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Moments in Time




 

 

• On April 1, 1700, English pranksters begin popularizing the annual tradition of playing April Fool’s jokes. In keeping with the fun in 1957, the BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees.

• On April 4, 1812, President James Madison fires an economic salvo at the British government and enacts a 90-day embargo on trade with England. The embargo did little to forestall war: The British refused to cease harassing American ships, prompting Madison to lead America into the War of 1812.

• On March 31, 1889, the Eiffel Tower is dedicated in Paris. At 984 feet tall, the Eiffel Tower remained the world’s tallest man-made structure until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930.

• On April 2, 1917, Jeannette Pickering Rankin, the first woman ever elected to Congress, takes her seat in the U.S. Capitol as a representative from Montana. The same day, President Wilson urged a declaration of war against Germany. Rankin was one of only 50 representatives who voted against the declaration.

• On April 5, 1931, Fox Film Corp. drops John Wayne from its roster of actors. Wayne had played bit parts, but failed to impress the studio. In 1939, Wayne finally had his breakthrough in “Stagecoach.” Wayne went on to play in dozens of movies, including “True Grit,” for which he won an Oscar in 1969.

• On April 3, 1956, Elvis sings his first RCA recording, “Heartbreak Hotel,” on NBC’s “Milton Berle Show.” By April 21, the song had become Elvis’ first No. 1 single.

(c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.

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