Today's History Trivia for January 17
1929 Popeye The cartoon character makes his debut. Castor Oyl, a character in the strip Thimble Theatre, hired Popeye to navigate his ship. Popeye's first line in the strip upon being asked if he was a sailor was, "Ja think I'm a cowboy?"
1994 Danny Partridge and Donny Osmond slug it out Danny Bonaduce (who played Danny Partridge on the TV series) wins a 2-1 decision over singer Donny Osmond in a charity boxing match.
1993 Jack in the Box food poisoning The Washington State Health Department confirms that an outbreak of E. coli infections is linked to the fast-food restaurants. Three children died and more than 500 people were sickened by the outbreak.
1989 Patrick Edward Purdy a former student, opens fire on the Cleveland Elementary School, killing five students, and later killing himself.
1986 Iran-Contra Affair Pres. Reagan signs a secret order authorizing exceptions to the Iranian arms embargo.
1984 Recording TV Broadcasts with Your VCR is ruled legal by the U.S. Supreme Court.
1981 Pres. Reagan throws the most expensive inaugural celebration in American history, costing $11 million.
1975 Baretta debuts on ABC.
1950 Brink's robbery They are robbed in Boston by masked bandits of $2.8 million of which $1.2 million was cash.
1917 Treaty purchasing the Virgin Islands from Denmark, for the sum of $25,000,000, is ratified by the U.S.
1871 Cable streetcar patented Andrew Hallidie receives a patent for his streetcar; the first one went into operation 2½ years later in San Francisco.
Today's Birthdays for January 17
1706 Benjamin Franklin d. 1790 Signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the U.S., and for whom the short-lived State of Franklin was named.
1949 Andy Kaufman d. 1984 American actor, comedian. TV: Taxi (Latka Gravas). He was banned from Saturday Night Live after losing a viewer phone-in vote by 26,358 votes.
1942 Randy Boone American actor. TV: The Virginian (Randy).
1942 Muhammad Ali d. 2016 (Cassius Clay), American boxer, three-time world heavyweight champion (1964-67, 74-78, 78-79). He was stripped of his title in 1967 for refusing to serve in the Vietnam War.
1939 Maury Povich American TV host. TV: A Current Affair and The Maury Povich Show.
1933 Shari Lewis d. 1998 (Shari Hurwitz), American ventriloquist, with puppets Lamb Chomp and Charlie Horse.
1931 Lawrence Douglas Wilder American politician. He was the first elected black U.S. state governor (1989, Virginia).
1931 James Earl Jones American actor. Film: Star Wars (1977, voice of Darth Vader). TV: Tarzan (an African chieftain).
1928 Vidal Sassoon d. 2012 English hair stylist, beauty salon founder.
1927 Eartha Kitt d. 2008 American singer, actress. Born out of wedlock, she was given away as baby. TV: Batman (1966, Catwoman). Music: The Christmas novelty Santa Baby (1953 - Eartha died on Christmas Day 2008).
1922 Betty White American Emmy-winning actress. TV: The Mary Tyler Moore Show (Sue Ann) and The Golden Girls (Rose).
1899 "Scarface" Al Capone d. 1947 Italian-born American gangster. The FBI estimates that he made $105 million in 1927 alone. He was convicted of tax evasion and served time in Alcatraz (1931-39). Terminally ill with syphilis, he died penniless of a brain hemorrhage at home in Miami, Florida.
1880 Mack Sennett d. 1960 (Michael Sinnott), Canadian-born American Oscar-winning director, producer, actor. He was the creator of the Keystone Kops and was known as the "King of Comedy." He produced over 1,000 silent films.
1869 Georg Clemens Perthes d. 1927 German surgeon. He discovered that X-rays inhibit the growth of tumors (1903), and proposed the use of X-rays to treat cancer.
1867 Carl Laemmle d. 1939 German-born American motion picture executive. He founded Universal Pictures (1912) and was one of the first to promote actors by their own names.
1829 Catherine Booth d. 1890 English preacher, Mother of the Salvation Army, which she and her husband William founded (1865).
1771 Charles Brockden Brown d. 1810 American novelist, "The father of the American novel." Writings: Wieland (1798) and Ormond (1799).
1504 Saint Pius V d. 1572 Italian religious leader, 225th Pope (1566-72), canonized in 1712, excommunicated Elizabeth I of England, expelled the Jews from Church states and was dedicated to the extermination of the Huguenots.
1501 Leonhard Fuchs d. 1566 German botanist for whom the shrub Fuchsia is named.
Deaths for January 17
1874 Chang and Eng Bunker b. 1811 Siamese-born American twins joined at the chest. They are they source of the term "Siamese Twins." They toured Europe and the U.S., eventually settling in North Carolina where they married two sisters, who bore them 22 children. "Chang" and "Eng" is Thai for "Left" and "Right." Source: Guinness Book of World Records
2008 Bobby Fischer b. 1943 (Robert James Fischer), American chess champion. He was the first American to win the world chess championship (1972).
2003 Richard Crenna b. 1926 American Emmy-winning actor. Film: The Flamingo Kid (1984) and First Blood (1982, Rambo's former commanding officer). TV: Our Miss Brooks (Walter Denton, 1952-56) and The Real McCoys (Luke, 1957-63).
1997 Clyde William Tombaugh b. 1906 American astronomer. He discovered the dwarf planet Pluto (1930). He also discovered nearly 800 asteroids.
1980 Barbara Britton b. 1919 American actress. TV: Mr. and Mrs. North (Pamela North).
1977 Gary Gilmore b. 1940 American criminal. He was executed by a Utah firing squad, the first execution in the U.S. since 1967. In 1976, Gilmore robbed and murdered gas station employee Max Jensen. The next evening, he robbed and murdered motel manager Bennie Bushnell. Both men had complied with his demands. While disposing of the pistol used in the killings, Gilmore accidentally shot himself in his right hand, leaving a trail of blood to the service garage where he had left his truck. He was witnessed by a mechanic hiding the gun in the bushes. Gilmore's cousin turned him in to police after he phoned her asking for bandages and painkillers for his injured hand.
1933 Louis Comfort Tiffany b. 1848 American artist, glassmaker.
1927 Juliette Low b. 1860 American woman, founder of the Girl Scouts of America (1912).
1893 Rutherford B. Hayes b. 1822 19th U.S. President (1877-81).
1891 George Bancroft b. 1800 American historian, Father of American History.
1870 Alexander Anderson b. 1775 America's first wood engraver. He illustrated more than 100 volumes of English classics, including Bell's Anatomy and Webster's Spelling Book.