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1955–Elvis Presley makes his first TV appearance on Louisiana Hayride. This prompts promoters to send Elvis to New York City to audition for the immensely popular and career-making Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts program. Talent coordinators and Godfrey are said to have passed on Elvis appearing on the show. Not much later, he was tossed out of the Grand Ole Opry as well, and told to “go back to driving a truck.” In a little over a year, however, the nation will be caught up in Presleymania.



78–Origin of the Saka Era (in the Hindu religion).

473–Gundobad (nephew of Ricimer) nominates Glycerius as Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.

724–Empress Gensho abdicates the throne in favor of her nephew, Shomu, who becomes Emperor of Japan.

1284–The Statute of Rhuddlan incorporates the Principality of Wales into England.

1455–John II of Portugal is born at Castle of São Jorge in Portugal. He is known for re-establishing the power of the Portuguese throne, reinvigorating its economy, and renewing its exploration of Africa and the Orient.

1585–The Olympic Theatre, designed by Andrea Palladio, is inaugurated in Vicenza, Italy.

1634–The first tavern opens in Boston, Massachusetts.

1706–Composer, Johann Pachelbel, dies in Nuremberg, Germany, at age 52. He is best known for the Canon in D, as well as the Chaconne in F minor, the Toccata in E minor for organ, and the Hexachordum Apollinis, a set of keyboard variations.

1776–The first amphibious landing of the U.S. Marine Corps begins the Battle of Nassau.

1791–The United States Mint is created by the U.S. Congress.

1802–Ludwig von Beethoven publishes one of the most famous piano pieces ever written, Moonlight Sonata (Sonata number 14 in C Sharp Minor, Opus 27, number 2).

1805–The Louisiana-Missouri Territory is established.

1817–The Alabama Territory is created by splitting the Mississippi Territory.

1820–The U.S. Congress passes the Missouri Compromise.

1831–George Mortimer Pullman, inventor of the railway sleeping car, is born in Brocton, New York.

1837–The U.S. Congress increases Supreme Court membership from seven to nine.

1845–Florida becomes the 27th state of the United States of America. The name comes from the Spanish phrase Pascua Florida, or “Flowery Easter.” Ponce de León gave it the name when he landed there on Easter Day 1513. For the first 50 years of the state’s history, the southern half of the peninsula remained virtually unpopulated.

1845–The U.S. Congress authorizes ocean mail contracts for foreign mail delivery.

1847–Inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, is born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was an eminent Scottish-born scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone.

1849–The Territory of Minnesota is established.

1855–Designer of the Washington Monument, Robert Mills, dies in Washington, D.C., at age 73. He was buried at the Congressional Cemetery in the District of Columbia.

1857–France and the United Kingdom declare war on China.

1861–Alexander II of Russia signs the Emancipation Manifesto, freeing serfs.

1863–Gold certificates, as currency, are authorized by the U.S. Congress.

1863–Idaho Territory is established.

1873–The U.S. Congress enacts the Comstock Law, making it illegal to send any "obscene, lewd, or lascivious" books through the mail.

1875–Georges Bizet's opera, Carmen, premieres in Paris, France.

1875–The first organized indoor game of ice hockey is played in Montreal, Canada.

1877–Rutherford B. Hayes is privately inaugurated as the 19th President of the United States.

1879–Chemist, Elmer McCollum, is born in Fort Scott, Kansas. He discovered vitamins A, B and D.

1882–Businessman and con artist, Charles Ponzi, is born Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tebaldo Ponzi in Lugo, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. He became known in the early 1920s as a swindler in North America because of his money making scheme that ran for over a year before it collapsed, costing his investors $20 million.

1885–American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) incorporates in New York.

1887–Anne Sullivan begins teaching six-year-old blind and deaf, Helen Keller.

1893–Illustrator and potter, Beatrice Wood, is born in San Francisco, California. She was involved in the Avant Garde movement in America, and in 1916, she founded The Blind Man magazine in New York City, with French artist, Marcel Duchamp, and writer, Henri-Pierre Roché. Wood was called the "Mama of Dada."

1901–Businessman, George Gilman, dies in Bridgeport, Connecticut, at age 75. He founded The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company.

1904–Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany becomes the first person to make a sound recording of a political document, using Thomas Edison's phonograph cylinder.

1905–The U.S. Forest Service is established.

1910–J.D. Rockefeller, Jr. announces his retirement from managing his businesses, so that he can devote more time to being a philanthropist.

