Friday 29 May 2020

In this week: 31st May - 6th June

This week sees the first TV broadcasts in New Zealand and the opening of a bridge over the River Thames, along with birthdays for 2 best seller British authors.

31st May
50 years ago: in 1970, The Great Peruvian Earthquake (also called the Ancash earthquake) occurred. More than 47,000 people were killed while the town of Yungay was buried by an avalanche that killed 17,000 people.

15 years ago: in 2005, Mark Felt, the former Associate Director of the FBI, admitted that he was the Watergate Scandal whistleblower known as “Deep Throat” who provided information to the Washington Post that led to the downfall of U.S. President Richard Nixon.

Clint Eastwood – US actor and director, 90.
Terry Waite – English humanitarian and author, 81
Sharon Gless – US actor, best remembered as Christine Cagney in TV show Cagney and Lacey, 77.

1st June
60 years ago: in 1960, Television broadcasts began in New Zealand.

40 years ago: in 1980, Cable News Network (CNN) began broadcasting.

Robert Powell – English actor, 76
Ronnie Wood – English guitarist and member of the Rolling Stones, 73

2nd June
100 years ago: in 1920, British television scriptwriter Johnny Speight was born. He was best known for creating the sitcoms Till Death Us Do Part and In Sickness and in Health and also wrote for several well-known radio and television comedians. He died aged 78 from pancreatic cancer in 1998.

50 years ago: in 1970, Bruce McLaren, New Zealand racing driver and racing car designer was killed while testing a car at Goodwood, England.

King Constantine II of Greece, 80.
Tony Hadley – lead singer of Spandau Ballet and DJ, 60

3rd June
70 years ago: in 1950, the first successful ascent of Annapurna in the Himalayas was achieved by a French expedition led by Maurice Herzog. This was the first successful ascent of a mountain over 8,000 meters. Annapurna is the 10th highest mountain in the world.

30 years ago: in 1990, Robert Noyce, American engineer and co-inventor of the integrated circuit died from heart failure, aged 62. He was co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel.

Dame Penelope Wilton – English actress, 74.
Suzi Quatro – American–English singer-songwriter, 70.

4th June
100 years ago: in 1920, World War I was concluded when Hungary and the Allies signed the Treaty of Trianon in Paris, France. Hungary lost 71% of its territory and 63% of its population.

30 years ago: in 1990, American euthanasia advocate Jack Kevorkian participated in his first assisted suicide, that of Janet Adkins, an Alzheimer’s disease sufferer. He participated in the assisted suicides of at least 130 terminally ill people between 1990 and 1998 before being convicted of second degree murder and imprisoned. He served 8 years of a 10–25 year sentence.

Bob Champion – English jockey, 72.
Val McDermid – Scottish author, 65.
Bradley Walsh – English TV presenter and comedian, 60

5th June
75 years ago: In 1945, after the end of World War II, the Allied Control Council was established in Berlin, Germany to oversee the division of Germany into four occupation zones: American, British, French and Soviet.

10 years ago: in 2010, Same-sex marriage was legalized in Portugal.
Ken Follett – Welsh top selling author, 71
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Samoan-New Zealand rugby league player, 27.

6th June
99 years ago: in 1921, 
Southwark Bridge in London was opened to traffic by King George V and Queen Mary.

77 years ago: In 1933, the first drive-in movie theatre opened in Camden, New Jersey, USA.

Willie John McBride – Northern Irish rugby player and former British Lions captain, 80.
Robert Englund – American actor, best known for paying Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street series of movies, 73.

Saturday 23 May 2020

In this week: 24th to 30th May

This week we see the anniversary of the first episode of a long running soap opera and the capture of a traitor, while legendary singers Bob Dylan and Gladys Knight celebrate birthdays. 

Read on for further details....

24th May
90 years ago: in 1930, British aviator Amy Johnson became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.
25 years ago: in 1995, Former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson (1964–70, 1974–76) died aged 79 from colon cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Bob Dylan - American singer-songwriter, 79.
Gary Burghoff - American actor (Radar O’Reilly in M*A*S*H), 77.

25th May
75 years ago: in 1945, British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clark privately circulated a document in which he proposed using geostationary satellites as telecommunications relays. The idea was made public in the October 1945 issue of Wireless World magazine. The first commercial geostationary communications satellite, Intelsat I, was launched in April 1965.

65 years ago: in 1955, the first successful ascent of Kangchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain was achieved by British climbers Joe Brown and George Band.

Alastair Campbell – Political aide, 63.
Paul Weller – English singer–songwriter, 62

26th May
100 years ago: in 1920, Peggy Lee, American pop and jazz singer, songwriter and actress was born. Born Norma Delores Egstrom, she died in January 2002 from diabetes complications and heart failure.

