April 5th in history:
On April 5th of 1614, Pocahontas married English colonist John Rolfe in Virginia.
Seven years later, and farther north in the colonies, the Mayflower took to the open water, beginning its return trip to England, leaving the Pilgrims at their settlement in Plymouth.
On April 5th, 1887, six-year-old Helen Keller discovered how the word “water” was spelled in sign language, and what it meant, from her teacher, Annie Sullivan.
Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft won Oscars for playing Keller and Sullivan in the 1962 movie “The Miracle Worker.” Bancroft could not attend the awards ceremony, and Joan Crawford accepted the award for her, allegedly to spite losing nominee Bette Davis, born on this date in 1908. Davis and Crawford had co-starred the previous year in “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”, but only Davis got an Oscar nomination.
Bette Davis is one of many Oscar-winning performers born on April 5th. She received two Academy Awards, as did Spencer Tracy (born 1900), and Melvyn Douglas (born 1901). Two men who played Abraham Lincoln during their careers also shared an April 5th birthday: Walter Huston (born 1883, Oscar winner for “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” and father of director John Huston) and Gregory Peck (born 1916, won the Oscar as Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird”).
November 11 in history:
Many of the Pilgrims who came to America aboard the Mayflower signed the Mayflower Compact on November 11th, 1620. The document established a government at the Massachusetts colony where they had landed.
The armistice agreement which ended the First World War was signed on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, in a railroad car in a French forest. The war’s end came four years after its triggering event, the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and about a year-and-a-half after the U.S. joined the conflict.
The war ended on George S. Patton’s 33rd birthday. Patton was a tank commander in the war, but on Armistice Day, he was recovering from a leg injury received in battle two months earlier.
Comedian Stubby Kaye was born on the last day of World War I. Kaye became a man in uniform in the movie “Guys and Dolls,” as a reformed gambler who joined the Save-a-Soul Mission. He’s also known for appearances in “Cat Ballou” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”
September 16 in history:
More than 100 “pilgrims” left Plymouth, England on September 16th, 1620, aboard the Mayflower. They were headed to Virginia, but landed instead at Cape Cod in Massachusetts that November.
Ten years later, on September 16th, 1630, another Massachusetts settlement named Shawmut was renamed after a town in England. The community’s new name was “Boston.”
When the sitcom “Cheers,” set in Boston, ended in 1993, a spinoff was created for supporting character Frasier Crane, who moved to Seattle and started a radio talk show. “Frasier” debuted on this date in ’93, and like “Cheers,” it lasted for 11 years.
Actress Amy Poehler, Boston College Class of ’93, shares a September 16th birthday (1971) with another veteran of “Saturday Night Live,” Molly Shannon (1964). Poehler joined “SNL” in 2001, a few months after Shannon ended a six-year run on the show.