May 7th in history:
The British ocean liner Lusitania was torpedoed by a German submarine on May 7th, 1915. Nearly twelve hundred people aboard the ship died, including 128 Americans. The sinking is considered to be a major factor which led the U.S. into World War I, two years later.
Sgt. Alvin York became one of the most decorated U.S. soldiers in World War I, by capturing 132 enemy soldiers. Gary Cooper, born on May 7th, 1901, won his first of two Oscars for playing York in the movie “Sergeant York.” Cooper also starred as WWI Gen. Billy Mitchell, considered the founder of the Air Force, in “The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell.”
On this date in 1960, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announced that American pilot Francis Gary Powers had been captured. Powers was flying a U-2 spy plane over the USSR when he was shot down on May 1st.
One of the scientists who developed the optics used on the U-2 was Edwin Land, inventor of the Polaroid camera. Land was born May 7th, 1909.
March 19th in history:
On March 19th, 1918, Congress approved Daylight Saving Time and the formation of time zones across the country.
The first Academy Awards broadcast on television started at 10:30 Eastern Time (7:30 Pacific Time) on March 19th, 1953. The program originated both in Hollywood and New York. Gary Cooper was named Best Actor for playing the marshal in “High Noon.”
Real-life Western lawman Wyatt Earp was born on March 19th, 1848. Earp has been a character in many movies, including “Sunset” (1988), featuring Bruce Willis (born on this day in 1955) as movie cowboy Tom Mix.