1911–Actress, Jean Harlow, is born Harlean Harlow Carpenter in Kansas City, Missouri. She had become one of the biggest movie stars in the world by the late 1930s, often nicknamed the "Blond Bombshell" and the "Platinum Blonde." She appeared in the films Hell’s Angels, The Public Enemy, Platinum Blonde, Red Dust, Dinner at Eight, Bombshell, China Seas, and Libeled Lady.

1913–Thousands of women march in a suffrage parade in Washington, D.C.

1915–D.W. Griffith's controversial film, The Birth of a Nation, premieres. The film, starring Lillian Gish and a cast of thousands, was based on a play called The Clansman, and was immediately denounced by the NAACP as "the meanest vilification of the Negro race." Despite its racism, the film was responsible for dozens of technical innovations, particularly in the use of tracking shots and close-ups. In its first decade, the film grossed $18 million, making it one of the most lucrative films of all time.

1920–Actor, James (Montgomery) Doohan, is born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He is best known for the role of Montgomery "Scotty" Scott in the TV and film series Star Trek. After the series ended, he found himself typecast and had a hard time getting other roles. He supported his family with income from personal appearances. When the Star Trek franchise was revived, Doohan reprised the role of Scotty in seven "Star Trek" films. He also appeared in the films Bus Riley’s Back in Town, The Satan Bug, Jigsaw, and Double Trouble.

1921–Actress, Diana Barrymore, is born Diana Blanche Barrymore Blythe in New York, New York. She was the daughter of actor, John Barrymore, and the aunt of actress, Drew Barrymore.

1923–Time magazine publishes its first issue.

1923–Bluegrass musician, Doc Watson, is born Arthel Lane Watson in Deep Gap, North Carolina. He was a blind guitarist, songwriter, and singer of bluegrass, folk, country, blues, and gospel music. His flatpicking skills and knowledge of traditional American music are highly regarded.

1924–The 1,400-year-old Islamic caliphate is abolished, when Caliph Abdul Mejid II of the Ottoman Empire is deposed. The last remnant of the old regime gives way to the reformed Turkey of President Kemal Atatrk.

1924–The Free State of Fiume is annexed by the Kingdom of Italy.

1926–The International Greyhound Racing Association is formed in Miami, Florida.

1926–Poet, James (Ingram) Merrill, is born in New York, New York. He was the son of investment banker Charles E. Merrill, the founder of Merrill Lynch. At the age of eight, young James was already writing a poem a day. His parents divorced when he was 13, and the event had a profound influence on his life, becoming a recurring theme in his poetry. His collection, First Poems, was published in 1951, to great acclaim. He followed with 14 more volumes of poetry, including the award-winning Nights and Days, Braving the Elements, and Divine Comedies, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize.

1931–The Star-Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key, officially becomes the national anthem of the United States.

1933–The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is dedicated.

1933–Socialite, Lee Radziwill, is born Caroline Lee Bouvier in Southampton, New York. She was the younger sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

1934–Gangster, John Dillinger, breaks out of jail using a wooden pistol.

1934–Actress, Gia Scala, is born Josefina Grazia Scoglio in Liverpool, Lancashire, England. She appeared in the films The Price of Fear, The Garment Jungle, Don’t Go Near the Water, The Tunnel of Love, and The Guns of Navarone.

1937–Child actor, Bobby Driscoll, is born Robert Cletus Driscoll in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is known for a large body of film and television performances from 1943 to 1960. Bobby served as animation model and provided the voice for the title role in Walt Disney’s Peter Pan. He appeared in the films Song of the South, So Dear to My Heart, The Window, and Treasure Island. In 1950, he received an Academy Juvenile Award for outstanding performance in feature films.

1938–Oil is discovered in Saudi Arabia.

1938–Guitarist, Willie Chambers, of the Afro-American rock group, The Chambers Brothers, is born in Flora, Michigan. The group had a big hit with the psychedelic masterpiece Time Has Come Today.

1939–In Bombay, India, Mohandas Ghandi begins a fast to protest the state's autocratic rule.

1940–Five people are killed in an arson attack on the offices of the communist newspaper Norrskensflamman in Luleå, Sweden.

1940–Fashion designer, Perry (Edwin) Ellis, is born in Portsmouth, Virginia. Although he could not sketch, he knew exactly how the industry worked and proved to be a master of innovative ideas who created “new classics” that American women were longing for at the time. Ellis founded his own fashion house, Perry Ellis International, in 1978.

