• On July 25, 1832, the first recorded railroad accident in U.S. history occurs on the Granite Railway near Quincy, Mass., when a cable snaps, throwing four people from a vacant car and over a 34-foot cliff.
• On July 27, 1901, singer and actor Rudy Vallee is born in Island Point, Vt. One of the first heartthrobs in early entertainment history, Vallee was known as “The Vagabond Lover,” after one of his songs.
• On July 24, 1915, the steamer Eastland overturns in the Chicago River, drowning between 800 and 850 of its passengers. Most of the corpses were taken to the Second Regiment Armory, which is now home to “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Some of the show’s employees have claimed that the studio is haunted by ghosts of the Eastland disaster.
• On July 28, 1929, President John Kennedy’s beautiful and popular wife, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, is born into a prominent New York family. On a trip to France in 1961, President Kennedy quipped, “I’m the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.”
• On July 26, 1947, President Harry Truman signs the National Security Act, which becomes one of the most important pieces of Cold War legislation. The act created the Department of Defense, the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency.
• On July 29, 1958, the United States Congress passes legislation formally inaugurating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Billions of dollars later, Neil Armstrong stepped out of the lunar module Eagle and onto the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969.
(c) 2007 King Features Synd., Inc.