January 17th in history:
The earth shook in Southern California on January 17th, 1994. The “Northridge Earthquake” caused 72 deaths and $20 billion in damage.
Eartha’s birthday is on January 17th — Eartha Kitt, that is — born in 1927. Kitt replaced Julie Newmar as Catwoman on the “Batman” TV show in 1967. Jim Carrey also is famous for playing a Batman villain, the Riddler, as well as portrayals of the Grinch and Horton the Elephant. Carrey, born in 1962, shares a January 17th birthday with Andy Kaufman (1949), whom he impersonated in the movie “Man on the Moon.”
And the man who discovered the planet Pluto, astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, died on this day in 1997. A few years after Tombaugh’s death, scientists declared that Pluto is not really a planet.
January 9th in history:
New England Telephone and Telegraph introduced the first battery-operated telephone switchboard on January 9th, 1894.
On January 9th in 1968, the Surveyor 7 spacecraft made a successful soft landing on the moon, paving the way for manned landings on the moon’s surface.
It’s the birthday of the first U.S. President to make a phone call to astronauts on the moon, Richard Nixon (1913).
There were “no phone, no lights, no motor car” on “Gilligan’s Island,” but Gilligan and six other castaways had enough adventures to fill a sitcom, three TV movies and two cartoon series. January 9th is the birthday of actor Bob Denver, alias Gilligan (1935).
April 16th in history:
On April 16th, 2004, the cruise ship Queen Mary 2 began its first trans-Atlantic crossing from England to New York.
The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 overshadowed the trip made by Harriet Quimby on April 16th of that year. Quimby became the first woman to fly over the English Channel on that day, making the trip in just under an hour.
The next-to-last manned flight to the moon, Apollo 16, was launched on this date in 1972.
And April 16th is the birthday of the composer of “Moon River,” Henry Mancini (1924).
Men landed on the moon for the third time on February 3rd, 1971. America’s first man in space, Alan Shepard, landed on the lunar surface with Edgar Mitchell during the Apollo 14 mission.
Another famous flight ended tragically on February 3rd, 1959. Singers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper were killed when their plane crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa, shortly after their last concert at the nearby Surf Ballroom.
Iowa made history on this date in 1870 by becoming the 28th state to approve the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, making it law. That amendment allowed former slaves and other non-white citizens to vote.
January 26th in history:
On January 26th of 1962, the U.S. sent the Ranger 3 probe to the moon. The spacecraft missed the moon by several thousand miles and kept going.
On this date in 2006, Western Union stopped providing the service it became famous for: sending telegrams. The company officially got out of the communications business and shifted to financial services and money transfers. In 2005, the number of telegrams sent by Western Union was 1 percent of the number sent in 1929.
And President Bill Clinton sent an infamous message to Americans on January 26th of 1998. In front of TV cameras, Clinton insisted “I did not have sexual relations” with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Months later, Clinton admitted he DID have relations with Lewinsky, setting the stage for his impeachment on perjury charges.