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Today in History

1980 Dallas...
1980
- it was Kristin who shot J.R.
1694
Writer and philosopher Voltaire born Fran├žois-Marie Arouet in Paris, France
1834
Considered the wealthiest woman in the world during her lifetime, businesswoman Hetty Green born in New York City
1937
Emmy Award winning actress, Marlo Thomas born in Detroit, Michigan
1941
Emmy Award winning actress, Juliet Mills born in London, England
1945
Academy Award-winning actress, director and producer Goldie Hawn born in Silver Spring, Maryland
1973
18 1/2 minute gap in Watergate tape
1980
MGM Grand Hotel fire results in 87 deaths
1985
Jonathan Jay Pollard arrested for spying
235
Coronation of St. Antheseus as Pope
496
Death of St. Gelasius I, Pope
615
Death of St. Columban
1430
Joan of Arc sold to the English by the Burgundians
1495
John Bale, Bishop of Ossory, antiquarian, dramatist born
1551
Francis Xavier leaves Japan for Goa, India
1620
Leaders of the Mayflower expedition frame the "Mayflower Compact,"designed to bolster unity among the settlers.
1624
Jakob Bhme, German philosophical mystic, dies
1638
General Assembly of "the faithful" meets in Glascow, Scotland, without representation of the religious hierarchy
1643
Rene Robert, Cavalier de la Salle born
1694
French author Francois Voltaire (Jean Francois Arouet) born
1783
Jean Francois Pilatre de Rozier and the Marquis Francois Laurant d'Arlandes made the first flight in a balloon, thus becoming the first men to fly. The pair flew nearly six miles around Paris in 25 minutes reaching an altitude of around 300 feet. Ben Franklin was one of the spectators for the big occasion.
1785
William Beaumont, pioneer American army surgeon born
1787
British steamship company founder Samuel Cunard born
1787
Sir Samuel Cunard, founded 1st regular Atlantic steamship line born
1789
North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the US Constitution.
1828
Schubert's estate was valued at 63 florins, about a tenth of the cost of his cut-rate funeral.
1871
The cigar lighter was patented by M.F. Gale of New York City.
1877
Inventor Thomas A. Edison announced the invention of his phonograph. On February 19, 1878, Edison received a patent for the device.
1888
Comic actor Harpo Marx born
1904
Jazz saxophonist Coleman Hawkins born
1904
Motorized omnibuses replace horse-drawn cars in Paris.
1906
In San Juan, President Theodore Roosevelt pledges citizenship for Puerto Rican people.
1907
Writer Jim Bishop born
1907
Cunard liner Mauretania sets a new speed record for steamship travel, 624 nautical miles in a one day run.
1908
Baseball player Paul Richards born
1911
Suffragettes storm Parliament in London. All are arrested and all choose prison terms.
1916
Pro Football Hall of Famer Sid Luckman born
1918
Prokofiev took it on the chin from the New York Tribune. The Trib's music critic blasted Prokofiev for writing a piece called "Hircus Nocturnus," only to discover that Prokofiev did not write it. The next day the critic apologized to Prokofiev.
1920
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Stan Musial born
1922
Rebecca L. Felton of Georgia was sworn in as the first woman to serve in the US Senate.
1924
Actress Vivian Blaine (State Fair) born
1925
Harold 'Red' Grange played his last game for the University of Illinois. The next day, he joined the Chicago Bears.
1927
Police turn machine guns on striking Colorado mine workers, killing five and wounding 20.
1927
Actor Joseph Campanella (Ben, Meteor, Original Intent, The President's Plane is Missing, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Sky Hei$t, The Colbys, The Lawyers, Mannix) born
1932
Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Ringo born
1933
Country singer Jean Shepard (Satin Sheets) born
1934
Actor Laurence Luckinbill born
1934
Court rules Gloria Vanderbilt unfit for custody of her daughter.
1934
Cole Porter's "Anything Goes" opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York City. The show ran for 420 performances.
1937
Dmitri Shostakovich got out of trouble when his Fifth Symphony premiered. Shostakovich billed it as "a Soviet artist's response to just criticism," and the official critics who previously attacked his music for decadence accepted the apology and the symphony.
1937
Actress Marlo Thomas (sources also list 1938 or 1943) born
1938
Nazi forces occupied western Czechoslovakia and declared its people German citizens.
1940
Ballet dancer Natalia Makarova born
1940
Singer Dr. John Dr. John born
1941
Actress Juliet Mills born
1941
Singer (Malcolm John Rebennack) Dr. John (Right Place Wrong Time) born
1942
The Alaska highway across Canada was formally opened.
1943
Comedian-director Harold Ramis . born
1944
Television producer Marcy Carsey ("The Cosby Show," "Roseanne") born
1944
Basketball player Earl 'The Pearl' Monroe born
1944
The "Roy Rogers Show" was first heard on the Mutual Broadcasting System this day. Singing along with Roy ('The King of the Cowboys'), were the Whippoorwills and The Sons of the Pioneers.
1944
"I'm Beginning to See the Light", the song that would become the theme song for Harry James and his Orchestra, was first recorded. The song featured the lovely voice of Kitty Kallen ("Little Things Mean a Lot").
1945
