Week in History: Famous crimes and an Oscar-winning Oscar - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Week in History: Famous crimes and an Oscar-winning Oscar

Groucho Marx, shown here, died Aug. 19, 1977. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) Groucho Marx, shown here, died Aug. 19, 1977. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
A Gutenberg Bible. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) A Gutenberg Bible. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
The empty space on the wall of the Louvre Museum where the Mona Lisa was stolen from Aug. 21, 1911. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) The empty space on the wall of the Louvre Museum where the Mona Lisa was stolen from Aug. 21, 1911. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
A lithograph depicting life on the moon as outlined in a hoax story by The New York Sun on Aug. 25, 1835. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) A lithograph depicting life on the moon as outlined in a hoax story by The New York Sun on Aug. 25, 1835. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
A painting by Anton Otto Fischer depicting the battle between USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere on Aug. 19, 1912. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) A painting by Anton Otto Fischer depicting the battle between USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere on Aug. 19, 1912. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

(RNN) – Fox Sports 1 launched Saturday and I am quite excited about that.

It is being billed as a direct competitor to ESPN, and one of its first moves was to copy its competition by employing a Notre Dame homer. Regis Philbin, a Notre Dame graduate, is going to host a weekday talk show on the new network called Crowd Goes W!ld. I can only hope the show is better than its name, which terrifies me of everything the network is planning to do.

ESPN's resident Notre Dame promoter, former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz, only appears on Saturdays during football season, so Fox Sports 1 already has the edge in at least one area - waking echoes.

All kidding aside, I am hoping the new addition will, at the very least, force ESPN to improve. My biggest fear, however, is that Fox Sports 1 will try to pilfer ESPN's audience by taking an approach that turns out to be worse (if Fox's previous NFL coverage is any indication, this will become a reality).

If that happens, I'll be forced to stick with ESPN and gain a new appreciation for it. That's a terrible thought.

But the network did kick off with a mission statement that sounds promising, so I'm remaining optimistic, but its inaugural edition of Fox Sports Live, which is competing with ESPN's SportsCenter, was marked by what was supposed to be humorous banter and a large, distracting graphic (not shown in the clip).

Here are some of the events of note that happened between Aug. 19 and 25.

Life and Death

There are only two obligatory mentions of obscure people just so I can have an excuse to talk about John Wayne this week, but I'm forcing a third one.

Vera Miles was born Aug. 23, 1930, and Colleen Dewhurst died Aug. 22, 1991. Miles appears in The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and played Wayne's estranged wife in Hellfighters. Dewhurst was known as the "Queen of Off-Broadway" and plays the leader of a group of prostitutes in The Cowboys where she unsuccessfully tries to seduce two of the boys and Mr. Nightlinger.

Outlaw John Wesley Hardin died Aug. 19, 1895, after being shot in a saloon by John Selman. Selman shot Hardin in the head and then shot him three more times while he was lying on the floor. In The Shootist, Wayne's character J.B. Books has a dispute with the undertaker over how his body will be displayed when he dies, and claims the undertaker wants to profit off his death "like they did with Wes Hardin."

I couldn't find video of any of those, so you'll have to take my word for it.

"Soul Man" Isaac Hayes was born Aug. 20, 1942, and was a bad mothershutyomouth. Hayes won an Oscar for the Theme from Shaft in addition to a Golden Globe and two Grammys. He earned another Grammy for Black Moses. In recent years, Hayes was notable for his role as Chef on South Park, but he left the show after an episode mocked the Church of Scientology, of which Hayes was a member.

Speaking of Regis Philbin, he was born Aug. 25, 1931, the same day in 2005 and 2012 that Ted Kennedy and Neil Armstrong died, respectively.

The only Oscar to win an Oscar - and he won two - Oscar Hammerstein II died Aug. 23, 1960. He won Oscars for his music in Lady Be Good and State Fair, but took home eight Tony Awards, including awards for South Pacific and The Sound of Music.

William Wallace was executed Aug. 23, 1305, in one of the worst ways imaginable. Mel Gibson's death scene in Braveheart doesn't do it justice, but that's good because you don't want everybody in a movie theater to get violently ill because of something you thought was "artistic" (looking at you, Blair Witch Project).

Personal theater-cleaning experience aside, Wallace was dragged naked behind a horse, strangled, disemboweled, castrated, beheaded and cut into pieces in what was known as hanged, drawn and quartered. His head was displayed on London Bridge and the pieces of his body were sent to various locations in Scotland. The site of his execution is now a London hospital and there is at least one site that purports to have his remains.

Julius Henry Marx, better known as "Groucho," died Aug. 19, 1977. As the most famous of the Marx Brothers, Groucho developed his signature fast-talking, quick-witted style only after his earlier use of a German accent fell out of favor with audiences due to World War I. Groucho achieved greater individual success than any of the other Marx Brothers and hosted You Bet Your Life later in his career in addition to other appearances.

