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A Blast From The Past

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International   |   Jan. 29, 2002 at 6:00 AM   |   Comments

Today is Feb. 4.


A year and a half earlier, he'd been acquitted of criminal charges in the killings of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. But on this date in 1997, O.J. Simpson was not so lucky. A jury in Santa Monica, Calif., found the former athlete liable in the stabbing and slashing deaths of his former wife and her friend, and was ordered to pay a total of $33.5 millions to both families.


It was on this date in 1974 that Patricia Hearst, the 19-year-old daughter of publisher Randolph Hearst, was abducted from her apartment in Berkeley, Calif. A group of self-styled "urban guerrillas" claimed responsibility. To this day, it's not really known if -- months later -- she was a willing participant in a bank robbery pulled off by her captors; but after Hearst was found, she was tried and convicted in the heist. Today, she's married to a former police officer and is an author.


And a convention in Montgomery, Ala., attended by delegates from six states -- Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina -- elected Jefferson Davis as president of the Confederacy on this date in 1861. He was a one-term president.


We now return you to the present, already in progress.

Today is Feb. 5.


It was on this date in 1991 -- as the air war against Iraq raged on -- that President Bush sent his top military advisers to Saudi Arabia to decide whether a ground assault was needed to liberate Iraqi-occupied Kuwait. They decided it was -- and U.S. troops marched into Kuwait City about 100 hours after the assault was launched. American-led allied forces rolled over Iraqi troops, who surrendered in droves.


British clergyman Roger Williams arrived in Salem, Mass., on this date in 1631, seeking religious freedom and a new place to call home. He'd later found the colony of Rhode Island.


Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard and Edward Mitchell walked on the moon for four hours on this date in 1971. Shepard -- the first American in space -- also became the first person to play golf on the moon. Do lunar duffers strive for a crater-in-one instead of a hole-in-one?


Justice delayed turned out finally to be justice achieved on this date in 1994, when white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith was convicted of the 1963 murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. De La Beckwith died earlier this month in prison.


And Paul Simon's first solo single following his break-up with Art Garfunkel was released on this day in 1972. The song was "Mother and Child Reunion."


We now return you to the present, already in progress.

Today is Feb. 6.


President Clinton declared on this date in 1998 that he'd never consider resigning because of allegations that he'd had an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton was still denying having anything to do with the young woman. Later on, he'd admit to "an improper relationship" with Monica.


On this date in 1865 -- a lot later in the Civil War than you'd think -- Gen. Robert E. Lee was appointed commander in chief of the armies of the Confederacy. That meant he got to be the one doing the surrendering a couple of months later.


Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower was named commander of Allied expeditionary forces in North Africa on this day in 1943. He later became World War II Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.


It was on this date in 1952 that Princess Elizabeth became sovereign of Great Britain upon the death of her father, King George VI. She was crowned Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953.


And the smoke cleared in 6,800 federal buildings nationwide on this day in 1987 when broad no-smoking rules took effect for 890,000 employees.


We now return you to the present, already in progress.

Today is Feb. 7.


It was on this date in 1964 that Beatlemania reached the shores of North America with the arrival of the Beatles at New York's Kennedy Airport. Thousands of screaming fans were on hand to welcome them. John, Paul, George and Ringo were in the United States for a brief tour and to perform on "The Ed Sullivan Show."


The Senate voted on this day in 1973 to set up a committee to investigate the break-in that had occurred the previous June at the Democratic National Headquarters in Washington, D.C.'s Watergate complex. What they would find was a cover-up that reached all the way to the Oval Office and led to the resignation of President Nixon in August 1974.


On this date in 1986, both Ferdinand Marcos and challenger Corazon Aquino claimed victory in the Philippine presidential election. What became known as the "People's Revolution" would force Marcos and his family to flee the country later in the month, leaving behind Imelda's thousands of pairs of shoes.

Also in 1986, Haiti's President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier fled to France. "Baby Doc" -- as he was called, but probably not to his face -- had succeeded his dictator father, "Papa Doc," in ruling the Caribbean island nation with an iron fist.

