Sunday, July 29th
On this day:
In 1786, the first newspaper west of the Alleghenies was published under name “The Pittsburgh Gazette.” The paper is still being published. It is now known as “The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.”
In 1890, painter Vincent van Gogh died at the age of 37.
In 1914, the first transcontinental telephone service began. The call was placed between New York and San Francisco.
In 1950, RKO Pictures released the Walt Disney adaption of “Treasure Island.”
In 1957, “Tonight Starring Jack Parr” premiered on NBC Television. The show’s name was later changed to “The Jack Parr Tonight Show.” When Parr left the show, the name changed to “The Tonight Show.”
In 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was authorized by Congress.
In 1965, the Queen of England attended the premiere of “Help!,” starring The Beatles.
In 1974, Jim Hartz was named the new co-host of NBC’s “Today” show. He joined Barbara Walters on the popular morning show.
In 1975, President Ford became the first U.S. President to visit Auschwitz where he paid tribute to the victims of the Nazi concentration camp in Poland.
In 1980, a state funeral was held for the Shah Of Iran in Cairo, Egypt. The deposed Iranian leader had died two days earlier at the age of 60.
In 1981, England’s Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Millions of people around the world watched the ceremony on television. The couple separated in 1993.
In 1985, General Motors officials named Spring Hill, Tennessee, the new home of the Saturn automobile assembly plant. The plant opening created 14-thousand jobs.
In 1987, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream introduced their “Cherry Garcia” flavor in honor of Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia.
In 1996, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda announced his retirement in his 20th year of managing the Dodgers.
In 1988, the South African government banned the anti-apartheid film “Cry Freedom” starring Denzel Washington as slain South African activist Steven Biko and Kevin Kline as journalist Donald Woods.
In 1993, groundbreaking ceremonies took place for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
In 1999, a federal judge in Little Rock, Arkansas fined President Clinton $89-thousand for lying about his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky in his deposition in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.
In 2000, actor Brad Pitt and actress Jennifer Aniston tied the knot at a ceremony on an ocean bluff.
In 2001, Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France, becoming the only American to win three Tours in a row.
In 2003, a taped audio message, purportedly from former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, was broadcast on Arabic television. On the tape Saddam called on his countrymen to avenge the deaths of his sons, Uday and Qusay, whom he called “martyrs,” by forcing Americans out of Iraq. Both men were killed a week earlier during a firefight with American troops.
In 2004, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry accepted the Democratic nomination for the presidency at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Kerry arrived on the DNC stage proclaiming, “I’m John Kerry and I’m reporting for duty.”
In 2006, former “Baywatch” actress Pamela Anderson and Detroit rap-rocker Kid Rock married on a yacht near St. Tropez on the French Riviera.
In 2006, a spokesman for Sir Paul McCartney reported that the former Beatle had officially filed for divorce from his second wife Heather Mills McCartney citing “unreasonable behavior.”
In 2007, Cal Ripkin, Jr. and Tony Gwynn were enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Known as Major League Baseball’s “Iron Man,” Ripken — who spent his entire 21-year career with the Baltimore Orioles — played in a record two-thousand-632 consecutive games. Gwynn played 20 seasons with the San Diego Padres, leading the National League in batting average seven times. A 15-time All Star, he also ripped 3,141 career hits.
In 2009, swimming star Michael Phelps set a world record at swimming’s World Championships in Rome. Phelps won the gold in the 200-meter butterfly with a time of one minute, 51-point-51 seconds, breaking his own record. The victory came a day after he suffered his first individual loss in four years. Germany’s Paul Beidermann beat Phelps in the finals of the men’s 200-meter freestyle. In the process, Beidermann broke Phelps’ record in the event.
In 2010, rapper Wyclef Jean announced that he had begun steps to seek candidacy for the presidency in Haiti. The hip-hop star was later deemed ineligible for the post.
In 2011, an eight-foot-tall statue of rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry was unveiled in Berry’s hometown of St. Louis, Missouri on this date. The music legend was on hand for the dedication ceremony to thank fans for their support.
In 2013, Pope Francis made one of the strongest statements in defense of homosexuality ever to come from the Vatican. On a return flight home from Brazil, the Pope said gay people should not be judged or marginalized – even those who serve as priests.
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