April 15th in history:
The ocean liner Titanic hit an iceberg during its maiden voyage, and sank in the North Atlantic on April 15th, 1912. More than 1,500 of the 2,200 people aboard the ship died in the disaster. The wreckage remained undiscovered until 1985, when undersea explorer Robert Ballard and others came upon the remains of Titanic, more than two miles below the ocean surface. Ballard was working for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution based in Massachusetts.
April 15th of 2013 was Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, the day of the annual Boston Marathon. Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Marathon, killing three persons and injuring more than 200 others. The attack led to a week-long manhunt, as police closed in on two brothers suspected of planting the bombs. One was killed by officers, while the other was discovered hiding inside a boat kept outside a house.
When Patriots’ Day falls on April 15th, Massachusetts residents do not have to file their federal income tax returns on that day. This is the tax deadline day for most Americans, and has been since 1955. Before that year, taxes were due in March.
Actress Elizabeth Montgomery made her movie debut in 1955, in “The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell.” Montgomery was born on this date in 1933, and is best known for her TV role as suburban witch Samantha Stephens on “Bewitched.”
This is also the birthday of another actress known for playing a character with special powers…Emma Watson (born 1990), who portrayed Hermione in the “Harry Potter” movies. Watson played herself in the apocalyptic comedy “This Is the End,” written and directed by actor Seth Rogen, born April 15th, 1982. Rogen is also known for the movies “Knocked Up” and “Superbad” and the TV series “Freaks and Geeks.”
September 1 in history:
The last known passenger pigeon in captivity, named Martha, died on September 1st, 1914 at the Cincinnati Zoo. Ironically, the Ohio legislature was asked to protect passenger pigeons in the 1850s, and a study committee concluded that the species was so plentiful, there was no need for protection.
The passenger pigeon disappeared two years after the “unsinkable” ocean liner Titanic disappeared in the waters of the Atlantic. But Titanic did not remain lost forever. On September 1st, 1985, a team led by undersea explorer Robert Ballard found the wreckage of Titanic on the ocean floor, about 400 miles from Newfoundland.
The James Cameron film “Titanic” featured Kathy Bates as “the unsinkable” Molly Brown. Bates won the Best Actress Oscar for “Misery” in 1990, the same year that Jeremy Irons was named Best Actor for “Reversal of Fortune,” playing real-life attempted-murder suspect Claus von Bulow. September 1st is the birthday of both von Bulow’s wife, Martha “Sunny” von Bulow (1931 or 1932), and his defense attorney Alan Dershowitz (1938).