Born on this date
Happy birthday, Stephanie!
75 years ago
On the radio
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starring Louis Hector and Leigh Lovell
40 years ago
Explorer 1, the first satellite to be successfully launched by the United States, re-entered earth’s atmosphere and burned up after 12 years in space and 58,000 orbits. It had been launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida atop a U.S. Army Juno I (renamed from Jupiter-C) rocket on the night of January 31, 1958, almost four months after the U.S.S.R. had launched Sputnik I to begin the space race, and almost two months after the first U.S. attempt, Vanguard, had ended in disaster when the rocket blew up after lifting just four feet from the launch pad. Explorer 1 paid immediate dividends by discovering radiation belts circling the earth, which were promptly named the Van Allen belts after Dr. James Van Allen, the scientist who had proposed their existence. Explorer 1 stopped sending information on May 23, 1958, but remained in earth orbit.
Count Karl von Spreti, West Germany’s ambassador to Guatemala, was kidnapped by a band of armed men calling themselves the Rebel Armed Forces. They threatened to kill Count von Spreti unless they were paid $700,000 and 22 prisoners were released by the Guatemalan government of President Julio Mendez Montenegro.
A Japanese jetliner seized the previous day by 15 radical students armed with pistols, bombs, and samurai swords remained on the ground at Seoul with 122 passengers and 7 crew members aboard after authorities gave up an elaborate attempt to convince the hijackers, who wanted to go to North Korea, that they actually were in North Korea.
An American military court in Longbinh, South Vietnam sentenced First Lieutenant James Duffy to six months in confinement for involuntary manslaughter. The court had originally found Lt. Duffy guilty of premeditated murder of an unarmed Vietnamese civilian, but reconsidered its verdict. During the trial, army officers testifying for the defense said that army policy, as they understood it, was not to take prisoners in Vietnam combat operations.
The U.S. Supreme Court held without dissent that trial judges had the right to bind and gag, jail for contempt, or expel from the courtroom an unruly defendant.
American League baseball owners approved a deal that would see the Seattle Pilots move to Milwaukee, but the agreement still required the approval of a bankruptcy referee. That evening, bankruptcy referee Sidney Volinn approved the $10.8-million purchase. Mr. Volinn’s ruling had the effect of finalizing the deal; the Seattle Pilots now became the Milwaukee Brewers.
In Cactus League action at Tempe, Arizona, the California Angels defeated the Seattle Pilots 4-2. Tom Murphy was the winning pitcher, while Marty Pattin took the loss in what turned out to be the team’s last game as the Seattle Pilots.
30 years ago
Died on this date
Jesse Owens, 66. U.S. athlete. Mr. Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, damaging German Chancellor Adolf Hitler’s attempt to use the games to promote his theories of German racial supremacy.
Economics and finance
U.S. President Jimmy Carter submitted a revised budget to Congress for fiscal 1981 containing $15 billion in proposed spending cuts, $2 billion more than expected. The principal cuts focused on aid to states and cities and the disadvantaged, but excluded benefit programs such as Social Security. The Defense Department, which accounted for ¼ of all federal spending, was asked to absorb only $1.4 billion of the spending cuts while accounting for the greatest share--$5.7 billion--of the projected increases since January in federal spending for 1981.
The investment house Bache Halsey Stuart Shields Inc. announced that it had incurred $50 million in potential losses in connection with the silver accounts of Herbert and Bunky Hunt, and that the Texas brothers had paid the firm $17 million that day. The Hunts signed a preliminary agreement to cover another $400 million in losses resulting from their silver trading activities. They agreed to turn over Canadian oil and gas properties and silver holdings in Engelhard Minerals and Chemicals Corp. in exchange for Engelhard’s agreement to let the Hunts out of a contract to buy 19 million ounces of silver at $35 per ounce. The contract came due that day, but silver had closed in New York at $14.20 per ounce. Engelhard would keep its 19 million ounces of silver, receive another 8.5 million ounces from the Hunts, and acquire oil holdings worth an estimated $500 million.
The Montreal Expos traded first baseman-pinch hitter Rusty Staub to the Texas Rangers for utility players LaRue Washington and Chris Smith. Mr. Staub, the most popular player in Expos’ history, had starred with the team from 1969-1971 before being traded to the New York Mets. he had then been reacquired during the 1979 season from the Detroit Tigers. He turned 36 the day after the 1980 trade, and played another 6 years in the major leagues, retiring after playing 2,951 career regular season games. Mr. Smith, who had yet to play in the majors at the time of the trade, played just 7 games with the Expos in 1981, and 2 in 1982, going 0 for 9 at bat. He played 22 games with the San Francisco Giants in 1983 before disappearing from the major leagues. Mr. Washington had played 3 games with the Rangers in 1978 and 22 in 1979, but never played another major league game after being traded to the Expos.
25 years ago
Silver Broom (men’s world championship)
Canada (Al Hackner) 6 Sweden 2
20 years ago
U.S. top 10 (Cash Box)
1 Black Velvet--Alannah Myles
2 Love Will Lead You Back--Taylor Dayne
3 I Wish it Would Rain Down--Phil Collins
4 Escapade--Janet Jackson
5 Roam--The B-52’s
6 I’ll Be Your Everything--Tommy Page
7 All Around the World--Lisa Stansfield
8 I Go to Extremes--Billy Joel
9 Keep it Together--Madonna
10 Here and Now--Luther Vandross
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev warned Lithuania of "grave consequences" if it did not annul its declaration of independence.
The day before new poll tax rates were supposed to go into effect in the U.K., a riot involving several thousand protesters took place in London. 331 police officers were among the more than 400 injured, and 341 arrests were made.
10 years ago
At the movies
The Skulls was released to theatres. The obvious inspiration for the movie was Skull and Bones, the infamous secret society at Yale University; the university in the movie isn't identified, but it sure seems like one from the Ivy League. The only "name" actor in the movie was Craig T. Nelson, who played Judge Litten Mandrake. The movie received overwhelmingly negative reviews, and was rightly regarded as one of the turkeys of the year (although it's an enjoyable turkey). Two direct-to-video/DVD sequels appeared: The Skulls II (2002); and The Skulls III (2004).
A British Columbia court found Kelly Ellard guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 14-year-old Reena Virk in Victoria in November 1997.
Victoria Cross Recipients: First World War now on Flickr - The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest military decoration in the Commonwealth and takes precedence over all other medals, decorations and orders. A recogn...
21 hours ago