Slipping back through the history of fall, here's a guided tour of the events, whether great, near-great or downright banal, that have graced the October calendar down through the years.
October 2, 1950 — Peanuts, a syndicated comic strip by Charles Schulz, featuring Charlie Brown and his pet beagle Snoopy, was first published in major newspapers.
October 3, 1974 — Frank Robinson became major league baseball’s first black manager, overseeing the Cleveland Indians.
October 4, 1883 — The Orient Express began operations.
October 4, 1993 — The Russian Constitutional Crisis. In Moscow, tanks bombarded the White House, a government building that housed the Russian Parliament, while demonstrators against President Boris Yeltsin rallied outside.
October 6, 1889 — Thomas Edison showed the first motion picture.
October 11, 1984 — Space shuttle Challenger astronaut Kathryn Sullivan became the first American woman to walk in space.
October 12, 1492 — Christopher Columbus made landfall in the Caribbean, believing he had reached East Asia.
October 12, 1810 — The first Oktoberfest was held in Munich, celebrating the wedding of Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria.
October 13, 1843 — The Independent Order of B’nai B’rith, the oldest continually-operating Jewish service organization in the world, was founded in New York City.
October 14, 1964 — Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
October 15, 1951 — I Love Lucy premiered on television. While we were watching and enjoying this classic TV show, who knew it would become the iconic example of the situation comedy, or sit-com? The combination of Lucille Ball’s comedic talent and Desi Arnez’s production and merchandizing skills laid the groundwork for successful television series production of the future.
October 16, 1793 — Marie Antoinette was guillotined for treason.
October 16, 1962 — The Cuban Missile crisis began.
October 16, 1970 — Canada’s War Measures Act was imposed after Quebec cabinet minister Pierre LaPorte and British diplomat James Cross were kidnapped by the FLQ. Cross was eventually freed, but LaPorte was murdered by his kidnappers.
October 23, 1906 — Early flight. Alberto Santos-Dumont flew an aircraft for over 200 feet at an altitude of about 10 feet.
October 24, 1945 — The United Nations came into existence.
October 24, 1901 — Anna Edison Taylor was the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
October 25, 1983 — U.S. forces invade Grenada.
October 26, 1825 — The Erie Canal opens, connecting Lake Erie to the Hudson River.
October 26, 1881 — The Gunfight at the OK Corral occurred. Wyatt Earp, his two brothers and “Doc” Holliday had a famous shootout with the Ike Clanton gang.
October 27, 1904 — The first section of the New York City Subway opened, running between city hall and the Bronx.
October 27, 1893 — The National Council of Women of Canada was formed in Toronto by a group of 1,500 women “to enable the women of Canada to speak with a united voice on matters of public interest.” Lady Aberdeen became the organization's first president. The National Council of Women came to play a key role in creating some important Canadian institutions, including the Victorian Order of Nurses.
October 28, 1886 — In New York Harbor, U.S. President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, to commemorate the centennial of the United States Declaration of Independence.
October 29, 1929 — The New York Stock Exchange crashed on what came to be known as “Black Tuesday,” beginning the Great Depression.
October 29, 1956 — The Suez Canal Crisis began, when Israel invaded the Sinai Peninsula and pushed Egyptian forces back toward the Suez Canal. Future Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson, who was then a Canadian diplomat, earned the Nobel Peace Prize for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the crisis, which was the first use of UN peacekeepers.
October 31, 1517 — According to traditional accounts, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses onto the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany, marking the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
October 31, 1926 — On Hallowe’en in a creepy bit of ironic timing, magician Harry Houdini died from complications of a ruptured appendix. Ten days earlier, Houdini, appearing in Montreal, had invited a student to punch him in the stomach. That blow contributed to his death.
October 31, 1984 — Indian Prime Minister Indira Ghandi was assassinated.