Today's History Trivia for May 18
1980 Mount St. Helens Erupts Mount St. Helens in Washington State erupts, killing 57 people. The magnitude 5.1 earthquake triggered a massive collapse of the north face of the mountain, creating the largest-known debris avalanche in recorded history. The pyroclastic flow flattened vegetation and buildings over 230 square miles.
1504 Michelangelo's David Michelangelo's marble sculpture of David is placed in front of the Piazza della Signoria after its completion. It was originally commissioned for the Florence Cathedral, but after completion they realized there was no way to move the 6-ton statue to the top of the cathedral. In 1873, it was moved to the Accademia Gallery, Florence. A replica was placed in the Piazza della Signoria in 1910.
1994 Genetically-Altered Food The genetically-altered "Flavr Savr" tomato is approved for sale by the Food and Drug Administration. It is the first whole food developed through biotechnology to be made available to U.S. consumers.
1993 Hair Force One Pres. Clinton ties up Los Angeles International Airport while he gets a $200 haircut aboard an Air Force One jet on the runway.
1992 World War II Former Nazi commandant Josef Schwammberger is sentenced to life in prison for killing more than 600 people and shooting a rabbi for refusing to work on a Jewish holy day.
1992 Murphy Brown The TV character has her baby, much to the disapproval of U.S. Vice-President Dan Quayle who would later criticize the fictional character's moral values for having a child out of wedlock.
1992 Gulf War A British coroner's jury ruled that nine British soldiers, killed during the war 1991 by U.S. friendly fire, were killed by the unlawful reckless action of two American pilots.
1983 Reagan The U.S. President sticks his thumbs in his ears, wiggles his fingers and says to the press "I've been waiting years to do this."
1967 Artificial Insemination Oklahoma becomes the first U.S. state to legalize artificial insemination for humans.
1953 First Woman to Break the Sound Barrier At Rogers Dry Lake, California, Jacqueline Cochran flies a Canadair F-86 Sabre jet borrowed from the Royal Canadian Air Force at an average speed of 652.337 mph.
1952 First woman to sail solo across the Atlantic Ann Davidson departs from Plymouth, England on her 23-foot sailboat. She arrived in Miami, Florida in August of 1953.
1934 First federal law authorizing the death penalty A law making the killing of a federal officer a mandatory capital offense is enacted.
Today's Birthdays for May 18
1920 John Paul II d. 2005 (Karol Wojtyla), 264th Pope (1978-2005), the first Polish Pope. He reigned as pope of the Roman Catholic Church for almost 27 years, making him the second-longest reigning pontiff.
1931 Robert Morse American Tony-winning actor. Broadway: How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1962, Tony).
1928 Pernell Roberts d. 2010 American actor. TV: Bonanza (1959-65, Adam Cartwright) and Trapper John, M.D. (1979-86, Trapper John).
1922 Bill Macy (Wolf Marvin Garber), American actor. TV: Maude (Maude's husband Walter). Stage: Oh! Calcutta! (1969, where he appeared nude).
1912 Richard Brooks d. 1992 (Ruben Sax), American director, screenwriter. Film: The Blackboard Jungle (1955) and Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977).
1912 Perry Como d. 2001 (Pierino Como), American singer, Emmy-winning TV personality. Music: Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes (1952, #1) and It's Impossible (1970).
1897 Frank Capra d. 1991 Sicilian-born American Oscar-winning director. Film: It Happened One Night (1934) and It's a Wonderful Life (1946, although originally a box office flop, it has become a holiday classic). Quote: Behind every successful man there stands an astonished woman.
1872 Bertrand Russell d. 1970 British mathematician, Nobel-winning philosopher, author. He was the most distinguished philosopher of his time.
1868 Nicholas II d. 1918 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.
1850 Oliver Heaviside d. 1925 English physicist. He made long-distance telephone operation practical, predicted the increase in mass of an electric charge moving at high velocity, and predicted the existence of the ionosphere.
1825 Daniel Wesson d. 1906 American gun-maker, co-founder of Smith & Wesson (1857).
1048 Omar Khayyam d. 1131 Persian poet and mathematician. First to solve the general cubic equation of the third degree (1070). He calculated the length of the year as 365.2422 days (1074. The modern estimate is 365.242189 days).
Deaths for May 18
1995 Elizabeth Montgomery b. 1933 American actress. TV: Bewitched (Samantha; she also played cousin Serena under the pseudonym Pandora Spocks).
1990 Jill Ireland b. 1936 British-born American actress. After being diagnosed with cancer she became a spokesman for victims of the disease. Film: Death Wish II (1981).
1988 Daws Butler b. 1916 (Charles Dawson Butler), American cartoon voice. TV: voice of Elroy Jetson and Yogi Bear.
1986 John Bubbles b. 1902 (John William Sublett), American tap dancer, creator of Rhythm Tap. Known for his role as Sportin' Life in Porgy and Bess (1935).
1973 Jeannette Rankin b. 1880 American politician, first U.S. Congresswoman (1917-19, 1941-43, Montana, Republican). She was the only member of the House to oppose the declaration of war against Japan.
1967 Andy Clyde b. 1892 Scottish-born actor. Film: Hopalong Cassidy movies (Gabby Hayes). TV: Lassie (Cully Wilson).
526 Saint John I b. ???? religious leader, 53rd Pope (523-526).