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Good News in History, October 15



33 years ago today, Wayne Gretzky became the highest-ever points scorer in the NHL in a wild game between his team the Los Angeles Kings, and his former-team the Edmonton Oilers. He tied the record held by Gordie Howe of 1,850, after scoring in the first period. READ how the game ended… 

That 1-0 lead was scored against the team (the Oilers) where Gretzky scored his first 1,669 points over 9 seasons. However his old friends were not about to roll over and celebrate the record with him, and the Oilers scored 2, then took the lead again after the Kings tied it. The Oilers had scored again in the final minute of the third period, putting the score at 4-3.

With time running out, the Kings pulled the Goalie and Gretzky picked up a loose puck to the left of the crease before flipping a backhand shot past Oilers goalie Bill Ranford with 53 seconds remaining to tie the game 4-4 and pass Howe.

“My initial reaction was, ‘Hey, we’ve tied it,’” Gretzky said after the game. “Then it struck me, ‘Wow, that’s the record breaker.’”

Before the overtime began, there was a three-minute standing ovation for Gretzky, and a 15-minute ceremony which included a personal trophy. In overtime, Gretzky scored again to win the game, just for good measure. WATCH it happen. (1989)

More Good News on this day in History:

  • Penny Marshall, who co-starred in the hit sitcom Laverne & Shirley, was born—and went on to direct Awakenings, A League of Their Own, and Big, as the first female director who made a film that grossed over $100 million (1943–2018)
  • Mexican chemist Luis Miramontes synthesized the first oral contraceptive (1951)
  • Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to lessen Cold War tensions, lead the peace process, and open up his nation (1990)
  • Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to end apartheid and laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa (1993)
  • The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the French group’s medical work on several continents (1999)

71 years ago today, the television sitcom I Love Lucy premiered, starring Lucille Ball and her then real-life husband, Desi Arnaz.

The beloved Emmy winning comedy, ran for nine years with 180 half-hour episodes. One of the most influential sitcoms in history, it was the first scripted TV program to be shot on 35-mm film in front of a live studio audience, and was the first show to feature an ensemble cast. For two-thirds of its run, it was also the most popular—attracting more viewers than any show in the America.

The series followed the life of Lucy Ricardo, a young, middle-class housewife living in a New York City apartment, who often concocted schemes with her best friend, Ethel Mertz, and Ethel’s husband Fred.

During the second season, Lucy was pregnant in real-life with the couple’s second child Desi Arnaz Jr., and the pregnancy was incorporated into the storyline. The episode in which Lucy gives birth, “Lucy Goes to the Hospital”, coincided with her real-life delivery by Caesarean section, and was watched by more people than any other TV program up to that time—71.7% of all American television sets tuned in. Many decades later, the show, in syndication, still has tens of millions of viewers worldwide each year. WATCH the Top 10 Lucy moments!… (1951)

102 years ago today, Mario Puzo was born in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City to a poor family from Italy. He served in the US Army Air Forces in Germany in World War II, and later graduated from the City College of New York. After the war, he wrote his first book, The Dark Arena, which was published in 1955.

Mario_Puzo-Fair Use-Evan Kafka
By Evan Kafka, CC license

At age 49, his novel The Godfather was published and became a #1 bestseller. He later co-adapted the story into a three-part film saga with Francis Ford Coppola, and received an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for both the first and second movies. Puzo also wrote the original screenplay for the 1978 Superman film. He was still writing as a published author in the 1990s, and died in 1999 in New York. (1920)

And, 53 years ago today, two million people in the U.S. joined the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam.

The leaders believed that the best way of bringing pressure on U.S. President Nixon was to ensure the movement had a “respectable” face—by including groups like the civil rights movement, churches, university faculties, unions, business leaders, and politicians.

Over a quarter million people marched in Washington D.C., and rallies in New York, Detroit, Boston, and Miami were also well attended. Coretta Scott King led D.C. marchers down Pennsylvania Avenue to hold a candlelight vigil at the White House. She told marchers it would have delighted her husband, Martin Luther King Jr., to see people of all races rallying together for the cause of peace.

Unlike the riots that broke out at the Democratic Convention in Chicago the previous year, these protests were completely peaceful with the main theme being grief and sorrow over the Vietnam war, instead of anger and rage. (1969)

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