November 21

Disc jockey, Alan Freed was fired from WABC AM radio in 1959 for refusing to deny that he had participated in the payola scandal that hit the radio business. Freed had popularized the term “rock and roll in the early 1950s. During World War II, he had worked as a DJ on Armed Forces Radio, and then worked in Akron and Cleveland before landing in New York. Freed’s career ended when it was shown that he had accepted payments (payola) from record companies to promote certain recordings. In 1962, he pleaded guilty to charges of commercial bribery for which he was fined. Freed died in 1965 from cirrhosis at age 43.

 

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened to traffic in 1964. The bridge is a double-decked suspension bridge and was the longest suspension bridge in the world when completed, but it is now in 11th place. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge still has the longest span in the United States. The bridge is named for Giovanni da Verrazano, who explored for France in the 16th century. The Narrows is the body of water that the bridge spans. It marks the entrance to New York Harbor and can be seen from New Jersey and all five boroughs of New York.

 

In 1980, a fire broke out in the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada (now the Bally’s Las Vegas). Eighty-five people were killed, mostly due to smoke inhalation. It was the worst disaster in Nevada history and the third worst hotel fire in the nation’s history. A fire at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta killed 119 and the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico killed 97. At the MGM Grand a fire broke out in the restaurant of the hotel and smoke spread into the hotel tower. Most of the deaths occurred in the upper floors and 14 firefighters also died. The disaster led to greater awareness of the dangers of smoke inhalation.

 

Birthdays Today

 

1916Sid Luckman, American football player and soldier (d. 1998)

1920Stan Musial, American baseball player and manager (d. 2013)

1929Marilyn French, American author and academic (d. 2009)

1937Marlo Thomas, American actress and producer

1944Earl Monroe, American basketball player

1945Goldie Hawn, American actress, singer, and producer

 

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.