November 28 in history:
A newspaper story called it “the worst disaster in Boston’s history.” On November 28th, 1942, a fast-moving fire swept through the Cocoanut Grove nightclub of Boston, killing nearly 500 of the estimated 1000 people in the building. Flammable decorations apparently ignited when a busboy lit a match to find a light socket. Jammed and locked exits were blamed for some of the loss of life.
One of the most powerful men in the history of Hollywood started his career modestly in Massachusetts on this day in 1907, when Louis B. Mayer opened his first movie theater in Haverhill. Mayer started making movies before long, and in less than 20 years, became the head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Both of his daughters married movie producers, with David O. Selznick becoming a son-in-law of Mayer.
A Hollywood family named Newman has written movie music for decades. Famous family members include Alfred Newman, Lionel Newman…and Randy Newman, born November 28th, 1943. Randy has won Oscars for songs from the animated movies “Toy Story 3” and “Monsters, Inc.,” and has written the popular hits “Mama Told Me Not to Come” and “Short People.”
November 28th is also the birthday of two-time Oscar host Jon Stewart (1962), best known as the former host/anchor of “The Daily Show.”
August 24 in history:
The White House and the U.S. Capitol were among the government buildings destroyed or damaged by fire by the British during a raid on Washington, D.C., late in the War of 1812. The British forces attacked on August 24th, 1814.
Many historians believe August 24th of 79 A.D. was the day that the Italian city of Pompeii was destroyed by a fiery eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius. The ruins of Pompeii were buried under several feet of ash for centuries. In 1599, parts of the city were briefly unearthed by an architect named Domenico Fontana.
Actor Joe Regalbuto played reporter Frank Fontana on the sitcom “Murphy Brown.” Regalbuto was born August 24th, 1949, the same day and year as actor Charles Rocket, who also played a fictional TV reporter as the “Weekend Update” anchor on “Saturday Night Live.” Two other men famous for playing “fake” newsmen were born on this date in 1962: original “Daily Show” anchor Craig Kilborn, and David Koechner, alias Champ Kind from the “Anchorman” movies. It’s also the birthday of real-life TV reporter and former “Meet the Press” host David Gregory (born 1970).
May 13th in history:
On May 13th, 1917, three young shepherds reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary for the first time at Fatima, Portugal.
One “Secret” reportedly revealed to the children by Mary has been interpreted as a prediction of an attack against a future Pope. On this date in 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot and wounded by a gunman in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.
The founder of the Peoples Temple, Jim Jones, was born May 13th, 1931.
A segment on “The Daily Show” called “This Week in God” turned out to be a blessing for actor and comedian Stephen Colbert, born on this day in 1964. Colbert got his own late-night spinoff called “The Colbert Report,” and in 2015, he succeeded David Letterman as host of “The Late Show” on CBS.
Colbert was not born on a Friday, but singer Darius Rucker, formerly of Hootie and the Blowfish, was a Friday the 13th baby on this day in 1966. And Stevie Wonder, who had a hit record called “Superstition” in 1972, was born on May 13th in 1950.