Today's History Trivia for October 20
1977 Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash Six people die, including three members of the band, when their chartered plane runs out of fuel and crashes in Mississippi. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines (Steve's older sister), assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray were killed on impact. Twenty people survived the crash.
Watergate - Saturday Night Massacre
U.S. President Richard Nixon orders U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Richardson resigns in protest. Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox. Ruckelshaus also refused and resigned. Solicitor General of the United States Robert Bork is then sworn in as acting attorney general and fires Cox.
1991 Oakland fire Thousands of homes in Oakland Hills, California are destroyed by fire.
1982 World's Worst Soccer Tragedy 340 fans are crushed to death in a staircase at a game in Moscow.
1976 Part of Jill's right breast and nipple are shown on the Angels in Chains episode of Charlie's Angels.
1967 Bigfoot The legendary creature is reportedly filmed by hunters Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin, creating what is known as the "Patterson footage."
1962 Monster Mash The graveyard smash, by Bobby "Boris" Pickett, reaches #1.
1960 First automated U.S. Post Office Project Turnkey opens in Providence, Rhode Island. It was designed to handle 2,000,000 pieces of mail a day.
1954 Peter Pan musical opens, starring Mary Martin.
1947 The House Un-American Activities Committee begins investigating Communist activity in the entertainment industry.
1944 World War II General MacArthur fulfills his promise by returning to the Philippines.
1928 A chicken in every pot The slogan is first used by the Republican Party.
1922 First life saved by a parachute Lt. Harold Harris.
1910 Baseball First use of a cork-centered baseball in a World Series game.
1708 St. Paul's Cathedral The construction of Christopher Wren's building in London is completed.
Today's Birthdays for October 20
1882 Bela Lugosi d. 1956 (Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó), Hungarian-born American horror actor. Film: Dracula (1931), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943, Ygor), and Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959, called "the worst movie ever made"). He was buried wearing his Dracula costume.
1966 Abu Musab al-Zarqawi d. 2006 Jordanian-born leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He was killed when U.S. forces bombed his safehouse.
1950 Tom Petty d. 2017 American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer, with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. He sold more than 80 million records worldwide. Music: Refugee (1980) and You Got Lucky (1982).
1935 Jerry Orbach d. 2004 American Tony-winning actor. Film: Dirty Dancing (1987, Baby's father), Beauty and the Beast (1991, voice of Lumiere the candelabra). TV: Law & Order (Det. Lennie Briscoe, 1991-2004).
1934 Michael Dunn d. 1973 (Gary Neil Miller), American dwarf (3 ft. 10 in. - 117 cm) actor. He was reported to have in IQ of 178. Film: Ship of Fools (1964). TV: The Wild Wild West (the evil Dr. Loveless).
1933 June Blair (Margaret June Blair), American actress. TV: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1961-66, Dave's wife). She was Playboy's Playmate of the Month for the January 1957 issue.
1932 William Christopher d. 2016 American actor. TV: M*A*S*H (1972-83, Father Mulcahy) and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C (1965-68, Private Lester Hummel).
1931 Mickey Mantle d. 1995 American Baseball Hall-of-Famer, "The Commerce Comet." With 536 career home runs, he led the American League four times, and is a three-time MVP (1956-57, 1962).
1927 Dr. Joyce Brothers d. 2013 (Joyce Diane Bauer), American psychologist, newspaper columnist, radio and TV host. She was the first woman to win the top prize on the TV show The $64,000 Question (1955).
1925 Art Buchwald d. 2007 American Pulitzer-winning newspaper columnist. The book Fatal Subtraction: The Inside Story of Buchwald v. Paramount (1992) was about his lawsuit against Paramount for stealing his script treatment used in the Eddie Murphy movie Coming to America (1988).
1922 John Anderson d. 1992 American actor. TV: Wyatt Earp (Virgil Earp).
1913 Grandpa Jones d. 1998 (Louis Marshall Jones), American Country Music Hall of Famer (1978). TV: Hee Haw ("Hey Grandpa, what's for supper?")
1911 Will Rogers Jr d. 1993 (William Vann Rogers), American actor, son of the famous humorist. U.S. Representative (California 1943-44. He resigned to enlist in the army for WWII). Film: The Story of Will Rogers (1952, in which he played his real-life father).
1907 Arlene Francis d. 2001 (Arlene Francis Kazanjian), American radio talk-show host, actress. TV: What's My Line (panelist 1950-67).
