Sunday, 2 May 2021

May 3, 2021

540 years ago

Died on this date
Mehmed II, 49
. Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, 1444-1446, 1451-1481. Mehmed "the Conqueror" acceded to the throne upon the abdication of his father Murad II, and defeated a Hungarian crusade. Murad II returned to the throne in 1546, and Mehmed II succeeded him again upon his death. Mehmed II conquered Constantinople in 1453, ending the Byzantine Empire, and achieved several other conquests. Sultan Mehmed made many political and social reforms, encouraged the arts and sciences, and rebuilt Constantinople into a thriving imperial capital. He died after taking ill, perhaps the result of poisoning by his son and successor Bayezid II.

The largest of three earthquakes struck the island of Rhodes and caused an estimated 30,000 casualties.

530 years ago

Kongo monarch Nkuwu Nzinga was baptized by Portuguese Roman Catholic missionaries, adopting the baptismal name of João I.

230 years ago

Politics and government
The Constitution of May 3--the first modern constitution in Europe--was proclaimed by the Sejm of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

150 years ago

Born on this date
Emmett Dalton
. U.S. criminal. Mr. Dalton was a member of the Dalton Gang of bank and train robbers, and was the only member of the gang to survive an attempt to rob two banks in Coffeyville, Kansas on October 5, 1892, although he received 23 gunshot wounds. Mr. Dalton was pardoned after serving 14 years in prison, and then moved to California. He wrote several books of memoirs, two of which were made into movies. Mr. Dalton died on July 13, 1937 at the age of 66.

Collège St-Boniface in St. Boniface, Manitoba received a provincial charter.

130 years ago

Born on this date
Eppa Rixey
. U.S. baseball pitcher. Mr. Rixey played with the Philadelphia Phillies (1912-1917, 1919-1920) and Cincinnati Reds (1921-1933), compiling a record of 266-251 with an earned run average of 3.15 in 692 games. He was 22-10 with a 1.85 ERA in 1916, and led the National League in wins with 25 in 1922. Mr. Rixey, who never played in the minor leagues, died on February 28, 1963 at the age of 71, after his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, but several months before the induction ceremony.

125 years ago

Born on this date
V. K. Krishna Menon
. Indian politician and diplomat. Mr. Menon, a member of the Indian National Congress Party, was Indian Ambassador to the United Kingdom (1947-1952) and Ambassador to the United Nations (1952-1962). He sat in the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament) (1953-1957) and Lok Sabha (lower house) (1957-1967, 1969-1974), and was India's Minister of Defence (1957-1962). Mr. Menon was regarded, after Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, as the second-most powerful person in India, and was considered to be the architect of the Non-Aligned Movement. He was widely admired by many, especially within India, but his abrasive personality made him hated abroad, especially in the West. Mr. Menon died on October 6, 1974 at the age of 78.

Dodie Smith. U.K. authoress. Miss Smith was a children's novelist and playwright, best known for the novels I Capture the Castle (1948) and The Hundred and One Dalmatians (1956). She died on November 24, 1990 at the age of 94.

120 years ago

The Great Fire of 1901 took place in Jacksonville, Florida, destroying the city's downtown.

100 years ago

Born on this date
Sugar Ray Robinson
. U.S. boxer. Mr. Robinson, born Walker Smith, Jr., was world welterweight champion (1946-1951) and world middleweight champion (1951; 1951-1952; 1955-1957; 1957; 1958-1960). He was considered by many to be the best "pound-for-pound" fighter in history, and was the first to travel with an entourage of hangers-on. Mr. Robinson compiled a professional record of 173-19-6-2, with 108 knockouts, in a career spanning the years 1940-1965, with time out for service in the U.S. Army in 1943-1944 and a retirement from 1952-1955, when he attempted a performing career. He died on April 12, 1989, three weeks before his 68th birthday.

