Today in History — Jan. 22, 2018
Today is Monday, Jan. 22, the 22nd day of 2018. There are 343 days left in the year.
Today in History
On Jan. 22, 1968, the fast-paced sketch comedy program “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” premiered as a weekly series on NBC-TV.
On this date:
In 1498, during his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus arrived at the present-day Caribbean island of St. Vincent.
In 1901, Britain’s Queen Victoria died at age 81 after a reign of 63 years; she was succeeded by her eldest son, Edward VII.
In 1908, Katie Mulcahey became the first — and only — woman to run afoul of New York City’s just-passed ban on females smoking in public establishments. (Mulcahey served a night in jail after refusing to pay a $5 fine; the law, which did not specify any fines, ended up being vetoed by Mayor George B. McClellan Jr.)
In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson, in an address to Congress, pleaded for an end to the war in Europe, calling for “peace without victory.” (By April, however, America also was at war.)
In 1922, Pope Benedict XV died; he was succeeded by Pius XI.
In 1938, Thornton Wilder’s play “Our Town” was performed publicly for the first time in Princeton, New Jersey.
In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces began landing at Anzio, Italy.
In 1953, the Arthur Miller drama “The Crucible,” set during the Salem witch trials, opened on Broadway.
In 1957, George P. Metesky, suspected of being the “Mad Bomber” who injured 15 people over a 16-year period, was arrested in Waterbury, Connecticut. (Metesky was later found mentally ill and committed until 1973; he died in 1994.)
In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court, in its Roe v. Wade decision, legalized abortions using a trimester approach. Former President Lyndon B. Johnson died at his Texas ranch at age 64.
In 1987, Pennsylvania treasurer R. Budd Dwyer, convicted of defrauding the state, proclaimed his innocence at a news conference before pulling out a gun and shooting himself to death in front of horrified onlookers.
In 1998, Theodore Kaczynski (kah-ZIHN’-skee) pleaded guilty in Sacramento, California, to being the Unabomber responsible for three deaths and 29 injuries in return for a sentence of life in prison without parole.
Ten years ago
Actor Heath Ledger, 28, was found dead of an accidental prescription overdose in a New York City apartment. Jose Padilla, once accused of plotting with al-Qaida to blow up a radioactive “dirty bomb,” was sentenced by a U.S. federal judge in Miami to 17 years and four months (later increased to 21 years) on other terrorism conspiracy charges. Republican Fred Thompson quit the race for the White House after a string of poor finishes in early primary and caucus states.
Five years ago
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-line bloc fared worse than expected in a parliamentary election, forcing Netanyahu to negotiate a broad coalition deal. An Indonesian court sentenced Lindsay June Sandiford, a British grandmother, to death for smuggling cocaine into Bali (Sandiford is appealing her sentence). Linda Pugach, who was blinded in 1959 when her lover, Burton Pugach, hired hit men to throw lye in her face — and became a media sensation after later marrying him — died in Queens, New York at age 75.
One year ago
After a combative start to his presidency, Donald Trump delivered a more unifying message and sought to reassure Americans he was ready to begin governing a divided nation. A robbery inside a San Antonio shopping mall ended with shots fired, leaving one person who tried to intervene dead (two suspects are charged with capital murder). Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to another big AFC championship game performance in a 36-17 rout of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Atlanta Falcons blew out the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game, 44-21. Nathan Chen performed a near-flawless free skate featuring five quadruple jumps to become, at 17, the youngest men’s U.S. figure skating champion in more than five decades at the competition in Kansas City, Missouri.
Former Sen. Birch Bayh, D-Ind., is 90. Actress Piper Laurie is 86. Celebrity chef Graham Kerr (TV: “The Galloping Gourmet”) is 84. Actor Seymour Cassel is 83. Author Joseph Wambaugh is 81. Singer Steve Perry is 69. Country singer-musician Teddy Gentry (Alabama) is 66. Movie director Jim Jarmusch is 65. Actor John Wesley Shipp is 63. Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Bossy is 61. Actress Linda Blair is 59. Actress Diane Lane is 53. Actor-rap DJ Jazzy Jeff is 53. Country singer Regina Nicks (Regina Regina) is 53. Celebrity chef Guy Fieri is 50. Actress Olivia d’Abo is 49. Rhythm-and-blues singer Marc Gay (Shai) is 49. Actress Katie Finneran is 47. Actor Gabriel Macht is 46. Actor Balthazar Getty is 43. Actor Christopher Kennedy Masterson is 38. Jazz singer Lizz Wright is 38. Pop singer Willa Ford is 37. Actress Beverley Mitchell is 37. Rock singer-musician Ben Moody is 37. Actor Kevin Sheridan is 36. Actress-singer Phoebe Strole is 35. Rapper Logic is 28. Tennis player Alize Cornet (uh-LEEZ’ kohr-NAY’) is 28. Actress Sami Gayle is 22.
Thought for Today
“I know there’s a proverb which that says ‘To err is human,’ but a human error is nothing to what a computer can do if it tries.” — Dame Agatha Christie, English mystery writer (1890-1976).