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October 31, birthdays Rob Schneider, Vanilla Ice, Dan Rather

Brooklyn Today

October 31, 2016 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Juliette Gordon Low, who founded the Girl Scouts, was born on this day in 1860. Photos stylized by August Gibbs
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Greetings, Brooklyn. Today is the 305th day of the year. ON THIS DAY IN 1898, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle published an article titled “Parrot Yelled ‘Fire.’” The article focused on a parrot who saved members of its household from a fire by waking them during the blaze. “William C. Eller … was on his way home from a christening party at 2:30 o’clock this morning, when he discovered smoke coming from the basement of the five-story brick shingle flat house … Mr. Eller pounded on the store door on the first floor,” the Eagle reported. “A parrot in the store heard Mr. Eller shouting ‘Fire.’ The parrot took up the cry and screeched at the top of its voice. This aroused [the tenants].”

**** NOTABLE PEOPLE born on this day include former astronaut MICAHEL COLLINS, who was born in 1931; architect and designer ZAHA HADID, who was born in 1950 and died this past March; actress DEIDRE HALL, who was born in 1948; Oscar Award-winning director PETER JACKSON, who was born in 1961; former baseball player FRED MCGRIFF, who was born in 1963; U2 musician LARRY MULLEN, who was born in 1961; actor DERMOT MULRONEY, who was born in 1963; journalist and TV personality JANE PAULEY, who was born in 1950; actress PIPER PERABO, who was born in 1976; journalist DAN RATHER, who was born in 1931; actor STEPHEN REA, who was born in 1946; Tony Award-winning stage and screen actor RON RIFKIN, who was born in New York City in 1939; actor and comedian ROB SCHNEIDER, who was born in 1963; actor DAVID OGDEN STIERS, who was born in 1942; and rapper and actor VANILLA ICE, who was born in 1967.

**** CHAING KAI-SHEK was born on this day in 1887. The Chinese soldier and statesman was educated at the Wampoa Military Academy. Chiang led the KMT (nationalist) forces in the struggle against the Communist army led by Mao Tse-tung and eventually had to flee mainland China. He died in 1975.

**** HALLOWEEN, OR ALL Hallows’ Eve, is celebrated today. An ancient holiday combining Druid autumn festival and Christian custom, Halloween is the beginning of Hallowtide, a season that embraces the Feast of All Saints (Nov. 1) and the Feast of All Souls (Nov. 2). The observance, dating from the sixth or seventh century, has long been associated with thoughts of the dead, spirits, witches, ghosts and devils.

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**** HARRY HOUDINI DIED on this day in 1926. The magician, illusionist and escape artist died at Grace Hospital in Detroit of peritonitis following an Oct. 19 blow to the abdomen. Houdini’s death anniversary, coinciding with Halloween, is an occasion for meetings of magicians.


**** JOHN KEATS WAS born on this day in 1795. The great Romantic poet is famous for “Ode on a Greecian Urn” and “Ode to a Nightingale,” among many others. Keats wrote died at the age of 25 in 1821.


**** MOUNT RUSHMORE WAS completed on this day in 1941. The memorial was worked on for 14 years and was first suggested by Jonah Robinson of the South Dakota State Historical Society. The monument was dedicated in 1925, and work began in 1927. It contains sculptures of the heads of four U.S. Presidents — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. The 60-foot-tall sculptures represent, respectively, the nations’ founding, political philosophy, preservation and expansion and conservatism.

**** JULIETTE GORDON LOW, who founded Girl Scouts of the USA on March 12, 1912, was born on this day in 1860. She died in 1927.

**** ETHEL WATERS WAS born on this day in 1896. Married when she was 13, Waters began her singing career at the urging of friends. At age 17, she was singing in Baltimore, Maryland, billing herself as Sweet Mama Stringbean. Her career took her to New York, where she divided her work among the stage, nightclubs and films. She made her Broadway debut in 1927 in the revue of “Africana,” and her other stage credits include “Blackbirds” and “Thousands Cheer.” She died in 1977.


**** Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.

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