November 1 in history:
A major artistic marvel was shown to the public for the first time on this date in 1512…Michelangelo’s paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. The project took four years to complete, as Michelangelo painted Biblical scenes while lying on his back atop a 60-foot scaffold.
November 1st is the anniversary of two technological marvels used by drivers in Michigan. A tunnel connecting Windsor, Ontario and Detroit was dedicated on this date in 1930. The tunnel is located 75 feet below the Detroit River. The 1st of November in 1957 was the opening day for a five-mile bridge stretching across the Straits of Mackinac, linking Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
A low-tech device that has saved the faces of countless hockey players was used in a National Hockey League game for the first time on November 1st, 1959. The nose of Montreal Canadiens goalie Jacques Plante was broken by a flying puck during a game that day. He sat out part of the game, but then returned wearing a fiberglass mask he had used during practices. Plante’s coach was okay with him going back onto the ice, but didn’t want him to wear the mask. After the mask became a sort of good-luck charm for the Canadiens, it became standard equipment in the NHL.
A hockey mask is the trademark of serial killer Jason Voorhees from the “Friday the 13th” movies. In the original 1980 film, the killer behind the mask was not Jason, but his mother, played by Betsy Palmer. Before “Friday the 13th,” Palmer was best known during the ’50s and ’60s as a perky panelist on “I’ve Got a Secret.” She was born November 1st, 1926.
July 18 in history:
The Great Fire of Rome began on this date in 64 A.D., lasting about a week. Many accused Emperor Nero of starting the blaze for political reasons, but modern historians believe he was not responsible, and did not stand by while singing or playing on a musical instrument.
A Titan rocket fired up in Florida on July 18th, 1966, sending the Gemini 10 spacecraft into orbit. Astronauts John Young and Michael Collins orbited the Earth 43 times before landing three days later.
The first American to orbit Earth, John Glenn, was born July 18th, 1921. It’s also the birthday of actor James Brolin (1940), who played an astronaut forced to fake a landing on Mars in the movie “Capricorn One.”
On a 1958 episode of “The Red Skelton Show,” country bumpkin Clem Kadiddlehopper invented a satellite and launched it into space. Clem was one of the recurring characters played by Skelton on his weekly TV series in the 1950s and ’60s, as well as Junior the Mean Widdle Kid and hobo Freddie the Freeloader. Red Skelton was born on July 18th, 1913.
April 21st in history:
The Seattle World’s Fair opened on this date in 1962. April 21st of 1965 was the opening date of the second year of the New York World’s Fair.
Nobody saw Rosie Ruiz at the starting line of the Boston Marathon on April 21st, 1980, but many people saw her cross the finish line, seemingly setting a women’s record. Ruiz was disqualified after witnesses reported that she wasn’t seen running in the 26-mile race until about the last mile.