Died on this date
Théodore Pilette, 37
. Belgian auto racing driver. Mr. Pilette began racing in 1903, and participated in the 1913 Indianapolis 500, finishing 5th. He was the importer in Belgium for Bugatti and Mercedes, and Mr. Pilette and his mechanic Bruyère died in a road accident in Luxembourg while returning to Brussels from a visit to the Mercedes factories in Stuttgart.

Politics and government
Ireland was partitioned under British law by the Government of Ireland Act 1920, creating Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland.

Economics and finance
West Virginia became the first U.S. state to legislate a broad sales tax, but did not implement it until a number of years later due to enforcement issues.

80 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.S.A. (Billboard): Amapola (Pretty Little Poppy)--Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra with Bob Eberly and Helen O'Connell (6th week at #1)

Reports from London stated that fighting had spread to the Basra area; Iraq attacks on recently-landed British troops were repulsed. The battle at the Habbania airport continued into its second day.

Sources in Beirut reported that anti-Jewish riots had broken out in Palestine and that Arab nationalists had kidnapped Zionist leaders in reaction to disturbances in Iraq and the arrival of Jewish refugees from the Balkans.

World events
The Italian government of Duce Benito Mussolini announced the annexation of part of Slovenia in Yugoslavia, comprising the city of Ljubljana and surrounding territory.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission approved regulations to foster free competition among stations and strengthen network broadcasting.

Economics and finance
The U.S. Office of Production Management limited the automobile industry to 4,224,152 vehicles in the model year beginning August 1.

Bethlehem Steel Corporation signed its first contract with a Congress of Industrial Organizations union, the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers, covering 1,700 workers in its shipyard in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Horse racing
Whirlaway, with Eddie Arcaro aboard, won the 67th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville in 2:01 2/5, a track record at the time. Staretor placed second, and Market Wise finished third. First prize money was $61,275.

75 years ago

Yugoslavian Vice Premier Eduard Kardelj rejected four Yugoslav-Italian border proposals, and warned that Yugoslavia would not accept any solution which left Slavs under Italian control.

Politics and government
Brazil ousted Communists from government posts, charging that Communist Party leader Luis Carlos Prestes was inciting civil war.

Kathleen Mary Willsher was sentenced in Ottawa to three years in prison for her involvement in a Soviet spy ring in Canada.

Delegates to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission were announced, including Bernard Baruch of the United States and Andrei Gromyko of the U.S.S.R.

70 years ago

King George VI opened the Festival of Britain in London.

The United States Senate Committee on Armed Services and United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations began their closed-door hearings into the relief of General Douglas MacArthur by U.S. President Harry Truman with testimony from Gen. MacArthur, who reiterated his view that the Korean War could only be won through an all-out attack on China.

Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson (Democrat) signed a bill, the first of its kind in the United States, making narcotics peddling a felony punishable by up to life imprisonment.

Economics and finance
U.S. President Truman appointed 18 members of the newly-reconstituted Wage Stabilization Board, to begin work on May 8 on a backlog of more than 1,000 cases.

The New York Yankees scored 11 runs in the top of the 9th inning as they routed the St. Louis Browns 17-3 before 1,612 fans at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis. Gil McDougald batted twice in the 9th inning, hitting a grand slam and a triple and batting in 6 runs. Jackie Jensen followed Mr. McDougald’s triple with one of his own and homered after Mr. McDougald’s grand slam. Allie Reynolds (1-1) pitched a 5-hit complete game victory.

60 years ago

Born on this date
Happy Birthday, Paul "Pud" Smith!

Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba arrived in Washington to begin an 11-day visit to the United States, and was welcomed at Washington's National Airport by U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy. After a conference at the White House, the two leaders issued a communiqué stating that an orderly ending of colonial rule was "essential to the promotion of of human welfare, the consolidation of peace and the encouragement of the striving of African peoples." Mr. Bourguiba addressed a joint session of Congress and spoke at the National Press Club, praising the efforts of the Kennedy administration to appeal to the new nations of the world.

