October 15 in history:
The submarine “H.L. Hunley,” the first sub to sink a ship, sank during a test run on this date in 1863. The man whose name was on the sub, Horace Hunley, was one of eight people aboard who died in the accident. The Hunley was brought back to the surface, but sank again a short time later. It stayed underwater until 2000.
The “Graf Zeppelin” airship completed its first flight across the Atlantic from Europe on October 15th, 1928, passing over several large American cities before landing in New Jersey.
The New York Municipal Airport was dedicated on this date in 1939. Years later, it was renamed for the man who was mayor of New York when it opened: Fiorello La Guardia.
A New York apartment on East 68th St. was the main setting for a TV comedy that premiered on October 15th, 1951, on CBS. Living in the apartment were a Cuban bandleader and his trouble-prone wife, played by real-life couple Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. “I Love Lucy” was one of the top-rated shows on TV during its original six-year run, and has been popular in reruns ever since.
Another television hit about a wacky pair, set in the 1950s, was “Laverne & Shirley.” Penny Marshall, who played Laverne De Fazio, was born on this day in 1943. After the TV series ended, Marshall became a movie director, making popular films including “Big” and “A League of Their Own.”
April 10th in history:
In the worst submarine accident in U.S. history, the USS Thresher broke apart on April 10th, 1963, during diving tests in the Atlantic, 200 miles from Cape Cod. One hundred twenty-nine people died aboard the sub. Faulty welding was blamed for a leak which shut down the nuclear reactor aboard the Thresher. The sub also was unable to surface.
The ill-fated voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic began on April 10th, 1912. The ocean liner sank five days into the trip. Titanic was launched was at Southampton, England, even though it was registered to the port of Liverpool.
Actor Gene Hackman has starred in a submarine drama (“Crimson Tide”) and a disaster film about an ocean liner (“The Poseidon Adventure”). Hackman was a nominee at two Oscar ceremonies held on April 10th. In 1968, Hackman had his first nomination for “Bonnie and Clyde.” He scored his first Oscar win on this date in 1972 for “The French Connection.”
And the Liverpool band that recorded “Yellow Submarine” officially broke up on April 10th, 1970. That was the day Paul McCartney released his first solo album, and announced that he was leaving the Beatles. McCartney replaced Stu Sutcliffe as the bass player for the Beatles when Sutcliffe quit the band in 1961. Sutcliffe was 21 when he died of a brain hemorrhage on this day in 1962.
January 21st in history:
In 1899, the Opel Company of Germany made its first automobile. Before that, Opel had specialized in bicycles and sewing machines.
The first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus, was launched by First Lady Mamie Eisenhower in Connecticut on January 21, 1954.
Six years later, in 1960, a female monkey named “Miss Sam” was launched into space from a base in Virginia, in a test of the Mercury spacecraft.
A different way to fly was introduced by the British and French on January 21, 1976, when the two countries began supersonic passenger flights by the Concorde.
And the father of “The Flying Wallendas” high wire act, Karl Wallenda, was born on January 21st of 1905.