25 years ago:, in 1995, American cartoon animator, director and producer Friz Freleng died. He was best known for his work on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series and created or developed characters including Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Sylvester and Tweety Pie, Yosemite Sam and Speedy Gonzales.

Glenn Turner – New Zealand cricketer, 73
Stevie Nicks – US singer-songwriter, 72

27th May
90 years ago: in 1930, the Chrysler Building in New York City, USA was officially opened. It was the tallest man‐made structure in the world at the time, at 1,046 feet (319 meters), but it held the record for less than a year.

25 years ago: in 1995, American actor Christopher Reeve, star of the Superman films, was paralyzed from the neck down when he was thrown from his horse during an equestrian competition in Virginia, USA.

John Conteh – English boxer, 69.
Pat Cash – Australian tennis player, 55.

28th May
75 years ago: in 1945, British-born Nazi propaganda broadcaster Lord Haw-Haw (William Joyce) was captured by the British Army near the Danish border and taken to Britain to face trial. He was eventually convicted of treason and sentenced to death on 19th September, and hanged on 3rd January 1946.

25 years ago: in 1995, an earthquake destroyed the town of Neftegorsk on Sakhalin Island, eastern Russia. 2,000 people were killed

Gladys Knight – US soul singer, 76.
Kylie Minogue – Australian singer, actress, 52

29th May
70 years ago: in 1950, the first (pilot) episode of the British radio soap opera The Archers was broadcast on the BBC Home Service (Midlands region only). It was broadcast nationally from 1st January 1951 and is still running.

30 years ago: in 1990, Boris Yeltsin was elected President of Russia.

Martin Pipe – former English horse racing trainer, 75.
Carol Kirkwood – BBC Breakfast weather guru, 58

30th May
60 years ago: in 1960, Russian writer and poet Boris Pasternak died. Best known for his novel Doctor Zhivago, he was awarded the 1958 Nobel Prize in Literature, but he refused it because of opposition from the Soviet Union.

30 years ago: in 1990, because of the outbreak of “mad cow disease,” France banned the importation of British beef and live cattle.

Anders Michanek – Swedish speedway rider, 77.
Colm Meaney – Irish actor, 67.

Saturday 16 May 2020

In this week: 17th - 23rd May

In a week when a Pope was born and the most powerful earthquake ever known took place, we celebrate birthdays for singers Ronald Isley and Cher.

Read on for more details....

17th May
100 years ago: in 1920, the Dutch national airline KLM made their first flight, which was from London to Amsterdam. Scheduled services began a year later in 1921.

30 years ago: in 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its International Classification of Diseases. 17th May is now marked as the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Tony Roche: Australian tennis player, 75.
Sugar Ray Leonard: US boxer, 64.

18th May
Pope John Paul II
100 years ago: in 1920, Pope John Paul II was born. Karol Wojtyla was born in Wadowice, Poland and was elected Pope in 1978. He died in April 2005.

25 years ago: in 1995, US actress Elizabeth Montgomery died. Best known for her role as Samantha in the fantasy sitcom Bewitched, she died aged 62 from cancer.

Miriam Margolyes: English – Australian actress, 79
Rick Wakeman: English keyboardist-songwriter, 71.

19th May
90 years ago: in 1930, white women were granted the right to vote in South Africa.

15 years ago: in 2005, Scientists at the University of Newcastlein England announced that they had successfully cloned human embryos from stem cells. It was later revealed that the embryos had developed to the blastocyst stage – a mass containing a few hundred cells that forms 5 to 9 days after fertilisation – but they did not develop any further.

Trevor Peacock
Trevor Peacock: English actor – best known as Jim Trott in BBC sitcom The Vicar of Dibley, 89.
Grace Jones: Jamaican – American singer and actress, 72.

20th May
Betty Driver
100 years ago: in 1920, Betty Driver, British actress and singer was born. Best known for her role as Betty Turpin/Williams in the television soap opera Coronation Street, she died in October 2011 aged 91.

30 years ago: in 1990, The first postcommunist elections were held in Romania. Ion Iliescu was elected president.

Cher: American singer and actress, 74.
Petr Cech – Czech footballer, 38.

21st May
Henry V
600 years ago: in 1420, the Treaty of Troyes was signed. It agreed that King Henry V of England and his heirs would inherit the French crown upon the death of King Charles VI of France. In fact the two kings died within weeks of each other and the future kings of England continued to claim the French crown until 1800.

20 years ago: in 2000, both Dame Barbara Cartland, British author of over 700 romance novels and Sir John Gielgud, British actor, producer and director who is considered one of the greatest Shakespearean actors of his generation, died.

