Aug 05 2010

On This Day in History: August 5

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

On this day in 1957, American Bandstand goes national

Television, rock and roll and teenagers. In the late 1950s, when television and rock and roll were new and when the biggest generation in American history was just about to enter its teens, it took a bit of originality to see the potential power in this now-obvious combination. The man who saw that potential more clearly than any other was a 26-year-old native of upstate New York named Dick Clark, who transformed himself and a local Philadelphia television program into two of the most culturally significant forces of the early rock-and-roll era. His iconic show, American Bandstand, began broadcasting nationally on this day in 1957, beaming images of clean-cut, average teenagers dancing to the not-so-clean-cut Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” to 67 ABC affiliates across the nation.

The show that evolved into American Bandstand began on Philadephia’s WFIL-TV in 1952, a few years before the popular ascension of rock and roll. Hosted by local radio personality Bob Horn, the original Bandstand nevertheless established much of the basic format of its later incarnation. In the first year after Dick Clark took over as host in the summer of 1956, Bandstand remained a popular local hit, but it took Clark’s ambition to help it break out. When the ABC television network polled its affiliates in 1957 for suggestions to fill its 3:30 p.m. time slot, Clark pushed hard for Bandstand, which network executives picked up and scheduled for an August 5, 1957 premiere.

 642 – Battle of Maserfield – Penda of Mercia defeats and kills Oswald of Bernicia.

910 – The last major Viking army to raid England is defeated at the Battle of Tettenhall by the allied forces of Mercia and Wessex, led by King Edward and Earl Aethelred.

1100 – Henry I is crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey.

1305 – William Wallace, who led Scottish resistance to England, is captured by the English near Glasgow and transported to London where he is put on trial and executed.

1388 – Battle of Otterburn, a border skirmish between the Scottish and the English in Northern England.

1583 – Sir Humphrey Gilbert establishes first English colony in North America, at what is now St John’s, Newfoundland.

1600 – The Gowrie Conspiracy against King James VI of Scotland, later to become King James I of England.

1620 – The Mayflower departs from Southampton, England on its first attempt to reach North America.

1689 – 1,500 Iroquois attack the village of Lachine, in New France.

1735 – Freedom of the press: New York Weekly Journal writer John Peter Zenger is acquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York, on the basis that what he had published was true.

1763 – Pontiac’s War: Battle of Bushy Run – British forces led by Henry Bouquet defeat Chief Pontiac’s Indians at Bushy Run.

1772 – The First Partition of Poland begins.

1858 – Cyrus West Field and others complete the first transatlantic telegraph cable after several unsuccessful attempts. It operated for less than a month.

1860 – Carl IV of Sweden-Norway is crowned king of Norway, in Trondheim.

1861 – American Civil War: In order to help pay for the war effort, the United States government levies the first income tax as part of the Revenue Act of 1861 (3% of all incomes over US $800; rescinded in 1872).

1861 – The United States Army abolishes flogging.

1862 – American Civil War: Battle of Baton Rouge – along the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Confederate troops drive Union forces back into the city.

1864 – American Civil War: the Battle of Mobile Bay begins – at Mobile Bay near Mobile, Alabama, Admiral David Farragut leads a Union flotilla through Confederate defenses and seals one of the last major Southern ports.

1870 – Franco-Prussian War: the Battle of Spicheren is fought, resulting in a Prussian victory.

1874 – Japan launches its postal savings system, modeled after a similar system in the United Kingdom.

1882 – The Standard Oil of New Jersey is established.

1884 – The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty is laid on Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor.

1888 – Bertha Benz drives from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back in the first long distance automobile trip, commemorated by Bertha Benz Memorial Route since 2008.

1901 – Peter O’Connor sets the first IAAF recognised long jump world record of 24ft 11¾ins. The record will stand for 20 years.

1914 – World War I: The German minelayer Königin Luise lay a minefield about 40 miles of the Thames Estuary (Lowestoft). She is intercepted and sunk by the British light-cruiser HMS Amphion.

1914 – In Cleveland, Ohio, the first electric traffic light is installed.

1925 – Plaid Cymru is formed with the aim of disseminating knowledge of the Welsh language that was at the time in danger of dying out.

1940 – World War II: The Soviet Union formally annexes Latvia.

1944 – World War II: possibly the biggest prison breakout in history occurs as 545 Japanese POWs attempt to escape outside the town of Cowra, NSW, Australia.

1944 – Holocaust: Polish insurgents liberate a German labor camp in Warsaw, freeing 348 Jewish prisoners.

1957 – American Bandstand, a show dedicated to the teenage “baby-boomers” by playing the songs and showing popular dances of the time, debuts on the ABC television network.

1960 – Burkina Faso, then known as Upper Volta, becomes independent from France.

1962 – Nelson Mandela is jailed. He would not be released until 1990.

1963 – The United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union sign a nuclear test ban treaty.

1964 – Vietnam War: Operation Pierce Arrow – American aircraft from carriers USS Ticonderoga and USS Constellation bomb North Vietnam in retaliation for strikes attacked U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.

1969 – Mariner program: Mariner 7 makes its closest fly-by of Mars (3,524 kilometers).

1974 – Vietnam War: The U.S. Congress places a $1 billion dollar limit on military aid to South Vietnam.

1979 – In Afghanistan, Maoists undertake an attempted military uprising.

1981 – Ronald Reagan fires 11,359 striking air-traffic controllers who ignored his order for them to return to work.

1989 – General elections are held in Nicaragua with the Sandinista Front winning a majority.

1995 – The city of Knin, a significant Serb stronghold, is captured by Croatian forces during Operation Storm. The date is celebrated as the Victory Day (Croatia).

2003 – A car bomb explodes in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta outside the Marriott Hotel killing 12 and injuring 150.


  1. Cold Blue Steel

    on Judge Walker’s Prop 8 decision by Dahlia Lithwick

    Judge Vaughn R. Walker is not Anthony Kennedy. But when the chips are down, he certainly knows how to write like him. I count-in his opinion today-seven citations to Justice Kennedy’s 1996 opinion in Romer v. Evans (striking down an anti-gay Colorado ballot initiative) and eight citations to his 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas (striking down Texas’ gay-sodomy law)

    Walker knew what he was doing.

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