Tagged: John F. Kennedy

THE PRESIDENT’S KIDS

November 25 in history:

The British occupation of New York City, which began in 1776, ended on November 25th, 1783.  That was several weeks after the Treaty of Paris was signed to end the American Revolution.  New York became the capital of the U.S. for several years, through the inauguration of George Washington as president in 1789.

President Dwight Eisenhower had a stroke on this date in 1957.  Although it was a minor stroke, the health scare was serious enough for the president to write a letter authorizing Vice President Richard Nixon to assume power, if Eisenhower was unable to carry out his duties.  The crisis was one factor leading to the creation of the 25th Amendment, which also permits the appointment of a vice president if that office becomes vacant.

An amendment dealing with presidential succession was discussed again after the John F. Kennedy assassination.  President Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on November 25th of 1963 — the day his son John Junior turned three years old.  Film footage shows young John saluting at his father’s funeral procession.

Two other presidential children — twins Jenna and Barbara Bush, the daughters of George W. Bush — were born on this date in 1981.  Their grandfather George Herbert Walker Bush was in his first year as vice president at the time.

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CRIMINAL / RECORDS

November 24 in history:

A one-of-a-kind crime in the sky happened on this date in 1971, aboard a Northwest Orient jet.  A passenger who bought a ticket under the name “Dan Cooper” hijacked a flight between Portland, Oregon and Seattle, suggesting that he had a bomb inside a briefcase.  Cooper was given parachutes and $200,000 in cash after the plane landed.  He then jumped out of the plane after it took off again.  Investigators have never figured out what happened to the hijacker, who became known as “D.B. Cooper,” but some of the ransom money did turn up in the woods years later.

Millions of Americans witnessed a real-life crime on live TV when tavern owner Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald in front of reporters and television cameras at the Dallas jail on November 24th, 1963.  It was just two days after Oswald was arrested for the assassination of President Kennedy.

The three major networks suspended all regular programming for four days after Kennedy’s death.  One of the cancelled programs that was scheduled for the night of November 24th was a special recapping the 1963 Grammy Awards, at which the Album of the Year award went to the Vaughn Meader satire of Kennedy, “The First Family.”

Marvin Hamlisch won four Grammys for 1974, including Best Pop Instrumental Performance for his recording of “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin, from the movie “The Sting.”  The film’s ragtime score led to a revival of Joplin’s songs.  Many musicians celebrate November 24th of 1868 as Joplin’s birthday, but now it is believed he was born sometime in 1867.

LEADERS OF THE WORLD

November 22 in history:

On the last day of his life, John F. Kennedy was thinking about the 1964 election.  President Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, were making a political trip through Texas on November 22nd, 1963.  The president had appearances scheduled that day with Vice President Lyndon Johnson in Fort Worth, Dallas, and Austin.  Kennedy only got to attend the breakfast in Fort Worth.  Gunfire broke out as the president’s motorcade was leaving downtown Dallas on the way to a luncheon.  Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally, riding with their wives in an open car, were hit by bullets, and taken to Parkland Hospital.  Within a short time, Kennedy was dead, Johnson was president, and the world was in mourning.

While in Fort Worth, Kennedy made a phone call to wish John Nance Garner a happy 95th birthday.  Texas native Garner served two terms as Vice President under Franklin Roosevelt.  French President Charles de Gaulle turned 73 on that Friday in ’63.  The following Monday, de Gaulle was in Washington to join other world leaders at Kennedy’s funeral.

A future “King” who became a queen of the tennis court turned 20 on the day JFK was shot.  Billie Jean King was still single, and known as Billie Jean Moffitt, in 1963.  That summer, she had reached the finals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time, finishing second in the women’s singles at Wimbledon.

A few hours before the Kennedy shooting, “The CBS Morning News,” anchored by Mike Wallace, aired a story about a new rock-and-roll band creating a stir in England.  That may have been the first time many Americans heard about the Beatles.  The story on CBS coincided with the release that day of a new album by the Fab Four in the UK, called “With the Beatles.”  An album with most of the same songs was sold later in the US under the name “Meet the Beatles.”

In later years, the Beatles recorded songs with references to politicians such as British Prime Ministers Harold Wilson and Edward Heath.  The first English woman to serve as Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, stepped down because of a political power struggle on November 22nd, 1990.  Thatcher had held that post for 11 years.

