This Week in History


This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann

“While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.”
– Ronald Reagan

Week of November 21-27, 2016

November 21

1871 – Emilio Onra is the first human cannonball.

1922 – Rebecca L Felton (GA) sworn in as first female U.S. Senator.

1925 – Football legend Red Grange plays his final game with the University of Illinois, then signs with the Chicago Bears.

1933 – W.C. Bullitt begins his service as the first U.S. ambassador to USSR.

1946 – Harry Truman becomes the first U.S. President to travel in a submerged submarine.

1959 – Jack Benny (on violin) and Richard Nixon (on piano) play their famed duet during the President’s Ball at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Watch their performance at:

1963 – President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, arrive in San Antonio, Texas, to beginning an ill-fated, two-day tour of Texas that would end in Dallas.

1964 – “Verrazano Narrows” opens as the world’s longest suspension bridge (New York City).

1974 – Congress passes The Freedom of Information Act over President Gerald Ford’s veto.

1980 – It is revealed that Kristin Shepard (played by Mary Crosby) is the person who shot J.R. Ewing (played by Larry Hagman) on the TV show “Dallas.” Several alternate scenes were filmed to keep it secret. Watch the big reveal:

1989 – President George H. W. Bush signs a law banning smoking on most domestic flights.

1993 – The House of Representatives votes against making the District of Columbia the 51st state.

1995 – The Dow Jones closes above 5,000 for first time.

2013 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 16,000 for the first time.

2013 – The Alabama legislature grants posthumous pardons to three members of the Scottsboro boys, nine black teenagers who were accused of raping two white women on a train in 1931.

November 22

1718 – British pirate Edward Teach (“Blackbeard”) is killed off the coast of North Carolina in battle with a boarding party led by Lieutenant Robert Maynard.

1906 – International Radio Telecommunications Company adopts “SOS” as the new Morse code call for help. . . . – – – . . .

1923 – President Calvin Coolidge pardons German spy Lothar Witzke, who was sentenced to death for his role in the sabotage of installations in the San Francisco shipyards and New York Harbors during WW I.

1935 – The first trans-Pacific airmail flight behind in Alameda, California, when the flying boat known as the China Clipper leaves for Manila carrying over 110,000 pieces of mail.

1943 – President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek met in Cairo to discuss measures for defeating Japan.

1950 – In the lowest scoring NBA game, the Ft. Wayne Pistons beat the Minneapolis Lakers 19-18.

1954 – The U.S. Humane Society forms in Washington DC.

1963 – President John F. Kennedy is assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, et al, in Dallas, Texas. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as president the same day.

1977 – The Packet Radio net, SATNET, and ARPANET are connected, sending a message from California to London and back via satellite to Virginia and then the University of Southern California in a demonstration of what would eventually become the Internet.

1984 – Fred Rogers of PBS’ “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” presents a sweater to the Smithsonian Institution. Watch Mr. Rogers don his sweater at the opening of his show:

1985 – In the largest swearing-in ceremony to date, 38,648 immigrants became citizens of the U.S.

1986 – Mike Tyson at age 20 becomes the youngest boxer to wear the world heavyweight crown.

1995 – “Toy Story” is released as the first feature-length film completely created using computer-generated imagery.

1998 – CNN airs a tape of Jack Kevorkian giving lethal drugs in an assisted suicide of a terminally ill patient with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Kevorkian is later sentenced to 25 years in prison for second-degree murder and is paroled in 2005. Kevorkian died from a blood clot and liver cancer in 2011 at age 83. Watch the assisted suicide:

2005 – Microsoft’s XBOX 360 goes on sale.

2008 – YouTube hosts the largest ever live broadcast, YouTube Live.

November 23

1783 – Annapolis, Maryland, becomes the capital of the U.S. until June 1784.

1897 – Black inventor John Lee Love patents the pencil sharpener. He died in a train accident in 1931.

1899 – The first jukebox is installed in the Palais Royal Hotel in San Francisco.

