First Posted: 9/9/2014
The History Channel
* On Oct. 4, 1937, legendary blues singer Bessie Smith is buried near Philadelphia. Smith was killed a few days earlier when the old Packard she was driving hit a parked truck near Coahoma, Mississippi. In 1923, Smith had released her first record, “Down-Hearted Blues.”
* On Sept. 30, 1949, after 15 months and more than 250,000 flights, the Berlin Airlift officially comes to an end. The daily airlift supplied tons of food and other goods. Without firing a shot, the Americans foiled the Soviet plan to hold West Berlin hostage.
* On Sept. 29, 1954, Willie Mays, centerfielder for the New York Giants, makes an amazing over-the-shoulder catch of a fly ball hit by Cleveland Indians first baseman Vic Wertz to rob Wertz of extra bases in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series. The catch has gone down as one of the greatest in baseball history.
* On Oct. 1, 1962, Johnny Carson takes over from Jack Paar as host of the late-night talk program “The Tonight Show.” Carson went on to host “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” for three decades, handing over the reins to Jay Leno in 1992.
* On Oct. 2, 1971, “Maggie May” becomes Rod Stewart’s first No. 1 hit and tops the U.K. and U.S. pop charts simultaneously. “Maggie May” was a last-minute addition to the album “Every Picture Tells a Story” and was originally released as the “B” side to the single “Reason to Believe.”
* On Oct. 3, 1981, a hunger strike by Irish nationalists at the Maze Prison in Belfast in Northern Ireland is called off after seven months and 10 deaths. In the aftermath of the strike, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher agreed to give in to several of the protesters’ demands, including the right to wear civilian clothing.
* On Oct. 5, 1990, “Henry & June,” starring Uma Thurman, Fred Ward and Maria de Medeiros, opens in theaters as the first film with an NC-17 rating. A month earlier, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) had debuted NC-17 (No One Under 17 Admitted) as a replacement for the X rating.