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This Day in Pop Culture for April 5

1887: Anne Sullivan Teaches the Word “Water” to Helen Keller

Many are aware of the relationship between teacher Anne Sullivan and pupil, Helen Keller as dramatized in the play and movie, The Miracle Worker. After a long and trying time, Sullivan was successful in getting Keller to associate the finger-spelling of the word, “water” on one hand while she poured water on the other on this day in 1887. However, most are unaware that when Sullivan was married in 1905, Keller lived with the couple. Sullivan and Keller traveled on many lecture tours. When her marriage dissolved, due to her preoccupation with Keller, Polly Thomson joined the pair and served as Keller’s secretary. The three women lived together in New York struggling to make enough money to live off of. Eventually, Sullivan and Keller wound up in a vaudeville act to earn money.

Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker. (Wikimedia)

1987: FOX’s New Comedies

After only being on the air for a few months, the FOX network debuted both Married with Children and The Tracey Ullman Show on this day in 1987. Married with Children attempted to turn the classic American family sitcom upside down turning “Father Knows Best” into “Father Doesn’t Know Anything.” It was raunchy, over-the-top and terribly successful lasting 11 seasons. The Tracey Ullman Show was a comedy sketch program similar in concept (but not in style) of The Carol Burnett Show. In addition to Ullman, the show starred Joseph Malone, Sam McMurray, Julie Kavner and Dan Castellaneta. The show also introduced the world to The Simpsons of which Kavner and Castellaneta voiced the animated characters. Ullman’s show only last for seasons while The Simpsons, which created their own show in 1989, is still creating new shows.

1792: The First Veto

It was on this day in 1792 when U.S. President George exercised his authority to veto a bill that outlined a new apportionment formula; the way Congress would divide seats in the House of Representatives among the states and based on the US census.


1984: Basketball Record Breaker

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar broke Wilt Chamberlain’s all-time career scoring record of 31,419 points by scoring 31,421.

1923: Keep on Rollin’

Firestone Tire and Rubber Company started producing inflatable tires on this day in 1923.

1621: Mayflower Sails Away

The Mayflower sets sail from Plymouth, Massachusetts for a return trip to England.


  • 1900: Spencer Tracy (actor)
  • 1908: Bette Davis (actress)
  • 1916: Gregory Peck (actor)
  • 1966: Mike McCready (musican)
  • 1973: Pharrell Williams (singer)
  • 1976: Sterling K. Brown (actor)
  • 1982: Hayley Atwell (actress)
  • 1989: Lily James (actress)

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Jeffrey Totey View All

I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.

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