1903 – Enrico Caruso makes his U.S. debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in Verdi’s “Rigoletto.” Watch a slide show of Caruso and listen to him singing:

1936 – The first issue of “Life,” a picture magazine created by Henry R. Luce, is published. A photograph of Fort Peck Dam is on the cover.

1945 – Most U.S. wartime rationing of foods, including meat and butter, ends.

1948 – Dr. Frank G. Back, an Austrian-born immigrant, patents a lens that provides zoom effects in cameras.

1954 – For the first time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above the peak it reached before the 1929 stock market crash.

1960 – Hollywood dedicates its Walk of Fame at Hollywood at Boulevard and Vine Street. Joanne Woodward receives the first star. She wins an Academy Award in 1957 for “The Three Faces of Eve.” Watch an LA City Tours video advertising the famous street:

1964 – The International Swimming Hall of Fame is founded in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

1985 – Larry Wu-tai Chin, a retired CIA analyst, is arrested and accused of spying for China. He commits suicide a year after his conviction.

1992 – The 10 millionth cellular telephone is sold.

1998 – A U.S. federal judge rejects a Virginia county’s effort to block pornography on library computer, calling the attempt unconstitutional.

2014 – Republicans condemn President Obama’s use of executive action to push through immigration reform.

November 24

1835 – The Texas Rangers, a mounted police force, is authorized by the Texas Provisional Government. They are the oldest law enforcement body in North America.

1871 – The National Rifle Association is organized in New York City.

1874 – Joseph F. Glidden patents barbed wire.

1917 – Nine police officers and two civilians are killed when a bomb explodes at the Milwaukee, Wisconsin police headquarters building. It remains the second deadliest day in law enforcement history (9-11 is the first). The bomber(s) are never caught.

1932 – The FBI Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory (better known as the FBI Crime Lab) officially opens in Washington, D.C.

1936 – Grace D. Owen of Concord, New Hampshire, applies for her Social Security number and receives the lowest number possible: 001-01-0001.

1947 – The House on Un-American Activities Committee finds the “Hollywood 10” in contempt because of their refusal to reveal whether they were communists. Albert Maltz, Dalton Trumbo, John Howard Lawson, Samuel Ornitz, Ring Lardner, Jr., Lester Cole, Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Edward Dmytryk, and Robert Adrian Scott are charged with contempt of Congress.

1954 – Air Force One is christened as the first U.S. Presidential airplane. The presidential call sign is established in 1953 after a commercial aircraft with the same call sign enters the same airspace as the presidential aircraft.

1963 – The first live murder is shown on TV when Jack Ruby shoots Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in a police station. Watch the murder live:

1971 – Dan “DB” Cooper parachutes from a Northwest Airlines 727 with $200,000 he extorted from the airlines. His body and the money are never found.

1974 – Gerald Ford and Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT-2 treaty that will reduce the number of their nuclear weapons.

1979 – The U.S. government admits that troops in Vietnam were exposed to the toxic Agent Orange.

1993 – Congress gives its final approval to the Brady handgun control bill.

1998 – AOL (America Online) announces a deal for their purchase of Netscape for $4.21 billion.

2012 – The Korean music video parody “Gangnam Style” by Psy becomes the most watched Youtube video, surpassing 800 million views. The video has now been viewed over 2.6 billion times. Watch the music phenomenon:

2014 – A 12-year-old boy is shot dead by police in Cleveland, Ohio, after brandishing what turned out to be a fake gun in a playground.

November 25

1792 – The Farmer’s Almanac is first published. It is the oldest continuously published periodical in the U.S. It is published during George Washington’s administration. Robert B. Thomas is the first editor.

1874 – The United States Greenback Party is established in Indianapolis as a political party. It consists primarily of farmers affected by the Panic of 1873, which started as a result of the collapse of several prominent banks, railroads, and industries.

1920 – The first Thanksgiving Parade in the U.S. is sponsored by Gimbels Department Store in Philadelphia. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City started in 1924.

1947 – Movie studio executives meeting in New York agree to blacklist the “Hollywood 10,” who were cited a day earlier and jailed for contempt of Congress when they failed to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee.

