On this day in 1939 Clark Gable filmed the scene in Gone With the Wind where he leaves Scarlett O'hara. The director was fined $5,000 for the use of the word "damn". The epic film would go on to be nominated for 12 academy awards and win 9 including best picture. The 1930's were a coming out party for Hollywood as more and more American's were using the theater to escape their troubles during the Great Depression.
On this day in 1950 President Harry Truman ordered the invasion of North Korea, thus starting the Korean War. Two days prior 90,000 North Korean troops invaded South Korea. You see, in 1948 the Korean Democratic People's Republic was proclaimed in North Korea. Wait, I thought they were communists? Yes, but somehow they have democratic in their name, and we wonder why there's been so many problems with that country. They can't even get their own name right. Anyway, US troops lead a UN invasion of North Korea that was extremely successful, chasing their troops all the way to the border with China. Had they stopped there the war might have ended in a month. But we're America, we do what we want, so we attacked their troops while they were in China and blew up a few bridges. China wasn't happy and re-invaded North Korea, chasing the UN all the way down to the tip of South Korea. Maybe that's why it's the forgotten war.
On this day in 1829 the only surviving family member of James Smithson dies without children thus setting up a curious clause in his will. He stated that if he had no surviving heirs that he would give his fortune to the United States to create museums in his name. Thus, the Smithsonian Institution was born. No one really knows why an Englishman like Smithson would donate money to a country that he had never visited, but our nation's capitol is a much nicer place because of it.
On this day in 1844 Mormon founder Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum are killed in Illinois by an angry mob. Smith had earlier in the year announced his candidacy for President of the United States, creating a huge wave of anti-Mormon sentiment. Imagine if he had somehow won, we'd have a first lady, a second lady, a third lady, a fourth lady...and so on. And I don't really want to knock the Mormons but when a 17 year old boy says he was visited by an angel telling him he can bed multiple women and legally call them all his wives, that raises an eyebrow from me.