• On Aug. 27, 1859, Edwin Drake strikes oil at 69 feet near Titusville, Pa. – the world’s first successful oil well. This source of crude oil, or petroleum, opened up a new, inexpensive source of power and quickly replaced whale oil in lamps.
• On Aug. 31, 1888, the first victim of London serial killer “Jack the Ripper” is found murdered and mutilated in Whitechapel’s Buck’s Row. The police, who lacked modern forensic techniques such as fingerprinting and blood typing, were at a complete loss for suspects. In 1892, the Jack the Ripper file was closed.
• On Aug. 29, 1911, Ishi, described as the last surviving Stone Age Indian in the contiguous U.S., is discovered lost and starving in Oroville, Calif. He was unfamiliar with white ways and spoke no English. With the help of a Berkeley anthropologist named Thomas Waterman, a crude language was created that allowed communication. For five years, Ishi lived at the Berkeley Museum, where he learned to understand and survive in the white world. He died on March 25, 1916, of tuberculosis at an estimated age of 56.
• On Sept. 2, 1931, Bing Crosby’s first radio show, “15 Minutes With Bing Crosby,” debuts on CBS. Crosby was born Harry Lillis Crosby in Tacoma in 1903. As a child, his devotion to a cartoon character named Bing won him his lifelong nickname.
• On Aug. 30, 1963, a 24- hour-a-day “hot line” system between Moscow and Washington, D.C., goes into effect. The hot line was never really necessary to prevent war between the Soviet Union and the United States, and its significance at the time was largely symbolic.
(c) 2007 King Features Synd., Inc.