Today's History Trivia for April 12
1966 Dead Man's Curve Life imitates art when Jan Berry, of Jan and Dean, crashes his Corvette into a parked truck while rounding a curve, eerily reminiscent of their hit song from two years earlier, Dead Man's Curve in which a Corvette crashes. The crash occurred just a short distance from the curve memorialized in their song. Jan suffered brain damage and partial paralysis. He had minimal use of his right arm, and had to learn to write with his left hand.
1861 Civil War Begins The American Civil War begins when the Confederacy fires upon Fort Sumter, South Carolina. Confederate batteries fired on the fort for 34 straight hours. The fort fell to Confederate forces the following day.
2007 Forever Stamp The U.S. Post Office issues a nondenominational, non-expiring stamp that always represents the value of a first-class stamp.
1988 Sonny Bono is elected mayor of Palm Springs, Ca.
1985 First U.S. Public Official in Space U.S. Senator Jake Garn (R-Utah) is launched into space aboard the space shuttle Discovery as a member of its seven-man crew.
1983 First black mayor of Chicago Harold Washington.
1981 First reusable spacecraft Columbia, the first ship of the Space Shuttle program is launched. Twenty-two years later in 2003, the ill-fated shuttle would disintegrate upon reentry killing all seven crew members.
1980 Terry Fox The cancer victim begins his run across Canada, raising $23,000,000 for cancer research. His right leg had been amputated due to bone cancer. By September he had made it half way (3,339 miles) before lung cancer forced him to stop.
1980 Olympic boycott U.S. Olympic Committee votes not to attend the Moscow Summer Olympics in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
1955 Polio Vaccine Dr. Jonas Salk reports the success of the nationwide test of his anti-polio vaccine and receives a license by the National Institutes of Health for its general use.
1954 Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets record the rock 'n' roll classic. It was recorded as the B-side of the soon forgotten Thirteen Women.
1938 First state to require a medical test for marriage license applicants New York.
1934 Fastest surface wind ever recorded Winds with gusts of up to 231 miles per hour are recorded at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire. Source: Guinness Book of World Records
1864 Civil War - Fort Pillow Massacre Confederate troops attack Fort Pillow in Tennessee killing 231 Union soldiers - a large number of which were black. Accusations that the soldiers were slaughtered after the fort surrendered inflamed the North. Source: The Civil War Day by Day
1853 First U.S. truancy law New York enacts a $50 fine for parents of children between the ages of 5 and 15 who miss school.
Today's Birthdays for April 12
1777 Henry Clay d. 1852 American statesman, "The Great Compromiser." U.S. Secretary of State (1825-29), U.S. Senator (1849-52, 1831-42, 1810-11, 1806-07, Kentucky), U.S. House of Representatives (1823-25, 1815-21, 1813-14, 1811-13, Kentucky). Along with Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun he helped create the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Compromise of 1850 to ease tensions between the states regarding slavery. He himself was a slave owner, but freed his slaves in his will.
1971 Shannen Doherty American actress. TV: Little House on the Prairie (Jenny Wilder) and Beverly Hills 90210 (Brenda).
1950 David Cassidy American singer, actor. TV: The Partridge Family.
1947 David Letterman American talk show host.
1944 John Kay (Joachim Krauledat), East German-born musician, lead singer with Steppenwolf. Music: Born To Be Wild (1968) and Magic Carpet Ride (1968).
1943 Bruce H. Bolinger American cartoonist. Creator of the underground comic Stranger in a Strange Land.
1942 Frank Bank d. 2013 American actor. TV: Leave It to Beaver (1957-63, Lumpy Rutherford).
1940 Herbie Hancock American jazz pianist, Oscar-winning composer. Music: Watermelon Man, Chameleon, and the score for the film Round Midnight (1986, Oscar).
1932 Tiny Tim d. 1996 (Herbert Buckingham Khaury), American ukulele-playing singer. Music: Tiptoe Through the Tulips (1968). His 1969 marriage to Miss Viki on the Tonight Show attracted 40 million viewers.
1926 Jane Withers American actress. TV: The plumber in the Comet cleanser commercials.
1724 Lyman Hall d. 1790 American settler, Revolutionary leader, signer of the Declaration of Independence, governor of Georgia (1783).
Deaths for April 12
2009 Marilyn Chambers b. 1952 (Marilyn Ann Briggs), American porn star. Film: Behind the Green Door (1972). She was the teenage mother on the Ivory Snow soap box. She also did spots for Pepsi and Clairol, had a minor role in The Owl and the Pussycat (1970) and was a Junior Olympics diver and gymnast.
1989 Sugar Ray Robinson b. 1921 (Walker Smith Jr.), American welterweight boxing champion and five-time world middleweight champion.
1989 Herbert Mills b. 1912 American singer, with the Mills Brothers, the most popular vocal group of all time.
(Abbott Hoffman), American political activist of the 1960s and leader of the Yippie (Youth International Party) movement. Hoffman was initially convicted of conspiracy and inciting to riot as a result of his role in the protests leading to violent confrontations with police during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. He was tried as part of the group known as the "Chicago Seven." Their convictions were overturned on appeal.
1981 Joe Louis b. 1914 (Joseph Louis Barrow), American boxer, "The Brown Bomber," heavyweight champion (1937-49).
1977 Philip Knight Wrigley b. 1894 U.S. chewing gum executive and owner of the Chicago Cubs.
1975 Josephine Baker b. 1906 American-born French singer, actress. At the height of her career she was the highest-paid European entertainer.
1912 Clara Barton b. 1821 American nurse, philanthropist, Mother of the Red Cross. Known as the "Angel of the Battlefield," she helped organize and was the first president of the American Red Cross Society (1881).
1878 Boss Tweed b. 1823 (William Marcy Tweed), American politician, boss of Tammany Hall. It is estimated he stole between $30 and $200 million from New York City. He was portrayed in the film Gangs of New York (2002).
352 Saint Julius I b. ???? Italian religious leader, 35th Pope (337-352).