On November 20

“There is laid upon everybody who takes any part in this trial a solemn responsibility to discharge their duties without fear or favor in accordance with the sacred principles of law and justice.”
~Lord Justice Geoffrey Lawrence
Nuremberg Trials

1820 – The American whaler Essex, which hailed from Nantucket, was attacked by an 80-ton sperm whale 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America.
The 238-ton Essex was in pursuit of sperm whales, specifically the precious oil and bone that could be derived from them, when an enraged bull whale rammed the ship twice and capsized the vessel.
The 20 crew members escaped in three open boats, but only five of the men survived the harrowing 83-day journey to the coastal waters of South America, where they were picked up by other ships.
Herman Melville later used the incident as one of the inspirations for his novel Moby-Dick.

1903 – Tom Horn, who carried out varied roles as an old west scout, Pinkerton detective, and hired killer, was executed by hanging.
Horn had been convicted of the murder of 14-year-old Willie Nickell, but is thought to have committed 17 murders.

1910 – Russian author Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace and Anna Karenina) died of pneumonia at the age of 82.

1929 – Leo Reisman and his Orchestra recorded Happy Days Are Here Again for Victor Records.
The classic was recorded just three weeks after the stock market crash that plunged the nation into the Great Depression.

1938 – Father Charles Coughlin, a controversial, but popular Roman Catholic priest and broadcaster who had expressed sympathy for the fascist governments of Hitler and Mussolini as an antidote for communism, delivered an attack on Jews. Referring to the millions of Christians killed by the Communists in Russia, Coughlin said, “Jewish persecution only followed after Christians first were persecuted.”
After this speech, some radio stations, including those in New York and Chicago, began refusing to air his speeches without pre-approved scripts, while several stations simply dropped his program.

1945 – Twenty-four high-ranking Nazis went on trial in Nuremberg, Germany, for atrocities committed during World War II.
The Nuremberg Trials were conducted by an international tribunal made up of representatives from the United States, Soviet Union, France, and Great Britain.
It was the first trial of its kind in history, and the defendants faced charges ranging from crimes against peace, to crimes of war, to crimes against humanity.
Lord Justice Geoffrey Lawrence of Great Britain presided over the proceedings, which lasted 10 months and consisted of 216 court sessions.

1947 – In a lavish wedding ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London, Princess Elizabeth married her distant cousin, Philip Mountbatten.
A former prince of Greece and Denmark, Philip renounced his titles in order to marry the English princess.

1962 – The Cuban Missile Crisis ended when in response to the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, President John F. Kennedy ended the quarantine of the Caribbean nation.

1966 – Cabaret opened at the at the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway for the first of 1,16 performances.

1968 – Methane gas explosions in a West Virginia coal mine killed 78 men.
Consol No. 9 mine was located about 10 miles from the town of Monongah, West Virginia. It was a large mine, approximately eight miles by six miles, with untapped oil and natural gas below the coal.
At midnight on November 20, the workers descended 600 feet below the earth’s surface to begin the night shift. At 5:40 a.m., a large explosion was quickly followed by three smaller ones.
The blasts were so powerful that the lamp house near the entrance to the mine was demolished, and the damage to the mine was so extensive, it had to be sealed with the bodies of the men still inside.

1969 – The Plain Dealer in Cleveland published explicit photographs of dead villagers from the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam.
It had passed without notice when it occurred in mid-March 1968, at a time when the war news was still dominated by the siege of Khe Sanh. Yet the brief action at My Lai, a hamlet in Viet Cong-infested territory 335 miles northeast of Saigon, had a serious impact on the war.
A company of 60 or 70 U.S. infantrymen had entered My Lai early one morning and destroyed its houses, its livestock and all the inhabitants that they could find in a brutal operation that took less than 20 minutes.
When it was over, the Vietnamese dead totaled 347 according to the United States Army.

