• On Oct. 22, 1797, above Paris, the first parachute jump of note is made by Andre-Jacques Garnerin with an attached hydrogen balloon. Garnerin attached the parachute to a hydrogen balloon and ascended to an altitude of 3,200 feet before cutting the parachute from the balloon.
• On Oct. 26, 1825, an ingenious method of communication is used to inform New York City that the Erie Canal is complete. Cannons were arranged along the length of the canal, each within hearing distance of the next cannon. As each cannon was fired, it signaled the next. Within 81 minutes, the word was relayed to New York, the fastest communication the world had ever known.
• On Oct. 27, 1858, entrepreneur Roland Macy finally hits the jackpot when he opens his own department store. The New York store, Macy’s, became an immediate success.
• On Oct. 25, 1912, comedian Minnie Pearl is born. Pearl was famous for her Grand Ole Opry comic monologues about hillbilly life and was featured on the long-running syndicated show “Hee Haw” from 1970 to 1990. Pearl died in 1996.
• On Oct. 23, 1942, bestselling “Jurassic Park” author Michael Crichton is born in Chicago. Crichton wrote potboilers while working on his medical degree at Harvard. During his final year of medical school, the 6-foot-9-inch Crichton published “The Andromeda Strain” (1969) and decided to write full time instead of practicing medicine.
• On Oct. 28, 1950, popular radio personality Jack Benny moves to television with “The Jack Benny Show.” The TV version of the show ran for the next 15 years. Jack Benny was born Benjamin Kubelsky in 1894.
• On Oct. 24, 1969, movie star Richard Burton dazzles wife Elizabeth Taylor with a 69-carat Cartier diamond ring costing $1.5 million. The diamond was the product of a fight they had in a restaurant. Burton called Taylor’s hands large and ugly, and she responded that he’d better buy her the 69-carat ring she wanted so that her hands would look smaller and more attractive.
(c) 2007 King Features Synd., Inc.