January 17 in History

A King Features comic strip called Thimble Theatre was in its eleventh year when a new character was introduced in the strip on this date in 1929: Popeye. Popeye, at first a secondary character, quickly became the most popular figure in the comic and after a few years, his adventures were the focus of the strip.

Popeye’s first appearance in the strip, from 88 years ago today, is at top. He is hired as a deck hand.

* * * *
Betty White is 95 today.

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Dwight Eisenhower delivered his farewell address to the nation after two terms as president on this date in 1961. In the speech, which he read on live television from the Oval Office, Eisenhower warned America about a threat that he foresaw as posing a threat to American liberties: the “military–industrial complex.” His warning was prescient, was ignored, and remains important.

He said:

“The conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

The speech:

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Operation Desert Storm started on this date in 1991.

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The Volstead Act, which prohibited the production, sale, and transport of “intoxicating liquors,” came into effect on this date in 1920.

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Gary Gilmore was executed 40 years ago today. Art Buchwald died 10 years ago on this date.

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Eartha Kitt was born 90 years ago today. The late Muhammad Ali was born 75 years ago today. (He died on June 3, 2016.) Andy Kaufman, friend of Tony Clifton, was born on this date in 1949. His lifework continues to this day.

* * * *
James Earl Jones is 86 today. Governor Douglas Wilder is 86 today. Maury Povich is 78. Steve Earle, friend of Opus 40, is 62 today. Paul Young is 61. Susanna Hoffs is 58 today. Jim Carrey is 55 today. Sebastian Junger is 55. First Lady Michelle Obama is 53 today. Kid Rock is 46. Zooey Deschanel is 37.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

One comment

  1. loisajay · January 17, 2017

    Art Buchwald……gosh, talk about a name from the past. He was funny.


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