Today's History Trivia for February 20
1942 U.S. Navy's First Flying Ace Edward "Butch" O'Hare single-handedly attacks nine Japanese bombers, shooting down five, saving the USS Lexington from certain destruction. These actions made him the U.S. Navy's first flying ace, and the Navy's first WWII recipient of the Medal of Honor. He died in action following year.
2003 Iraq War Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on how the troops would be greeted by the Iraqi people: "There is no question but that they would be welcomed… Go back to Afghanistan, the people were in the streets playing music, cheering, flying kites, and doing all the things that the Taliban and the al-Qaeda would not let them do."
1992 Ross Perot The Texas billionaire announces on Larry King's talk show that he would run for U.S. President if the people put him on the ballot in all 50 states.
1971 An "emergency nuclear attack warning" is accidently broadcast by the U.S. National Emergency Warning Center.
1952 First black umpire in organized baseball Emmett Littleton Ashford is authorized as a substitute umpire for the Class C Southwestern International League. Source: Famous First Facts
1900 Only U.S. Battleship not named for a State The USS Kearsarge (BB-5) is commissioned.
1872 Toothpick American inventors Silas Noble and James P. Cooley receive a patent for the first toothpick manufacturing machine.
1872 Paper bag American inventor Luther Childs Crowell receives a patent for the first machine to make square-bottomed paper bags.
1839 Dueling Congress forbids dueling in Washington D.C.
1524 End of the World German mathematician and astronomer, Johannes Stöffler predicted a world-wide flood would occur on this date. He chose this date due to the numerous planetary conjunctions that would occur in the sign of Pisces (the water sign). Count Von Iggleheim built a three-story ark for the occasion. When it started to rain, riots broke out among those trying to get a seat on his ark. Hundreds were killed and the Count was stoned to death. Source www.randi.org.
Today's Birthdays for February 20
1926 Kenneth Olsen d. 2011 American businessman. He co-founded the computer giant Digital Equipment Corporation (1957). In 1977, he declared, "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home."
1967 Kurt Cobain d. 1994 American singer, songwriter, guitarist, with Nirvana. Music: Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991).
1966 Cindy Crawford American model, actress. She has appeared on more than 300 magazine covers. TV: MTV's House of Style (host).
1954 Patty Hearst (Patricia Campbell Hearst), American newspaper heiress, bank robber. After she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army (1974), she joined them in a bank robbery for which she was convicted. She was pardoned by Pres. Carter in 1979.
1952 Catherine (b1952), Carol (b1953), Charles (b1956), Claudia (b1961), Cecilia (b1966) Cummins American birth oddities. These five siblings are all natural born children of Carolyn and Ralph Cummins and were each born February 20th of different years. Source: Guinness Book of World Records
1946 Sandy Duncan American actress. Film: $1,000,000 Duck (1971) and The Cat From Outer Space (1977).
1946 Jerome Geils American guitarist, founder of J. Geils Band. Music: Must Have Got Lost (1974), Freeze-Frame (1981), and Centerfold (1981, #1).
1940 Barbara Laine Ellis American singer, with the high school group The Fleetwoods. Music: Come Softly to Me (1959, #1) and Mr. Blue (1959, #1).
1938 Richard Beymer American actor. Film: West Side Story (1961, Tony). TV: Twin Peaks (1990–1991, 2017 Benjamin Horne).
1934 Bobby Unser American auto racer, three-time Indy 500 winner (1968, 75, 81).
1929 Amanda Blake d. 1989 (Beverly Louise Neill), American actress. TV: Gunsmoke (Miss Kitty Russell).
1927 Sidney Poitier American Oscar-winning actor. Film: The Blackboard Jungle (1955) and Lilies of the Field (1963, for which he became the first black to win a Best Actor Oscar). He was award the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009) by U.S. President Barack Obama.
1925 Robert Altman d. 2006 American film director. Known for his use of overlapping dialogue from multiple actors, he is ranked as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers in American cinema. Film: M*A*S*H (1970) and Nashville (1975).
1912 Pierre François Boulle d. 1994 French author. Boulle was a secret agent with the Free French in Singapore. He was captured and spent two years in forced labor, which was the basis for The Bridge over the River Kwai. Writings: Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and Planet of the Apes (1963).
1899 Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney d. 1992 American businessman, co-founder of Pan American Airways (1927) and co-producer of Gone With the Wind (1939).
1858 Howard Atwood Kelly d. 1943 American surgeon, gynecologist. He developed the open cystoscope, used to introduce light into the interior of the body, and was a pioneer in use of radium to treat cancer.
1726 William Prescott d. 1795 American soldier. At the Battle of Bunker Hill (1775), he proclaimed, "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes."
Deaths for February 20
1895 Frederick Douglass b. 1817 American orator and journalist. Born into slavery, he escaped to Great Britain where he raised the money to buy his freedom. Abolitionists used him to counter arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens.
1893 Pierre G. T. Beauregard b. 1818 American Confederate general. He led the attack on Fort Sumter starting the Civil War (1861). The commander of Fort Sumter, Major Robert Anderson, had been Beauregard's instructor at West Point. He became the first Confederate general, when he was appointed brigadier general (March 1, 1861).
Alexander M. Haig Jr
American general, NATO Supreme Commander (1974-79), and U.S. Secretary of State (1981-82). He once suggested that a nuclear warning shot in Europe might be effective in deterring the Soviet Union.
2006 Curt Gowdy b. 1919 American Hall of Fame sports announcer, "The Voice of the Redsox." TV: The American Sportsman (host).
2005 Sandra Dee b. 1942 (Alexandra Zuck), American teen actress. Film: The Reluctant Debutante (1958) and Gidget (1959).
Hunter S. Thompson
American journalist, creator of Gonzo journalism. Writings: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1972) which was later made into the movie.
1999 Gene Siskel b. 1946 American movie critic. He and Roger Ebert hosted a series of popular review shows on television (1975-99).
1993 Ferruccio Lamborghini b. 1916 Italian sports car manufacturer. He opened his factory in 1959, building such models as the Miura SV and Countach.
1992 Dick York b. 1928 American actor. TV: Bewitched (the first Darrin).
1980 Joseph Banks Rhine b. 1895 American parapsychologist. He created the familiar "extrasensory perception" (ESP) cards (picturing wavy lines, square, circle, and cross), and co-edited Parapsychology Today.
1972 Walter Winchell b. 1897 American journalist. He coined the phrase "America, love it or leave it" (1940), and narrated the TV series The Untouchables.
1920 Robert Edwin Peary b. 1856 American Arctic explorer. He was the first to reach the North Pole.
1431 Martin V b. 1368 Italian religious leader, 206th Pope (1417-31).