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by Allen J. Sheinman | September 28, 2012
The list


Here is a slightly skewered version of some significant events that took place in October; thanks to a splendid site called The People History (thepeoplehistory.com) for the facts.

Oct. 1, 1918: Leading a combined Arab and British force, Lawrence of Arabia captures Damascus from the Turkish Army. Later, his associates will send a congratulatory telegram to his parents, Fran and Joe of Arabia.
Oct. 2, 1962: Johnny Carson debuts as host of The Tonight Show, goes on vacation the next day.
Oct. 5, 1933: Notorious gangster Machine Gun Kelly pleads innocent to charges of kidnapping; he nevertheless will be found guilty and spend his remaining 22 years in prison. After the trial, his mother is heard to lament, "Maybe he would have turned out better if we had named him Concert Pianist Kelly, instead."
Oct. 8, 1937: British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announces agreeement with Adolph Hitler on the fate of Czechoslovakia, famously calls it a guarantee of "peace in our time." Later that same day Chamberlain is heard to predict that "they'll never be able to make a movie out of Gone With the Wind," and still later, "Jell-O infused with a shot of vodka? Preposterous. Never happen."
Oct. 11, 1987: Scottish scientists conclude an unsuccessful three-day, US$1.6 million effort to prove existence of the Loch Ness Monster; they next begin a US$2.3 mllion study to see if stepping on a crack really will break your mother's back.
Oct. 12, 1978: Punk rocker Sid Vicious is arrested for the murder of his girlfriend. After the arrest, one of his uncles is heard to complain, "He's ruining our good name!"
Oct. 13, 1972: Plane crash survivors in the Andes of Peru admit they had resorted to cannibalism to say alive during the two months before they were found. "We sure weren't going to eat the airplane food," one allegedly tells rescuers.
Oct. 14, 1947: Pilot Chuck Yeager becomes first person to fly faster than the speed of sound, which friends say is ironic, because his favorite pastime is chess.
Oct. 16, 1962: When told that spy planes have just found evidence of Soviet missile bases in Cuba, President Kennedy reaches for the phone to call National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy, almost knocking over Marilyn Monroe's martini glass.
Oct. 17, 1931: The criminal reign of Al Capone is ended when the notorious Chicago-based gangster is convicted of income tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years in prison. "Shooting and maiming people is one thing," a government spokesperson is heard to declare. "But not pay your taxes? That's just not right."
Oct. 19, 1973: President Nixon refuses to hand over Watergate-related tapes to special prosecutor Archibald Cox; aides believe he thinks he can wait it out until tapes are obsolete, then claim he can't transfer them to disk.
Oct. 20, 1947: The House Un-American Activities Committee begins investigating possible Communist influence among Hollywood entertainers; though Ronald Reagan is judged a completely loyal American, the committee censures him for his "unconvincing performance as a veterinarian in Stallion Road."
Oct. 21, 1879: After years of effort, Thomas Edison puts the finishing touches on the world's first commercially viable incandescent lightbulb. His wife is heard to say, "Could you please turn that damn thing off and let me get some sleep?!"
Oct. 23, 1921: Federal authorities cite lack of compliance with nearly two-year-old Prohibition laws, offer a toast to better enforcement in 1922.
Oct. 26, 1965: The Beatles officially are made members of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The four seem genuinely stunned while staring at their shiny medals, later admit they were blasted on LSD at the time.
Oct. 27, 1921: A Senate committee advises that the U.S. switch to the metric system; the idea goes down like a liter of Robitussin.
Oct. 30, 1938: Orson Welles' radio production of The War of the Worlds has tens of thousands of listeners convinced the U.S. is really being invaded by Martians. "Why not," says Welles after the broadcast. "They also believe Neville Chamberlain!"

Source: Meetings & Conventions, thepeoplehistory.com