October 16 in history:
“Antoinette, dainty queen, with her quaint guillotine…” That line from the musical “Damn Yankees” refers to France’s Marie Antoinette meeting her fate on this date in 1793. The queen was beheaded nine months after her husband, King Louis XVI.
The American colonies effectively cut themselves off from the King of England by winning the Revolutionary War. On October 16th, 1783, Army commander George Washington captured Yorktown, Virginia, in the final battle of the war.
The English once beheaded their own king, Charles I, in the 1600s and tried life without royalty for a few years. It didn’t stick, and the royal family returned during the Restoration. A popular novel about the Restoration, “Forever Amber,” was a best seller in the 1940s. “Amber” author Kathleen Winsor, born in 1919, shared an October 16th birthday with the actress who played the lead in the movie version of the novel, Linda Darnell (1923).
Lincoln and Booth were together every week in the ’60s…the 1960s. On your TV screen. Raymond Massey…famous for playing Abraham Lincoln on stage and film…portrayed Dr. Gillespie on “Dr. Kildare.” NBC followed “Kildare” on Thursday nights with “Hazel,” starring Shirley Booth. The two shows debuted on the same night in 1961, and remained together on the NBC schedule until “Hazel” moved to CBS in 1965. Both stars were born on August 30th…Massey in 1896, and Booth in 1898.
For much of the run of “Dr. Kildare,” “Lincoln” (Massey) was competing with “Steven Douglas” for Thursday night viewers. Fred MacMurray, born Aug. 30th, 1908, starred as Steve Douglas on “My Three Sons,” which was often scheduled on ABC opposite NBC’s “Kildare.”
One hundred years after Lincoln was president, a famous telephone was installed at the White House on August 30th, 1963. It was the first hotline between Washington and the Kremlin, designed to help communications between East and West and avoid international incidents. It wasn’t a direct phone line between the U.S. president and the Soviet leader. The Pentagon acted as a go-between.
George Washington got a message, a peace offer, from a British general on this date in 1776. General William Howe offered to let Washington and his army escape from Brooklyn Heights before a possible British attack. Washington rejected the offer, and sent it to the Continental Congress.
April 19th in history:
The American Revolution began on April 19th, 1775, with fighting between the American colonists and the British at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.
April 19th is the birthday of British actor and comedian Dudley Moore (1935), and American actress Kate Hudson (1979). Hudson was born the year after her mother, Goldie Hawn, co-starred with Moore in “Foul Play,” a comedy thriller about an assassination attempt on the pope.
A new pope was elected on this date in 2005. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger took the name Pope Benedict XVI.