August 2 in history:
President Warren G. Harding died suddenly on August 2nd, 1923 in San Francisco, less than two-and-a-half years into his term. The 57-year-old Harding became ill while on his way back to Washington, D.C. from a visit to Alaska. The cause of death was thought to be a stroke at the time, but many experts now believe that Harding had a heart attack.
John F. Kennedy was another U.S. president who died less than three years after taking office. Twenty years before his death, Kennedy had a close call while commanding a PT boat in the Navy during World War II. The Japanese destroyer Amagiri smashed into the PT-109, on August 2nd, 1943. Lt. Kennedy was able to save most of his crew.
After Kennedy became president, Warner Brothers decided to make a movie called “PT-109.” Studio head Jack Warner (born August 2nd, 1892) reportedly wanted Warren Beatty to play the young JFK, and so did First Lady Jackie Kennedy. The president had the final choice, and picked Cliff Robertson to play him.
February 8th in history:
The U.S. has had three vice-presidents named Johnson. The first one was Richard Johnson, who served under President Martin Van Buren. Johnson was chosen for VP by the Senate on February 8th, 1837, when no candidate could get a majority in the Electoral College.
Lyndon Johnson was vice-president in the summer of 1963, when Ted Koppel began his journalism career as the youngest reporter ever hired by ABC Radio. Koppel was only 23 — born on February 8th, 1940.
Koppel was anchoring the late-night news show “Nightline” in 1984, the year actress Cecily Strong was born on this date. At the time of her birth, Strong’s father was head of the Associated Press Capitol bureau in Springfield, Illinois. Cecily co-anchored “Weekend Update” on “Saturday Night Live” for one season, and emceed the 2015 White House Correspondents Dinner. She’s well-known for her SNL impersonation of First Lady Melania Trump, and her character “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party.”
Actor Jack Lemmon played Chicago newspaper reporter Hildy Johnson in the 1974 movie remake of the play “The Front Page.” Lemmon was born on this day in 1925. He won Oscars for “Mister Roberts” and “Save the Tiger,” and is also known for his roles in “Some Like It Hot,” “Days of Wine and Roses,” and several movies with “Front Page” co-star Walter Matthau.
A session of the U.S. Senate was broadcast for the first time on the radio, on February 8th, 1978, during debate on a Panama Canal treaty. And radio made its way into the White House for the first time on this day in 1922, when President Warren Harding brought the new invention into the mansion.
November 2 in history:
Commercial radio in the U.S. was launched on November 2nd, 1920, an election night. Station KDKA went on the air in Pittsburgh to broadcast returns from the presidential race between James Cox and Warren G. Harding. Harding was elected on his 55th birthday.
On another election day, November 2nd, 1976, the major U.S. TV networks began the tradition of using large red-white-and-blue maps to show which party has won which states in a presidential race. It wasn’t until the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore that the media generally adopted the code of “blue” for Democrats and “red” for Republicans, reportedly popularized by NBC’s Tim Russert.
George W. was a third-generation cheerleader at Yale, and also led cheers at the Andover prep school. Modern cheerleading was invented at a University of Minnesota football game on November 2nd, 1898. Minnesota student Johnny Campbell was among a group of young men who usually started specific cheers in the stands. On that particular day, Campbell stood up in front of the home crowd and taught them cheers by shouting through a megaphone.