Today's History Trivia for January 21
1977 Vietnam War U.S. President Jimmy Carter pardons the Vietnam draft dodgers. This pardoned those who violated the draft between August 4, 1964 and March 28, 1973. It is estimated that over 500,000 men had dodged the draft. However, this did not pardon military personnel who went AWOL.
Jefferson Davis, in what he described as "the saddest day of my life," resigns from the U.S. Senate and returns to Mississippi, following its succession from the Union earlier that month. He became president of the confederacy the following month.
1994 John Wayne Bobbitt Lorena Bobbitt is acquitted by reason of temporary insanity on charges resulting from when she cut off her husband's penis. She claimed he had abused and raped her.
1971 Alias Smith and Jones debuts on ABC.
1968 Vietnam War - Battle of Khe Sanh The North Vietnamese launch an attack on the U.S. Marine base near Laos, in what was one of the largest sieges of the war.
1968 Nuclear Accident Radiation, from the four hydrogen bombs it was carrying, is released into the atmosphere when an American B-52 bomber crashes near Greenland.
1957 Patsy Cline The future country music star wins on TV's Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts with the song Walkin' After Midnight. The song went on to become her first top 10 hit.
1954 First nuclear submarine The USS Nautilus is launched.
1948 Flag of Quebec The Fleurdelisé is adopted for the province by the government of Quebec. January 21 is celebrated as Quebec's Flag Day. It was the first provincial flag officially adopted in Canada.
1930 Pluto Photos of the dwarf planet Pluto are taken at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona, although the planet wasn't identified until a month later.
1915 Kiwanis The benevolent organization is founded in Detroit, Michigan.
1908 Smoking New York City passes the Sullivan Ordinance making it illegal for women to smoke in public.
1789 First novel written in America by an American author is published, The Power of Sympathy. Originally credited to Sarah Wentworth Morton, it is now credited to her neighbor William Hill Brown.
1785 The Chippewa, Delaware, Ottawa and Wyandot Indians cede their lands south of the Ohio to the U.S. with the Treaty of Fort McIntosh.
Today's Birthdays for January 21
1926 Steve Reeves d. 2000 American actor, body builder. He held the Mr. America (1947), Mr. World (1948), and Mr. Universe (1950) titles. At one time, he was the highest paid actor in Europe. Film: Hercules (1958).
English-born writer, Zionist. The use of the term "melting pot" to describe American absorption of immigrants was popularized by Zangwill's play The Melting Pot.
1989 Christopher John Bollig His birth made 109-year-old Augusta Bunge a great-great-great-great-grandmother. This made for the most generations alive in a single family - Augusta's daughter (89), her grand-daughter (70), her great-grand-daughter (52), her great-great grand-daughter (33), and her great-great-great grand-daughter (15) were all still alive. Source: Guinness Book of World Records
1968 Charlotte Ross American actress, singer. TV: Days of Our Lives (Eve Donovan) and The Heights. Music: How Do You Talk To an Angel? (1992, from the TV show The Heights).
1956 Robby Benson American actor. Film: One on One (1977). TV: Search For Tomorrow (Bruce Carson). He directed White Hot (1988), which was the first American film shot directly on High Definition Video (HDTV).
1956 Geena Davis (Virginia Elizabeth Davis), American Oscar-winning actress. Film: Tootsie (1982), The Fly (1986), Beetlejuice (1988), Thelma & Louise (1991), The Accidental Tourist (1988, Oscar), and Earth Girls are Easy (1989).
1950 Billy Ocean (Leslie Sebastian Charles), British singer. Music: Caribbean Queen (1984, #1, Grammy) and Loverboy (1984).
1947 Jill Eikenberry American actress, Ann Kelsey of L.A. Law. She is married to Michael Tucker who plays her husband on L.A. Law.
1944 Chris Britton (Charles Christopher Britton), British guitarist, with the Troggs. Music: Wild Thing (1966, #1).
1940 Jack Nicklaus American golfer, 6-time Masters winner, and 5-time PGA player of the year. He is the all-time leader in major tournament wins.
1938 Wolfman Jack d. 1995 (Robert Smith), American Radio Hall of Fame deejay. Known for his gravelly voice. Film: American Graffiti (1973, himself).
