History Schmistory: October 25. Priceless.

1993: The master of macabre, classic horror film actor Vincent Price, well known for his creepy characters and distinctly chilling voice, dies of lung cancer. And Halloween just wasn’t the same without him.

History Schmistory: October 24. Steel Widow.

1901: With her only child dead and her only husband killed in the Civil War, aging schoolteacher Annie Edson Taylor feared she was destined to end up in the poorhouse. But then she came up with a brilliant plan. First, she would pay professional coopers to construct a heavy duty, elongated and well-cushioned barrel. Then, on October 24th, her 63rd birthday, she would climb inside and ride it over the edge of Niagara Falls, a feat that would hopefully bring enough publicity and wealth to carry her comfortably into senectitude.
The stunt is a resounding success, and Annie becomes the first person ever to accomplish it, emerging from the certain-death-capsule with only a small gash on her head, though she made it clear she would rather “walk up to the mouth of a cannon” than ever try it again. Unfortunately, the story ends with Annie spending most of her earnings on private detectives in a futile search for the missing barrel, no doubt sold by her concurrently absent manager. Still, Annie Edson Taylor remains one of the most gutsy people in the history of daredevilry.

History Schmistory: October 23. Smurfin USA?

1958: The Smurfs, a fictional race of blue dwarves, appear for the first time in a weekly French comic-strip by Peyo called Johan and Peewit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s right, the Smurfs are actually French.

History Schmistory: October 22. “I wasn’t ready!”

1926: Smarty-pants J. Gordon Whitehead sucker punches legendary magician, escapologist and stunt performer Harry Houdini in the stomach several times, rupturing his appendix. Houdini refuses medical attention and goes on to perform what would be his final show, collapsing several times in the duration. He dies a few days later in a Detroit hospital on Halloween. And this time it was no trick (or treat.)

 

 

 

 

History Schmistory: October 21. UFO-snap!

1978: Australian pilot Frederick Valentich vanishes somewhere over the Bass Straight after reporting an unidentified aircraft hovering above him. Dude got jacked by some punk aliens.

History Schmistory: October 20. No worries, mate!

1973: 10 years overdue and $95 million over budget, the Sydney Opera House finally opens, and quickly becomes the universal icon of Australia. That is, until Crocodile Dundee comes out.

History Schmistory: October 19. Somebody please do something historic!

Today in history kinda bites. Nothing all that significant, fun, or crazy to report. So, here you go!

History Schmistory: October 18. Happy Alaska Day!

1867: The United States moves in with Alaska after purchasing the territory from Russia for 7.2 million clams. They live together for 92 years before finally making the relationship official in 1959. Meanwhile, Canada insists they are carrying Alaska’s baby.

History Schmistory: October 17. Flow this way!

1814: The London Beer  Flood occurs in, you guessed it, London, killing nine and inebriating several others.

History Schmistory: October 16. Going up?

1986: Reinhold Messner becomes the first person to scale all 14 ‘Eight-thousanders’ (every mountain over 8,000 meters, or 26,247 ft high.) How many can you name? …Yeah, other than Everest and K2 :) List here!

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