Birthdays: Turkish Sultan Mehmed IV-1642, Frederic Opper the cartoonist of Happy Hooligan, Phillip Freneau, Roger Miller, Issac Asimov, Julius LaRosa, Tito Schipa, Renata Tebaldi, Tex Ritter, Dick Huemer, Cuba Gooding Jr, is 50, Tia Carrere, Kate Bosworth is 35
1688- The great insurance house Lloyd’s of London founded. In the past they’ve insured Betty Grable’s legs, Bruce Springsteen’s lungs and offered a million English pounds to anyone who could prove Elvis Presley was still alive.
1785- Austrian Emperor Joseph II ordered the Jews throughout his empire to adopt family surnames. A similar law was passed in Prussia and the rest of Germany ten years later. Most Jews created surnames out of their profession. This was when someone like Ystchak the diamond dealer became Issac Diamondstein and Yakub the butcher became Jacob Fleischman.
1815- Lord Byron married Lady Anna Milbanke.
1843- Richard Wagner’s opera The Flying Dutchmanpremiered in Dresden.
1878- Farmer John Martin thought he saw something shiny flying in the sky above Denizen Texas. He is the first person to describe it as a “flying saucer.”
1937- Hollywood actor Ross Alexander had hit on tough times. He had been in a few movies like Captain Blood and A Midsummer Night’s Dream but his career seemed to be stalled, he was in debt, and his wife committed suicide. This day the 29 year old went into the barn behind his Encino home and shot himself. The Warner Bros. Studio looked around for a replacement to refill their roster of male leads. They replaced Alexander with an Illinois college sportscaster called “Dutch”- Ronald Reagan.
1975- In a letter to MITS, college kids Bill Gates and Paul Allen offered their computer language adaptation of BASIC for the new Altair personal computer. They named themselves Micro-Soft.
1984- The Zenith Corporation announced it would stop selling video recorders in Betamax format and go over wholly to VHS. Other electronics giants followed suit and VHS won out over the higher quality Beta system.