Today's History Trivia for July 17
1918 Russian Revolution Czar Nicholas II, his wife, and his five children are killed by the Bolsheviks during the aftermath of the revolution. Two of the children's bodies weren't found until 2007, causing speculation up to then they might have survived.
1990 Baseball The Minnesota Twins become the first major league team to score two triple plays in the same game. They still lost 1-0 to the Boston Red Sox.
1989 B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber After $22 billion and 10 years the radar-cloaking aircraft makes its maiden voyage.
1984 First woman to walk in space Soviet Soyuz T-12 is launched with cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya. She made her historic walk on July 25th.
1981 Hyatt Regency disaster Two concrete skywalks fall onto a crowd of 1,500 people at the Kansas City hotel killing 114. Two engineers, who designed the skywalks, had their licenses revoked in 1986.
1975 First manned Soviet-American space project Apollo 18 and Soviet Soyuz 19 link together in space. They remained linked for 47 hours.
1969 Space Flight Is Possible The New York Times publishes an apology for a 1920 article ridiculing Dr. Goddard's theory that rockets could function in the vacuum of space. This came after the successful launch of Apollo 11 on its way to the Moon. (One might say they had to "Apollo-gize")
1968 The Beatles The Yellow Submarine cartoon premiers in London. The Fab Four accompany Captain Fred in his Yellow Submarine to free Pepperland from the music-hating Blue Meanies.
1955 Nuclear Power Arco, Idaho becomes the first town powered entirely by atomic energy when a 3,500-watt experimental power plant went on line for an hour.
1955 Disneyland Walt Disney's theme park opens in Anaheim, California.
1954 First major-league baseball game in which the majority of a team's players were black The Brooklyn Dodgers - which included black greats Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella - lose 6-1 to the Milwaukee Braves. Source: Famous First Facts
1946 First American Saint Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), founder of the Institute of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, is declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. She is the Patron Saint of Emigrants.
1944 WWII - Port Chicago Mutiny An ammunitions depot in Port Chicago, California explodes killing 320 men, including 202 blacks assigned by the Navy to handle explosives. The unsafe working conditions continued, resulting in 258 out of the 320 African-American sailors in the ordnance battalion refusing to load ammunitions. Fifty black men were later convicted for refusing to return to work.
1941 Baseball Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak comes to an end. He had 91 hits for a .408 average.
1938 Wrong-Way Corrigan The American aviator takes off from New York making a nonstop transatlantic flight - without a permit - landing in Ireland the next day. He claimed he had intended to fly to Los Angeles, but had followed the wrong end of his compass.
1936 Spanish Civil War The war starts with an Armed Forces rebellion against the recently-elected leftist Popular Front government of Spain.
1924 Future baby doctor Benjamin Spock wins an Olympic gold medal for rowing.
1866 First U.S. underwater highway tunnel The Washington St. Tunnel beneath the Chicago River in Chicago is authorized. It was completed in 1869.
1862 Blacks in the military Pres. Lincoln signs the first federal law allowing persons of African descent to serve in the U.S. military. Over 186,000 would eventually serve in Union forces during the Civil War.
1861 First U.S. paper money Congress authorizes $50,000,000 in demand notes. Issue began on March 10, 1862 in denominations of $5, $10, and $20, but they weren't declared legal tender until March 17th. Source: Famous First Facts
1790 First sewing machine English cabinetmaker Thomas Saint patents a machine with features that are basic to most modern sewing machines. It is not known if he ever built one.
1453 100 Years War France defeats England at Castillon ending the war. The British lost possession of all land in France except Calais.
709 B.C. Earliest Record of a Total Solar Eclipse The Chinese make records of the celestial event.
Today's Birthdays for July 17
1908 Leonard Thompson d. 1935 Canadian diabetic. He was the first person to receive insulin to treat diabetes (1922 at 14 years old). Slipping in and out of a diabetic coma and about to die, he was given the first injection at Toronto General Hospital. His symptoms immediately improved. However, the insulin was so impure, he suffered a severe allergic reaction and treatment had to be cancelled. Doctors quickly improved the purity and resumed treatment. The insulin was from the pancreases of cattle.
1952 David Hasselhoff American actor. TV: The Young and the Restless, Knight Rider, and Baywatch.
1951 Lucie Arnaz American actress, daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
1950 Phoebe Snow d. 2011 (Phoebe Laub), American singer. Music: Phoebe Snow: Poetry Man (1974).
1935 Donald Sutherland Canadian actor. Film: M*A*S*H (1970, Hawkeye), Don't Look Now (1973), and Ordinary People (1980).
1935 Diahann Carroll (Carol Diahann Johnson), American actress, singer. She was the first black woman to star in a TV series (1968-71, Julia) since Beulah (1950-53) and the first black woman to star in a TV series in which she didn't play a domestic.