1975 – Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain for 36 years, died from complications with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 82.
During his reign, Franco established a repression which was characterized by concentration camps, forced labor and executions, mostly against political and ideological enemies.
The death toll he left behind was in excess of 250,000.

1976 – Paul Simon hosted NBC’s Saturday Night Live and performed live with George Harrison on Here Comes The Sun and Homeward Bound.

1977 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat became the first Arab leader to officially visit Israel, when he met Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and spoke before the Knesset in Jerusalem, seeking a permanent peace settlement.

1982 – The Play – The University of California football team won an improbable last-second victory over Stanford when they completed five lateral passes around members of the Cardinal marching band, who had wandered onto the field a bit too early to celebrate the upset they were sure their team had won.
After catching the last lateral of the series, Cal’s Kevin Moen careened through the confused horn section and made it safely to the end zone.
Then he slammed into saxophone player Gary Tyrell.
A photograph from the Oakland Tribune of the jubilant Moen and the terrified Tyrell in the moment just before the collision is still displayed triumphantly all over Berkeley.
Joe Starkey, the radio play-by-play announcer for the California Golden Bears, went a little, um, crazy.

1991 – U.S. Senator Alan Cranston (D-CA) was reprimanded by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics for “improper conduct” after Lincoln Savings and Loan Association head Charles Keating’s companies contributed $850,000 to voter registration groups closely affiliated with the senator.

1992 – Fire erupted at Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth’s official residence west of London, causing extensive damage.
The Queen and Prince Andrew pitched in to help save priceless artworks and other valuables housed in the fortress. The fire burned for 15 hours damaging or destroying nine principal rooms and over a hundred other rooms. It took a million and a half gallons of water to put out the blaze. The next five years would be spent restoring the Castle to its former glory.

2014 – After six years of often bitter back-and-forth with congressional Republicans over the issue of immigration, President Barack Obama issued a form of executive action known as the presidential memorandum.
The Obama administration issued a press release, stating the intent of the memorandum.
The President’s action will help secure the border, hold nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable, and ensure that everyone plays by the same rules. Acting within his legal authority, the President is taking an important step to fix our broken immigration system.
For more than a half century, every president – Democratic or Republican – has used his legal authority to act on immigration.

2015 – Actor Keith Michell died of natural causes at the age of 89.
He was best known for his Emmy-winning portrayal of the 16th century King of England in the acclaimed 1970 miniseries Six Wives of Henry VIII.
His film credits also included Dangerous Exile, Seven Seas to Calais and The Executioner.
A gifted singer, he played in the dual role of Miguel de Cervantes and his fictional creation, Don Quixote, in the musical Man of La Mancha, first starring in the original London production of the musical and then on Broadway. He also starred in the Broadway play La Cage aux Folles in the 1980s.
He had a recurring role as a jewel thief turned insurance-claims investigator on television’s Murder, She Wrote.

2017 – The Georgia Dome in Atlanta, the home stadium for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League was imploded.
In its 25-year lifespan, the Georgia Dome hosted over 1,400 events attended by over 37 million people, and was the only stadium in the world to host the Olympics, Super Bowl and NCAA Final Four basketball tournament.
Its successor, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, was built adjacent to the south (left side in the video).

Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2023 RayLemire.com / Streamingoldies. All Rights Reserved.

Comments (4)

  1. Pat Conant

    Busy day today-coffee long gone, but interesting reading anyhow. I can’t believe I don’t remember Windsor Castle burning. The My Lai massacre sure did nothing to support the troops in Viet Nam.

    1. Ray (Post author)

      My Lai was a very, very black eye for America.

  2. Mary Helen Hawthorne

    Great post filled with many pivotal events
    Loved the SNL piece
    So enjoy these historical factoids
    History reminds us and should teach us not to repeat evil

    1. Ray (Post author)

      Thanks, Mary Helen 🥰
      The George and Paul video was beautiful.
      You are very quickly becoming an A+ student!


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