Today's History Trivia for February 8
1915 The Birth of a Nation D.W. Griffith's landmark film is released. Controversial for its portrayal of blacks as unintelligent and sexually aggressive towards white women, and the portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) as a heroic force. The film is credited with helping revitalize the KKK.
1977 Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt is convicted of promoting obscenity and participating in organized crime.
1969 Saturday Evening Post publishes its last issue.
1924 First gas-chamber execution Convicted murderer Gee Jon is executed in Nevada.
1918 First issue of The Stars and Stripes. This, the first U.S. Army newspaper, was originally published for the troops during World War I.
1912 First Airplane Flight Across the U.S. from West to East Robert Grant Fowler arrives in Jacksonville, Florida. He had departed Los Angeles, on October 19th.
1910 Boy Scouts of America is founded, by William Boyce in Washington D.C.
1843 First woman in the U.S. to buy life insurance Isabella Chambers of New York.
1735 First Opera Performed in America Colley Cibber's Flora; or Hob in the Well.
1693 College of William and Mary is granted its charter by King William III and Queen Mary II, it is the second oldest college in U.S.
Today's Birthdays for February 8
1931 James Dean d. 1955 American actor. He starred in only three films, of which only East of Eden (1955) was released before his death. His other films were Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956). His first job in TV (1952) was testing stunts for Beat the Clock.
1921 Lana Turner d. 1995 (Julia Turner), American actress. In 1958, Lana Turner's daughter stabbed Lana's gangster boyfriend "Handsome Harry" to death. The coroner ruled the daughter acted in self defense. Film: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) and Peyton Place (1957).
1968 Gary Coleman d. 2010 American actor, "What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?" His short 4 foot 8 inch stature was due to congenital kidney disease and its treatment. TV: Diff'rent Strokes (1978-86).
1955 John Grisham American author. His first book, A Time To Kill (1989), was rejected by a dozen publishers. Writings: The Firm (1991), The Pelican Brief (1992), The Client (1993).
1942 Robert Klein American comedian.
1941 Nick Nolte American actor. Film: 48 Hours (1982) and Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986). TV: Rich Man, Poor Man (1976).
1940 Ted Koppel British-born Emmy-winning journalist.
1932 John T. Williams American Emmy-Grammy-Oscar-winning movie composer and conductor of the Boston Pops (1979-83). Film: The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Jaws (1975), Star Wars (1977), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982, Oscar), and Jurassic Park (1993).
1925 Jack Lemmon d. 2001 (John Uhler Lemmon III), American Oscar-winning actor. Film: Mister Roberts (1955, Oscar, Ensign Pulver), The Odd Couple (1968), Save the Tiger (1974, Oscar), and Grumpy Old Men (1993).
1922 Audrey Meadows d. 1996 (Audrey Cotter), American actress. TV: The Honeymooners (1955-56, Alice Kramden).
1906 Chester F. Carlson d. 1968 American physicist, inventor of the Xerox machine (1959).
1828 Jules Verne d. 1905 French science fiction author. His writings foreshadowed many things that were to come, such as air conditioning, gas-powered automobiles, and television. Writings: A Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873).
1820 William Tecumseh Sherman d. 1891 American Civil War general (Union), known for his destruction of Georgia and his statement "War is hell."
Deaths for February 8
Swiss Astronomer. He coined the terms "supernova" (1934) describing the transition of stars into neutron starts, and "dark matter" (1993, dunkie materie) to explain why the gravitational mass of galaxies was at least 400 times greater than expected from their luminosity.
Anna Nicole Smith
(Vickie Lynn Hogan), American actress, model, Playmate of the Year (1993). At age 26, she married 89-year-old billionaire J. Howard Marshall. She died of an accidental overdose from a combination of drugs she was taking to fight a stomach flu.
1990 Del Shannon b. 1934 (Charles Westover), American singer. Music: Runaway (1961, #1).
1936 Charles Curtis b. 1860 31st U.S. Vice-President (1929-33).