May 21

Actor Raymond Burr was born in New Westminster, Canada in 1917. He is best known for his television roles in Perry Mason (1957-1966) and Ironside (1967-1975). Burr won two Emmys for Perry Mason and received six Emmy nominations for Ironside. He is also known for his role as the killer in Rear Window (1954). Burr owned an orchid business, was a collector of wine, art, and seashells. He died in 1993 at the age of 76 from cancer.

Senator Al Franken from Minnesota was born in New York City in 1951. Prior to being elected to the Senate in 2009, Franken was a writer and performer for Saturday Night Live. He hosted a radio talk show and has authored six books. His 2009 election to the U.S. came after he defeated his opponent by 312 votes. The Minnesota Supreme Court finally upheld his election and he was sworn into office in July of 2009.

In 1972, Laszlo Toth vandalized Michelangelo’s Pieta. The vandal was a geologist and using a geologist’s hammer attacked the statue. Shouting, “I am Jesus Christ,” Toth struck 15 blows to the statue, removing Mary’s arm at the elbow, knocked off part of the nose, and chipped on of the eyelids. Due to his insanity, Toth was never charged with a crime and was committed to a psychiatric hospital. He was then released and sent to Australia where he lived until he died in 2012. The work was restored and now resides behind bulletproof glass.

The White Night Riots took place in San Francisco in 1979 and were sparked by the lenient sentence given to the assassin of Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk. The gay community of San Francisco was enraged by the sentence of voluntary manslaughter given to Dan White. White’s lawyers used what became to be called “The Twinkie Defense,” meaning that junk food eaten by the defendant contributed to his diminished mental state. White has been a former member of the San Francisco Police Department and the gay community had a long-standing conflict with the police.  When the crowd reached the steps of City Hall, the violence began that caused damage to the building and injured demonstrators and police alike.

Johnny Carson’s last night of hosting The Tonight Show took place in 1992. His farewell was a major media event as he had hosted the show for 30 years (1962-1992). More than 50 million viewers tuned in for the last show, which ended with Carson thanking those who helped him with the show and declared that it was an honor to come into our homes for the past thirty years.

Larry Moskal began his career as a Social Studies teacher in 1971. He graduated from the University of Buffalo with degrees in history and education. Larry taught Social Studies for the Ken-Ton School system, a suburban school system north of Buffalo, New York until 2005, and then taught and was the Dean of Students at San Miguel High School in Tucson. At Ken-Ton, he pioneered several online courses for high school students. In the 1980s, he spent three years teaching in Colombia, South America and spent four years at Lewiston-Porter High School. He currently is the PowerSchool Administrator for San Miguel accomplishing his work over the Internet.