This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann
“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history
is the most important of all the lessons of history.” Aldous Huxley
Nov 23-29, 2020
1783 – Annapolis, Maryland, becomes the capital of the U.S. until June 1784.
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 was on the cover. The last issue, published in May 2000, had a premature baby on the cover.
1954 – For the first time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above the peak it reached before the 1929 stock market crash. The Dow closed at 380.33 on August 29, 1929, and at 382.74 on this date.
1960 – Hollywood dedicates its Walk of Fame in Hollywood at Boulevard and Vine Street. Joanne Woodward received the first star. She won an Academy Award in 1957 for “The Three Faces of Eve.” Watch an LA City Tours video advertising the famous street.
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.
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, chartered on November 16th, elects former Civil War General Ambrose Burnside as its first president.
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) were 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 were charged with contempt of Congress. Movie studio executives met in New York the next day agree to blacklist the “Hollywood 10,” who were cited and jailed for contempt of Congress when they failed to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee.
1954 – Air Force One is christened as the first U.S. Presidential airplane. The presidential call sign was established in 1953 after a commercial aircraft with the same call sign entered 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 as it happened 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. In 2016, the FBI announced it was suspending active investigation of the DB Cooper case after 45 years.
1979 – The U.S. government finally admits that troops in Vietnam were exposed to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange.
2014 – A 12-year-old boy is shot dead by police in a playground in Cleveland, Ohio, after brandishing what turned out to be a fake gun. The police were responding to a call of a male who kept pointing a gun at people.
2015 – Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-yearo-old Laquan McDonald. Although sentenced to 81 months in prison, he is no longer incarcerated.
1792 – The Farmer’s Almanac is first published. It is the oldest continuously published periodical in the U.S. It was published during George Washington’s administration. Robert B. Thomas was the first editor.
1874 – The United States Greenback Party is established in Indianapolis as a political party. It consisted 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.
1963 – President John F. Kennedy is laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy lit 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 passed the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act, which permitted 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 spanned 22 years and became 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.
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 were never utilized.
1789 – The first national Thanksgiving is celebrated.
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, developed by inventor Edwin Land, is sold at the Jordan Marsh department store in Boston for $89.75. The name “Land” was removed from the camera after Edwin Land retired in 1982.
1956 – “The Price Is Right” debuts on TV and is still on the air. The first host was Bill Cullen. The current host is Drew Carey. Watch an early episode (and check out the car!).
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 was released from prison in 2009 after serving 34 years. Her parole was delayed after she escaped from prison and her sentence was lengthened. Fromme is now 71 years old.
1990 – The first Billboard Music Awards are handed out. Among the winners were 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. Baldwin, now 62, was arrested on November 2, 2018, and charged with assault over a parking space. Watch a 2013 news report and read Alex’s lips.
1870 – The New York Times dubs baseball “The National Game.”
1911 – An audience throws vegetables at actors in a theater 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.
1934 – Bank robber Lester Gillis (aka Baby Face Nelson) dies in a shoot-out with the FBI. He was 25 years old. J. Edgar Hoover named him “Public Enemy #1.”
1957 – Army troops leave Little Rock, Arkansas, after escorting nine black students into Central High School, ending desegregation.
1962 – The first Boeing 727 rolls out. The first flight of the Boeing 727 was on February 9, 1963. It was designed to service smaller airport with shorter runways and carry 131 passengers plus its crew. Watch a narrated video of the certification test flight.
2013 – “Frozen”, the highest-grossing animated film of all time, is released. It has grossed $1.28 billion worldwide.
2017 – American actress Meghan Markel and Britain’s Prince Harry announce their engagement. They were married in May 2018.
1895 – America’s first auto race is organized by the “Chicago Times-Herald” Chicago to Evanston, Illinois, and back. Six cars travel a distance 55 miles, with the winner averaging 7 MPH.
1907 – Scrap-metal dealer Louis B. Mayer of Haverhill, Massachusetts, opens his first movie theater, formerly a burlesque theater called the “Garlic Box.” In 1918, the Russian-born Mayer moved to Los Angeles to form the Louis B. Mayer Pictures Company. He later merged his company to form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).
1919 – U.S.-born Lady Nancy Astor is elected and serves as the first female member of British Parliament. Astor sat in the House of Commons until her retirement in 1945.
1925 – The Grand Ole Opry premieres as the WSM Barn Dance on WSM radio in Nashville, Tennessee. The Ryman Auditorium was the venue for the Opry until 1974. Since 1974, the show has been broadcast from the Grand Ole Opry House east of downtown Nashville. Watch the 2010 grand reopening of the Opry after the Nashville flooding.
1963 – President Johnson announces that Cape Canaveral would be renamed Cape Kennedy in honor of his assassinated predecessor. The name was changed back to Cape Canaveral in 1973 by a vote of residents.
1984 – William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, and his wife Hannah Callowhill Penn are made Honorary Citizens of the United States over 250 years after their deaths. Hannah administered the Province of Pennsylvania for eight years after William’s death, until her death in 1726.
1994 – Convicted serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is clubbed to death by an inmate in the Columbia Correctional Institution gymnasium in Portage, Wisconsin, where he was serving 15 consecutive life terms for multiple murders.
1995 – Congress passes the National Highway Designation Act, which officially removes all federal speed limits.
2016 – The musical “Hamilton” sets a new record for the most money earned in a single week on Broadway at $3.3 million.
1890 – The first Army-Navy football game is played. Final score: Navy 24, Army 0. The game was played at West Point.
1915 – Fire destroys most of the buildings in Avalon on Santa Catalina Island, California. Chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. purchased the resort in 1919. Wrigley’s Santa Catalina Island Company built the iconic Avalon Casino in 1928-29 and became the setting for many movies.
1929 – U.S. Navy Lt. Comdr. Richard E. Byrd makes the first airplane flight over the South Pole. In 1926, Byrd and Floyd Bennett flew over the North Pole.
1963 – President LBJ sets up the Warren Commission to investigate assassination of President JFK. In 1992, Congress ordered JFK documents to be released within 25 years. Over 3,800 documents were released in 2017 by the National Archives.
1975 – Bill Gates adopts the name Microsoft for the company he and Paul Allen formed to write the BASIC computer language for the Altair.
1995 – President Bill Clinton lifts the ban on exports of oil from the Alaskan North Slope that was imposed after the oil embargo by Arab oil producers in 1973.
2004 – Godzilla receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Watch Godzilla make a personal appearance to receive his star.
Image from: fbi.com