• On Sept. 27, 1854, the luxury ship Arctic slams into the steamer Vesta off the coast of Newfoundland. Desperate Arctic crewmembers took lifeboats from women and children attempting to escape. When one of the ship’s high-ranking officers tried to stop them, the crew killed him. The final 70 people left on board crowded onto a makeshift raft as the Arctic sank. Only one survived.
• On Sept. 28, 1918, a Liberty Loan parade in Philadelphia prompts a huge outbreak of the flu epidemic. By the time the epidemic ended, an estimated 30 million people were dead worldwide. The most likely origin of the pandemic was a bird or farm animal in the American Midwest.
• On Sept. 29, 1930, filming begins on the classic horror film “Dracula” starring Bela Lugosi, who was identified with the role for the rest of his life. When he died in 1956, Lugosi was buried with his Dracula cape.
• On Sept. 30, 1955, actor James Dean, 24, dies in a car crash. Although Dean appeared in only three movies, he made a deep impression on American audiences with his portrayal of the angry, restless young man. His three films were “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955), “East of Eden” (1955) and “Giant” (1956).
• On Sept. 26, 1960, Massachusetts Democratic Senator John F. Kennedy and Republican Vice President Richard M. Nixon face each other in the first nationally televised presidential campaign debate.
• On Sept. 25, 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the first female U.S. Supreme Court justice. After graduation from Stanford Law School in the 1950s, no law firm would hire her because she was a woman.
• On Sept. 24, 1996, best-selling author Stephen King releases two new novels at once. The first, “Desperation,” was released under King’s name, while the second, “The Regulators,” was published under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. He wrote six novels under the name Richard Bachman.
(c) 2007 King Features Synd., Inc.