Today's History Trivia for July 20
1984 Running Advocate Dies at 52 of Heart Attack While Jogging James Fixx dies of a heart attack while jogging. His book The Complete Book of Running (1977) launched a nation-wide running craze. Fixx started running and quit smoking at age 35 when he weighed 214 pounds (97 kg) and smoked two packs of cigarettes per day. Ten years later, when his book, The Complete Book of Running was published, he was 60 pounds (27 kg) lighter. The book sold over a million copies. It is believed he may have suffered a congenital heart defect, as his father died of a heart attack at age 43.
1969 First Man on the Moon The Apollo 11 crew lands on the lunar surface. Six and half hours later Neil A. Armstrong would step onto the surface speaking the famous line, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. joined him a few minutes later.
Hitler Assassination Attempt
A bomb explodes during a meeting between Hitler and the military leaders of the Reich, killing one and wounding 12 others. Hitler was virtually unscathed. His first reaction was concern for his new boots.
1990 Iran-Contra Affair Lt. Col. Oliver North's conviction for destroying government documents is overturned by a federal appeals court.
1976 Gymnast wins with broken leg Shun Fujimoto wins an Olympic gold medal as a member of the Japanese gymnastics team. He had broken his leg during his floor exercise routine. He continued and scored a 9.5 on the side horse and a 9.7 on the rings.
1976 Viking I lands on Mars and sends the first pictures sent from Mars' surface (pictured is the first image sent).
1973 First coast-to-coast black-owned and operated radio news network The National Black Network (NBN) begins operations.
1960 First Underwater Guided-Missile Launch The submarine USS George Washington launches a pair of Polaris missiles. The target was more than 1,100 nautical miles away.
1950 Arthur Murray Party Time debuts on ABC. It was one of only four shows to appear on all four major TV networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, DuMont). Some consider it the longest running commercial on TV.
1940 First Billboard Magazine music popularity chart: Frank Sinatra topped the list with I'll Never Smile Again.
1927 Charles A. Lindbergh After completing the first solo transatlantic flight, he begins his tour of the U.S. He visited every state with his plane The Spirit of St. Louis.
1925 Monkey Trial Prosecutor William Jennings Bryan takes the witness stand to defend his fundamentalist views against the teaching of evolution. He is completely humiliated by Clarence Darrow, who pointed out the absurdity of a strict reading of the Bible. The resulting stress may have contributed to Bryan's death six days later.
1924 Tarzan Future Tarzan portrayer Johnny Weissmuller wins Olympic gold medals for the 100-meter freestyle and the 4x200-meter relay.
1903 Ford Motor Company The soon to be auto giant ships its first car.
1859 First baseball game to charge admission 50¢, Long Island, N.Y. Source: Famous First Facts
Today's Birthdays for July 20
1822 Gregor Johann Mendel d. 1884 Austrian monk, botanist. His experiments with the garden pea (1856-63) constitute the basis of modern genetics, now referred to as Mendelian inheritance. His work was all but ignored until 1900.
1947 Carlos Santana Mexican-born musician.
1945 Kim Carnes American Grammy-winning singer. Music: It Hurts So Bad (1956) and Bette Davis Eyes (1981, #1, Grammy).
(Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko, billed as Natasha Gurdin by the age of four), American actress. Film: Miracle on 34th Street (1947, as the little girl who trusted Santa Claus) and Rebel Without a Cause (1955, Judy). She drowned off the side of her yacht while it was docked. She had a fear of water since almost drowning as a child while filming The Green Promise (1949).
1938 Diana Rigg British actress. TV: The Avengers (Emma Peel).
1924 Robert D. Maurer American research physicist. He and his colleagues at Corning Glass Works, Dr. Donald B. Keck and Dr. Peter Schultz invented optical fiber. It is capable of carrying 65,000 times more information than conventional copper wire.
1924 Lola Albright d. 2017 American actress, singer. TV: Peter Gunn (1958-61, Peter Gunn's girlfriend).
1836 Sir Thomas Clifford Allbutt d. 1925 English physician. Inventor of the short clinical pocket thermometer (1866). Prior to his invention, clinical thermometers were about a foot long and patients had to hold them for about twenty minutes.
1804 Sir Richard Owen d. 1892 English biologist, paleontologist. He coined the term Dinosaur (1842). He was strongly opposed to Darwinian evolution.
1519 Innocent IX d. 1591 (Giovanni Antonio Facchinetti), Italian religious leader, 230th Pope (Oct. - Dec. 1591).
Deaths for July 20
Canadian actor. TV: Star Trek (Chief Engineer Scotty). As part of the Royal Canadian Artillery during the World War II D-Day invasion he shot two snipers. However, he was hit by six rounds of friendly fire from a Canadian sentry. A round to his chest was stopped by a cigarette case he was carrying. Another round caused him to have his right middle finger amputated.
1984 James Fuller Fixx b. 1932 American author, The Complete Book of Running (1977) which launched a running craze. He died of a heart attack while jogging. He also published three collections of puzzles: Games for the Super-Intelligent, More Games for the Super-Intelligent, and Solve It!.
1992 Alvin "Tuffy" Coerber b. 1919 American public official. He defeated his opponent in the August 1992 nomination for re-election for Kearny County Commissioner in Kansas - even though he had been dead for two weeks.
1983 Frank Reynolds b. 1923 American anchorman. TV: ABC Evening News.
1937 Guglielmo Marconi b. 1874 Italian Nobel-winning physicist, radio pioneer, inventor of the wireless telegraph (1896).
1903 Leo XIII b. 1810 Italian religious leader, 256th Pope (1878-1903).
1870 Albrecht von Gräfe b. 1828 German eye surgeon, regarded as the greatest German ophthalmologist of the 19th century. He was the first to successfully treat glaucoma.
1704 Peregrine White b. 1620 pioneer. The first child born of English parents in New England. He was born aboard the Mayflower while it was anchored just off of Cape Cod.