October 4

Sputnik I was launched in 1957 by the Soviet Union. This was the first shot fired in the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Sputnik was the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth. It circled the globe every 96 minutes and was visible from the ground. Amateur radio operators could monitor its signals for 22 days until the batteries in Sputnik wore down. It fell to the Earth on January 4, 1958. It was 23 inches in diameter with four external radio antennas. The success of Sputnik kicked the American space program into high gear.

Leave It to Beaver had its debut in 1957 on CBS television. Jerry Mathers played “The Beaver” and we followed his adventures at home, at school, and around the neighborhood. A typical show had The Beaver getting into some sort of trouble and then the parents had to deal with the repercussions. 234 episodes were produced and the show completed its run in 1963. Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont were the parents and Tony Dow played The Beaver’s older brother.

Televangelist Jim Bakker was indicted for fraud in 1988. Bakker was an Assemblies of God minister and hosted a PTL Club television show along with his wife, Tammy Faye. About 12 million viewers watched the show weekly. Their success came to an end when it was discovered that lifetime memberships in the PTL Club were sold for $1,000, which entitled buyers to stay at a luxury hotel each year. A good deal of the money went to bonuses for him. Then Jessica Hahn was paid off to silence her concerning her allegation that Bakker and another minister raped her. Bakker was indicted on eight counts of mail fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy. He was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to 45 years in a federal prison and a $500,000 fine. Bakker was released on parole in 1994.

Birthdays Today

1916Jan Murray, American comedian, actor, and game show host (d. 2006)
1923Charlton Heston, American actor and director (d. 2008)
1928Alvin Toffler, American journalist and author
1937Jackie Collins, English author and actress
1941Anne Rice, American author
1944Tony La Russa, American baseball player and manager
1946Susan Sarandon, 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.