Former U.K. Foreign Office aide George Blake, 38, was sentenced in London to 42 years in prison after he had pleaded guilty to spying for the U.S.S.R. In his confession, Mr. Blake said that his political views had changed in favour of Communism during the three years from 1950-1953 when he had been interned by North Korean troops after they had captured Seoul, where he had been stationed. Mr. Blake, after his repatriation, spied for the Soviets while employed by the British Foreign Office in West Berlin and the Middle East.

50 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Australia (Kent Music Report): Me and Bobby McGee--Janis Joplin

#1 single in Japan (Oricon Singles Chart): Naomi no Yume--Hedva & David (3rd week at #1)

#1 single in Spain (PROMUSICAE): My Sweet Lord--George Harrison (7th week at #1)

On the radio
All Things Considered, hosted by Robert Conley, on NPR

This was the first broadcast of the National Public Radio program. The first program was about anti-Vietnam War protests in Washington, D.C.

Queen Elizabeth II, with Prince Philip and Princess Anne, arrived in Victoria to begin a one-week visit to British Columbia for the province's centennial.

Politics and government
Walter Ulbricht, 77, retired as East Germany's leader, citing age and ill health. Erich Honecker, 58, party secretary in charge of military affairs and security, succeeded him as head of the ruling Communist Party.

Anti-war protesters calling themselves the Mayday Tribe began four days of demonstrations in Washington, D.C., aimed at shutting down the nation's capital.

Kentucky 117 @ Utah 136 (Utah led best-of-seven series 1-0)

The Stars, trailing 36-25 after the 1st quarter, outscored the Colonels 50-25 in the 2nd quarter as they won before 12,051 fans at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. Zelmo Beaty and George Stone each scored 26 points for Utah, with Ron Boone adding 24 points. Darel Carrier of Kentucky led scorers with 36 points.

40 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in New Zealand (RIANZ): Counting the Beat--The Swingers (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in Switzerland: Shaddap You Face--Joe Dolce Music Theatre (4th week at #1)

On television tonight
Ripley's Believe it or Not!, on ABC

Hosted by Jack Palance, this was the pilot for the series that began airing in the fall of 1982.

Died on this date
Nargis, 51
. Indian actress. Nargis, born Fatima Rashid, appeared in almost 60 films from 1935-1968. She won the Filmfare Award for her starring performance in Mother India (1957), and won the National Film Award for her starring performance in Raat Aur Din (1967). Nargis was appointed to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament, in 1980, but died of pancreatic cancer during her time in office.

Stanley Cup
Calgary 4 @ Minnesota 6 (Minnesota led best-of-seven series 2-1)

Eastern Conference Finals
Philadelphia 90 @ Boston 91 (Boston won best-of-seven series 4-3)

Larry Bird scored the winning basket with 1 minute 3 seconds remaining in regulation time at Boston Garden as the Celtics came back from a 3-1 deficit in games against the 76ers.

30 years ago

Died on this date
Jerzy Kosiński, 57. Polish-born U.S author. Mr. Kosiński, born Józef Lewinkopf, was best known for the novels The Painted Bird (1965) and Being There (1971); he was accused of plagiarism and fabrication in regard to the former. Mr. Kosiński was beset by several illnesses when he committed suicide by consuming a lethal combination of alcohol and drugs and then suffocating himself by wrapping a plastic bag around his head.

