America's first town hall meeting is held, Eli Whitney patents his cotton gin, Pan Am is incorporated, and JFK's body is moved to a permanent memorial, all on this day.
1743: The first recorded town meeting in America takes place at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Mass.
1794: Eli Whitney is granted a patent for the cotton gin, a mechanical device that removes the seeds from cotton, a process that had previously been extremely labor intensive.
1879: Albert Einstein, the theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize laureate who developed the general theory of relativity, is born in Ulm, in the Kingdom of Württemberg in the German Empire.
1883: German philosopher and political theorist Karl Marx, who played a significant role in the establishment of the social sciences and the development of the socialist movement, dies of bronchitis and pleurisy at the age of 64 in London, England. Considered one of the greatest economists of all time, Marx published numerous books during his lifetime, most notably "The Communist Manifesto" and "Das Kapital."
1885: "The Mikado" a light opera by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, has its first public performance at the Savoy Theatre in London, England. It would run at the theater for 672 performances, the second longest run for any work of musical theater and one of the longest runs of any theater production up to that time.
1900: The Gold Standard Act is signed into law by President William McKinley, establishing gold as the only standard for redeeming paper money in the United States. Previously the country had used a bimetallism standard, which had allowed silver instead of gold.
1910: Drilling near Bakersfield, Calif., the Lakeview Oil Company hits an unexpected amount of oil at their Number One well, creating a large blowout that overloaded storage tanks and turned the natural gas drilling operation into an immense out-of-control oil geyser. The Lakeview Gusher, as it became known, would release an estimated 9 million barrels of crude oil before it was brought under control 18 months later, making it the largest accidental oil spill in history.
1914: Henry Ford announces a new continuous motion method to assemble cars. The process decreased the time to make a car from 12 and a half hours to 93 minutes.
1914: Race car driver Lee Petty, one of the pioneers of NASCAR and one of its first superstars, is born near Randleman, N.C. He was the winner of the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959 and won the NASCAR Championship on three occasions. Petty was also the patriarch of the Petty racing family that included sons Richard (NASCAR's all-time race winner) and Maurice, grandson Kyle and great-grandson Adam, who became the first fourth-generation driver in NASCAR history before dying during a Busch Series practice session in May 2000.
1920: Cartoonist Hank Ketcham, who created the "Dennis the Menace" comic strip, writing and drawing it from 1951 to 1994, is born in Seattle, Wash.
1927: Pan American Airlines incorporates. The airline, commonly known as Pan Am, would become the principal and largest international air carrier in the United States from 1927 until its collapse on Dec. 4, 1991.
1928: Frank Borman, an astronaut and commander of the Apollo 8 mission that took the first manned flight around the moon in 1968, is born in Gary, Ind. Before flying on Apollo, he set a 14-day spaceflight endurance record on Gemini 7. He also received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and served as the CEO of Eastern Air Lines from 1975 to 1986 after leaving NASA.
1932: George Eastman, the American innovator and entrepreneur who founded the Eastman Kodak Company, commits suicide with a single shot to the heart at the age of 77 in Rochester, N.Y. Over the last two years of his life, Eastman had been in intense pain caused by a disorder affecting his spine.
1933: Balto, the Siberian Husky noted for his role in the 1925 serum run to Nome, Alaska, dies at the age of 14. Balto led his team of sled dogs on the final leg of the run that transported diphtheria antitoxin from Anchorage, Alaska, to Nenana, Alaska, by train and then to Nome by dog sled to combat an outbreak of the disease. The run is commemorated by the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
1933: Record producer, composer and conductor Quincy Jones, who has won 27 Grammys in a career spanning five decades, is born in Chicago, Ill. Jones was the producer of Michael Jackson's albums "Thriller," and was the producer and conductor of the charity song "We Are the World." He's also worked with artists such as Frank Sinatra, Dinah Washington, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin and Donna Summer. Jones has scored more than 30 motion pictures, including "In Cold Blood," "In the Heat of the Night," "The Wiz" and "The Color Purple," earning seven Oscar nominations in his career.