1924 Benny Hill d. 1992 (Alfred Hawthorne Hill), English comedian, singer. His father and grandfather had both been circus clowns. Quote: "I'm not against half naked girls - not as often as I'd like to be." TV: The Benny Hill Show (1955-89). Music: Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West) (1971, British #1).
(Aristotle Savalas), American Emmy-winning actor.
1921 Barney B. Clark d. 1983 American dentist. He was the first person to have a permanent artificial heart successfully implanted (Dec. 2, 1982).
1905 Karl Wallenda d. 1978 German-American tight-rope walker, with the Great Wallendas. At the age of 73, he fell over 100 feet to his death during a performance in Puerto Rico. See video
1815 Horace Wells d. 1848 American dentist, first to use nitrous oxide (laughing gas) for dental anesthesia (1844).
1813 Major General John Charles Fremont d. 1890 American mapmaker, explored the Western U.S., and was the first Republican candidate for U.S. president (1856). He was court-martialed and convicted of mutiny by the U.S. Army (1847-48).
1738 Ethan Allen d. 1789 American Revolutionary War commander. He organized the Green Mountain Boys (1770).
Deaths for January 21
2002 Peggy Lee b. 1920 (Norma Egstrom), American singer, actress. Music: Somebody Else Is Taking My Place (1942, #1). Film: Pete Kelly's Blues (1955).
1999 Susan Strasberg b. 1938 American actress. At age 18, she became the youngest actress to star on Broadway with her name above the marquee title, for her role in The Diary of Anne Frank (1955, title role).
1998 Jack Lord b. 1920 (John Joseph Ryan), American actor. TV: Hawaii Five-O (detective Steve McGarrett). Film: Dr. No (1962, CIA Agent Felix Leiter).
1997 Col. Tom Parker b. 1909 (Andreas Cornelius Van Kuijk), Dutch impresario, Elvis Presley's manager. He also managed Hank Snow and Eddy Arnold. Parker, who was not a U.S. citizen and couldn't get a visa, was afraid that if he left the states he would not be allowed back in. Consequently, Elvis never toured Europe.
J. R. "Bob" Dobbs
American founder of the Church of the SubGenius. He was a salesman in the 1950s until he saw a vision of God on a television set (1953). The vision inspired him to write the "PreScriptures" (as described in the Book of the SubGenius) and found his Church. He was assassinated in San Francisco in 1984, though the Church states that he has come back from the dead several times since then.
1984 Edward J. Daly b. 1922 American businessman. President of World Airways. Towards the end of the Vietnam War, he used his own plane and money to rescue 54 orphans out of Vietnam.
1959 Cecil Blount De Mille b. 1881 American Oscar-winning film director, called the founder of Hollywood. Film: The Ten Commandments (1923 and 1956), The King of Kings (1927), Cleopatra (1934), and Samson and Delilah (1949).
1959 Carl Switzer b. 1927 American actor. Film: Alfalfa of The Little Rascals, It's a Wonderful Life (1946, Freddie Othello). He was shot to death, after attacking a man with a knife, during an argument over $50.
1950 George Orwell b. 1903 (Eric Arthur Blair), English author. Writings: Animal Farm (1945) and 1984 (1949).
1928 George Washington Goethals b. 1858 American engineer. He built the Panama Canal (1914) and was the first governor of the Canal Zone (1914-16).
1901 Elisha Gray b. 1835 American inventor. He filed a patent for the telephone the same day as Alexander Graham Bell (1876). A long legal battle ensued which Bell ultimately won (1888). He also invented a teleautograph for transmitting handwriting.
1892 John Couch Adams b. 1819 English astronomer, in 1845 he correctly predicted the existence of the planet Neptune, which was discovered the following year.
1793 Louis XVI b. 1754 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.
1736 Jean Louis b. ???? French-born seaman, his will established a charity hospital in New Orleans, which is now the oldest hospital in the U.S.
1609 Joseph Justus Scaliger b. 1540 French scholar, founder of modern chronology. He created the Julian Period calendar - it starts on January 1, 4713 B.C.
1118 Paschal II b. ???? religious leader, 160th Pope (1099-1118).