1897 - A young carpenter mixed fruit flavoring into gelatin and started selling the concoction door-to-door. His wife called it JELL-O. It didn't sell well, so he sold the trademark two years later for $450. Today, 13 boxes of it are sold EVERY SECOND in the U.S.
1931 - "THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER" officially became the National Anthem of the United States. And it still is, despite Christina Aguilera's recent attempt to destroy it.
1966 - WILLIAM FRAWLEY, the old-school comedy genius who WAS Fred Mertz on "I Love Lucy", died of a heart attack at the age of 79.
1966 - JOHN LENNON told the "London Evening Standard" that THE BEATLES were MORE POPULAR THAN JESUS.
1982 - WAYNE GRETZKY broke the NHL record for goals scored in one season with his 77th goal. In the last two minutes of the game, he scored numbers 78 and 79.
1988 - LUCIANO PAVAROTTI set the record for curtain calls when an audience in West Berlin gave him a 67-MINUTE STANDING OVATION . . . calling the chubby tenor back to the stage 165 times.
1991 - MILD MANNERED MOTORIST RODNEY KING was severely beaten by Los Angeles PO-lice officers in a scene captured on amateur video.
1999 - MONICA LEWINSKY opened her mouth . . . on TV with BARBARA WALTERS, and discussed some of her fondest and most painful memories from her randy relationship with PRESIDENT CLINTON. Billy's a chubby-chaser, ya know.
2006 - GARY GLITTER was convicted of committing obscene acts on two girls, ages 10 and 11 . . . but his sentence was WEAK. Just THREE YEARS! (--ATTICA!)
(--You can preview Friday's Back in the Day events here.)