August 19, 1946 -
William Jefferson Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III) 42nd President of the United States of America was born on this date.
August 19, 1932 -
The Marx Brothers' fourth movie, Horse Feathers, went into general release on this date.
Zeppo played Groucho's son, but in real life, Zeppo Marx was only 11 years younger than Groucho Marx.
Today in History:
August 19, 1601 -
The end of the 16th century was dominated by the personality of Michael the Brave. He became voivode of Wallachia in 1593, joined the Christian League - an anti-Ottoman coalition initiated by the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire and he succeeded, following heavy battles (Calugareni, Giurgiu) to actually regain the independence of his country.
In 1599-1600 he united for the first time in history all the territories inhabited by Romanians, proclaiming himself "prince of Wallachia, Transylvania and the whole of Moldavia." The domestic situation was very complex, the neighboring great-powers - the Ottoman Empire, Poland, the Hapsburg Empire - were hostile and joined forces to overthrow him; so this union was short-lived as Michael the Brave was assassinated in 1601. This bit of historical fluff was totally unnecessary but the next time you want to shut up some snooty blowhard, ask them to name their favorite voivode of the sixteenth century.
August 19, 1936 -
Federico Garcia Lorca retired from his position as Spain's most celebrated poet (and playwright) in order to become a gravedigger.
This proved to have been a poor career move: his Fascist supervisors were so displeased with his work that they shot him to death after he had dug only one grave on this date.
August 19, 1934 -
Adolf Hitler wins absolute power when 89.9% of the German electorate consolidates the positions of President and Chancellor into a single office, occupied by him.
Years after the war, many Germans swear that they voted for another candidate but the 'whole hanging voter' thing got in the way.
August 19, 1960 -
The Soviet Union convicts U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers of espionage, sentencing him to 3 years in prison and 7 years of hard labor.
All because he didn't jab himself with the poison needle. another example of faulty military training.
August 19, 1960 -
The Soviet Union launches Sputnik V into orbit. On board are two dogs (Belka and Strelka), along with 2 unnamed rats and 40 mice. The menagerie is recovered safely the next day from the landing capsule.
The two rats were later appointed wardens of gulags in Siberia. Belka entered politics and nearly became Soviet Premier in the late 60's, unfortunately he developed mange and had to retire from public life. Strelka enjoyed a long career on Russian TV, appearing in such classics as, I Love Lenin and 14's Company. Scandal ruined his later career when doctored photos appeared of Strelka humping the leg of Gore Vidal.
August 19, 1977 -
One of the world's leading commentator on the human condition, Julius Marx gives up the ghost.
And so it goes.