1941–Guitarist and vocalist for The Searchers, Mike Pender, is born Michael John Prendergast in Kirkdale, Liverpool, England. The Searchers had many big hits, among them Needles and Pins and Love Potion No. 9.

1942–Ten Japanese warplanes raid the town of Broome, Western Australia, killing more than 100 people.

1943–A bomb falls onto an air-raid shelter at Bethnal Green tube station in London, England, killing 173 people.

1945–American and Filipino troops recapture Manila in the Philippines.

1945–In World War II, the RAF accidentally bombs the Bezuidenhout neighbourhood in The Hague, Netherlands, killing 511 people.

1947–Singer, Jennifer (Jean) Warnes, is born in Seattle, Washington. Her hits include Right Time of the Night, I Know a Heartache When I See One, It Goes Like It Goes, Up Where We Belong, All the Right Moves, and (I’ve Had) the Time of My Life.

1948–Snowy White, of Pink Floyd and Thin Lizzy, is born Terence Charles White in Barnstaple, Devon, England.

1951–With Ike Turner and his band, Jackie Brenston records Rocket 88, often cited as "the first rock and roll record," at Sam Phillips's recording studio in Memphis, Tennessee.

1951–Drummer, Johnny Porter Jackson, is born in Gary, Indiana. He was the drummer for The Jackson 5 from their early Gary, Indiana, days until the end of their career at Motown. Despite having the same surname, he was not related to the Jacksons, although Motown presented him as their cousin.

1953–A Canadian Pacific Air Lines De Havilland Comet crashes in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 11 people.

1953–Rock musician, Robyn (Rowan) Hitchcock, is born in London, England. He came to prominence in the late 1970s with The Soft Boys, and afterward launched a prolific solo career. His musical and lyrical styles have been influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Syd Barrett.

1955–Elvis Presley makes his first TV appearance on Louisiana Hayride. This prompts promoters to send Elvis to New York City to audition for the immensely popular and career-making Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts program. Talent coordinators and Godfrey are said to have passed on Elvis appearing on the show. Not much later, he was tossed out of the Grand Ole Opry as well, and told to “go back to driving a truck.” In a little over a year, however, the nation will be caught up in Presleymania.

1957–The head of the Catholic archdiocese of Chicago, Illinois, (the largest in the world), Samuel Cardinal Strich, bans rock & roll from Catholic schools and “recreations” in his district. He cites the “tribal rhythms” and “encouragement to behave in a hedonistic manner” as the dangers inherent in it. Chicago record sellers report no drop in sales of the youth oriented music.

1958–Nuri al-Said becomes Prime Minister of Iraq for the eighth time.

1958–Actress, Miranda (Jane) Richardson, is born in Southport, England. She appeared in the films Dance with a Stranger, The Innocent, Eat the Rich, Empire of the Sun, The Crying Game, Damage, Enchanted April, Tom & Viv, The Evening Star, The Apostle, Alice in Wonderland, Sleepy Hollow, and The Hours.

1959–The new home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team is officially named Candlestick Park.

1959–Lou Costello, of Abbott & Costello, dies of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California, at age 52. The comedy team’s films include Buck Privates, In the Navy, Pardon My Sarong, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, and Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. Costello starred in his last film, The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, shortly before his death.

1960–Elvis Presley arrives back in America following his Army stint in Germany. He lands during a snowstorm at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey at 7:42 a.m. The first person to welcome him back as he steps off the plane is Nancy Sinatra.

1961–Hassan II becomes King of Morocco.

1962–Olympic athlete, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, is born in East St. Louis, Illinois. She won three gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals at four different Olympic Games. Sports Illustrated for Women magazine voted her the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th century, just ahead of Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

1965–The U.S. conducts a nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1965–The USSR conducts a nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh.

1966–A British Overseas Airways Boeing 707 flies into a mountain wave after the Captain decides to give the passengers a close-up view of Mt. Fuji. All 124 people aboard are killed.

1966–Rapper, Tone Loc, is born Anthony Terrell Smith, in Los Angeles, California. He is known for his deep, gravelly voice and his million-selling hit singles, Wild Thing and Funky Cold Medina. He appeared in the films The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Posse, Poetic Justice, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and Heat.

1966–Actor, William Frawley, dies of a heart attack at age 79. He was walking down Hollywood Boulevard after seeing the movie Inside Daisy Clover. Upon taking ill, he was dragged by his nurse to the nearby Knickerbocker Hotel, where he had previously lived for many years. Shortly thereafter, he was pronounced dead. He was best known for the role of Fred Mertz on the popular 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy.

