This Week In Video History: August 2, 1999
1492. On August 3, Christopher Columbus set sail on the ocean blue in search of a swifter trade route to the Spice Islands. Instead, he discovered America and exchanged small pox for syphilis with the Indians. When you’re not jeering at participants in a Columbus Day Parade, check out Columbus: Man or Myth for further fun facts on Columbus’ kinky affair with the Queen!
1769. The City of Los Angeles was founded. Two hundred years later, the City of Los Angeles was burned in the Watts Riots. Fortunately for LA, the city didn’t wait another two hundred years to be baptized in fire. All the Reginald Denny glory is captured in the ABC News Special Presentation: Anatomy of a Riot, hosted by everyone’s favorite voice of authority, Bill Kurtis.
1844. The French tried to buy American support for one of their stinky little wars (Franco Prussian) and I guess stinky cheese and stinky wine wasn’t enough, because the next thing you know, the French started laying the foundation for the Statue of Liberty in New York. The French will lay anything. The Story of The Statue of Liberty documents everything but the smell.
1855. In Great Britain, a gang of fifteen thieves board a train with the intent of robbing it. They make off with seven million dollars in British money, which with inflation and rate of exchange is equal to a breakfast of bangers and mash. The so-called Great Train Robbery was masterminded by Sean Connery, who looked as young 145 years ago as he does today.
1887. Rowell Hodge patents Barb Wire...eighty years before Pamela Anderson was even born!
1923. Henry Sullivan became the first American man to swim the English Channel. Three years later to the day, 19-year-old Gertrude Ederle bacame the first American woman to swim the English Channel. The English Channel, later known as the BBC, swimmingly produced, among other things, documentaries including Play Snooker with champion snooker player Dennis Taylor.
1943. Lt. John F. Kennedy profiled his courage when the PT-109 he was lieutenanting was rammed by the Japanese ship Amigiri. A&E’s biography profiled his courage in Biography: JFK - A Personal Story and, of course, Cliff Robertson profiled his courage in the movie PT-109.
1945. Fat Man and Little Boy usher in the Nuclear Age. Witness the devastation in Enola Gay And The Atomic Bombing of Japan.
1949. After years of never being nationally associated, the NBA was finally established and the world was made safe for Bill Walton. See why seven-foot-tool genetic mutants no longer have to become circus acts in The NBA’s 100 At 50.
1962. Marilyn Monroe died of a barbiturate overdose. For more information, see Robert F. Kennedy: Memoirs.
1969. Charles Manson orchestrates a killing spree at the hands of his “family” because the Beatles White Album contained hidden messages only he could hear. Oh yeah. If I orchestrated a killing spree every time I heard hidden messages from albums, trees, dogs, the little man who lives in my mouth…we’d all be dead. Helter Skelter, indeed. Huh? Who said that? Why won’t you leave me alone?!
1974. Disgraced President Richard Nixon’s resignation became official this week in history, subsequently not costing taxpayers $90 million for impeachment proceedings that didn’t go anywhere. For more presidential pardon-me’s, investigate Great TV News Stories 2 - Dark Days In The White House: The Watergate Scandal and The Resignation of President Richard M. Nixon…or Clinton Grand Jury Tapes.