Good News in History, April 17

Good News in History, April 17

young-george-Lucas-1986-pubdomainOn this date 43 years ago, George Lucas started writing the treatment for a new film called “The Star Wars”. He had just finished his first major film, American Graffiti, and began the 13-page treatment using thematic parallels with Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 film The Hidden Fortress. Numerous studios passed on the “weird” film idea, until Alan Ladd, Jr., the head of 20th Century Fox, believed enough in the young filmmaker to fund its development. The result was galactic gold at the box office. (1973)

More Good news on this Day:

  • The Peak District became the United Kingdom’s first National Park (1951)
  • Jerrie Mock became the first woman to circumnavigate the world by air–using a single-engine Cessna airplane (1964)
  • The Ford Mustang first hit showroom floors, for sale to the public (1964)
  • Apollo 13, which had been in trouble while in space, returned safely to Earth (1970)
  • All four of The Beatles had solo singles on the UK charts–Paul McCartney with ‘Another Day’, John Lennon ‘Power To The People’, George Harrison ‘My Sweet Lord’ and Ringo Starr ‘It Don’t Come Easy’ (1971)
  • FedEx, then known as Federal Express, began operations (1973)
  • Pink Floyd’s album, The Dark Side of The Moon, went gold on the US charts –and stayed there more than ten years, becoming the longest charting rock LP of all time (1973)
  • The Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ War between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly ended (1986)
  • Jamie Moyer became the oldest Major League Baseball player ever to pitch a wining game, throwing seven strong innings at age 49 to help the Colorado Rockies win 5-3 (2012) Read about his camp for kids on GNN

Ellis Island

April 17 is also Ellis Island Family History Day because in 1907 more immigrants entered the USA on that day than on any other date in history — 11,747 people. Over 40 percent of the U.S. population — 100 million Americans — can trace their roots back to the 17 million immigrants who took their first steps towards freedom and opportunity at the Ellis Island processing center. A small sample of those who came through Ellis Island between 1892–1924— some immigrants, some simply travelers — reveals some of the greatest names in literature, entertainment, politics, and science:

  1. Singer Enrico Caruso
  2. Olympiad Johann Weismuller
  3. Comedian Henry (Henny) Youngman
  4. Circus founders John and Mabel Ringling
  5. Composer and Conductors, Gustav Mahler and Arturo Toscanini
  6. Physicians Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud
  7. Filmmaker Charles Chaplin
  8. Conductors Leopold Stokowski and Sergei Rachmaninoff
  9. Future presidents Woodrow Wilson, William H. Taft, Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover
  10. Writers Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, and F. Scott Fitzgerald
  11. Songwriters George Gershwin, George M. Cohan, Israel Beilin (Irving Berlin) and Cole Porter
  12. Animator Walter Elias Disney
  13. Albert Einstein

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