Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April 1961: Space, Nazi's and Singers.

As Google informs us through their clever replacement of the "Google" image with a Soviet cosmonaut theme, today marks the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight. Despite Yuri Gagarin's relatively short flight time of 108 minutes, his complete orbit of the earth changed the course of human endeavours forever.

This blog has celebrated many of the important discoveries that have resulted from the space program. However, the launch of the Gagarin's Vostok capsule was not the only ground-breaking event during this month in 1961:
  • Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker were married on April 1. They would go on to build one of the largest televangelist ministries in the world
  • Barbra Streisand made her national television debut, as a guest on Tonight Starring Jack Paar on April 5.
  • On April 10, Gary Player of South Africa became the first foreign-born winner of the Masters, winning by one stroke after Arnold Palmer shot a 6 on the very last hole.
  • The trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann began in Jerusalem on April 12. Eichmann, accused of more than six million murders, was found guilty on August 14, and hanged on May 31, 1962.
  • The failed "Bay of Pigs" invasion of Cuba was launched on April 17. The 1,350 invaders were stranded on shore on the first day, only to surrender 65 hours later.
  • April 23 marked Judy Garland's legendary comeback concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City, receiving a standing ovation as she arrived on stage, and five minutes of cheering.
  • Paving the way for ESPN, ABC's Wide World of Sports, hosted by Jim McKay made its debut on April 29.
  • In Minsk, Lee Harvey Oswald married Marina Prusakova on April 30.
Whew! That's a busy month. I get exhausted just thinking about it. Also this month 150 years ago, the US Civil War began, but let's leave that for another post.

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