Milestones: Tuesday, July 25, 2023
MAJOR RESCUE FROM ANDREA DORIA COLLISION — Not even its “impressive security features” could prevent the July 25, 1956, collision between the Italian luxury liner ANDREA DORIA and the Swedish passenger liner Stockholm as they passed through the North Atlantic waters near Nantucket. The Andrea Doria, named for a 16th century navigator from Genoa was heading toward New York City with 572 crew members and more than a thousand passengers, while the Stockholm was headed in the opposite direction, back to Europe. Both ships had experienced captains: the Andrea Doria’s Captain Piero Calamai, was a respected Italian mariner and veteran of both World Wars. His ship boasted new technology, including radar screens and watertight compartments. Yet, traveling in the fog, they miscalculated their bearings, crashing into each other, which caused severe damage to the Andrea Doria and killed 46 of those aboard, and five from the Stockholm.
However, the catastrophe also brough about one of the largest rescues in maritime history, including Captain Calamai and his crew, who refused to leave him behind on the ship, even though it is customary for captains to do so.
FANS DIDN’T LIKE THE NEW SOUND — Iconic singer Tony Bennett wasn’t the only one booed when he performed in Brooklyn. The legendary folk singer BOB DYLAN angered audience and staff alike the Newport Folk Festival, when on July 25, 1965, he played an electric set on stage. Those in the audience responded with catcalls or silence. Whereas the folk singer, then 24, had played Newport before, as a solo troubadour, for the July 25 performance he had a backup ensemble: the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, who blared “Maggie’s Farm” and “Like a Rolling Stone.”
Dylan wound up playing a very short set — which would have been even briefer had the festival organizers made good on their threat to cut the sound cables.
‘WHERE IS ENGLAND?’ — Six years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, French aviator Louis Bleriot flew from near the coastal town of Calais in France on July 25, 1909, landing near Dover on England’s south coast, becoming the first pilot to complete an airplane crossing of the English Channel. Before takeoff, Bleriot reportedly asked from the cockpit, “Where is England?”
Berliot’s voyage also marked the first international overseas airplane flight, which he completed in a 28-horsepower monoplane with a wingspan of 23 feet. And of course, this being a border crossing, the British police and customs officials were already queued for Bleriot’s arrival.
LEGENDARY ON THE BALL COURT — NATE THURMOND, born as Nathaniel Thurmond on July 25, 1941, in Akron, Ohio, had a 14-year NBA career with seven All-Star appearances and the first-ever recording of a quadruple-double. Thurmond, who played the center and power-forward positions, was a double-double center in basketball, meaning that, within a single-game performance, he accumulated ten or more in at least two categories, including points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots. Having understudied Wilt Chamberlain, Thurmond was a consistent player and his record 18 rebounds in a single quarter is an NBA record not yet surpassed. Thurmond also played with the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers, becoming an iconic player for his consistent playing.
Thurmond died nine days short of his 75 birthday in 2016. His teammates pinned his jersey number on to their uniforms in tribute.
FIRST IN VITRO FERTILIZATION BABY IS BORN — Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first baby to be conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF), was born on July 25, 1978, in Manchester, England, to parents Lesley and Peter Brown. Lesley Brown had suffered years of infertility due to blocked fallopian tubes. Through IVF she was able to deliver a healthy baby, who was born via Caesarean section shortly before midnight. The newborn, Louise Joy, weighed in at five pounds, 12 ounces. While experimental at the time of Louise’s birth, IVF is now a mainstream medical treatment for infertility, making possible the conception of hundreds of thousands of children worldwide.
Louise’s birth made headlines around the world and raised various legal and ethical questions. Louise Brown, the original “test tube baby,” gave birth to a boy, Cameron John Mullinder, who also was conceived naturally.
THE KLONDIKE LAUNCHED HIS CAREER —The author Jack London left for the Klondike on July 25, 1897, to join the Gold Rush, which would provide him with much of the material for his books. A voracious reader, the young Jack London nonetheless left the University of California for this adventure. During this time, he began submitting stories to magazines, and his first anthology, titled The Son of the Wolf, was published in 1900. His story, “The Call of the Wild” made him famous around the country and is required reading in most secondary schools.
London’s genre became adventure stories dealing with nature at its most harsh. During a career that spanned 17 years, London wrote 50 fiction and nonfiction books.
See previous milestones, here.
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