Frank Leja, 55. U.S. baseball player. A native of Holyoke, Massachusetts, Mr. Leja was the New York Yankees’ first "bonus baby"--a teenage player who was given a large bonus to sign with a major league team in the years before the free agent draft came into existence. In order to prevent wealthy major league teams from hoarding the young players, a rule was enforced that a bonus player had to remain on the roster of the major league team for 2 years before he could be sent to the minors. As a result, many of the "bonus babies" saw little or no action in the major leagues for those 2 years, and Mr. Leja was no exception. He was an 18-year-old lefthanded first baseman who stood 6 feet 4 inches and weighed 205 pounds when he joined the Yankees in 1954. Joe Collins was then the Yankees’ regular first baseman, and 23-year-old rookie Bill Skowron was an impressive backup. Mr. Leja played in just 12 games that season--6 at first base--with 1 single in 5 at bats. In 1955 he saw even less action, playing in just 7 games--2 at first base--and was hitless in 2 at bats. Mr. Leja then had some success as a slugger in the minor leagues, but didn’t make it back to the majors until he joined the Los Angeles Angels to begin the 1962 season. He played 7 games--4 at first base--and was let go after batting 0 for 16. Mr. Leja never returned to the major leagues, leaving with 1 hit in 23 at bats--a percentage of .043--with 1 base on balls and 3 runs scored in 26 games. Frank Leja died of a heart attack in Boston.

Economics and finance
Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney promised a 500-job Goods and Services Tax processing centre for Summerside, Prince Edward Island to help a community hard-hit by the closing of its Canadian Armed Forces Base.

25 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Sweden (Topplistan): Children--Robert Miles (4th week at #1)

#1 single in Ireland (IRMA): Aon Focal Eile--Richie Kavanagh (7th week at #1)

Died on this date
Jack Weston, 71
. U.S. actor. Mr. Weston, born Jack Weinstein, was a character actor in numerous films, television programs, and plays, usually in comic roles. He co-starred in the television comedy series My Sister Eileen (1960-1961) and The Hathaways (1961-1962), and co-starred in the movie (1981) and television series (1984) The Four Seasons.

Alex Kellner, 71. U.S. baseball pitcher. Mr. Kellner played with the Philadelphia and Kansas City Athletics (1948-1958); Cincinnati Redlegs (1958); and St. Louis Cardinals (1959), compiling a record of 101-112 with an earned run average of 4.17 in 321 games. His best season was 1949, when he was 20-12 with a 3.75 ERA; he tied for the American League lead in losses in 1950 (20), and led the AL in losses in 1951 (14).

Stanley Cup
Eastern Conference Semi-Finals
New York Rangers 3 @ Pittsburgh 4 (Pittsburgh led best-of-seven series 1-0)

Western Conference Semi-Finals
St. Louis 2 @ Detroit 3 (Detroit led best-of-seven series 1-0)

20 years ago

The United States lost its seat on the United Nations Human Rights Commission; it was restored a year later.

Saskatchewan provincial authorities said that contaminated drinking water in North Battleford had caused the illness of over 100 people and the deaths of 3.

10 years ago

Died on this date
Jackie Cooper, 88
. U.S. actor. Mr. Cooper appeared in Our Gang comedies as a child, and was nominated for an Academy Award at the age of 9 for his starring performance in Skippy (1931), which was directed by his uncle Norman Taurog. Mr. Cooper co-starred with Wallace Beery in several movies, most notably The Champ (1931). He served with the U.S. Navy in World War II, rising to the level of captain, and starred in the television comedy series The People's Choice (1955-1958) and Hennesey (1959-1962). Mr. Cooper was vice president of program development at Columbia Pictures Screen Gems TV division from 1964-1969, and directed television programs as well as acting until his retirement in 1989.

Thanasis Veggos, 84. Greek actor and director. Mr. Veggos appeared in more than 140 movies and television programs--mainly comedies--from 1954-2010. He died 26 days before his 85th birthday, after several months of hospitalization.

Francisco Liriano (2-4) pitched a no-hitter for the Minnesota Twins, walking 6 batters and striking out only 2, as the Twins edged the Chicago White Sox 1-0 before 20,901 fans at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Jason Kubel's 3rd home run of the season, with 1 out in the top of the 4th inning, provided all the scoring against Edwin Jackson (2-4), who allowed 6 hits in 8 innings.

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