1975: In a 35-year career that ran from the rockabilly genius of “Lonely Weekends” (1960) to “Behind Closed Doors” (1973), the versatile and soulful Charlie Rich earned eleven No. 1 hits on the country charts. In 1975, the man voted Entertainer of the Year for by the Country Music Association of America one year earlier stood onstage at the CMA awards show to announce that year’s winner of the Association’s biggest award. When he opened the envelope and saw what was written inside — John Denver — Rich reached into his pocket for a lighter and set the envelope on fire. Denver himself was present only via satellite linkup, and he offered a gracious acceptance speech with no idea what had occurred.
1912: Before a campaign speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Theodore Roosevelt, the presidential candidate for the Progressive Party, is shot at close range by saloonkeeper John Schrank while greeting the public in front of the Gilpatrick Hotel. Schrank’s .32-caliber bullet, aimed directly at Roosevelt’s heart, failed to mortally wound the former president because its force was slowed by a glasses case and a bundle of manuscript in the breast pocket of Roosevelt’s heavy coat. Schrank was immediately detained and reportedly offered as his motive that “any man looking for a third term ought to be shot.”
1965: In a demonstration staged by the student-run National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam, some of the first public burnings of draft cards in the United States takes place. These demonstrations drew 100,000 people in 40 cities across the country.
1991: George Jo Hennard drives his truck through a window in Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, and then opens fire on a lunch crowd of over 100 people, killing 23 and injuring 20 more. Hennard then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. The incident was one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history.
1931: Gangster Al Capone is sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion and fined $80,000, signaling the downfall of one of the most notorious criminals of the 1920s and 1930s. He got out early in 1939 for good behavior, after spending his final year in prison in a hospital, suffering from syphilis.
1867: The U.S. formally takes possession of Alaska after purchasing the territory from Russia for $7.2 million, or less than two cents an acre. The Alaska purchase comprised 586,412 square miles, about twice the size of Texas.
1923: Walt Disney and his brother Roy found the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in Hollywood, California. The studio, now known as the Walt Disney Company, has had an oversized impact on the entertainment industry and is now one of the largest media companies in the world.