Today's History Trivia for April 26
1986 Chernobyl Disaster The worst accident in the history of nuclear energy; it killed 30 people and spewed radioactive material over the Soviet Union and Europe. Two workers died immediately after the accident and another 28 died during the next four months. 106 workers suffered acute radiation sickness. The disaster started when workers were running experiments on the reactor. Safety mechanisms had been disabled to facilitate the tests. The tests eventually caused an explosion that blew the top off the reactor and spewed radioactive material into the atmosphere. Chernobyl would eventually be declared a tourist attraction (2011).
1865 Lincoln's Assassin Killed John Wilkes Booth, who shot and killed U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, is reportedly shot and killed in Garrett's Barn in Virginia. When Booth refused to come out of the barn, soldiers set it on fire. He was shot while still in the barn.
1988 China Beach debuts on ABC.
1962 First international satellite Ariel 1 is launched. It was built and launched by NASA to perform British experiments.
1962 First U.S. Satellite to reach the surface of the Moon Ranger IV, launched three days earlier, impacts the Moon's surface.
1957 First Air Force Academy woman officer Naomi M. McCracken begins duties at the Air Force Academy temporary headquarters in Denver, Colorado.
1862 First American Hanged for Treason Against the U.S. William Bruce Mumford, a New Orleans gambler, removes the Union flag that had been raised by Union troops at the New Orleans Mint. For this, he was convicted and hanged for treason.
1791 The Cherokee Indians cede most of their land to the U.S. with the Treaty of Holston.
Today's Birthdays for April 26
1962 Michael Damian American singer, actor. Music: Rock On (#1). TV: The Young and the Restless (Danny Romalotti).
1960 Roger Taylor English drummer, with Duran Duran. Music: Hungry Like the Wolf (1982), Rio (1982), Union of the Snake (1983), and A View to a Kill (1985).
1941 Claudine Auger (Claudine Oger), French actress, Miss France (1958). Film: Thunderball (1965, Bond girl Domino Derval).
1933 Carol Burnett American Emmy-winning comedienne. TV: The Carol Burnett Show.
1933 Arno Allan Penzias German-American astrophysicist. He and Robert Woodrow Wilson shared the Nobel Prize for Physics (1978) for their discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (1964) which was predicted by the big-bang theory.
1900 David Mathias Dennison d. 1976 American theoretical physicist. He discovered the spin of the proton.
1900 Charles Francis Richter d. 1985 American seismologist. He invented the Richter Scale (1935) for measuring earthquakes.
1894 Rudolf Hess d. 1987 German politician, Hitler's private secretary. In 1941, he embarked on a solo peace mission to Scotland - without Hitler's permission. He was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment.
1889 Anita Loos d. 1981 American author, playwright. Writings: Gentleman Prefer Blondes (1925) and But Gentleman Marry Brunettes (1928).
1886 William Levi Dawson d. 1970 American politician. He was the first black U.S. representative to chair a Congressional committee (1949, Committee on Expenditures in Executive Departments).
1822 Frederick Law Olmsted d. 1903 American landscape architect. He designed New York's Central Park and the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.
1813 Edward Maynard d. 1891 American dentist. He was the first to recognize dental fever (1836) and the first to use gold fillings (1838).
Deaths for April 26
2011 Phoebe Snow b. 1950 (Phoebe Laub), American singer. Music: Phoebe Snow: Poetry Man (1974).
2005 Mason Adams b. 1919 American actor. TV: Lou Grant (1977-82, managing editor Charlie Hume). Advertising: Smucker's -"With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good."
1988 Frederick Douglass Patterson b. 1901 American educator, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, President of the Tuskegee Institute (1935-53), and founder of the United Negro College Fund (1944).
1986 Broderick Crawford b. 1911 American Oscar-winning actor. Film: All The King's Men (1949, Oscar). TV: Highway Patrol (Dan Matthews).
1984 Count Basie b. 1904 (William Basie), American jazz pianist, bandleader. Music: One O'Clock Jump, Swingin' the Blues, and Tickle Toe.
1981 Jim Davis b. 1909 American actor. TV: Dallas (Jock Ewing).
1973 Irene Ryan b. 1902 American actress. TV: The Beverly Hillbillies (Granny).
1940 Henry Ossian Flipper b. 1856 American soldier. First black to graduate from West Point (1877). He was the first nonwhite officer to lead buffalo soldiers of the 10th Cavalry. He was court martialed and discharged from the Army (1882). His descendants applied for a review of Flipper's court martial which led to a pardon from President Bill Clinton (1999).
1915 John Bunny b. 1863 American actor, comedian, the first comic star of the American screen (1910). This 300-pound actor made over 200 comic shorts during his brief five-year film career.
1865 Charles Joseph Sax b. 1791 Belgian instrument maker. His "omnitonic horn" (1824) used a piston to provide different keys. He was the father of saxophone inventor Adolphe Sax.
1558 Jean François Fernel b. circa 1497 French physician. He coined the terms "physiology" and "pathology." He was the first to describe appendicitis and the spinal canal. He also worked to end the reliance on astrology and magic in matters of health.
757 Stephen II b. ???? Italian religious leader, 92nd Pope (752-757).