Actress Goldie (Btudlendgehawn) Hawn (Cactus Flower, Private Benjamin, Shampoo, The Sugarland Express, First Wives Club, Laugh-In) born
1948
Rock musician Lonnie Jordan (War) born
1948
The Sunday morning religious program "Lamp Unto My Feet" first aired over CBS television. It became one of TV's longest running network shows, and aired through January 1979.
1949
Jockey Barbara Jo Rubin born
1949
United Nations grants Libya its independence in the year 1952.
1950
Singer Livingston Taylor born
1952
Actress-singer Lorna Luft born
1955
The first lady of the American stage, Helen Hayes, was honored for her many remarkable years in show business, as the Fulton Theatre in New York City was renamed the Helen Hayes Theatre.
1956
Actress Cherry Jones born
1959
Jack Benny (Violin) & Richard Nixon (Piano) play their famed duet.
1959
Following his firing from WABC Radio in New York the day before, Alan Freed refused "on principle" to sign a statement that he never received money or gifts (payola) for plugging records.
1962
Gospel singer Steven Curtis Chapman born
1963
Actress Nicollette Sheridan born
1964
New York's Verrazano Narrows Bridge opened.
1965
Pop singer Bjork born
1966
Football player Troy Aikman born
1967
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the air quality act, allotting $428 million for the fight against pollution.
1968
Rock musician Alex James (Blur) born
1968
Rhythm-and-blues singer Chauncey Hannibal (BLACKstreet) born
1969
Baseball player Ken Griffey Junior born
1969
The Senate voted down the nomination of Clement F. Haynsworth to the Supreme Court, the first time a candidate for the nation's highest court was rejected since 1930.
1970
U.S. planes conduct widespread bombing raids in North Vietnam.
1971
Rapper Pretty Lou (Lost Boyz) born
1973
President Nixon's attorney, J. Fred Buzhardt, revealed the existence of an 18-and-a-half-minute gap in one of the White House tape recordings related to Watergate.
1974
Congress passed the Freedom of Information Act over President Ford's veto.
1980
Eighty-seven people died in a fire at the MGM Grand Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
1980
One of the largest TV audience ever - an estimated 82 million people - watched as Sue Ellen's sister, Kristin Shepard shot J.R. Ewing on "Dallas." The jilted mistress was seen holding the smoking gun after a summer of viewers asking that haunting question, "Who Shot J.R.?" Eighty percent of all viewers watched the show.
1981
Olivia Newton-John began the first of 10 weeks at the top of the pop music charts when "Physical" became the music world's top tune.
1984
Actress Jena Malone born
1985
Former US Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Jay Pollard was arrested, accused of spying for Israel.
1985
President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev ended a summit meeting in Switzerland. They promised acceleration of arms-reduction talks.
1986
CIA director William Casey defended secret U.S. arms sales to Iran during closed-door sessions with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.
1986
Justice Department begins the inquiry into the National Security Council; Lt. Col. Oliver North shreds important documents.
1987
An eight-day siege began at a detention center in Oakdale, Louisiana, as Cuban detainees, alarmed over the possibility of being returned to Cuba, seized the facility and took hostages.
1988
Canada's Progressive Conservative Party, led by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, won the country's general election.
1988
President-elect George Bush announced he was retaining Dick Thornburgh as attorney general and Lauro Cavazos as education secretary, and appointing Richard Darman budget director.
1989
The proceedings of Britain's House of Commons were televised live for the first time.
1990
Junk-bond financier Michael R. Milken, who had pleaded guilty to six felony counts, was sentenced by a federal judge in New York to ten years in prison. (Milken served two years.)
1990
President Bush arrived in Saudi Arabia, where he conferred with Saudi King Fahd and Kuwait's exiled emir.
1991
President Bush signed a civil rights bill in a Rose Garden ceremony, then sought to calm a storm of controversy by withdrawing a tentative order to end government hiring preferences for blacks and women.
1991
The UN Security Council chose Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt to be the new Secretary-General.
1992
Senator Bob Packwood (Republican, Oregon) issued an apology but refused to discuss allegations that he'd made unwelcome sexual advances toward ten women over the years.
1993
The US House of Representatives voted against making the District of Columbia the 51st state, by a vote of 277-to-153.
1993
Actor Bill Bixby died in Century City, California, at age 59.
1994
Sen. Jesse Helms remarked in a newspaper interview that President Clinton "better have a bodyguard" if he were to visit North Carolina; Helms later called his comment "a mistake."
1994
NATO warplanes bombed an air base in Serb-held Croatia that was being used by Serb planes to raid the Bosnian "safe area" of Bihac.
1995
France detonated a fourth underground nuclear blast at its test site in the South Pacific.
1995
