1431. As a teenager, Joan of Arc led the French to victory over the English. In turn, the English thanked her for the humiliating drubbing they suffered at the hands of a girl by burning Joan at the stake as a witch and a heretic. On the big screen, Joan of Arc has been portrayed by Milla Jovovich, Leelee Sobieski, Ingrid Bergman, Jean Seberg, and Geraldine Farrar, but never by actress Joan Van Ark because that’s just silly.
1453. The Byzantine Empire becomes the Ottoman Empire as the Turks take over Constantinople. Historical documents translated from ancient Turkish read, “Istanbul was Constantinople. Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople. Been a long time gone, Constantinople. Now it's Turkish delight on a moonlit night…” As for whether the Ottomans might, in fact, be giants, there is no evidence to support this claim. They Might Be Giants: The Videos 1986-1989 may shed more light on the matter.
1883. The elevated train -- locally known as the “El" -- opens in Chicago's Loop. Almost one hundred years later to the day, Rebecca DeMornay sexes up Tom Cruise on the Howard Line in the movie Risky Business.
1926. The Sesquicentennial Exposition opens in Philadelphia, and hundreds of confused Bigfeet, Yetis, and Wild Men of Borneo arrive in the City of Brotherly Love, mistakenly thinking the fair had something to do with them. An underrepresented minority in Hollywood, the best work of Missing Link actors remains the Sasqua-ploitation films of the ‘70s: Big Foot, Capture of Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Legend of Boggy Creek, Return to Boggy Creek, Snowbeast, Yeti, Night of the Howling Beast, and The Abominable Snowman.
1953. Sir Edmund Hillary and his sherpa guide Tenzing become the first humans to reach the top of Mt. Everest in the Himalayas, twenty three years late for the Sesquicentennial Exposition. For more information, watch Everest and The Abominable Snowman.
1980. Ted Turner's Cable News Network begins broadcasting news 24 hours a day, which seemed revolutionary at first until, upon closer inspection, it was revealed that the feeds were merely colorized Movietone newsreels from the Korean War. Turner showed his true colors by drenching black and white classics like Casablanca and It’s a Wonderful Life in a pathetic paint by numbers tone.
1989. Chinese troops kill hundreds of pro-democracy students in Beijing. For other great moments in human rights abuses, checkout Cry Freedom starring Denzel Washington.