Ronald Isley: American singer – lead singer of The Isley Brothers, 79.
David Lonsdale: English actor – known for playing David Stockdale in ITV drama Heartbeat, 57.

22nd May
60 years ago: in 1960, The Great Chilean Earthquake (also called the Valdivia earthquake) happened. The most powerful earthquake ever recorded, measuring 9.5 on the Richter scale, hit southern Chile killing 2,000 – 6,000 people.
Ray Dorsett - Mungo Jerry

50 years ago: in 1970, he song In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry was released. In June it reached no.1 on numerous record charts around the world

Bernie Taupin: Lyricist, known for his work with Elton John, 70.
Katie Price: Writer, model and TV personality (previously known by the pseudonym Jordan), 42.

23rd May
125 years ago: in 1895, the New York Public Library was established when an agreement was signed that merged the city’s existing Astor Library and Lenox Library, using the fortune bequeathed by the former Governor of New York, Samuel J. Tilden.

60 years ago: in 1960, Israel announced that it had captured former Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann in Argentina. He was responsible for organizing the mass extermination of Jews in WWII. Following a trial, he was sentenced to death, and executed on 1st June 1962.

Joan Collins: English actress, 87.
Marvin Hagler: US boxer, 66.

Saturday 9 May 2020

In this week: 10th - 16th May

In a week where we remember the births of guitarist Bert Weedon and footballer Alan Ball, an early British computer ran its first program and the first McDonalds restaurant opened. Meanwhile Jeremy Paxman, Stevie Wonder and Olga Korbut all celebrate birthdays.

Read on for further details…..

10th May
100 years ago: Bert Weedon, British jazz/blues/pop guitarist and guitar teacher was born. He is remembered for his best-selling “Play in a Day” tutorials, with which many major musicians (including the Beatles, Eric Clapton and Pete Townsend) credit with their success. He died aged 91 in 2012 after a long illness.

70 years ago: in 1950, One of the first British computers, the Pilot ACE, ran its first program, at the National Physical Laboratory. The ACE (Automatic Computing Engine) was designed by Alan Turing.

Barbara Taylor Bradford - English-American author, 87.
Carl Douglas - Jamaican singer-songwriter (Kung-Fu Fighting), 78.

11th May
200 years ago: in 1820, The British Royal Navy sloop HMS Beagle was launched from the Woolwich dockyard on the River Thames. This was the ship that took the naturalist Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage around the world (1831–36).

50 years ago: in 1970, the Lubbock Tornado, one of the worst tornados in Texan history struck in the city of Lubbock, USA killing 26 people and injuring 500. The F5 tornado caused about $250 million worth of damage (over $1.5 billion in today’s money).

Eric Burdon - lead singer with The Animals, 79.
Jeremy Paxman - English journalist and presenter of TV’s University Challenge, 70.

12th May
200 years ago: in 1820, Florence Nightingale, Italian-born British social reformer and statistician was born. She came to prominence during the Crimean war where she organised the care of wounded soldiers with her night rounds giving her the title of "the Lady with the Lamp." She is considered to be the founder of modern nursing.

75 years ago: in 1945, the youngest member of England’s World Cup-winning team in 1966 Alan Ball was born. He played as a midfielder for various clubs including Everton and Arsenal and scored 180 goals in a career spanning 22 years. He died aged 61, from a heart attack.

Burt Bacharach - legendary American songwriter, 92.
Catherine Tate - English comedian and actress, 52.

13th May
70 years ago: in 1950, the first Formula One World Championship race was held, at Silverstone in England (known as the 1950 British Grand Prix.)

25 years ago: in 1995, British mountaineer Alison Hargreaves became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest unaided (i.e. without the use of bottled oxygen or Sherpas). (She died in August when she was hit by a storm while attempting to climb K2.)

Harvey Keitel - American actor known in the UK for starring in the Direct Line TV adverts (Winston Wolf), 81
Stevie Wonder - legendary American singer-songwriter and keyboard player, 70.

14th May
65 years ago: in 1955, the Warsaw Pact was established (officially the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance). It was a Soviet-led mutual defence treaty between eight communist European states during the Cold War. (It was dis-established in December 1991.)

50 years ago: in 1970, the Red Army Faction, (also known as the Baader–Meinhof Gang), was established in West Germany. The far-left terrorist organisation’s activities included bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, bank robberies, and shoot-outs with police. It was declared disbanded in 1991.

Cate Blanchett - Australian actress, 51.
Olly Murs – English singer-songwriter. 36.