Balkan leaders meeting in Dayton, Ohio, initialed a peace plan to end 3 years of ethnic fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1995
The Dow Jones industrial average closed above the 5000 mark for the first time.
1996
Thirty-three people were killed, more than 100 injured, when an explosion blamed on leaking gas ripped through a six-story building in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
1997
UN arms inspectors returned to Iraq after Saddam Hussein's three-week standoff with the United Nations over the presence of Americans on the team.
1997
President Clinton signed a law giving the FDA new powers to speed the approval of drugs to combat a host of killer diseases, including cancer and AIDS.
1998
President Clinton, visiting South Korea, warned North Korea to forsake nuclear weapons, and urged the North to seize "an historic opportunity" for peace with the South.
1999
President Clinton, speaking at a conference in Florence, Italy, called on prosperous nations to spread global wealth by helping poor countries with Internet hookups, cell phones, debt relief and small loans.
1999
China completed its first unmanned test of a spacecraft meant to carry astronauts.
1999
Quentin Crisp, the eccentric writer, performer and raconteur best-known for his autobiography "The Naked Civil Servant," died in Manchester, England, at age 90.
2005
Chaudhry's son marries Tui Lau descendant in Fiji
2005
Sri Lankan president appoints fellow hardliner as PM
2005
Myanmar Junta threatened with sanctions by UN body
2005
Darwin and Sumatra rocked by offshore earthquakes
2005
International exhibit of chair art starts in Canada
2005
Under-reporting of human Bird Flu infections poses worldwide threat
2005
Japan to hunt 950 whales for "scientific research"
2006
A Watch Company to Hold a Charitable Auction
2006
Canadian liberals unhappy with PM's performance at APEC summit
2006
Blue Mountains fires burn out of control
2006
New Czech grocery chain to be opened by Vietnamese
2006
White powder found at Buffalo, N.Y. courthouse
2006
Alabama School Bus Crash kills 4
2006
Speaker Pelosi won't support U.S. draft bill
2006
Iraq, Syria, Iran form friendly relations
2006
John Reid: Iraq does radicalise some Muslim youth
2006
New Zealand political party destroys leaked emails
2006
Old deeds threaten Buffalo, NY hotel development
2006
Book written based on leaked political emails, NZ
2007
US to host Middle East summit on November 27
2007
Anne Frank tree saved from being chopped down
2007
Sabotage strikes French railways
2007
Former White House press secretary says Bush had role in Plame coverup
2007
Branding professionals in Taiwan promoted on the "Smiling Curve" in the "Taiwan Brands' Trend Forum"
2007
Oral Roberts University accountant claims he was ordered to "cook the books"
2008
Harvard Law School gives its highest honour to Pakistani judge
2008
Two veteran actors to depart beleaguered soap 'Days of our Lives'
2008
NY Times says Hillary Clinton accepts US Secretary of State position
2008
UN reports condemn West Bank settlement
2008
Gas prices in the U.S. fall below $2 a gallon
2008
Thaksin's ex-wife appeals tax evasion conviction
2009
Mine explosion in northeastern China kills at least 42, dozens more trapped
2009
Rocket strike near hotel in Afghan capital injures four
2009
Quad crash kills fourteen year-old in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
2009
40th H1N1 swine flu death recorded in Scotland
2009
Central Michigan quarterback sets passing record, becomes finalist for award
2009
Large Hadron Collider restarted
2009
Vietnam denies blocking social networking site Facebook
2010
Beatles' 'Hey Jude' becomes their most downloaded song on iTunes
2010
Calm returns to Salt, Jordan after riots over police shooting; 35 arrested
2010
Serb pilots defend colleague in Air India Express disaster
2011
California campus pepper spray police suspended
2011
Myanmar dissident Suu Kyi to run for parliament in by-elections
2012
Israeli airstrikes damage more offices housing international journalists in Gaza City
2012
Philippines to host four-country meeting about South China Sea disputes

In the early days of Unix, a date-tagged list of historical events was used by system administrators to add some interest to the system's Message of the Day. Whenever users logged in they would be presented with the latest system notices, perhaps some mildly amusing quotes and one or two lines of historical events, based on the current date.

Today in History (UNIX calendar) uses some of the entries from the original library but is updated with current events as well. Instead of plain text, each entry is now formatted in HTML and each day may include one or more icons of historical figures or celebrities.

Other things unique to the UNIX calendar are references to dates found in fictional literature such as Lord of the Rings, perhaps undue emphasis on people and events that were part of popular culture in the 70's and technical minutiae about computers and operating systems that might not be found in other places.

In association with Amazon, this symbol is a link to related products at amazon.com. Any proceeds resulting from the sales of these products are used to defray the cost of maintaining the Today in History site and editorial efforts.

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