Sunday, September 18, 2011

This Day In History

Sep 18 1932
24-year-old starlet Peg Entwhistle dives head first from the letter "H" of the HOLLYWOODLAND sign in Los Angeles. She is the first person to commit suicide at the landmark.

Sep 18 1946
Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947 thus establishing the CIA.

Sep 18 1970
A sleeping Jimi Hendrix dies in London from of a barbiturate overdose when chunks of vomited food enter up in his lungs, causing him to choke.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

This Day In History

Sep 17 1908
Thomas E. Selfridge becomes the world's first airplane fatality when the craft he's co-piloting with Orville Wright crashes near Fort Meyer, Virginia. An untested propeller ripped apart the plane's structure, causing it to nosedive from an altitude of 75 feet.

Sep 17 1965
CBS television premieres Hogan's Heroes, the first and perhaps only sitcom based in a German prisoner-of-war camp. The show is proof once and for all that Nazis are hilarious.

Friday, September 16, 2011

This Day In History

Sep 16 1920
A horse-drawn carriage parked at the corner of Wall and Broad streets suddenly explodes just past mid-day. 100 pounds of dynamite hurls 500 pounds of steel shrapnel into a crowd of New Yorkers, killing 40 and wounding almost 300 others. No one is ever charged in the world's first car bombing.

Sep 16 1985
Art Scholl, Hollywood's greatest aerobatics pilot, loses control of his Pitts S-2A biplane over the Pacific Ocean during the filming of Top Gun. Before heading off to the Danger Zone in the sky, Scholl's last words were "I have a problem -- I have a real problem."

Monday, September 12, 2011

This Day In History

Sep 12 1992
Anthony Perkins, star of the Hitchcock classic Psycho, dies of AIDS in his Hollywood hills home. His extraordinary versatility as an actor is captured in the films Psycho II, Psycho III, and Psycho IV: The New Beginning.

Sep 12 1994
After a night of boozing and smoking crack, Frank Corder steals a Cessna P150 and crashes it into the south lawn of the White House. The wreckage tumbles over a tree and a hedge before coming to rest against the West Wing of the Executive Mansion. Corder's flamboyant suicide attack never actually imperiled President Clinton's life, since the First Family was sleeping elsewhere at the time.

Friday, September 9, 2011

This Day In History

Sep 9 1942
On orders of Heinrich Himmler, Auschwitz prisoners are forced to exhume and burn 107,000 decaying corpses from the camp's mass graves. They are cremated in gigantic, open-pit bonfires.

Sep 9 1999
A bomb planted by Chechen terrorists explodes in a Moscow apartment building on Guryanov Street, killing more than 90 people. It is part of a series of apartment bombings in Russia leaving more than 400 dead.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

This Day In History

Sep 8 1888
The "terribly mutilated" body of prostitute Annie Chapman is found in the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields. It is the second known victim attributed to Jack the Ripper.

Sep 8 1966
Star Trek debuts on NBC, with the airing of an episode titled "The Man Trap." The science fiction show proceeds to suffer in the ratings against established sitcoms Bewitched and My Three Sons.

Sep 8 1974
President Gerald Ford pardons Richard M. Nixon, out of respect for Nixon's family. "Theirs is an American tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must."

Sep 8 1974
In Idaho, daredevil Evel Knievel climbs into his X-2 Skycycle (really just a rocket on wheels) and hits the ignition. The vehicle manages to clear the quarter-mile-wide Snake River Canyon, but then the parachute deploys prematurely and prevailing winds push him back into the chasm. Total ripoff.

Monday, September 5, 2011

This Day In History

Sep 5 1921
Undiscovered actress Virginia Rappe somehow ruptures her bladder during actor-comedian
Fatty Arbuckle's party at the Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Three days later, the feverish woman is checked into a maternity hospital, where she dies from peritonitis. Arbuckle is eventually tried for murder, but acquitted.

Sep 5 1949
A former sharpshooter in World War II, pharmacy student Howard Unruh kills 13 neighbors in Camden, New Jersey with a souvenir Luger. He later tells a reporter "I'm no psycho. I have a good mind. I'd have killed a thousand if I had enough bullets."
Now he is America's first single-episode mass murderer.

Sep 5 1975
Manson Family member Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme almost assassinates President Gerald Ford with a .45 automatic in Sacramento, California. But Fromme is tackled by a Secret Service agent before she can remember to rack a round into the firing chamber.

Sep 5 1990
In his testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, LAPD chief Daryl Gates opines: "Casual drug users should be taken out and shot."

Sep 5 1991
Disgraced children's television star Pee-wee Herman returns to the public eye for the first time after his masturbation arrest, appearing on the MTV Video Music Awards. He opens with the line: "Heard any good jokes lately?"

Sep 5 2003
One Disneyland guest is killed and 10 others injured when the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad coaster jumps the tracks in Frontierland.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

This Day In History

Sep 3 1969
Ho Chi Minh dies of heart failure in Hanoi, Vietnam. He had asked to be cremated and his ashes buried on three hilltops. Contrary to his express wishes, Uncle Ho is embalmed and put on display in a mausoleum just like Lenin's.

Sep 3 1971
The office of Daniel Ellsberg's Beverly Hills psychiatrist is burglarized by Nixon's plumbers, led by CIA operative E. Howard Hunt. Watergate investigators later uncover a memo about the burglary addressed to White House domestic affairs adviser John Ehrlichman, predating the actual crime.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

This Day In History

Sep 1 1923
A 7.9 magnitude earthquake strikes the cities of Tokyo and Yokohama at noon. Almost 142,000 people are killed by falling building or in the resulting fires. Yokohama suffers 88 separate blazes, which rage unabated for two days. In all, 694,000 homes are destroyed, leaving 1.5 million survivors homeless.

Sep 1 1939
Hitler reluctantly invades Poland, but only after being provoked by warmongering Poles. The previous night, a Polish commando team shot their way into a German radio station in the border town of Gleiwitz, and broadcasted a radical call to arms against the peaceloving people of Germany. Except that it was all an elaborate sham engineered by Nazi general Reinhard Heydrich, dubbed c.

Sep 1 1941
The Third Reich passes a law requiring Jews to wear a prominent yellow star in public.

Sep 1 1983
Korean Air flight 007 strays off-course, approaching the Kamchatka peninsula. The Soviet Union scrambles fighter jets to intercept the Boeing 747, and gives the order to shoot down the passenger plane five minutes after it crosses the border. Two surface-to-air missiles later, and there are 269 corpses floating in the sea.