Overlooked Anniversaries

Two crime-related phrases that have entered popular culture were coined this week. First, Patrick Sherrill committed the deadliest act of workplace violence in American history Aug. 20, 1986. Sherrill went into his office and killed 14 people before committing suicide. His motive is believed to be anger over a rebuke from a supervisor and fear of being fired. The high stress of his workplace was also blamed. Sherrill worked for the U.S. Postal Service and the incident led to the term "going postal."

On Aug. 23, 1973, a botched bank robbery led to Jan-Erik Olsson taking four hostages. After five days, police entered the bank vault and ended the standoff. The hostages later claimed they were more afraid of the police action than they were of their captors and portrayed them in a sympathetic light. The robbery occurred in Stockholm, Sweden, and the psychological phenomenon is now known as "Stockholm Syndrome."

An employee at the Louvre stole the Mona Lisa on Aug. 21, 1911, and it took two years before it was recovered. Theodore Roosevelt became the first president to ride in a car Aug. 22, 1902, the first Soap Box Derby was held Aug. 19, 1934, Saint Columba reported the first sighting of the Loch Ness Monster on Aug. 22, 564, printing of the Gutenberg Bible was completed Aug. 24, 1456, Hurricane Andrew made landfall Aug. 24, 1992, and a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Virginia on Aug. 23, 2011 - the same day Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown.

The 1812 Overture made its debut Aug. 20, 1882. It's loud, obnoxious and makes musical use of cannons, which would make it the most American song ever written, if it wasn't Russian. Pyotr Tchaikovsky composed it to commemorate Russia defending itself against Napoleon Bonaparte in 1812. Tchaikovsky himself was critical of the piece, calling it "very noisy and loud."

The "Great Moon Hoax" was orchestrated by The New York Sun on Aug. 25, 1835, reporting the moon contained unicorns and winged human-like creatures living in a lush landscape of forests and beaches. Because people in the 1800s were stupid, it was several weeks before it was discovered to be fake.

Hawaii became a state Aug. 21, 1959. Hawaii has girls wearing coconut bikinis, so it can stay. The sea turtles are nice too.

A deadly standoff lasting 10 days in Ruby Ridge, ID, began Aug. 21. The FBI was after Randy Weaver, who was believed to be involved with the Aryan Nation. Federal agents went to survey his house and were detected by his family's dogs. Three people died, including Weaver's 14-year-old son and wife, Vicki. The third was an FBI sniper.

Something About Sports

My ongoing effort to bring you the greatest records in cricket history that I am hopelessly unable to explain continues, and there are two - TWO - this week. Len Hutton set the world record for highest individual Test innings of 364 Aug. 23, 1938, and Bill Woodfull became the only cricket captain to regain The Ashes twice Aug. 22, 1934.

Now for a sport I understand - baseball. Pete Rose was banned from baseball for betting on games in which he managed Aug. 24, 1989, the Texas Rangers set a modern scoring record with a 30-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 22, 2007, Lou Gehrig hit his 23rd career grand slam - a record that still stands - Aug. 20, 1938, and Nolan Ryan became the first - and only - pitcher in baseball history to record 5,000 career strikeouts Aug. 22, 1989. The active leader in career strikeouts is Andy Pettitte, and he isn't even halfway to 5,000.

The first car race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was held Aug. 19, 1909, and resulted in two land speed records and two deaths.

The Week in Warfare

The Battle of Bosworth Field took place Aug. 22, 1485, and it's notable for two reasons. It was the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses, and it installed Henry VII as King of England, ushering in the Tudor Dynasty.

Not coincidentally, Richard III died in the battle. He became the second and final King of England to die in battle after Harold II in the Battle of Hastings. His remains were discovered last year and are now involved in a legal dispute.

USS Constitution faced off against HMS Guerriere on Aug. 19, 1812, and earned the nickname "Old Ironsides" when most of the cannon fire bounced off her hull. Guerriere became damaged beyond repair and the British sailors surrendered without inflicting much damage to Constitution.

The Lawrence Massacre occurred Aug. 21, 1863, when Quantrill's Raiders burned much of the town and killed about 200 men, many of them unceremoniously executed.

In honoring members of the Royal Air Force, who were fighting in the Battle of Britain, Winston Churchill gave the fourth of his famous wartime speeches that was made famous by the often repeated line of "never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

Holiday You Should Celebrate

National Senior Citizen's Day is Aug. 21. The ultimate act of kindness is always stated as "helping a little old lady cross the street," though I've never heard of anyone actually doing it. Maybe this is the time to change that.

Preview of next week

"I have a dream..."

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