Today in History

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Today is Wednesday, Oct. 4, the 277th day of 2017. There are 88 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On Oct. 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit. The family sitcom “Leave It to Beaver” premiered on CBS.

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On this date:

In 1777, Gen. George Washington’s troops launched an assault on the British at Germantown, Pennsylvania, resulting in heavy American casualties.

In 1822, the 19th president of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes, was born in Delaware, Ohio.

In 1931, the comic strip “Dick Tracy,” created by Chester Gould, made its debut.

In 1940, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini conferred at Brenner Pass in the Alps.

In 1959, the Soviet Union launched Luna 3, a space probe which transmitted images of the far side of the moon.

In 1960, an Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L-188A Electra crashed on takeoff from Boston’s Logan International Airport, killing all but 10 of the 72 people on board.

In 1970, rock singer Janis Joplin, 27, was found dead in her Hollywood hotel room.

In 1976, Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz resigned in the wake of a controversy over an obscene joke he’d made that was derogatory to blacks.

In 1982, casino executive Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal survived the bombing of his Cadillac outside a Las Vegas restaurant; the case was never solved.

In 1990, for the first time in nearly six decades, German lawmakers met in the Reichstag for the first meeting of reunified Germany’s parliament.

In 1991, 26 nations, including the United States, signed the Madrid Protocol, which imposed a 50-year ban on oil exploration and mining in Antarctica.

In 2002, “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh received a 20-year sentence after a sobbing plea for forgiveness before a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia. In a federal court in Boston, a laughing Richard Reid pleaded guilty to trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives in his shoes (the British citizen was later sentenced to life in prison).

Ten years ago: Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, defiantly vowed to serve out his term in office despite losing a court attempt to rescind his guilty plea in a men’s room sex sting. A former city maintenance worker shot five people in a law office in Alexandria, Louisiana, killing two of them; the gunman was killed by police following a standoff. South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il pledged to pursue a peace treaty and end their countries’ decades-long standoff.

Five years ago: A day after his first debate with Mitt Romney, which had been widely seen as a victory for Romney, President Barack Obama suggested that his Republican rival hadn’t been candid about his policy positions during the faceoff. The Nielsen Co. said an estimated 67.2 million people had watched the debate; it was the biggest TV audience for a presidential debate since 1992.

One year ago: Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine repeatedly challenged Mike Pence during their vice presidential debate, attempting to tie the Indiana governor to some of Donald Trump’s most controversial statements about women, immigrants and foreign policy while Trump’s running mate maintained a folksy, soft-spoken demeanor as he defended the New York billionaire. Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti’s southwest peninsula, the first Category 4 storm to hit the country in more than a half century; the Haitian government put the death toll from Matthew at 546.

Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Leroy Van Dyke is 88. Actress Felicia Farr is 85. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Sam Huff is 83. Author Roy Blount Jr. is 76. Author Anne Rice is 76. Actress Lori Saunders (TV: “Petticoat Junction”) is 76. Baseball Hall of Famer Tony La Russa is 73. Actor Clifton Davis is 72. The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, is 71. Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is 71. Actress Susan Sarandon is 71. Blues musician Duke Robillard is 69. Playwright Lee Blessing is 68. Actor Armand Assante is 68. Actor Alan Rosenberg is 67. Actor Christoph Waltz is 61. Actor Bill Fagerbakke (FAY’-guhr-bah-kee) is 60. Music producer Russell Simmons is 60. Actress Kyra Schon (Film: “Night of the Living Dead”) is 60. Actress-singer Wendy Makkena is 59. Musician Chris Lowe (The Pet Shop Boys) is 58. Country musician Gregg “Hobie” Hubbard (Sawyer Brown) is 57. Actor David W. Harper is 56. Singer Jon Secada is 56. TV personality John Melendez is 52. Actor-comedian Jerry Minor is 50. Actor Liev Schreiber is 50. Actor Abraham Benrubi is 48. Country singer-musician Heidi Newfield is 47. Singer-guitarist M. Ward (She & Him) is 44. Actress Alicia (ah-LEE’-see-ah) Silverstone is 41. Actress Dana Davis is 39. Actor Phillip Glasser is 39. Rock singer-musician Marc Roberge (O.A.R.) is 39. Actor Brandon Barash is 38. Actress Rachael Leigh Cook is 38. Actor Tim Peper is 37. Actor Jimmy Workman is 37. Bassist Cubbie Fink is 35. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jessica Benson (3lw) is 30. Actor Michael Charles Roman is 30. Actress Melissa Benoist is 29. NBA All-Star Derrick Rose is 29. Actress Dakota Johnson is 28. Figure skater Kimmie Meisner is 28. Actress Leigh-Anne Pinnock (Little Mix) is 26. Actor Ryan Scott Lee is 21.