This Week in History: Farewell to 'Peanuts,' a crazy election - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

This Week in History: A farewell to 'Peanuts' and a crazy election

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The first photograph taken of a sitting president was of James Polk on Feb. 14, 1849. (Source: Wikipedia) The first photograph taken of a sitting president was of James Polk on Feb. 14, 1849. (Source: Wikipedia)
The floor of the Senate during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. (Source: Wikipedia) The floor of the Senate during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. (Source: Wikipedia)

(RNN) – It was a dark and stormy night …

One of the only things I remember from high school literature lessons is the importance weather plays in setting a scene. If it's raining, that usually means something bad is going to happen. I don't know what the weather was like Feb. 13, 2000, but I'm pretty sure it rained somewhere.

The last original Peanuts comic strip ran that day. In it, Snoopy sits on top of his dog house and types a message on his typewriter. The message is a farewell to the readers from the strip's creator, Charles Schulz, and reads, in part, "I am no longer able to maintain the schedule demanded by a daily comic strip."

Schulz died the day before the strip ran. Around the letter from the author was included several of the strip's iconic images, some of which are discussed below

The strip was not only witty and entertaining, but is still ingrained into our culture. Peanuts' holiday specials still appear on TV and are just as entertaining now as they were the first time. Several Google doodles were also inspired by Peanuts, and someone took the trouble to play the Peanuts theme on the Google Les Paul guitar.

Here are some of the events of note that happened between Feb. 11-17.

Life and Death

As already stated, Schulz died Feb. 12, 2000. If that wasn't bad enough, legendary football coach Tom Landry died the same day, making that one of the worst days in recent American history. But we can flash back 191 years to the births of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. That's a little piece of trivia right there you can wow your friends with.

I'll step away from Peanuts for a second, but only for people associated with John Wayne. Henry Hathaway died Feb. 11, 1985. He directed several John Wayne films, including my personal favorite, True Grit. Jeremy Slate, who played Emmett Quincy in that movie, was born Feb. 17, 1926. Quincy's role is small, but memorable. He hacks up a turkey, cuts off his friend's fingers and then kills him before being shot by Wayne's character, Rooster Cogburn.

Josh Brolin, who played main antagonist Tom Chaney in the more recent version of the movie, was born Feb. 12, 1968. And Arthur Hunnicutt, who played a crazy bow and arrow-wielding dude named Bull in my second favorite John Wayne movie, El Dorado, was born Feb. 17, 1910.

True Grit is a great movie overall, but it earns that distinction for its climactic gunfight alone. But as much as it pains me to say this, the newer movie did it even better.

Michael Jordan and Dan Whitney (aka Larry the Cable Guy) were born Feb. 17, 1963. Thomas Edison was born Feb. 11, 1847, Leslie "Don't Call Me Shirley" Nielsen was born Feb. 11, 1926. Jimmy Hoffa was born Feb. 14, 1913.

Monday marks the one-year anniversary of Whitney Houston's death. Houston was found unresponsive in a bathtub in the Beverly Hilton Hotel Feb. 11, 2012. Toxicology reports later revealed she had used cocaine shortly before her death.

Lady Jane Grey was beheaded Feb. 12, 1554, because when people didn't like you in the 1500s that's what happened. Catherine Howard, Henry VIII's fifth wife, was beheaded Feb. 13, 1542, because when you were married to Henry VIII in the 1500s that's what happened.

Geronimo died Feb. 17, 1909, and St. Valentine died Feb. 14, 270, making Hallmark very happy. Dolly, the first cloned mammal – a sheep – died Feb. 14, 2003. There seems to be no truth to the rumor that her last name was Ma-a-a-a-a-dison.

Overlooked Anniversaries

In my ongoing quest to destroy our political system one ridiculous anecdote at a time, I present the following story: Feb. 17, 1801, the House of Representatives broke a tie in the electoral college between Jefferson Davis and Aaron Burr. First off, each state selected its own election day in 1800, so the voting lasted more than half the year. Jefferson won the election over John Adams due to three-fifths of slaves being counted for congressional representation.

But in the electoral college, there was a tie between Jefferson and Aaron Burr. Each representative had two votes, and each counted as a vote for president. Aaron Burr was supposed to be left off one ballot, giving Jefferson the majority, but it didn't happen. So it got sent to the House of Representatives, which voted 36 times before correcting the error.

The Senate made its session open to the public for the first time Feb. 11, 1