1920 Gordon Gould d. 2005 American Physicist. He is credited with inventing the laser (1957). He coined the term "laser" (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation). Although he was the first to document plans on how to build a laser, he was not the first to build one (See Theodore Maiman).
1917 Phyllis Diller d. 2012 (Phyllis Driver), American comedienne, actress. She got her start when, as a 40-year-old mother of five, began doing stand-up. Quote: "Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight."
1917 Gus Arriola d. 2008 Mexican-American cartoonist. Creator of Gordo (1941-85).
1912 Art Linkletter d. 2010 (Gordon Arthur Kelly), Canadian-born American Emmy-winning TV personality. His picture is on the $100,000 bill in Milton Bradley's Game of Life. TV: House Party (1952-69) and People are Funny (1954-60).
1905 William Gargan d. 1979 American actor. TV: Martin Kane, Private Eye (title role). After losing his voice to cancer in 1960, he became an anti-smoking advocate.
1899 James Cagney d. 1986 American Oscar-winning actor. Film: Mr. Roberts (1955, the captain). He started his career as a female impersonator in a New York revue.
1894 Father Georges-Henri Lemaître d. 1966 Belgian astronomer, Roman Catholic Priest. He first proposed what later became known as the Big Bang to explain the origin of the Universe (1931). He called his theory the "hypothesis of the primeval atom" or the "Cosmic Egg." Einstein initially derided his theories, but later stated that not accepting them was the greatest error of his life. He was the very first recipient of the Eddington Medal award of the Royal Astronomical Society.
1889 Erle Stanley Gardner d. 1970 American lawyer, author, creator of Perry Mason (1933).
1827 Sir Frederick Abel d. 1902 English chemist. With Sir James Dewar, he invented cordite, a smokeless explosive (1891). Used by the British army in WWI, it enabled the battlefield to remain visible during heavy bombings.
1744 Elbridge Gerry d. 1814 5th U.S. Vice-President (1813-14), signer of the Declaration of Independence, father of the "gerrymander."
1674 Isaac Watts d. 1748 English clergyman, founder of modern English hymnody, and author of the hymn Joy To the World (1719). Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church
Deaths for July 17
2014 Elaine Stritch b. 1925 American Theater Hall of Fame Emmy-winning actress. TV: My Sister Eileen (Ruth) and 30 Rock. Her one-woman show Elaine Stritch at Liberty, won the 2002 Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event.
2009 Walter Cronkite b. 1916 American reporter, the CBS Evening News (1962–81). "And that's the way it is…"
2006 Mickey Spillane b. 1918 (Frank Morrison), American author, creator of the hardboiled detective Mike Hammer. He has sold over 100 million books and inspired several TV series and movies. He started out as a comic book writer, working on titles such as Captain America, Human Torch, and Submariner. Writings: I, the Jury (1947), Kiss Me, Deadly (1952), and The Deep (1961)
2005 Sir Edward Heath b. 1916 British prime minister (1970-74). An avid yachtsman, he captained Britain's winning team for the Admiral's Cup in 1971.
1995 Juan Manuel Fangio b. 1911 Argentine Hall of Fame auto racer, 5-time Formula One World Champion (1951, 54-57). He is considered one of the greatest racecar drivers of all time.
1991 Harold Robert Perry b. 1916 American clergyman, first black American-born Catholic bishop (1966, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans).
1974 Dizzy Dean b. 1910 (Jay Hanna Dean), American baseball Hall of Famer and sports announcer.
1967 John Coltrane b. 1926 American tenor saxophonist, the most influential jazz musician of the 60s. Music: My Favorite Things (1960).
1961 Ty Cobb b. 1886 (Tyrus Raymond Cobb), American baseball player, "The Georgia Peach." He was the first person elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame (1936).
1959 Billie Holiday b. 1915 (Eleanora Fagan McKay), American blues singer, performed with Benny Goodman and Count Basie.
1948 Ildebrando Zacchini b. 1868 Maltan-born painter, inventor. He invented the cannon used by Ringling Bros. in the human cannonball act. His son Hugo Zacchini was the first performer to use it. It used compressed air to propel the performer.
1918 Nicholas II b. 1868 Czar of Russia, the last monarch of Russia. He abdicated his throne (1917) ending the 300-year-old Romanov dynasty. He and the royal family were killed by the Bolsheviks in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution.
1903 James McNeill Whistler b. 1834 American artist, known for his portrait of his mother (1872).
1887 Dorothea Lynde Dix b. 1802 American philanthropist and prison reformer. A crusader for the humane treatment of the mentally ill, she helped establish over 30 hospitals for the mentally ill. She served as a Superintendent of Army Nurses during the Civil War, organizing and outfitting the Union Army hospitals.
1790 Adam Smith b. 1723 British moral philosopher, political economist, author of Wealth of Nations (1776), the first systematic formulation of classical English economics.
855 Saint Leo IV b. ???? Italian religious leader, 103rd Pope (847-855).