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Today Years Ago

Today in 1973, NASA launched its space probe Mariner 10 from Cape Canaveral. Almost 4 months later, it became the first probe to reach Mercury, which it studied extensively. It was also the first spacecraft to make use of an interplanetary gravitational slingshot maneuver.
Today in 1938, Orson Welles delivered an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ 1898 novel The War of the Worlds as an episode of the American radio drama anthology series The Mercury Theater on the Air. After a brief prologue read by Welles, the program ran for thirty minutes straight, presented as a music station interrupted by […]
Today in 1964, Jack Roland Murphy (pictured, left), Alan Kuhn (pictured, right), and Roger Clark robbed the American Museum of Natural History. Targeting a J.P. Morgan jewel collection, they made off with over $400,00 worth of jewels, including the Star of India, the Eagle Diamond, and the de Long Ruby. Murphy cased the museum for […]
Today in 1971, Britain launched its first and only satellite that was deployed by a British rocket (The Black Arrow R3). Prospero was designed to study the effects of space environment on communications satellites. It remained operational until 1973, and was contacted annually for 25 years after. In September 2011, it was announced that a […]
Today in 1988, it came to light that porn magnate Larry Flynt (founder of Hustler magazine, among others) allegedly paid a hitman named Mitchell Werbell $1 million to kill competitor Hugh Hefner, along with Frank Sinatra, Playboy publisher Walter Annenberg, and Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione sometime in November 1983. Flynt gave Werbell a check for […]
Today in 1979, the World Health Organization declared the complete eradication of the smallpox virus. The announcement came on the 2 year anniversary of the discovery of the last known naturally occurring case of smallpox. On October 26, 1977, Ali Maow Maalin of Merca, Somalia became the last known person to naturally contract the smallpox […]
Today in 1986, American actor/director Michael Sergio parachuted into Shea Stadium in Queens, NY with a sign reading “Let’s Go Mets.” He landed shortly before Game 6 of the 1986 World Series kicked off between the New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox. Sergio was arrested on the spot and spent several days in […]