15th May
90 years ago: in 1930, Ellen Church from Iowa, USA became the world’s first airline stewardess when she went on duty aboard a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Cheyenne, Wyoming.

80 years ago: in 1940, the first McDonald’s restaurant opened, in San Bernardino, California, USA. Operated by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald, it was a far cry from the McDonald’s outlets seen worldwide today.

Ted Dexter – English cricketer, 85.
Sophie Raworth – English broadcaster/newsreader, 52

16th May
30 years ago: in 1990, amid the spread of “Mad cow disease” in the UK, in an attempt to calm public fears and refute the growing evidence for BSE/Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, the British Minister for Agriculture, John Selwyn Gummer, tried to get his 4 year old daughter to eat a beefburger in front of the media. She refused, so he ate it himself. Presumably it didn’t do him any harm as he is now 80 years old and lives in Suffolk.

Also 30 years ago, in 1990, Sammy Davis Jr. American singer, dancer and entertainer died in Beverly Hills. With an 80-a-day cigarette smoking habit, he died from complications from throat cancer at the age of 64.

Judy Finnegan – English TV presenter, 72.
Olga Korbut – Belarussian gymnast, 65

Saturday 2 May 2020

In this week: 3rd – 9th May

With Friday (8th) of this week being the 75th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe), I thought that I would concentrate on other stories that took place as opposed to WWII memories which will, I am certain, be covered in detail elsewhere.

3rd May
Macon Bolling Allen
175 years ago: in 1845, the first black lawyer in the USA: Macon Bolling Allen became the first African American admitted to the bar. In 1848 he also became the first African American Justice of the Peace.

20 years ago: in 2000, the Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie) bombing trial opened. The 36-week trial was held at a specially convened Scottish Court on a disused U.S. Air Force base in the Netherlands. At the end of the trial in January 2001, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, while his co-defendant, Lamin Khalifah Fhimah, was found not guilty.

Frankie Valli - American singer and member of the Four Seasons, 86.
Sandi Toksvig – Danish/British comedian, TV and radio host, 62.

4th May
40 years ago: in 1980, President/dictator of Yugoslavia (1953–80), Josip Broz Tito died 3 days short of his 88th birthday.

20 years ago: in 2000, Ken Livingstone was elected as the first mayor of London.

Jay Aston – English singer, member of Bucks Fizz, 59.
Kate Garraway – English journalist and breakfast TV presenter, 53.

5th May
40 years ago: in 1980, the British SAS stormed the Iranian embassy in London after a six‐day siege. The assault, named Operation Nimrod, lasted 17 minutes and involved approx 35 soldiers. The terrorists killed one hostage and seriously injured two others during the siege, while the SAS killed all but one of the terrorists.
Sir Michael Palin

Sir Michael Palin – English actor, writer and member of the Monty Python team, 77.
Adele – English singer-songwriter, 32.

6th May
125 years ago: in 1895, iconic Italian-born American silent film actor and sex symbol Rudolph Valentino was born. His films include The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Sheik, Blood and Sand, The Eagle, and The Son of the Sheik. His death from peritonitis at the age of 31 led to mass hysteria among his female fans.

10 years ago: in 2010, the UK went to the polls in a General Election. A coalition government was formed (on 11th May) by the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats, with Conservative Party leader David Cameron as Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister.

Bob Seger – US singer-songwriter, guitarist, 75.
Tony Blair – former UK Prime Minister, 67.

7th May
60 years ago: in 1960, Leonid Brezhnev became Leader of the Soviet Union.

20 years ago: in 2000, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, American film actor (The Mark of Zorro, The Three Musketeers, The Thief of Bagdad), television producer, and highly decorated WWII naval officer died of heart failure at the grand age of 90.

Norman Whiteside - former Northern Ireland footballer, 55.
Eagle-Eye Cherry - Swedish singer-songwriter, 51

8th May
4th Duke of Devonshire
300 years ago: in 1720, William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire and British Prime Minister was born. In office between 16th November 1756 and 29th June 1757, he remains the shortest-lived British Prime Minister.

50 years ago: in 1970, the Beatles released their 12th and final studio album, Let it Be.

Philip Bailey – US R&B singer – songwriter, percussionist, best known as a member of Earth, Wind and Fire, 69.
Roddy Doyle – Irish novelist and playwright, 62.

9th May
Richard Adams
100 years ago: in 1920, British novelist Richard Adams was born. He was best known for Watership Down, Shardik, The Plague Dogs and The Girl in a Swing. He died in 2016 aged 96 from complications of a blood disorder.

60 years ago: in 1960, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first birth-control pill.

Glenda Jackson – English actress and politician, 84.
Billy Joel – US singer-songwriter, 71.