Today's History Trivia for September 20
Bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut
A terrorist drives a car loaded with explosives into the compound, killing 24 people, including two Americans. The attacker drove a van with 3,000 pounds (1360 kg) of explosives toward the six-story embassy. The driver was shot by a bodyguard of the British ambassador and Lebanese embassy guards and lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle then detonated after striking a parked van. The Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO) claimed responsibility for the attack stating, "The operation goes to prove that we will carry out our previous promise not to allow a single American to remain on Lebanese soil." U.S. intelligence, using satellite surveillance, discovered a mock-up of the annex that had been created at an Iranian Revolutionary Guard-run barracks to practice for the attack
1977 Jumping the Shark The Fonz jumps a shark in this episode of Happy Days. The phrase "jumping the shark" has become a metaphor for when something has passed its peak and is desperately trying to hang on.
1993 Youngest girl to fly across the U.S. 11-year-old Vicki Van Meter takes off from Maine, landing in San Diego three days later.
1989 The Night Stalker Richard Ramirez is convicted in Los Angeles for 13 murders.
1984 The Cosby Show debuts on NBC. It became the highest-rated series in 20 years.
1976 The Captain and Tennille debuts on ABC.
1973 Battle of the Sexes 29-year-old Billie Jean King beats 55-year-old Bobby Riggs in three straight sets in this highly-publicized tennis match.
1967 Queen Elizabeth II The famous ocean liner is christened at Clydebank, Scotland.
1955 You'll Never Get Rich (The Phil Silvers Show) debuts on CBS.
1952 The Jackie Gleason Show debuts on CBS.
1934 Lindbergh Kidnapping Bruno Hauptmann is arrested for the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh's 20-month-old son. He was found guilty and executed.
1873 Panic of 1873 The New York Stock Exchange is forced to close for the first time in its history. It reopened 10 days later.
1859 Electric range George B. Simpson of Washington D.C. receives a patent for the first electric range. Heat was created by passing electric current through coils of wire.
1565 Pedro Menéndes de Avilés massacres the French settlers at Fort Caroline, not because they were French, but because they were Lutherans.
1519 First circumnavigation of the globe Magellan sets sail from Spain. The trip was completed in September of 1522, although Magellan was killed in a battle with the natives of the Philippines in 1521.
Today's Birthdays for September 20
1934 Sophia Loren (Sophia Scicolone), Italian Oscar-winning actress. Film: The Millionairess (1960) and Two Women (1960, Oscar).
1929 Anne Meara d. 2015 American actress. TV: Archie Bunker's Place (Veronica) and Alf (Dorothy). With her husband, she was half of the comedy team Stiller and Meara.
1924 James Galanos d. 2016 American fashion designer. Famous for his chiffons, he is considered one of today's greatest American fashion designers.
1920 Jay Ward d. 1989 American animation producer, cartoon producer of such characters as Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose.
1917 Fernando Rey d. 1994 (Fernando Casado Arambillet), Spanish actor. He was one of Spain's best-known actors. Film: The French Connection (1971, the French drug king) and Elisa, Vida mia (1977, Cannes Best Actor).
1917 Arnold "Red" Auerbach d. 2006 American basketball coach, manager. His 938 wins with the Boston Celtics makes him the NBA all-time win leader at the time of his retirement. He introduced the fast break as an offensive weapon. He also drafted the first African-American NBA player (1950, Chuck Cooper).
1901 Gus Edson d. 1966 cartoonist, creator of Dondi (1955).
1878 Upton Sinclair d. 1968 American author. Writings: The Jungle (1906).
1842 Sir James Dewar d. 1923 British chemist, physicist, inventor of the Dewar flask (the vacuum thermos bottle).
Deaths for September 20
1793 Fletcher Christian b. 1764 English mutineer. He led the mutiny against Captain Bligh aboard the HMS Bounty (1789) on their voyage to Tahiti. He placed Bligh and some of his crew adrift on an open boat. Bligh survived a 47-day 3,600-mile voyage to safety. Christian and the crew landed at Pitcairn Island where the lived out their lives.
1994 Jule Styne b. 1905 American Tony-Oscar-winning composer. Broadway: Gypsy (1959) and Funny Girl (1964). Film: Three Coins in a Fountain (1954, Oscar).
1974 Gail A. Cobb b. 1950 American police officer. She was the first female U.S. police officer killed in the line of duty (1974, Washington D.C.). She was killed while trying to apprehend a bank robbery suspect. She had been on the force less than a year.
1973 Jim Croce b. 1943 American singer. Music: You Don't Mess Around With Jim (1972), Bad, Bad Leroy Brown (1973, #1), and Time In A Bottle (1973, #1). He died in a plane crash.
1863 Jakob Ludwig Karl Grimm b. 1785 German author. He and his brother wrote Grimm's Fairy Tales (1812-15).