1941: Film director and screenwriter Wolfgang Petersen, who was nominated for two Academy Awards for the 1981 World War II submarine warfare film "Das Boot," is born in Emden, Lower Saxony, Germany. Petersen is also known for directing movies such as "The NeverEnding Story," "In the Line of Fire," "Air Force One" and "The Perfect Storm." He's seen here on the set of "In the Line of Fire" with Clint Eastwood.
1942: Orvan Hess and John Bumstead become the first doctors in the United States to successfully to treat a patient, Anne Miller, using penicillin.
1948: Actor and comedian Billy Crystal, who rose to fame on TV in "Soap" and "Saturday Night Live" before starring in movies such as "When Harry Met Sally..." and "City Slickers," is born New York City. Crystal is also known for hosting the Academy Awards ceremony nine times and for voicing the character of Mike Wazowski in "Monsters, Inc."
1951: For the second time during the Korean War, United Nations troops recapture Seoul. After losing the city on June 28, 1950, it had originally been retaken on Sept. 25, 1950, before being taken by North Korean forces again on Jan 4, 1951, as a result of their Chinese New Year's Offensive. As a result of being conquered four times in the course of a year, Seoul was in ruins by the time UN troops recaptured it, with the 1.5 million pre-war population falling to 200,000, and people suffering from severe food shortages.
1960: Hall of Fame center fielder Kirby Puckett, who spent his entire 12-year baseball career playing with the Minnesota Twins, winning two World Series titles in 1987 and 1991, is born in Chicago, Ill. He is the Twins franchise's all-time leader in career hits, runs, doubles and total bases. He was forced to retire at age 35 due to loss of vision in one eye from a central retinal vein occlusion, at which time his .318 career batting average was the highest by any right-handed American League batter since Joe DiMaggio.
1964: A jury in Dallas, Texas, finds nightclub owner Jack Ruby guilty of killing Lee Harvey Oswald, assumed assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Ruby appealed the conviction and his subsequent death sentence and was granted a new trial. As the date for his new trial was being set, he became ill and died of lung cancer on Jan. 3, 1967.
1967: The body of President John F. Kennedy is moved to a permanent burial place and memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. Kennedy had originally been buried in a smaller plot at the cemetery on Nov. 25, 1963, and his grave was visited by an estimated 16 million people in the first three years after his death. The grave is marked with the "eternal flame" and his wife, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, was buried next to him in 1994. The remains of Kennedy's brothers, Sens. Robert F. Kennedy and Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy, are buried nearby.
1974: Actress Grace Park, best known for her roles in the TV series remakes "Battlestar Galactica" and "Hawaii Five-0," is born in Los Angeles, Calif.
1976: Choreographer and director Busby Berkeley, famous for his elaborate musical production numbers involving large numbers of showgirls and complex geometric patterns, dies of natural causes at the age of 80 in Palm Desert, Calif. Some of the musicals he served as choreographer for include "42nd Street," "Footlight Parade: and "Gold Diggers of 1933." He also directed movies such as "They Made Me a Criminal," "The Gang's All Here" and "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."
1979: Actor Chris Klein, best known for his role in the "American Pie" series of films and other movies like "Election" and "Rollerball," is born in Hinsdale, Ill.
1995: Astronaut Norman Thagard becomes the first American astronaut to ride to space on board a Russian launch vehicle, doing so in the Soyuz TM-21 spacecraft for the Russian Mir-18 mission. Thagard spent 115 days on the Russian space station before returning to Earth with the space shuttle Atlantis on July 7, 1995.
2010: Actor Peter Graves, best known for his starring role in the TV series "Mission: Impossible" from 1967 to 1973 and its revival from 1988 to 1990, dies of a heart attack at the age of 83 in Los Angeles, Calif. Graves, whose brother was fellow actor James Arness, was also known for roles in "Stalag 17," "Airplane!" and the 1983 miniseries "The Winds of War" and for hosting the A&E documentary series "Biography."
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