July 13th in history:
Today is the birthday of two actors who became famous as fictional pilots of spaceships: Patrick Stewart (1940), alias Capt. Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Han Solo from Star Wars, Harrison Ford (1942).
Ford Motors canned company president Lee Iacocca, the developer of the Mustang, on July 13th, 1978. Within two years, Iacocca became a household name as the new chairman of Chrysler.
The Chrysler building went dark – and so did the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center, and all of the Manhattan skyline the night of July 13th, 1977. The storm-related power outage lasted just over 24 hours.
May 28th in history:
When wedding bells rang for King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, not everybody was happy. Henry had ended his first marriage so he could make Anne his wife, and eventually became the head of the Church of England. But on May 28th, 1533, the Archbishop of Canterbury declared that the king’s new marriage was valid.
The most famous bell in England, “Big Ben,” was hauled by 16 horses from the foundry where it was made to the Palace of Westminster on this date in 1859. The 13-ton bell still rings on the hour inside the palace tower.
On May 28th, 1930, the Chrysler Building towered over every other building in the world, when it opened in New York. It lost the honor of being the world’s tallest building less than a year later, when the Empire State Building opened several blocks away.
May 1st in history:
May 1st seems to be a big day for “kings” …
On May 1st of 1328, the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton recognized the Kingdom of Scotland as independent from the Kingdom of England. That declaration was reversed exactly 379 years later – May 1st, 1707 – when the Act of Union joined the Kingdoms of Scotland and England to form Great Britain.
King Kamehameha I established the Kingdom of Hawai’i on this date in 1785.
The star of “Blue Hawaii,” Elvis Presley (the King of Rock and Roll), married Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas on May 1st, 1967.
The Empire State Building, a popular hangout of King Kong, was dedicated in New York on May 1st, 1931.
An obituary of Jack Paar called him the original “King of Late Night,” as host of the “Tonight Show” in the late ’50s and early ’60s. Paar was born on this date in 1918. Paar inherited the “Tonight” job from Steve Allen, whose TV shows often featured comedian Louis Nye, born today in 1913. Nye’s TV work included a recurring role as Sonny Drysdale on “The Beverly Hillbillies”.
April 24th in history:
The first fatal accident during a space mission happened on this date in 1967. Soyuz 1, the Soviet Union’s first manned space flight in two years, crashed upon landing after two days in orbit. The crash killed the lone crew member, Vladimir Komarov, who was on his second space mission. The capsule’s parachute apparently failed to open properly.
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched successfully on this date in 1990, aboard the space shuttle Discovery.
New Yorkers could get high in the sky without leaving the ground on April 24th, 1913, on the day that the Woolworth Building opened in Manhattan. You could see a long distance from the top of the skyscraper, which was 792 feet tall…the tallest building in the U.S. for nearly 20 years, until the Empire State Building was constructed.
The movie musical “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” starred Oscar-winner Barbra Streisand, who was born on April 24th, 1942. Streisand’s character in the movie believes she has been reincarnated. Another winner of the Best Actress Oscar, Shirley MacLaine, is a real-life believer in reincarnation. MacLaine, also a star of screen musicals such as “Can-Can” and “Sweet Charity,” came into the world as Shirley Beaty on this date in 1934.
July 28 in history:
Until the September 11th attacks of 2001, perhaps the most famous case of a plane crashing into a skyscraper was the accident at the Empire State Building on July 28th, 1945. A B-25 bomber headed to Newark slammed into the building at the 79th floor level on a foggy Saturday morning. The three men on the plane died, along with 11 people inside the building.
A mining disaster in Pennsylvania was coming to a much happier end on this date in 2002. Nine coal miners were brought to the surface at the Quecreek mine, four days after they were trapped below ground by flooding. Many Americans spent Saturday night of that weekend watching live TV coverage of the efforts to rescue the miners.
Two women who became familiar faces on Saturday night TV in the 1970s have birthdays on July 28th. During the ’70s, Sally Struthers (born 1947) played Gloria on “All in the Family,” and Georgia Engel (1948) was Georgette on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Georgette married Minneapolis TV anchorman Ted Baxter, whose boss was news director Lou Grant. When the Lou Grant character got his own spinoff, he became a Los Angeles newspaper editor whose staff included reporter Billie Newman, played by Minneapolis native Linda Kelsey, born July 28th, 1946.
April 24th in history:
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched high into the sky on this date in 1990, aboard the space shuttle Discovery.
April 24th is also the date of the first fatal accident during a space mission. Soyuz 1, the Soviet Union’s first manned space flight in two years, crashed upon landing after two days in orbit in 1967. The crash killed the lone crew member, Vladimir Komarov, who was on his second space mission. The capsule’s parachute apparently failed to open properly.