1925: It Rained on the KKK’s Parade
In light of recent events, it seems unfathomable that on this day in 1925, thousands of Ku Klux Klan members were allowed to march on the streets of Washington, D.C. for their first national march. The Imperial Wizard Hiram Evans organized the march as a way of showing that the KKK was not wearing down. He had hoped for a gathering of 60,000 klansmen, but estimates believe that the final number in attendance was between 25,000 and 40,000. Still, it was not small affair. The crowd, which contained almost as many women as men, marched in the hot weather showing their faces. About a hundred of the marches succumbed to heat stroke and had to go to the hospital. Then it started to rain. L. A Mueller, the Grand Kleagle for the District of Columbia, took up a microphone stating, “It will not rain. We shall pray. Never yet has God poured rain on a Klan assembly!” It is said that thunder began to roar and it began to rain harder. That’s when the Rev Dr. Gulledge, the ranking clergyman on the rostrum, got down on his knees and said “Oh God. I pray that the remainder of this service be conducted without rain.” But it rained harder and the crowd dispersed. (Image: Flickr/National Photo Company Collection – Library of Congress)
1960: An Itsy Bitsy Song Goes #1
The novelty song, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” written by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss, made the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on this in 1960. Besides becoming a huge hit, Brian Hyland’s song changed the world – sort of. At the time, the bikini hadn’t really been accepted world-wide. But this song is credited as to being a huge influence on the acceptance of the bikini. Sales of the swimwear grew dramatically after the song’s release and surf movies became the rage.
1992: The Concert James Hetfield Will Never Forget
Metallica’s James Hetfield has had his share of onstage accidents over the years, but the worst came on this day in 1992. During a concert at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, he became a victim of a pyrotechnics accident during the song “Fade to Black.” His guitar shielded him but even so, he suffered second and third degree burns on his left side. He was back on the stage just 17 days later, but he didn’t play the guitar, so that he could make a full recovery.
- 1932: Mel Tillis (Singer)
- 1937: Dustin Hoffman (actor)
- 1938: Connie Stevens (actress)
- 1947: Larry Wilcox (actor)
- 1949: Keith Carradine (actor)
- 1953: Don Most (actor)
- 1958: Deborah Norville (journalist)
- 1976: Drew Lachey (singer)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.