4/4 Historical Footnotes
Improbable scenarios that happened on the 4th of April through history.
1814: Napoleon pulls a Michael Jordan and fake-quits for the first time. Jordan went to Birmingham to play baseball; Napoleon went to Elba until the playoff season of 1815, but like Jordan in '95 he hadn't gotten his legs quite back. Jordan ended up exiled to Charlotte as owner of the Bobcats; Napoleon to the isolated South Atlantic island prison of St. Helena. History will tell us who was worse off.
1850: Los Angeles, CA is incorporated as a city. But what it really wants to do is direct.
1964: Terry Stafford hits the big time as his single "Suspicion," previously recorded by Elvis Presley, rises to number 6 on the Billboard Top 100 list. Numbers 1 through 5 are "Can't Buy Me Love," "Twist and Shout," "She Loves You," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and "Please Please Me," by some band from England that will never last.
1968: Apollo 6, the final unmanned mission of the moon program, blasts off. Few people remember by that evening.
1968: Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, TN by James Earl Ray, a strange habitual criminal, white supremacist, George Wallace supporter, and chameleon of a man who leaves almost no impression on those he meets. Ray is therefore able to evade roadblocks, drive away from Memphis to Atlanta, arriving there about the same time King's body is brought back, then to escape the country to Canada for several weeks, where he obtains a false passport. He then travels to Europe for some weeks before being identified and detained at Heathrow Airport in England just before he was about to successfully escape to what was then Rhodesia (where he hoped to join a racist guerrilla group) under the alias Ramon George Sneyd. On June 11, 1977, Ray will escape with six other inmates from Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Tennessee. Ray is the last man recaptured, almost three days later. He dies in prison in 1998 claiming innocence despite overwhelming physical evidence that he murdered King.
1969: Dr. Denton Cooley implants the first temporary artificial heart in a human being, Haskell Karp, who lives for 65 hours. Cooley will have a longstanding public feud with Dr. Michael DeBakey. They make up in public in 2007 when Cooley is 87 and DeBakey is 99. Cooley is still alive at age 92 today. Kids, if you want to live a long life, be a pioneering heart surgeon who can hold a grudge.