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by Allen J. Sheinman | February 26, 2016

It comes only once every four years or so, as it does this year, but Leap Day has seen its share of historic events nonetheless, like the following.

1784: In France, the Marquis de Sade, imprisoned for various blasphemies, was transferred from the Vincennes fortress to the notorious Bastille, where he remained for five years before being transferred again, this time to the insane asylum at Charenton. They, in turn, released him in 1790, when he promptly was elected to political office. Of course, nothing says "sadism" like politics.

1904: Jimmy Dorsey, of the big-band-era Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, was born in Shenandoah, Pa.

1908: Dutch scientists produce solid helium, which goes over like a lead balloon.

1916: Singer Dinah Shore was born to Russian-Jewish immigrant shopkeepers in Winchester, Tenn. She failed a singing audition in 1938 with the above-mentioned Dorsey brothers, only to go on to have a fabulously successful solo career.

1940: At the Academy Awards, Hattie McDaniel won as Best Supporting Actress for her role in the previous year's mammoth hit, Gone With the Wind. It marked the first time an African American was nominated for and won an Oscar. Of course, we've come a long way since then -- a long way down, as no black performers were nominated this year, or last.

1960: The first Playboy Club was opened in Chicago by Playboy editor Hugh Hefner. While the clubs fell out of favor in the more sexually enlightened 1980s, old patrons still recall the good times at reunions held in their local Hooters.

1960: The same day the first Playboy Club opened also saw the debut of the Family Circus comic strip, featuring those round-faced kids saying the cutest things. We prefer the darker interpretation found on the Nietzsche Family Circus website.

1968: At the 10th annual Grammy Awards, held simultaneously in Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville and New York City, the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was named 1967's Album of the Year. Song of the Year honors went to "Up, Up and Away" (by The 5th Dimension), Best New Artist was Bobbie Gentry ("Ode to Billy Joe"), Best Recording for Children went to, of all people, Boris Karloff for the vinyl version of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Best Comedy Performance was won by Bill Cosby for the album Revenge.

2012: Davy Jones, popular singer, actor and teen throb with the '60s rock group The Monkees, took the last train to Clarksville and died at age 66 of a heart attack.