1960 – “Amos ‘n’ Andy” makes its final broadcast on CBS radio. The first broadcast of the original show airs in 1928 with Freeman Gosden as Amos and Charles Correll as Andy. The “Amos ‘n’ Andy Show” also airs on TV from 1951-1953. Watch an early episode:

1963 – President John F. Kennedy is laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy lights the eternal flame that still burns over JFK’s grave.

1973 – The maximum speed limit in the U.S. is cut to 55 MPH as an energy conservation measure during the oil crisis. In April of 1987, Congress passes the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act, which permits states to raise the legal speed limit on rural interstates to 65 mph.

1979 – Pat Summerall and John Madden announce their first game together. Their partnership spans 22 years and becomes one of the most well-known pairings in TV sports broadcasting history. Both announcers are in the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame. Watch vintage Madden and Summerall after Pat announces his retirement:

1986 – The Iran-Contra affair erupts when President Reagan reveals a secret arms deal with Iran in exchange for the release of hostages. The funds went to support the Contras in Nicaragua.

1996 – The Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade ends after 24 years.

2014 – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon orders hundreds more U.S. National Guard troops to the town of Ferguson to prevent a second night of rioting and looting. The Guard members are never utilized.

November 26

1716 – The first lion is exhibited in America in Boston.

1789 – The first national Thanksgiving is celebrated.

1867 – The refrigerated railroad car is patented by J.B. Sutherland of Detroit, Michigan.

1898 – The SS Portland, nicknamed “The Titanic of New England,” leaves for Cape Cod and is shipwrecked off Cape Ann. All 192 people on board are killed.

1916 – President Woodrow Wilson, addressing the Chamber of Commerce in Cincinnati, Ohio, declares, “The business of neutrality is over. The nature of modern war leaves no state untouched.”

1941 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. In 1939 Roosevelt had signed a bill that changed the celebration of Thanksgiving to the third Thursday of November.

1948 – The first Polaroid Model 95 Land camera is sold at the Jordan Marsh department store in Boston for $89.75. It is developed by inventor Edwin Land.

1956 – “The Price Is Right” debuts on TV and is still on the air. The first host was Bill Cullen. Watch an early episode:

1969 – President Nixon signs the lottery draft bill for the Selective Service.

1973 – President Nixon’s personal secretary, Rose Mary Woods, tells a federal court she accidentally caused part of 18½-minute gap in a key Watergate tape.

1975 – A federal jury finds Lynette Fromme guilty of the attempted assassination of President Ford. Fromme is released from prison in 2009 after serving 34 years. Her parole is delayed after she escaped from prison and her sentence is lengthened.

1990 – The first Billboard Music Awards are handed out. Among the winners are Janet Jackson for Song of the Year (“Miss You Much”) and her brother Michael for album of the year (“Bad”).

2013 – After a street tirade is captured on video, Alec Baldwin’s show “Up Late with Alec Baldwin” is cancelled after only five episodes. Watch a news report and read Alex’s lips:

November 27

1817 – U.S. soldiers attack Florida Indian village, beginning the Seminole War.

1870 – The New York Times dubs baseball “The National Game.”

1910 – New York’s Penn Station opens as the world’s largest railway terminal.

1911 – An audience throws vegetables at actors for the first recorded time in the U.S.

1924 – In New York City, the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is held. Watch a History Channel report on the history of the parade:

1926 – Restoration begins on Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Eighty-eight of the current buildings are original.

1934 – Bank robber Lester Gillis (aka Baby Face Nelson) dies in a shoot-out with the FBI. He is 25 years old. J. Edgar Hoover named him “Public Enemy #1.”

1962 – The first Boeing 727 rolls out. The first flight of the Boeing 727 is on February 9, 1963. It is designed to service smaller airport with shorter runways and carries 131 passengers plus its crew. Watch a narrated video of the certification test flight: Boeing 727

1973 – The U.S. Senate votes 92-3 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President following the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew.

1980 – Dave Williams of the Chicago Bears becomes the first player in National Football League history to return a kick for touchdown in overtime.

2013 – “Frozen”, the highest-grossing animated film of all time, is released.