Birthdays: Emperor Hirohito, Duke Ellington , Duke Wellington, Sir Thomas Beacham, Zuben Mehta is 79, Tom Ewell, Rod McKuen, Fred Zinnemann, Jerry Seinfeld is 60, Michelle Pfeiffer is 57, Daniel Day Lewis is 58, Uma Thurman is 45
1771- Artist Benjamin West unveils his painting of the “Death of General Wolfe” at the Royal Academy in London. Wolfe was killed in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, which decided that Canada would be English. West’s portrayal of Wolfe in his actual uniform instead an idealized Grecian god was considered scandalously realistic and revolutionized painting.
1944- Dancing Romeos, the last Our Gang comedy short was produced by MGM, which had bought the franchise in 1938 from Hal Roach.
1949- MGM chief Louis B. Mayer fired Frank Sinatra for making a joke about him. Mayer hurt his hip riding, and Sinatra joked he got hurt not falling off his horse, but falling off Jean Howard, a young actress Mayer was chasing.
1986- Los Angeles Central Library burns down. A lot of the costs of rebuilding was raised by private donation, much raised by a wild local televangelist named Dr. Gene Scott. Scott would preach his own strange brand of Bible study while smoking a cigar and wearing funny hats on camera. He also liked to laugh at other evangelists.
1992- THE GREAT LOS ANGELES RIOT- Los Angeleanos go berserk after an all white jury in Simi Valley acquitted the policemen who beat up drunk motorist Rodney King while being videotaped. 58 killed, 2500 businesses destroyed, $1.5 billion dollars in damage, 13,200 arrests and large sections of Los Angeles put under martial law. Even Rodney King was moved to go on TV and proclaim: " Can't we all just get along?"
Part of the reason the disturbance spun out of control was the autocratic chief of the LAPD Darryl Gates was incommunicado for several hours at the beginning of the crisis at a fundraising party in Bel Air to get money to fuel his quarrel with Mayor Tom Bradley. One irony was the loot-crazed mob ran right past the L.A. County Art Museum to sack a department store on the next corner. I guess they felt that there was nothing of value in it, which is in agreement with many art critics. The Beverly Hills Police, a separate entity, kept the peace by simply arresting everyone they saw.