SOMEWHERE, OVER THE OUTFIELD

April 8th in history:

The Venus de Milo was discovered on this day in 1820, on the island of Milos. The famous armless statue of the goddess Venus is now displayed at the Louvre in Paris.

“April in Paris” was one of the famous songs written by lyricist “Yip” Harburg, born April 8th, 1896. Harburg is best known for the lyrics of “Over the Rainbow,” introduced by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz.” Garland’s daughter, Liza Minnelli, starred in the movies “Cabaret” and “New York, New York,” both with lyrics by Fred Ebb (born April 8th, year disputed).

It was somewhere over the left centerfield fence at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia that Hank Aaron’s 715th home run landed on April 8th, 1974. The Braves slugger broke Babe Ruth’s career record during Atlanta’s home opener of the season. Aaron eventually hit 755 homers…a record that stood until August of 2007, when Barry Bonds surpassed it.

Georgia native G. Harrold Carswell struck out as a Supreme Court nominee, by a 51-45 vote of the U.S. Senate on April 8th, 1970. Federal judge Carswell was Republican President Richard Nixon’s second straight Supreme Court nominee to be turned down by the Democratic-controlled Senate. Nixon blamed an anti-Southern bias for Carswell’s defeat. Carswell blamed liberals for opposing him, and later that month, he launched a campaign for the U.S. Senate from Florida to avenge the vote against him. He lost the Republican primary.

Neither Florida nor Georgia has ever ratified the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, allowing the popular election of U.S. Senators. On this date in 1913, Connecticut became the 36th state to approve the amendment, insuring its passage.

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PARADE OF EASTER HISTORY

March 27th in history:

Two Easter season disasters on this date: March 27th was Good Friday in 1964, when Alaska was hit by the most powerful earthquake ever in the country’s history. It measured 9.2, and caused more than 100 deaths. In 1994, Palm Sunday fell on March 27th, and a Methodist church in Piedmont, Alabama, was struck by a tornado which killed 20 people.

March 27th of 1513 was Easter Sunday, and explorer Juan Ponce de Leon first sighted a mass of land which he later named in honor of Easter, “Pascua Florida.”

A Florida resort was the main setting for the cross-dressing comedy “Some Like It Hot”, written and directed by Billy Wilder, who died on March 27th, 2002.  Actors Milton Berle and Dudley Moore also died on the same day as Wilder.  Berle made a habit of dressing as women on his hit TV show “Texaco Star Theater,” and Moore wore a nun’s habit during part of the comedy film “Bedazzled.”

Another of Billy Wilder’s major hit movies was Sunset Boulevard, which represented a comeback for Gloria Swanson, playing fictional silent-film star Norma Desmond.  Swanson was born on March 27th, but the year is in dispute (1897 or 1899).

FRIDAY’S CHILDREN

March 3rd in history:

“The Star-Spangled Banner” became the national anthem of the United States on March 3rd, 1931.

On this date in 1845, Florida became the 27th star in the flag when it joined the union.

The Apollo 9 mission was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on this date in 1969. It was the first test flight for the lunar landing module, and its three-man crew consisted of Jim McDivitt, Rusty Schweikart, and David Scott.

Another “Mr. Scott” well known for fictional space travels, actor James Doohan of the “Star Trek” TV series was born on March 3rd of 1920.

Another historic video was shot on March 3rd, 1991, when a man in Los Angeles filmed a police beating from his window.  The beating of black driver Rodney King by white policemen touched off racial tensions, which led to riots in L.A. the following year when a jury acquitted the police officers.Bowen FaustinoA remake of the TV series “Dragnet,” about the L.A. police, starred Ed O’Neill as Sgt. Joe Friday.  O’Neill is better known as a sitcom dad on “Married…with Children” and “Modern Family,” and two of his TV children have March 3rd birthdays.  They are Julie Bowen (born 1970), Claire Dunphy of “Modern Family,” and David Faustino (1974), Bud Bundy from “Married.”

LEGENDS OF SPORTS

February 22nd in history:

The very first Daytona 500 auto race was run February 22nd, 1959 at Daytona Beach, Florida. The first champ of Daytona was 44-year-old Lee Petty.

Another legendary sports event happened on this date in 1980: the “Miracle on Ice,” in which the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team surprised the world by beating the Soviets, 4-3, in the semi-final round of the Winter Games. The Americans went on to win the gold against Finland in the games at Lake Placid, New York.

Actor Kirk Douglas once served as royalty at a winter carnival in Lake Placid.  During the week of the Miracle on Ice game, Douglas was hosting “Saturday Night Live” in New York, featuring NBC announcer Don Pardo, born on this day in 1918.  Until his death in 2014, Pardo had been the SNL announcer for most of the show’s run. Pardo also worked on the original versions of “Jeopardy” and “The Price is Right,” and broke the news of President Kennedy’s assassination on WNBC-TV in New York in 1963.

David Letterman was getting ready to move his talk show from NBC to CBS when it was announced on February 22nd, 1993 that CBS had bought the Ed Sullivan Theater, to keep Letterman’s show in New York.

On this day in 1964, the Beatles returned to England after their famous first visit to the U.S., which included three straight appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”  The band had pre-recorded its performance which would be seen on “Sullivan” the next night.