1966–Character actress, Alice Pearce, dies of ovarian cancer in Hollywood, California, at age 48. Pearce played comedic supporting roles in several films, before being cast as nosy neighbor, Gladys Kravitz, in the TV sitcom Bewitched in 1964. She appeared in the films On the Town, How to Be Very Very Popular, The Opposite Sex, My Six Loves, Tammy and the Doctor, The Thrill of It All, Dear Heart, The Disorderly Orderly, Kiss Me, Stupid, and The Glass Bottom Boat.

1967–The U.S. conducts a nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1967–British Invasion rockers, The Animals, refuse to play a scheduled concert in Ottawa, Canada, unless they are paid in advance. Over 3,000 youths in the audience riot, causing $5,000 in damages.

1968–The Grateful Dead celebrate their move from the Haight-Ashbury, in San Francisco, north to Marin County, with a special farewell concert.

1969–Assasin, Sirhan Sirhan, testifies in a Los Angeles, California, court that he killed Robert Kennedy.

1969–Apollo 9 blasts off from Cape Kennedy on a mission to test the lunar module.

1970–Actress, Julie Bowen, is born Julie Bowen Luetkemeyer in Baltimore, Maryland. She is best known for the roles of Denise Bauer on Boston Legal, Sarah Shepherd on Lost, and Claire Dunphy on the sitcom Modern Family. She has appeared in the films Happy Gilmore, Multiplicity, and Amy’s Orgasm.

1971–The South African Broadcasting Corporation lifts its ban on The Beatles music. The ban had been in effect since August 8, 1966, in response to the John Lennon "Beatles bigger than Jesus" controversy. However, the lifting of the ban does not extend to John Lennon's compositions, vocals, or solo work, which remain banned.

1971–Celebrity chef, Tyler Florence, is born in Greenville, South Carolina. He is an author of several cookbooks and has hosted TV food shows such as Food 911, Tyler's Ultimate, and The Great Food Truck Race.

1972–Sculpted figures of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson are completed at Stone Mountain, Georgia.

1972–Mohawk Airlines Flight 405 crashes as a result of a control malfunction and insufficient training in emergency procedures.

1973–The 15th Annual Grammy Awards announces its winners. Record of the Year: Roberta Flack for The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face; Album of the Year: George Harrison (producer & artist), Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, Ravi Shankar, Ringo Starr, and Klaus Voormann for The Concert for Bangladesh; Song of the Year: Ewan MacColl (songwriter) for The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face; Best Vocal Performance, Male: Harry Nilsson for Without You; Best Vocal Performance, Female: Helen Reddy for I Am Woman; Best Performance by a Vocal Group: Donny Hathaway & Roberta Flack for Where Is the Love; Best Country & Western Performance: Donna Fargo for Happiest Girl in the Whole USA; Best Rhythm & Blues Performance: Billy Paul for Me and Mrs. Jones; Best Instrumental Performance: Billy Preston for Outa-Space; Best New Artist: America. The ceremonies are held at the Tennessee Theater, Nashville, Tennessee. There is no host.

1974–The deadliest plane crash on French soil and fourth deadliest in aviation history occurs, as Turkish Airlines Flight 981 crashes outside Paris, France, killing all 346 people on board. An investigation revealed that the crash was caused when an improperly secured cargo door broke off, severing cables that left the pilots without control. The crash produced the highest death toll of any air disaster until the Tenerife airport disaster three years later.

1975–Actor, David (Anthony) Faustino, is born in Los Angeles, California. He is best known for the role of Bud Bundy on the sitcom Married... with Children. He has appeared in the films Neil Simon’s I Ought to Be in Pictures, The Star Chamber, Perfect Harmony, Men Lie, and 12 Bucks.

1980–The USS Nautilus is decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register.

1980–France conducts a nuclear test at Muruora Island.

1980–Sotheby's holds its first auction of rock and roll memorabilia in London, England.

1983–A Hell's Angel member testifies to a U.S. Senate judiciary panel that the California chapter of the motorcycle gang has had a contract out on Mick Jagger, of The Rolling Stones, for the past 14 years, and has tried to kill him twice.

1984–A chart topper: 99 Red Balloons by Nena.

1984–Peter Ueberroth is elected Baseball Commissioner.

