Severe tornadoes also have occurred on May 22nd, in Hallam, Nebraska (in 2004) and Joplin, Missouri (2011). The Joplin twister caused more than 150 deaths, and was the deadliest tornado in the U.S. in more than 60 years.
Wreckage from an airplane explosion fell from the sky onto Missouri and Iowa on May 22nd, 1962, when a Continental Airlines flight between Chicago and Kansas City blew up. All 45 people aboard were killed. One of the passengers, who had earlier taken out a large insurance policy, apparently planted a bomb in a restroom. The tragedy reportedly inspired part of the plot of the 1970 movie “Airport.”
In May of 1962, Iowa native Johnny Carson was preparing to take over NBC’s “Tonight Show.” He had just been hired to replace the departing Jack Paar. Carson stayed on as host of “Tonight” longer than any other person, almost 30 years, ending his run on May 22nd, 1992.
Another TV personality named “Johnny” made his debut on this day in 1910: that was the birthdate of announcer Johnny Olson, who’s most famous for shouting “Come on down!” to contestants on “The Price Is Right.” Olson also served as the announcer on “What’s My Line?,” “Match Game,” and “The Jackie Gleason Show.”
October 13 in history:
On October 13th, 1884, Greenwich Mean Time was established, setting noon at the Greenwich observatory in England as the standard for time zones throughout the world. However, scientists say that doesn’t mean the sun is always directly overhead at 12 noon every day at Greenwich.
Many witnesses say the sun did unusual things over the town of Fatima, Portugal on October 13th, 1917, in what has been described as “The Miracle of the Sun.” As many as 100,000 people gathered in Fatima, expecting visions of the Virgin Mary. Watchers claimed the sun changed colors, spun around, and moved back and forth across the sky, seeming to speed toward the earth.
The rescue of 33 men trapped in a Chilean mine was considered a miracle by many. The miners at Copiapo had been underground for nearly 70 days when a rescue capsule was used to bring them back to the surface, one at a time. The successful rescue mission ended late in the day on October 13th, 2010.
The man who created the TV show “Mission: Impossible,” producer Bruce Geller, was born on this date in 1930. It’s also the birthday of TV producer Chris Carter (born 1957), best known for a series about two agents who investigated the seemingly impossible, or unexplainable: “The X-Files.”