Five years later, in 1991, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was inaugurated as Haiti's first democratically elected president in 186 years. A military coup would later oust Aristide, but the threat of a U.S. invasion restored him to office.


Sen. Bob Packwood apparently had been a very busy man: on this date in 1993, another 13 women accused the Oregon Republican of improper advances, bringing the total to 23 women who had said the lawmaker harassed them with unwelcome sexual overtures.


And on this day in 1959, 1,000 mourners attended Buddy Holly's funeral in Lubbock, Texas. He'd been killed four days earlier -- along with J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson and Richie Valens -- when their plane crashed in an Iowa cornfield.


We now return you to the present, already in progress.

Today is Feb. 8.


This was not a good day in 1587 for Mary, Queen of Scots. She was beheaded after being charged with conspiring to murder England's Queen Elizabeth I. Mary Stuart was, more or less, a victim of the political intrigues and the religious conflicts that stemmed from the Reformation and Henry VIII's split from the Roman Catholic Church.


This also wasn't a good day for disc jockeys when, in 1960, Congress opened hearings into "payola" -- with Alan Freed and Dick Clark among those accused of accepting bribes to play records on the air. Clark escaped the inquiry with his reputation intact, but Freed did not. He ended up pleading guilty to charges of commercial bribery and never worked in radio again. It was a sad end to the career of the man credited with coining the phrase "rock 'n' roll."


And on this date in 1993, General Motors announced it was suing NBC-TV, contending the network rigged a demonstration crash showing a GM pickup truck with "sidesaddle" fuel tank exploding into flames. "Sidesaddle" meant the gas tank was located outside the vehicle frame -- making it, according to critics, more prone to leaks and fire in the event of an accident.


We now return you to the present, already in progress.

Today is Feb. 9.


A dark chapter in U.S. history began on this date in 1950 when, during a speech in Wheeling, W. Va., Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wis., charged the U.S. State Department was infested with communists. There would be congressional hearings, "witch hunts," and the blacklisting of Hollywood personalities and others before McCarthy was discredited and the "Red Scare" ended.


On this day in 1825, after no presidential candidate won the necessary majority, the House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams the sixth president of the United States. Adams, the first U.S. president whose father (John Adams) also was president (the second being the current president, George W. Bush), would later do something no American president has ever done since -- he would serve 17 years in Congress following his presidential term.


The revolving doors to the office of the Soviet presidency turned on this date in 1984 when Yuri Andropov, in power only 15 months following the death of Leonid Brezhnev, died at age 69. He was succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko, who died 13 months later and was succeeded by Mikhail Gorbachev.


It was on this date in 1964 that the Beatles made the group's first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show." The performance was barely audible over the screams of the largely young female audience. Afterwards, D.J. Murray the K -- known as the "fifth Beatles" -- took John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr to a Playboy Club. George Harrison stayed back at the hotel with a cold.


And in 1994, a grand jury convened in Santa Barbara, Calif., to hear evidence in the allegations of child molestation that had been leveled against pop star Michael Jackson. No charges were ever filed.


We now return you to the present, already in progress.

Today is Feb. 10.


U-2 spy plane pilot Gary Powers was returned to the United States on this date in 1962. Powers had been shot down while flying a mission over the Soviet Union -- something the Soviets didn't take kindly to. He was exchanged for Rudolf Abel, who'd been caught spying for the USSR, which the United States didn't exactly appreciate, either.


On this date in 1942, the first "gold" record was presented. The recipient was Glenn Miller, for sales of his "Chattanooga Choo Choo" single.


Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was given another title -- that of convicted rapist. On this day in 1992, an Indianapolis jury found him guilty in the sexual assault of a beauty pageant contestant.


In a 90-minute, exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey on this date in 1993, Michael Jackson revealed that he suffered from a hereditary skin disorder known as Vitiligo that was turning his skin white. He also admitted to having some "minor" plastic surgery to his nose.


We now return you to the present, already in progress.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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