1985–An 8.3 earthquake strikes the Valparaíso Region of Chile, killing 177 people and leaving nearly a million others homeless.

1985–The romantic TV comedy series, Moonlighting, starring Cybill Shepard and Bruce Willis, makes its debut.

1987–Entertainer, Danny Kaye, dies of heart failure due to complications of hepatitis, in Los Angeles, California, at age 76. He appeared in the films The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Hans Christian Anderson, White Christmas, The Court Jester, and The Five Pennies.

1988–A tornado in southern Mississippi picks up an automobile, carries it 150 feet, and tosses it through the brick wall of an unoccupied retirement home.

1991–An amateur video captures the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers. Massive rioting begins.

1991–United Airlines Flight 585 crashes on approach into Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing 25 people.

1991–Dance instructor, Arthur Murray, dies of pneumonia in Honolulu, Hawaii, at age 95. He founded the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. His pupils included Eleanor Roosevelt, the Duke of Windsor, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Barbara Hutton, Elizabeth Arden, and Jack Dempsey.

1992–Gas explodes in a coal mine at Zonguldak, Turkey, and hundreds are killed.

1992–President George H.W. Bush apologizes for raising taxes after pledging that he wouldn’t. A catch phrase in his campaign was, “Read My Lips: No New Taxes.”

1992–The nation of Bosnia is established.

1993–Guitarist and composer, Carlos Montoya, dies of heart failure in Wainscott, New York, at age 89. He was a prominent flamenco guitarist and a founder of the modern-day popular flamenco style of music.

1995–A stalker is arrested after attempting to break into the New York apartment of singer, Roberta Flack.

1997–The tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, Sky Tower, opens after two-and-a-half years of construction in downtown Auckland, New Zealand.

2002–Cajun musician, Calvin Carriére, dies. He was a Creole fiddler who played zydeco music. He was called the “King of Zydeco Fiddle.”

2005–Margaret Wilson is elected Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, beginning a period (lasting until August 23, 2006) where all the highest political offices (including Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State), were occupied by women.

2005–Steve Fossett becomes the first person to fly an airplane solo non-stop around the world without refueling.

2005–James Roszko murders four Royal Canadian Mounted Police constables during a drug bust at his property in Rochfort Bridge, Alberta, Canada. He then commits suicide.

2006–Chef, Robert C. Baker, dies at age 85. He invented the chicken nugget. He is accredited with more than 40 poultry, turkey, and cold cut innovations. Due to his contributions to the poultry sciences, he is a member of the American Poultry Hall of Fame.

2012–Two trains crash in the small town of Szczekociny, near Zawiercie, Poland. Sixteen people are killed and up to 58 others are injured.

2012–Guitarist, Ronnie Montrose, dies from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Millbrae, California, at age 64. He led the bands Montrose and Gamma, and also performed and did session work with a variety of musicians, including Sammy Hagar, Herbie Hancock, Van Morrison, The Beau Brummels, Boz Scaggs, Gary Wright, The Neville Brothers, and Edgar and Johnny Winter.

2013–A bomb blast in Karachi, Pakistan, kills at least 45 people and injures 180 others.

2015–Slovenia legalizes same-sex marriage.

2016–Astronomers use the Hubble Space Telescope to discover GN-z11, the remotest galaxy yet discovered.

2016–South Korea claims that North Korea has launched several short range missiles into the Sea of Japan.

2016–North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, orders for the country’s nuclear weapons to be ready for use at any time.

2016–Formerly called the Waldo Tunnel, the newly renamed Robin Williams Tunnel connects the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County in the Bay Area of Northern California. The tunnel which has had a rainbow painted archway for decades, is reminiscent of the rainbow suspenders that the comedian wore in the early days of his worldwide fame. Williams was a resident of Marin County from his teenage years until his death in 2014. The proposal to change the name was made in 2015, by Assemblyman, Marc Levine, and later signed by Governor Jerry Brown.


PHOTOS TOP TO BOTTOM: Olympic Theatre in Vicenza, Italy; Johann Pachebel; Alexander Graham Bell; the Washington Monument; President Rutherford B. Hayes; Jean Harlow; James Doohan on the cover of TV Guide; Doc Watson; Mount Rushmore: Gia Scala; Jennifer Warnes: Louisiana Hayride ad; Jackie Joyner-Kersee; William Frawley; The Animals; Tyler Florence; 99 Red Balloons by Nena; Danny Kaye; Arthur Murray; Sky Tower; and Ronnie Montrose.

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