1898 Hugo Zacchini d. 1975 Italian-born circus performer, the Human Cannonball for the Ringling Brothers Circus. He was shot 75 feet into the air travelling a distance of 200 feet.
1891 Sir James Chadwick d. 1974 English Nobel-winning physicist. He discovered the neutron (1932), for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics.
1890 Jelly Roll Morton d. 1941 (Ferdinand Joseph Morton), American jazz musician. The first great composer in jazz.
1859 John Dewey d. 1952 American philosopher, education reformer. He promoted the idea of learning by doing.
1856 James Robert Mann d. 1922 American politician. U.S. Representative (1897–1922, Illinois). He authored the Mann Act (1910), also known as the White Slave Act. It prohibited the transportation of women across state lines for immoral purposes.
1812 Austin Flint d. 1886 American physician, pioneer in heart research. He co-founded Buffalo Medical College.
Deaths for October 20
1964 Herbert Clark Hoover b. 1874 31st U.S. President (1929-33), U.S. Secretary of Commerce (1921-28). He was the first president who was a Quaker and the first president born west of the Mississippi.
2014 Oscar de la Renta b. 1932 (Óscar Arístides Renta Fiallo), Dominican-born American fashion designer. He designed gowns worn by U.S. First Ladies Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama.
2010 Bob Guccione b. 1930 (Robert Charles Joseph Edward Sabatini Guccione), American publisher. Founder of Penthouse (1965) and Omni (1978).
2007 Max McGee b. 1932 American football player. He scored the first Super Bowl touchdown (1967); playing for the Green Bay Packers, he caught an 18-yard pass and ran it in from the 19-yard line against the Kansas City Chiefs.
2006 Jane Wyatt b. 1910 American Emmy-winning actress. TV: Father Knows Best (1954-60, the mother) and Star Trek (1967, Spock's mother).
2000 Robert Ray b. 1978 American AIDS victim. He was one of three HIV infected hemophiliac brothers who won a federal court order allowing them in school after they were barred in 1986. Their family home was burned down a week after the court decision.
1994 Burt Lancaster b. 1913 American Oscar-winning actor. Film: From Here to Eternity (1953), Elmer Gantry (1960, Oscar) and The Leopard (1963). He started his career as a circus performer.
1990 Joel McCrea b. 1905 American western actor.
1981 Mary Coyle Chase b. 1906 American Pulitzer-winning playwright. Plays: Harvey (1944, about an oversized imaginary rabbit).
1975 Hugo Zacchini b. 1898 Italian-born circus performer, the Human Cannonball for the Ringling Brothers Circus. He was shot 75 feet into the air travelling a distance of 200 feet.
1973 Norman Chandler b. 1899 American newspaper publisher. As publisher of the Los Angeles Times (1945-60), he built it into the nation's second largest daily newspaper.
1972 Harlow Shapley b. 1885 American astronomer. He made the first accurate estimate of the size of the Milky Way galaxy (1918).
1966 Harry Flood Byrd b. 1887 Sr., American politician, Virginia governor (1926-30), U.S. senator (Virginia, 1933-65). He received 15 electoral votes in the 1960 U.S. presidential election even though he wasn't a candidate. Strongly opposed to integration, his segregationist policies caused the closure of some public schools in Virginia (1959-64), creating a large number of black students who were denied their education in several Virginia counties. These students became known as the "lost generation." He was also known for his "pay-as-you-go" fiscal policy.
1936 Anne Sullivan b. 1866 American educator, "The Miracle Worker." In 1887, she became Helen Keller's teacher and companion. Anne was partially blind as a child, becoming completely blind in 1935.
1926 Eugene Victor Debs b. 1855 American labor organizer, first president of the American Railway Union (1893) and founder of the Social Democrat Party of America (1897).
1913 Daniel David Palmer b. 1845 Canadian-born American magnetic healer and founder of chiropractic treatment (c1895). He believed that disease was caused by poor nerve flow through the spine.
1900 Charles Dudley Warner b. 1829 American newspaperman, made the famous quote "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."
1890 Sir Richard Francis Burton b. 1821 English explorer. He discovered Lake Tanganyika and translated The Arabian Nights into English.
1880 Lydia Maria Francis Child b. 1802 American abolitionist, published the National Anti-Slavery Standard (1840-44).
1187 Urban III b. ???? Italian-born religious leader, 172nd Pope (1185-87).