Today's History Trivia for August 23
1833 Slavery Abolition Act The act is passed abolishing slavery in the British colonies. It went into effect August 1, 1834. However, the Act did not extend to the territories in the possession of the East India Company, or to the Island of Ceylon, or to the Island of Saint Helena. It also only freed slaves below the age of six. Older slaves had to continue to work as "apprentices." The apprenticeships were finally ended in 1838.
1984 U.S. President Ronald Reagan The President on Liberals: "You know, we could say they spend money like drunken sailors, but that would be unfair to drunken sailors." However, Reagan's economic policies raised the national debt from approximately $900 billion to over $2 trillion. His administration transformed the United States from the world's leading creditor (as late as 1983) to the number-one debtor by 1986.
1977 First successful man-powered flight Bryan Allen flies Paul MacCready's Gossamer Condor three miles.
1965 The Sound of Music is released, starring Julie Andrews.
1940 World War II German bombers begin flying night raids on London.
1938 Indian Head Test Pattern The artwork for the famous test pattern is completed by RCA. Originally used to adjust television broadcast systems, it has since become a cultural icon.
1937 Legless Swimmer 46-year-old Charles Zimmy (also known as the human fish) takes off from a pier in Albany, NY. He would swim to the 125th Street Ferry dock in New York City, a distance of 150 miles, taking six days. His legless body provided enough buoyancy to float while sleeping. He had lost his legs at the age of nine.
1913 Little Mermaid The mermaid statue in the harbor of Denmark, Copenhagen is dedicated. This tribute to the 1834 story by Hans Christian Andersen is visited by 500,000 tourists annually.
1859 First hotel passenger elevator Installation is completed in the Fifth Avenue Hotel, New York.
1838 First U.S. women's college Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, South Hadley, Massachusetts, graduates its first class. Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church
1784 The U.S. State of Franklin East Tennessee declares itself an independent U.S. state, choosing the name Franklin in honor of Benjamin Franklin. Its legitimacy was denied by Congress and it ceased to exist in 1788.
Today's Birthdays for August 23
1970 River Phoenix d. 1993 American actor. Film: Stand By Me (1986), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and My Own Private Idaho (1991).
1949 Shelly Long American Emmy-winning actress. TV: Cheers (Dianne).
1949 Rick Springfield Australian singer, actor. Music: Jessie's Girl (1981, #1). TV: General Hospital (Dr. Noah Drake).
1946 Keith Moon d. 1978 British drummer, with The Who. He was a pioneer in rock and roll drummers in that he changed the drums from a background instrument into a lead instrument. He died of a drug overdose at the age of 32. Music: My Generation (1965) and Pinball Wizard (1969).
1940 Richard Sanders American actor. TV: WKRP in Cincinnati (Less Nessman).
1932 Mark Russell (Mark Ruslander), American political satirist, piano player. Quote: "You've got the brain-washed, that's the Republicans, and the brain-dead, that's the Democrats!"
1931 Barbara Eden (Barbara Jean Morehead), American actress. TV: I Dream of Jeannie (1965-70, Jeannie).
1929 Vera Miles (Vera Ralston), American actress, Miss Kansas (1948). Film: The Searchers (1956), Psycho (1960, shower scene victim's sister), and The Wrong Man (1957).
1922 Jean Darling d. 2015 (Dorothy Jean LeVake), American actress, one of the Little Rascals. She appeared in 35 Our Gang films. Film: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935, a mermaid), Babes in Toyland (1934, Curly Locks).
1917 Tex Williams d. 1985 (Sol Williams), American country singer. Music: Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette) (1947, #1), which was Capitol Records' first million-seller.
1912 Gene Kelly d. 1996 American Emmy-winning actor, dancer. Film: Singin' in the Rain (1952, with his famous dance scene).
1905 Ernie Bushmiller d. 1982 (Ernest Paul Bushmiller), American cartoonist, creator of Nancy and her friend Sluggo.
1785 Oliver Hazard Perry d. 1819 American naval hero, famous for his quote "We have met the enemy, and they are ours" (1813).
1754 Louis XVI d. 1793 King of France (1774-92), responsible for square handkerchiefs; as a favor to Marie Antoinette he decreed that all handkerchiefs must have this shape. He was beheaded by French revolutionaries.
Deaths for August 23
2006 Maynard Ferguson b. 1928 Canadian jazz musician. Music: Conquistador (1977), which had the song Gonna Fly Now (from the movie Rocky).
1982 Alfred Bloomingdale b. 1916 American businessman. He is considered the "father of the credit card." He launched the "Dine and Sign" credit card (1950), which later merged with Diner's Club. He was an heir to the Bloomingdale's department store fortune.
1962 Hoot Gibson b. 1892 (Edmund Richard Gibson), American silent-western actor, performing in some 200 silent films and 75 talkies from 1912-59. He also won the title of World's All-Around Champion Cowboy (1912).
1960 Oscar Hammerstein II b. 1895 American lyricist, of Rogers and Hammerstein. Music: Oklahoma! (1943), Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949, 1950 Pulitzer Prize for drama).
1888 Philip Henry Gosse b. 1810 English naturalist. He coined the word "Aquarium."
1819 Oliver Hazard Perry b. 1785 American naval hero, famous for his quote "We have met the enemy, and they are ours" (1813).
1806 Charles Augustin Coulomb b. 1736 French physicist, and for whom the coulomb (a measure of electrical charge) is named.