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Moments in time

 

• On Oct. 15, 1917, Mata Hari, the seductive female spy, is executed for espionage by a French firing squad. Mata Hari claimed to have been born in a sacred temple, but in reality, the exotic dancer was born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle in Holland.

• On Oct. 17, 1931, gangster Al Capone is sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion. Capone had avoided long stints in jail by bribing city officials and intimidating witnesses, and tax evasion was the only way federal agent Elliot Ness and “The Untouchables” could get him.

• On Oct. 14, 1947, U.S. Air Force Capt. Chuck Yeager becomes the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound. His X-1 rocket plane was dropped from a B-29 aircraft, rocketed to 40,000 feet and exceeded 662 mph.

• On Oct. 16, 1958, Chevrolet begins to sell a car-truck hybrid that it calls the El Camino. The vehicle, a combination sedan-pickup truck built on a station-wagon platform, was discontinued two years later, but was brought back in 1964.

• On Oct. 20, 1968, American Dick Fosbury wins gold and sets an Olympic high-jump record when he clears 7 feet 4-1/4 inches at the Mexico City Games. It was the international debut of his unique jumping style, known as the “Fosbury Flop.”

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