Today In History...
In 1861 The Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America, meeting in Montgomery, Alabama, elected Jefferson Davis as president.
In 1863 The fire extinguisher was patented by Alanson Crane.
In 1877 The U.S. Weather Service was founded.
In 1933 The temperature at Yellowstone National Park dropped to 66 below zero.
In 1942 The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff held its first formal meeting to coordinate American military strategy during World War II.
In 1942 Daylight-savings "War Time" went into effect in the U.S., with clocks turned one hour forward.
In 1943 The U.S. won a major strategic battle during World War II when Japan evacuated Guadalcanal.
In 1943 In her first address to the House, U.S. Rep. Clare Boothe Luce derided Vice President Henry A. Wallace's "global thinking" as "globaloney."
In 1949 Actor Robert Mitchum is sentenced to 60 days for possession of marijuana.
In 1950 In a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy charged the State Department was riddled with Communists.
In 1953 "The Adventures of Superman" premiered on television.
In 1962 An agreement was signed to make Jamaica an independent nation within the British Commonwealth later in the year.
In 1964 The action figure "GI Joe" was introduced.
In 1967 This date began 768 consecutive days of sunshine in St.Petersburg, Florida, that ended on March 17, 1969.
In 1968 "Planet of the Apes" opened in movie theaters.
In 1969 The Boeing 747 jumbo jet made its first commercial flight.
In 1969 Actor George "Gabby" Hayes died at age 67.
In 1971 An earthquake killed 65 people in the San Fernando Valley.
In 1971 Apollo XIV returned to Earth after man's third landing on the moon.
In 1975 Soyuz 17 returned to Earth.
In 1977 Queen Alia of Jordon, the third wife of King Hussein, was killed in a military helicopter crash.
In 1978 William Webster was confirmed as the FBI's new director.
In 1984 Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov died at age 69, less than 15 months after succeeding Leonid Brezhnev. He was followed by Konstantin U. Chernenko.
In 1985 In his Saturday radio address, President Reagan accused Congress of thwarting his administration's efforts to run the government more economically.
In 1986 Halley's Comet reached perihelion (closest approach to the sun).
In 1987 Former national security adviser Robert C. McFarlane, who was facing tough questions about his role in the Iran-Contra affair, attempted suicide by swallowing Valium but survived.
In 1988 Actress Robin Givens and boxer Mike Tyson were married.
In 1989 In his first major speech to Congress, President Bush proposed a $1.16 trillion "common sense" budget for fiscal 1990.
In 1990 The Perrier Group of America announced it would voluntarily recall its inventory of Perrier mineral water in the U.S. after tests found benzene in several bottles.
In 1992 Magic Johnson returned to professional basketball by playing in the NBA All-Star game.
In 1992 The government of Algeria declared a state of emergency to quell the spreading Muslim fundamentalist unrest.
In 1994 Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization agreed to implement a plan for Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and in Gaza.
In 1995 Former Senator J. William Fulbright, 89, died in Washington.
In 1996 A former member of the Fort Lauderdale, FL, beach detail shot and killed five former co-workers before killing himself.
In 1996, a collision of rush-hour commuter trains in Secaucus, NJ, claimed the lives of engineers and passengers.
In 1996 The Irish Republican Army ended its cease-fire with a truck bombing in London that killed two and injured 37.
In 1997 Richmond-based Best Products closed its 180 stores in 23 states, the largest U.S. retailer to date to go under.
In 1998 North Koreans working in the former Soviet Union defected to South Korea.
In 1998 At the Nagano Games, German Georg Hackl won the men's luge for the third consecutive Olympics.
In 1999 The U.S. Senate began closed-door deliberations in President Clinton's impeachment trial.
In 2001 A U.S. Navy submarine collided with a Japanese fishing boat off the Hawaiian coast, killing nine men and boys aboard the ship.
In 2002 Britain's Princess Margaret, the unconventional sister of Queen Elizabeth II, died in London at age 71.
In 2003 The West beat the East, 155-145, in the first double-overtime game in NBA All-Star history.