July 4th in history:
The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776. Two leaders of the independence movement, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, coincidentally died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.
Thomas Jefferson’s face would eventually be carved onto Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, and unveiled in the fall of 1936. George Washington’s face was the first to be unveiled on the mountain, on Independence Day of 1934. That was the 10th birthday of actress Eva Marie Saint, who climbed near the Rushmore faces with Cary Grant in the movie “North by Northwest.” Saint won an Oscar for her role in “On the Waterfront”.
The U.S. military academy at West Point was founded on the 4th of July in 1802.
It was on this date in 1817 that construction of the Erie Canal began.
And on July 4th, 1862, English writer Charles Dodgson first told a story about a girl named Alice, to a girl named Alice (Liddell). Dodgson turned the story into a book, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” which was published July 4th, 1865, under the pen name “Lewis Carroll.”
October 4 in history:
Work crews at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota began carving the faces of four U.S. presidents into the mountainside on October 4th, 1927. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum took 12 years to complete the task, starting with the face of George Washington, and leaving Theodore Roosevelt until last.
A chase on Mount Rushmore concludes the 1959 Hitchcock movie “North by Northwest,” which also features major scenes aboard a train. “The General,” about a Civil War train, was a silent movie hit for actor and director Buster Keaton, born on this day in 1895.
“Murder on the Orient Express” was a popular hit movie of 1974. The actual Orient Express train made its first run between Paris and Romania on October 4th, 1883.
A spectacular circus train crash is a highlight of the 1952 film “The Greatest Show on Earth,” starring Charlton Heston, born on this day in 1923. Heston’s famous roles include the title character in “Ben-Hur,” astronaut Taylor in “Planet of the Apes,” and Moses in “The Ten Commandments.”
The leader of the Catholic Church visited the U.S. for the first time on October 4th, 1965. Pope Paul VI flew to New York, where he spoke at the United Nations and attended an outdoor mass at Yankee Stadium.
And another historic flight occurred on this day in 1957, when the Soviet satellite Sputnik became the first man-made object to orbit the earth.