August 7 in history:
George Washington established one of the highest U.S. military awards on this date in 1782, when he ordered the creation of the Purple Heart for the Continental Army. It became a permanent honor after World War I.
High-wire walker Philippe Petit walked for 45 minutes between the rooftops of the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York on this date in 1974. His feat was immortalized in the 2008 documentary “Man on Wire.”
Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants achieved baseball immortality on August 7th, 2007, by breaking Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record. Bonds hit homer number 756 against the Washington Nationals.
Another baseball star with an achievement yet to be equaled was born on this date in 1929. Pitcher Don Larsen remains the only person to throw a perfect game in a World Series, doing it for the Yankees in 1956.
October 27 in history:
Confrontations between Mormons and other citizens led the governor of Missouri, Lilburn Boggs, to order all Mormons to be expelled from the state. The order issued on October 27th, 1838, was known as the “Extermination Order.” It was repealed officially in 1976.
Fans of the St. Louis Cardinals might have wished for an order to keep the Boston Red Sox out of Missouri in 2004. On October 27th, 2004, the Red Sox beat the Cardinals at Busch Stadium to win a World Series for the first time since 1918. The final scene of the movie “Fever Pitch,” with Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon, was filmed at the end of that game.
Boston has one of the oldest subway systems in America, introduced in 1912. But it’s not as old or as famous as the New York subway, which opened on this date in 1904.
October 17 in history:
One of the world’s most famous golf tournaments, the British Open, was played for the first time on October 17th, 1860, at a course in Scotland. Contestants had to shoot 36 holes of golf in a single day.
Another world-famous championship, the World Series, was disrupted by an earthquake on this date in 1989. Sixty-three people died in the Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Francisco area. Most of those deaths occurred because of the collapse of a two-level viaduct on Interstate 880. As for the World Series, the quake struck 30 minutes before the scheduled start of Game 3 between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics at Candlestick Park. The series was postponed for 10 days because of the quake.
A 12-story metal globe of the world, called the Unisphere, symbolized the 1964-65 World’s Fair in Queens, New York, which closed on this date in ’65. The Unisphere and some other displays at the fair were preserved as local landmarks.
A large globe sits atop the Daily Planet newspaper building in the “Superman” comic books. Jerry Siegel, one of the creators of the Superman character, was born on this day in 1914…on the planet Earth, not Krypton. Two people who have played staff members of the Daily Planet in movies or TV shows were born on October 17th. Margot Kidder (1948) played Lois Lane in the Christopher Reeve “Superman” films, and Michael McKean (1947), also known for “Laverne and Shirley” and “This is Spinal Tap,” appeared as Planet editor Perry White on the “Smallville” TV series.
October 8 in history:
Famous fires broke out on the shores of Lake Michigan on October 8th, 1871. The deadliest of those fires occurred in Peshtigo, Wisconsin, along Green Bay. As many as 2500 people may have died in the forest fire that destroyed Peshtigo and other communities. The better-known fire of October 8th was the Great Chicago Fire, which claimed about 300 lives and destroyed four square miles of the city.
Minister and political activist Jesse Jackson, the founder of Operation PUSH in Chicago, was born October 8th of 1941. Jackson shares a birthday with comedian Darrell Hammond (1955), who impersonated him and dozens of other celebrities during a 14-year run on “Saturday Night Live.” Hammond occasionally imitated SNL announcer Don Pardo on the show, and in 2014, was hired to succeed the late Pardo as the program’s new announcer.
Chevy Chase played President Gerald Ford in sketches during the first two seasons of SNL. Chase, born October 8th, 1943, went on to play Clark Griswold in the “Vacation” movie series, and returned to TV as a cast member of “Community.” He co-starred in “Deal of the Century” with Sigourney Weaver, born this day in 1949. Weaver played Ripley in the “Alien” movies, and appeared in “Avatar” and “Ghostbusters.”
Live from New York, baseball fans saw and heard history being made on October 8th, 1956, when Game 5 of the World Series was broadcast from Yankee Stadium. Don Larsen of the Yankees became the first man to pitch a perfect game during a World Series, defeating the Brooklyn Dodgers 2-0.
October 5 in history:
The city of Anaheim, California, was founded in 1857. It would become the site of Disneyland, and the home of the Angels baseball team, which won the World Series in 2002.
Another nearby franchise, the San Diego Padres, has played in the World Series twice without winning. The first time was 1984, the same year Padres owner Ray Kroc died. Kroc, who earned a fortune after buying the McDonald’s hamburger business from brothers Maurice and Richard McDonald, was born October 5th, 1902.
Another popular comedy team made its debut on October 5th, 1969, when the first episode of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” was aired on the BBC.
John Cleese of “Monty Python” has appeared as spy gadget expert Q (or R) in two James Bond films. The very first 007 film, “Dr. No,” premiered in London on October 5th, 1962. This is also the birthday of Donald Pleasence (born 1919), who played the villain Blofeld in “You Only Live Twice”…used as an inspiration for Dr. Evil in the “Austin Powers” spy comedies.
September 14 in history:
Do you remember what major event happened in England on September 13th, 1752? You do? LIAR!! It was a trick question. Nothing happened in England, or America, or anywhere in the British Empire on that day, because the date did not exist. The Gregorian calendar was adopted by the British on September 14th, 1752. They had to eliminate 11 days from the calendar that year…September 3rd through the 13th…to make the British calendar match those used by other countries. Also, before the change, the British used to start a new year on March 25th instead of January 1st.
Okay, do you remember the 1994 World Series? Liar, liar, pants on fire! There was no World Series that year, because on September 14th of ’94, major league baseball cancelled the rest of the season because of a players’ strike.
Now, do you remember a TV show called “My Mother, the Car”? Liar, liar…oh, sorry, there really WAS a series by that name. It starred Jerry Van Dyke as a guy whose late mother was rein-“car”-nated as an antique auto. Mom (the voice of Ann Sothern) spoke to him through the car radio. “My Mother, the Car” debuted on NBC on September 14th, 1965. Longer-running series which began on this date over the years include “The Waltons” (1972), and “The Golden Girls” (1985).