GAME OF LIFE / MYSTERY DEATH

November 8 in history:

Two Roosevelts were elected president on November 8th — 28 years apart. The first was Teddy Roosevelt in 1904, winning a full term after filling out the unexpired term of William McKinley. And Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover in 1932 for the first of his four presidential wins.

In other famous elections on November 8th…John F. Kennedy narrowly beat Richard Nixon for the White House in 1960, Ronald Reagan was elected governor of California in 1966, and Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential race over Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Trump may be the only U.S. president who inspired a board game before becoming Chief Executive. “Trump: The Game,” a real estate contest, was introduced by the Milton Bradley Company in 1989. Inventor Milton Bradley was born on this day in 1836. The company is known for “The Game of Life,” “Candyland,” and “Chutes and Ladders,” as well as for home versions of popular TV game shows.

The panel show “What’s My Line?” inspired a couple of U.S. home versions, neither one made by Milton Bradley. Columnist Dorothy Kilgallen was a regular panelist on “Line” for 15 years, until her sudden death on November 8th, 1965, a few hours after appearing live on the Sunday night program. Conspiracy theorists have suggested someone murdered Kilgallen for knowing too much about the JFK assassination, or UFOs, or something else. By coincidence, Kilgallen’s death was announced on CBS just after her pre-taped appearance on the November 8th daytime episode of “To Tell the Truth.” On that same day, the NBC soap opera “Days of Our Lives” made its debut, beginning a run that continues today.

KENNEDY’S GOT A SECRET

October 22 in history:

Better Call Saul

On October 22nd, 1962, President John F. Kennedy made a televised speech publicly revealing the existence of Soviet missiles in Cuba.  In the speech, Kennedy announced a quarantine on ships that might be carrying offensive weapons to Cuba.

By coincidence, Kennedy’s address fell on the same night that JFK impersonator Vaughn Meader was recording a comedy album about the president, to be called “The First Family.”  Meader later said that the actors knew about the speech before the recording session, but the studio audience did not.  He thought the audience members would not have laughed as much, if they had been aware of the missile crisis.

Appearing on TV that October night in ’62, besides the president, was the game show “I’ve Got a Secret,” created by song-parody writer Allan Sherman, best known for “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh.”  His record “My Son, the Folk Singer” lost the Grammy for album of the year in 1963 to “The First Family.”

Actor Bob Odenkirk has done parody sketches on “Mr. Show” and “The Ben Stiller Show.” October 22nd of 1962 is when Odenkirk was born. He may be best known for playing attorney Saul Goodman on “Breaking Bad,” and its spinoff series “Better Call Saul.”

FROM ALLEN TO FALLON

September 27 in history:

Warren Report

Pope Urban VII (real name, Giovanni Castagna) died on this date in 1590.  He had only been the pope for 13 days, the shortest papacy ever.  There was no controversy about the cause of death:  Pope Urban died of malaria.

The assassination of the first Catholic president of the U.S. led to a government investigation that concluded on September 27th, 1964, with the release of the Warren Commission report.  The Commission led by Chief Justice Earl Warren concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing President John F. Kennedy.  TV networks did live programs about the Commission findings at the hour the report was released to the public.

A live late-night program called “Tonight!” debuted on NBC on this date in 1954.  Steve Allen was host for the first three years, succeeded by Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno again, and now Jimmy Fallon.  Steve Allen’s first night as host was also the 34th birthday of his wife, actress Jayne Meadows.

SIX DEGREES OF JFK

September 15 in history:

September 15th of 1901 was Theodore Roosevelt’s first full day as president, after the assassination of William McKinley.  Roosevelt had been vice president for only six months before succeeding McKinley.  It was the 44th birthday of William Howard Taft, who would follow T.R. into the Oval Office eight years later.

Taft is one of only two U.S. presidents buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  The other is John F. Kennedy.  Two men associated with the 1991 movie “JFK” were both born on September 15th, 1946:  the film’s director, Oliver Stone, and actor Tommy Lee Jones.

The Hollywood star most closely associated with JFK filmed what is probably her most famous movie scene on this date in 1954. Early that morning. Marilyn Monroe stood over a subway grate on Lexington Avenue in New York as air from the grate blew her skirt above her knees, for a scene in “The Seven Year Itch.”  The actual New York footage was not used in the movie.  The scene was re-created on a Hollywood lot.