Today in History, July 24: 1929 – The Kellogg – Briand Pact between the United States and France, and signed by 62 nations, goes into effect. The Treaty, which is still in effect, stated that conflicts between nations would no longer be solved by war, but by negotiation. Well. That worked.
Today in History, July 23: 1982 – Twilight Zone: The Movie met with success, including the “Nightmare at 20,000 ft” segment which included a terrific performance by John Lithgow, but it came at a terrific price. On this date in 1982, on the last date of filming, veteran actor Vic Morrow (Combat!) and two small children were running from a Vietnam era helicopter shooting a scene. Special effects explosives caused the pilot to lose control, and the aircraft crashed into the actors, killing them. It would be the first time movie producers were charged with negligent homicide, a charge they would defeat. However the producers, including Steven Spielberg, settled for an undisclosed amount in the civil suits. I couldn’t find any photos of the child actors, but their loss (Renee Shinn Chen and Myca Dinh Le) was not less than that of Vic Morrow,
Today in History, July 22: 1933 – After a 7 day, 18 hour, 49 minute flight, Wiley Post completes the first SOLO around the world flight in his already famous Lockheed Vega, Winnie Mae, greeted by a crowd of 50,000 at New York’s Floyd Bennett Field. He beat his own time from an earlier non-solo around the world flight in the same airplane. He was honored with his second New York ticker tape parade.
Post also used Winnie Mae to set high altitude flight records, designing a pressurized flight suit to do so. He also made use of the Jet Stream in his flight tests.
In 1935 he and another of Oklahoma’s favorite sons, Will Rogers, would die together in a plane crash at Point Barrow, Alaska.
Winnie Mae can be visited at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
Today in History, July 21: 356 – “Fame at any cost”. The Ephesians had built the Temple of Artemis (Diana in Greek) to honor the goddess. It made it’s home of Epheus (in modern day Turkey) famous, being one of the 7 wonders of the world. It would be destroyed and rebuilt at least 3 times, first by flood, then by arson, and then by war. The second time, it had just been rebuilt when an arsonist set fire to the timbers supporting it’s roof, destroying it again. When captured, the arsonist admitted openly that he had committed the act to secure his name in history. It was ruled that he would be put to death, his name was not to be spoken on pain of death, and his name was removed from all records. He got his wish, however, when the historian Theopompus recorded his name in the next century. Thus we have the term Herostratic Fame…fame at any cost.
Today in History, July 20: 1969 – The day the Earth stood still. Over a billion people world wide stopped what they were doing to watch in awe as Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon. It had been a decade long odyssey, begun with JFK’s comments that it should be done before the end of the 60’s decade. So much has been gained from America’s space exploration. I was a seven year old boy laying in the living room floor, allowed to stay up late and watch this happen on our black and white TV. First “The Eagle has landed”, then….