Today’s Highlight in History:
On August 12, 1939, the classic MGM movie musical “The Wizard of Oz,” starring Judy Garland, had its world premiere at the Strand Theater in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, three days before opening in Hollywood. (Oconomowoc was apparently chosen to test the film’s appeal to Middle Americans.)
On this date:
In 1813, Austria declared war on France.
In 1867, President Andrew Johnson sparked a move to impeach him as he defied Congress by suspending Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.
In 1898, fighting in the Spanish-American War came to an end.
In 1902, International Harvester Co. was formed by a merger of McCormick Harvesting Machine Co., Deering Harvester Co. and several other manufacturers.
In 1912, comedy producer Mack Sennett founded the Keystone Pictures Studio in Edendale, Calif.
In 1914, Britain and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt nominated Hugo Black to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1944, during World War II, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., eldest son of Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, was killed with his co-pilot when their explosives-laden Navy plane blew up over England.
In 1953, the Soviet Union conducted a secret test of its first hydrogen bomb.
In 1960, the first balloon communications satellite – the Echo 1 – was launched by the United States from Cape Canaveral.
In 1962, one day after launching Andrian Nikolayev into orbit, the Soviet Union also sent up cosmonaut Pavel Popovich; both men landed safely August 15.
In 1964, author Ian Fleming, 56, the creator of James Bond, died in Canterbury, Kent, England.
In 1978, Pope Paul VI, who had died August 6 at age 80, was buried in St. Peter’s Basilica.
In 1985, the world’s worst single-aircraft disaster occurred as a crippled Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 on a domestic flight crashed into a mountain, killing 520 people. (Four people survived.)
In 1988, the controversial movie “The Last Temptation of Christ,” directed by Martin Scorsese (skohr-SEH’-see), opened in nine cities despite objections by some who felt the film was sacrilegious.
In 1994, in baseball’s eighth work stoppage since 1972, players went on strike rather than allow team owners to limit their salaries. (The strike ended in April 1995.) Woodstock ’94 opened in Saugerties, New York.
In 2003, Liberia’s leading rebel movement agreed to lift its siege of the capital and vital port, allowing food to flow to hundreds of thousands of hungry people.
Ten years ago: In a stunning declaration, New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey announced his resignation and acknowledged that he’d had an extramarital affair with another man. The California Supreme Court voided nearly 4,000 same-sex marriages sanctioned in San Francisco between February 12 and March 11, 2004.
Five years ago: Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., heard a fresh chorus of taunts from opponents of health care reform at Penn State University; Specter said they were “not necessarily representative of America” but should be heard. Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, a 23-year-old Georgia man, was convicted of aiding terrorist groups by sending videotapes of U.S. landmarks overseas and plotting to support “violent jihad” after a federal jury in Atlanta rejected his arguments that it was empty talk. (Sadequee was sentenced to 17 years in prison.) Guitar virtuoso Les Paul died in White Plains, New York, at 94.
One year ago: James “Whitey” Bulger, the feared Boston mob boss who became one of the nation’s most-wanted fugitives, was convicted in a string of 11 killings and dozens of other gangland crimes, many of them committed while he was said to be an FBI informant. (Bulger is now serving a life sentence in federal prison.)
Today’s Birthdays: Former Sen. Dale Bumpers, D-Ark., is 89. Actor George Hamilton is 75. Actress Dana Ivey is 73. Actress Jennifer Warren is 73. Rock singer-musician Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) is 65. Actor Jim Beaver is 64. Singer Kid Creole is 64. Jazz musician Pat Metheny is 60. Actor Sam J. Jones is 60. Actor Bruce Greenwood is 58. Country singer Danny Shirley is 58. Pop musician Roy Hay (Culture Club) is 53. Rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot is 51. Actor Peter Krause (KROW’-zuh) is 49. Actor Brent Sexton is 47. International Tennis Hall of Famer Pete Sampras is 43. Actor-comedian Michael Ian Black is 43. Actress Yvette Nicole Brown is 43. Actress Rebecca Gayheart is 43. Actor Casey Affleck is 39. Rock musician Bill Uechi (Save Ferris) is 39. Actress Maggie Lawson is 34. Actress Dominique Swain is 34. Actress Imani Hakim is 21.
Thought for Today: “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” – Rene Descartes, French philosopher (1596-1650).
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