Today's History Trivia for July 11
1993 God's No Joking Matter A Saudi newspaper editor is arrested for printing a B.C. comic strip in which the cartoon character asks "God, if your up there, give me a sign." He is then rained on and replies "Well, we know two things. He's up there, and He's got a sense of humor." It is against the Muslim religion to question the existence of God.
1991 Total eclipse of the sun visible in California.
1979 Skylab Crashes to Earth The 82-ton U.S. space station, launched in 1973, crashes to earth. About 22 tons of it were expected to survive reentry prompting much public concern. However, it landed safely over the Indian Ocean and Australia.
1962 First person to swim the English Channel under water Fred Baldasare of the U.S. using scuba gear.
1955 U.S. Air Force Academy is dedicated.
1946 Dean Martin The legendary singer records his first four songs.
1934 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) begins operation. Its function is to regulate radio and television.
1910 First U.S. submarine accident The submarine C4 is rammed by the gunboat Castine (serving as a submarine tender) and beached to prevent sinking. The crew of 15 was unharmed.
1892 Electric Light The U.S. Patent Office declares that Joseph Wilson Swan of England had invented the carbon filament incandescent lamp, a year before Thomas Edison.
1804 U.S. Vice-President Aaron Burr mortally wounds Alexander Hamilton in a duel.
1798 U.S. Marine Corps established.
1656 First Quakers in America Ann Austin and Mary Fisher arrive in Boston. They were immediately arrested for their Quaker beliefs and sent back to England.
1533 Henry VIII Pope Clement excommunicates the King of England from the Roman Catholic Church for remarrying after his divorce. Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church
Today's Birthdays for July 11
1915 Colin Purdie Kelly, Jr d. 1941 American soldier. First U.S. air hero of World War II. Died when his B-17 was shot down by the Japanese, for which he was awarded the distinguished Service Cross. His was the first American B-17 shot down in combat.
1882 Robert F. McGowan d. 1955 American film director. Directed the Our Gang comedies (1922-33). He quit directing Our Gang after no longer wanted to deal with hassles of stage mothers and child stars.
1953 Leon Spinks American boxer, world heavyweight champion (1978), and 1976 Olympic gold medal winner.
1931 Tab Hunter (Arthur Gelien), American actor. TV: Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (Mary's father - after plastic surgery).
1927 Theodore Maiman d. 2007 American physicist. He developed the first working laser (1960). It utilized a synthetic pink ruby crystal as the lasing medium and a helical xenon flash lamp as the excitation source.
1923 Dan Barry d. 1997 American cartoonist. He drew the Tarzan comic strip (1947-48) and Flash Gordon (1951-90). He also wrote and drew for the Indiana Jones comic books.
1903 Rudolf Abel d. 1971 (Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher), Soviet spy. He was captured by the FBI (1957) and later exchanged for American U-2 pilot F. Gary Powers (1962). He transported microfilm inside a hollowed-out nickel.
1899 E.B. White d. 1985 (Elwyn Brooks White), American Pulitzer-winning author, essayist. Writings: Charlotte's Web (1952).
1892 Thomas Mitchell d. 1962 American Oscar-Tony-Emmy-winning actor. Broadway: Hazel Flagg (1953, Tony). Film: Stagecoach (1939, Oscar) and Gone With the Wind (1939, Scarlett O'Hara's father).
1838 John Wanamaker d. 1922 American merchant, U.S. Postmaster General (1889-93). He introduced the use of mailboxes in an effort to make mail delivery more efficient (1891). Until then the mailman would knock on your door and hand deliver the mail.
1754 Thomas Bowdler d. 1825 English physician. The term "bowdlerize" - meaning self-righteous censorship - is derived from his rewrites of Shakespeare and parts of the Old Testament in which he removed all text he considered offensive.
1657 Frederick I d. 1713 first King of Prussia (1701-13).
1274 Robert I d. 1329 King of Scotland (1306-29).
Deaths for July 11
2007 Lady Bird Johnson b. 1912 (Claudia Johnson), American First Lady, wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
2006 Barnard Hughes b. 1915 (Bernard Hughes), American Tony-Emmy-winning actor. TV: Guiding Light (Dr. Bruce Banning) and The Cavanaughs (Pop Cavanaugh).
1989 Sir Laurence Olivier b. 1907 British Oscar and Emmy-winning actor. He starred in and directed Hamlet (1948) which won five Oscars and was the first British film to win a Best Picture Oscar. He was knighted in 1947.
1983 Ross Macdonald b. 1915 (Kenneth Millar), American mystery author, creator of the private eye Lew Archer.
1963 Herbert Thomas Kalmus b. 1881 American film pioneer. Inventor of Technicolor (1912).
1937 George Gershwin b. 1898 (Jacob Gershvin), American Pulitzer-winning composer. Music: Rhapsody in Blue (1923) and Of Thee I Sing (1931).
1915 Mifflin Wister Gibbs b. 1823 American judge. First black elected judge in the U.S. (1873, Little Rock, Arkansas). In 1858, angered by California passing discriminatory laws preventing blacks from owning property, not allowing them to give evidence against a white person in court, and requiring them to wear badges showing they had paid for the privilege to live there, he moved to British Columbia. He would later move back to the U.S.
1808 William Shippen, Jr b. 1736 American physician. He was the first systematic teacher of anatomy, surgery, and obstetrics in the United States and one of the first to use cadavers in the teaching of anatomy (1762).
1806 James Smith b. circa 1719 American patriot, signer of the Declaration of Independence.