Wed, Jan 4

1971—George Mellendorf, in Vietnam, mails a letter to the White House complaining of slow mail delivery. His answer arrives in 1978.

1965—Having forced UC Berkeley Regents to drop their ban on political speech, the Free Speech Movement holds a rally that’s legal for a change.

1960—During a Minimum Interval Takeoff at Pease AFB, the second in a flight of three B-47s crashes and burns; four crewmen die.

1958—In a New York cab, ex-Commie, ex-McCarthy aide and ex-editor of Confidential Howard Rushmore shoots his wife, then himself.

1956—A Senate Internal Security Subcommittee begins investigating newspapers, including the New York Times, for alleged Commie influence.

1955—The U.S. agrees to pay Japan for nuking the Marshall Islands.

1933—Farmers in  Primghar, Iowa throw a rope around a banker’s neck and threaten to lynch him unless he promises to end foreclosures.

1903—Topsy the Elephant, unjustly accused of being a killer, is fitted with copper sandals, fed carrots laced with a pound of cyanide, and electrocuted by the owners of Luna Park at Coney Island. An Edison crew films the fun.

1882—John McCarton, ship’s printer aboard the U.S.S. New Hampshire, leaps overboard off Newport, R.I. to save Musician 2nd Class Jabez Smith from drowning; McCarton is later awarded the Medal of Honor.

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