April 4th in history:

“Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky…”

That line from the U2 song “Pride (In the Name of Love)” refers to the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4th, 1968.  King was shot while standing on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, during a visit to support African-American garbage workers who were on strike.  The U2 song lyric is inaccurate, because the shooting happened around 6 p.m.  In recent years, U2 lead singer Bono has changed the lyrics in live performances to “Early evening, April 4.”

News coverage of the King shooting disrupted regular TV programs in the U.S. that Thursday night, including “Bewitched.”  April 4th is the birthday of David White (1916), who played Darrin’s boss Larry Tate on “Bewitched.”  White’s family was touched by tragedy when his son Jonathan died in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

“Psycho” star Anthony Perkins, born on April 4th, 1932, was married for nearly 20 years to another person who died in a terrorist attack on an airplane.  Model and actress Berry Berenson Perkins was aboard the first plane which hit the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001.

Coincidentally, the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the World Trade Center happened on this date in 1973.



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.


July 13th in history:

Today is the birthday of two actors who became famous as fictional pilots of spaceships: Patrick Stewart (1940), alias Capt. Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Han Solo from Star Wars, Harrison Ford (1942).

Ford Motors canned company president Lee Iacocca, the developer of the Mustang, on July 13th, 1978. Within two years, Iacocca became a household name as the new chairman of Chrysler.

The Chrysler building went dark – and so did the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center, and all of the Manhattan skyline the night of July 13th, 1977. The storm-related power outage lasted just over 24 hours.


May 26th in history:

On this date in 1894, Nicholas II became the czar of Russia. As it turned out, he would be the last czar.

President Andrew Johnson narrowly avoided being removed from office as his impeachment trial in the Senate ended on May 26th, 1868. Johnson would not be the last president to be impeached and tried.

Visitors to the Eiffel Tower in Paris could get to the top by elevator for the first time on this date in 1889. The tower had opened to the public less than a month earlier.

And mountain climber George Willig chose May 26th as the day in 1977 that he would climb the South Tower of New York’s World Trade Center … from the outside. Willig had designed special climbing tools to be inserted into the tracks used for window-washing scaffolds. After he reached the top, Willig was fined for his stunt: a total of a dollar and 10 cents (one cent for each of the skyscraper’s 110 stories).