A mid-1950s construction worker involved in the demolition of the J. C. Wilber Building finds a box inside a cornerstone. He opens it to reveal a singing, dancing frog (that came to be called Michigan J. Frog,) complete with top hat and cane.
According to the cartoon, One Froggy Night (1955), the box also contains a commemorative document dated April 16, 1892.
April 16, 1889 -
Charles Spencer Chaplin, Jr, actor, writer, songwriter, composer, film producer and director was born on this date.
According to his daughter Geraldine Chaplin, in the last years of his life Chaplin began to worry that he might not be remembered after his death. This was a major reason why he allowed his trademark character The Little Tramp to appear on several commercial products in the 1970s.
April 16, 1932 -
The Music Box, moment by moment one of the funniest Laurel and Hardy sound movies, premiered on this date.
The crate that Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy wrestle with was empty, but the one shown sliding down the staircase really did have an upright piano in it. As it careens down the steps muffled, discordant tones can be heard.
April 16, 1936 -
Frank Capra's Oscar winning romantic comedy, Mr. Deed Goes to Town, starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur premiered in New York on this date.
This movie marks the entry of the verb doodle (in the sense of absent-minded scribbling) into the English language. The word was coined for the movie by screenwriter Robert Riskin.
April 16, 1939 -
Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien, one of the leading pop singer and entertainer of the 1960's was born on this date.
The uniqueness of Dusty Springfield's voice was described by Burt Bacharach as: "You could hear just three notes and you knew it was Dusty."
April 16, 1962 -
This is the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
Walter Cronkite succeeded Douglas Edwards as anchorman of The CBS Evening News on this date.
April 16, 1964 -
The Rolling Stones released their first, eponymously named album in the UK on this date.
It became an immediate hit, and stayed number one on the UK charts for 12 weeks.
Today in History:
April 16, 1178 BC -
... The sun has been obliterated from the sky, and an unlucky darkness invades the world. - Theoclymenus
A solar eclipse may have marked the return of Odysseus, legendary King of Ithaca and one of the most recurrent characters in Western literature, to his kingdom after the Trojan War on this date.
April 16, 1865 -
President Abraham Lincoln lay in state on this date. Two days previously, he receives a cranial gunshot wound from a member of the nation's most famous acting families, John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln died the following day, primarily from ill-advised attempts to extract the bullet lodged in his brain.
William Seward's home and attacks his family. Incredibly, Mr. Seward survives a stabbing to the face and neck. The president's death came only six days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his massive army at Appomattox, effectively ending the American Civil War.
So once again, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?
April 16, 1866 -
Dmitry Karakozov, a minor nobleman from Kostroma attempted to assassinate Tsar Alexander II of Russia at the gates of the Summer Garden in St. Petersburg on this date.
April 16, 1912 -
Harriet Quimby, in a Bleriot monoplane, became the first woman to fly solo over the English Channel on this date.
Her achievement was overshadowed in the press however, by reports of the sinking of the Titanic.
April 16 1912 -
The remains of the R.M.S. Titanic came to rest at the bottom of the sea on this date. The unsinkable ship sank after being torn by iceberg. Of a total of 2,208 people, only 712 survived; 1,496 perished.
If the lifeboats had been filled to capacity, 1,178 people could have been saved. Of the first-class, 201 were saved (60%) and 123 died. Of the second-class, 118 (44%) were saved and 167 were lost. Of the third-class, 181 were saved (25%) and 527 perished. Of the crew, 212 were saved (24%) and 679 perished. The majority of deaths were caused by victims succumbing to hypothermia in the 28 °F (-2 °C) water. Of particular note, the entire complement of the 35-member Engineering Staff (25 engineers, 6 electricians, two boilermakers, one plumber, and one writer/engineer's clerk) were lost.
The entire ship's orchestra was also lost. Led by violinist Wallace Hartley, they played music on the boat deck of the Titanic that night to calm the passengers. It will probably forever remain unknown what this orchestra selected as their last piece. Based on evidence from various sources some argue it was Nearer my God to Thee while others say it was Autumn.
April 16, 1943 -
LSD was first synthesized on April 7, 1938 by Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland, as part of a large research program searching for medically useful ergot alkaloid derivatives. Its psychedelic properties were unknown until five years later, when Hofmann, acting on what he has called a "peculiar presentiment," returned to work on the chemical. He attributed the discovery of the compound's psychoactive effects to the accidental absorption of a tiny amount through his skin on this date.
Here is an excerpt from Dr. Hofmann's diary concerning this day -
... Last Friday, April 16,1943, I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away....
Oh wow, the colors, the lights, man.
April 16, 1947 -
The French freighter Grandcamp, loaded with ammonium nitrate fertilizer, exploded at a port in Texas City, Texas on this date. The blast caused other explosions at a nearby chemical plant, spreading fires across oil refineries along the port.
An estimated 600 people were killed by the blast and the ensuing fires which swept the port and the surrounding town. The accident is considered the worst industrial accident in US history because of the high number of fatalities.
On a personal note, I want to wish Michael and Stephanie a very Happy Anniversary.
And so it goes.