1846 - The MORMONS began their exodus from Illinois to Utah. It was a long bike ride. (?)
1863 - P.T. BARNUM staged the wedding of GENERAL TOM THUMB and Mercy Lavinia Warren, both "vertically challenged" people, in New York City. The tiny couple had to stand on a piano to greet their guests. Little people like to get-it-on, too, ya know.
1956 - ELVIS PRESLEY made his first recording in Nashville. "Heartbreak Hotel" was the A-side; "I Was The One" was the B-side.
1978 - VAN HALEN'S DEBUT ALBUM WAS RELEASED! The self-titled LP has sold over 10 million copies in the U.S. . . . and contains the monster jams "You Really Got Me", "Runnin' With The Devil", "Jamie's Cryin'" and "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love"!
(--It's pretty likely that Van Halen is back in the studio with DAVID LEE ROTH . . . but without MICHAEL ANTHONY. And thus, once again, the Brothers Van Halen have cheated their fans out of a TRUE reunion.)
1979 - DIRE STRAITS' MASTERPIECE, "SULTANS OF SWING", WAS RELEASED.
1987 - Biblically bearded Surgeon General C. EVERETT KOOP told a House panel he supported TV ads for PROPHYLACTICS because of the health threat posed by AIDS.
1992 - MIKE TYSON was convicted of raping Desiree Washington, a Miss Black America contestant.
1993 - In OPRAH WINFREY'S 90-minute TV interview, MICHAEL JACKSON dispelled the, quote, "god-awful rumors including bleaching my skin."
--He said his "whiteness" was caused by a disorder that destroys pigmentation of the skin called vitiligo.
--He also admitted that he had MINOR plastic surgery on his once-normal nose. Ninety million people tuned in, making the program the fourth most-watched show in America (excluding Super Bowls) of all-time.
1993 - GARRY KASPAROV, arguably the greatest chess player of all time, was defeated by IBM supercomputer Deep Blue.
2000 - JIM VARNEY, the master thespian who starred in FOURTEEN "Ernest" movies . . . and did the voice of Slinky Dog in "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" . . . died of cancer at 50.
(--In "Toy Story 3", Slinky is voiced by BLAKE CLARK. He's a character actor you've probably seen in a bunch of different things.)
(--My favorite role of his would have to be Farmer Fran . . . the backwoods Cajun assistant to Coach Kline in "The Waterboy". I especially enjoyed his nipple rings.) (?)
2005 - TOM SIZEMORE was arrested for using a PROSTHETIC PENIS . . . THE WHIZZINATOR! . . . to try to pass a drug test. He was sentenced to 17 months in prison and then another four months in a drug treatment program.
2008 - "Jaws" superstar ROY SCHEIDER died of cancer at the age of 75.
(--You can preview Friday's Back in the Day events here.)