“Comrades! We must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all.”—Nikita Khrushchev, February 25, 1956
After ten days of meetings, the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union came to a conclusion on February 24, 1956, when party officials were informed that at midnight on February 25, an unannounced “closed” session would begin. Only those with special invitations could attend. Sixty years ago tonight, at midnight, General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev (pictured above) began speaking. For the next four hours, he read from a prepared text titled “On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences,” in which he denounced his late predecessor, Joseph Stalin, and outlined his many crimes against the Soviet people and the Communist Party. The speech itself was not made public until 1989, but its existence was a widely discussed rumor within months of Krushchev’s reading of it. As rumored speeches go, it was effective: the Stalinist Era was over.
* * * *
U.S. Patent Number 9430X was awarded to Samuel Colt 180 years ago today. Bearing the banal title, “Improvement in fire-arms,” it is for Colt’s new technology: the first repeating firearm with a revolving cylinder.
* * * *
“Your Show of Shows,” starring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, premiered on NBC on this date in 1950. It was a 90-minute weekly sketch comedy show written by, among others: Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Mel Tolkin, Lucille Kallen, and Carl Reiner. Sid Caesar and Howard Morris in “The German General”:
* * * *
The People Power Revolution in the Philippines culminated with the departure of President Ferdinand Marcos from the country on this date 30 years ago. Months after announcing a surprise presidential election, and weeks after declaring himself the winner of the election even though all observers knew that he had lost to Corazon Aquino, Marcos staged an inauguration for himself and then fled the country. Two decades of a brutal dictatorship came to an end.
* * * *
Dr. Haing S. Ngor was murdered 20 years ago today.
* * * *
Meher Baba was born on this date in 1894. Zeppo Marx was born 115 years ago today. Anthony Burgess was born 99 years ago today. Larry Gelbart was born on this date in 1928. Ron Santo was born in 1940 on this date. George Harrison was born on this date in 1943. “Stuck Inside a Cloud” by George Harrison:”
Ralph Stanley is 89 today. “I’ll Fly Away”:
Sally Jessy Raphael is 81. Bob Schieffer is 79 today. Billy Packer is 76. Ric Flair is 67 (“Wooooo!”). Neil Jordan is 66. James Brown is 65. Lee Evans is 52. Carrot Top is 51. Téa Leoni is 50 today. Sean Astin is 45. Chelsea Handler is 41 today.
Follow The Gad About Town on Facebook! Subscribe today for daily facts (well, trivia) about literature and history, plus links to other writers on Facebook.
Follow The Gad About Town on Instagram!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.