birthdays: King John II “The good” of France (1319), Elisabeth Vignee-Lebrun, Wilbur Wright, Charlie Chaplin, J.P. Morgan, Kingsley Amis, Anatole France, Henry Mancini, Peter Ustinov, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bobby Vinton, Spike Milligan, animator John Halas, Edie Adams, Hans Sloane*, Disney artist Victor Haboush, Martin Lawrence is 50, John Cryer is 50, Ellen Barkin is 61, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is 88.
1787- What some consider the first professionally produced American play- Royall Tyler’s the Contrast- debuted at New York City’s John Street Theater. It was a comedy that poked fun at aristocracy. Gen. George Washington was in the audience. At this time the Broadway theater district and Times Square was a quiet forest clearing.
1828- Spanish artist Francisco Goya died at 82 in Bordeaux, France. Years later when his remains were moved to Madrid it was discovered Goya wasn't alone in his grave. His friend Martin Goesochea's remains were in with him. Maybe there was a two-for-one sale..
1926- The Book-Of-The-Month-Club distributed it’s first selection-Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner.
1935- Fibber McGee and Molly debut on radio.
1947- The Zoom Lens patented.
1952- THE NUNIVAK INCIDENT AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMPUTER – American coastal air defenses had been neglected since the end of WWII. But by 1952 the Cold War raised tensions, and we knew the Soviets had nuclear bombers capable of reaching the US mainland. This night, a radar station at Nunivak Alaska and another at Presque Isle Maine both reported flights of unidentified aircraft headed towards the U.S.. They turned out to be false alarms, but the reports of the planes took four hours to reach Washington! The resultant scandal in Strategic Air Command resulted in the rapid building up of a new early warning system. This fostered the birth of the SAGE computer systems, inventing the computer screen, the keyboard and stylus.
1959- John McCarthy of MIT invented the computer language LISP.
1962- Walter Cronkite took over the job of anchor at the CBS Evening News, building a reputation for journalistic integrity almost equaled to Edward R. Murrow. Nicknamed the Most Trusted Man in America, many credit Cronkite for breaking the news to America that the U.S. was not going to win the Vietnam War. President Lyndon Johnson said: If I lost Cronkite then I’ve lost middle America.” When Cronkite retired, the redoubtable CBS News Division descent into tabloid stupidity and irrelevance began.