Milestones: Wednesday, October 11, 2023
TREATED CHERNOBYL VICTIMS — ROBERT PETER GALE, M.D., PH.D., BORN IN BROOKLYN on Oct. 11, 1945, is a specialist in leukemia and blood cancers, co-founder of the International Bone Marrow Registry and a medical ambassador who went to the Soviet Union to render medical aid to victims of the 1986 Chernobyl power station disaster in the then-Soviet Union. Although one historical source lists his birthplace as Brooklyn Heights, others indicate that Dr. Gale was raised in Flatbush and graduated from Erasmus Hall Academy before pursuing his undergraduate degree from Hobart College upstate. Dr. Gale, who earned his medical degree from SUNY-Buffalo, did his post-doctoral research at UCLA and joined the faculty there for two decades. Leukemia and other bone marrow disorders (such as aplastic anemia) have been the focus of Dr. Gale’s scientific and clinical research for over 35 years.
Dr. Gale, who maintains homes in New York and Los Angeles, also studied industrial design at Pratt Institute at one point before entering medical school, according to several biographies.
LANDMARK CATHOLIC REFORMS — THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL (VATICAN II), which began on Oct. 11, 1962, was the first ecumenical council that a pope had convened in 92 years. Pope John XXIII, who served from 1959 until his death in June 1963 convened the Second Vatican Council, which met in four annual sessions until Dec. 8, 1965 (concluding on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception), and which introduced major changes to worship, including the direction of the altar, which now faced the congregation, the use of the vernacular language into the Mass, among others. Pope John XXIII hoped to introduce a spiritual renewal to the Catholic Church and nurture more unity with the other branches of Christianity. He also met with political and religious leaders around the world.
Although Pope John XXIII died in June 1963, before the second phase of Vatican II began, his successor, Pope Paul VI continued this endeavor.
STRUCK DOWN NEW DEAL BILLS — JUSTICE HARLAN FISKE STONE, born Oct. 11, 1872, was an associate justice and later chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. A graduate of Amherst College and dean of Columbia Law School, Stone was a classmate of Calvin Coolidge, who, after becoming president, appointed him attorney general in 1923 and to the Supreme Court the following year. Even though Justice Stone was a Republican, Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt elevated him to the role of chief justice for his jurisprudence and discipline of judicial self-restraint — not pushing his own bias or policies into his decisions. However, Justice Stone also emphasized the importance of individual liberties. He and the court also dissented on, and struck down, national legislation that was part of the New Deal.
Justice Stone died suddenly on April 22, 1946, just a year and 10 days after President Roosevelt, and left the Supreme Court deeply divided. His successor, Justice Frederick Moore Vinson, a Democrat and Truman appointee, served (through his career) in all three branches of the U.S. government.
‘FIRST LADY OF THE WORLD’— THE WIFE OF THE PRESIDENT WHO ELEVATED HARLAN FISKE STONE TO CHIEF JUSTICE, ANNA ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, was born on Oct. 11, 1884. An active and independent First Lady, she was also the first wife of a president to give her own news conference at the White House, in 1933. President Harry S. Truman affectionately nicknamed her the “first lady of the world.” since Mrs. Roosevelt was involved in several human rights endeavors and served as a United States Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly from 1945 to 1952. The General Assembly gave her a standing ovation upon their adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. At home, she also fought for the civil rights of African-Americans.
Eleanor Roosevelt was related to both the prominent Roosevelt and Livingston families, and was a niece of the 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt.
TWO SNLS — “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE” MADE ITS TV PREMIERE AS “NBC’S SATURDAY NIGHT” in October 1975.—The program’s creator and executive producer, Lorne Michaels, put together a program that featured skits and parodies of commercials and news programs. Each week a different guest host and musical artist performed, with the show usually beginning with a skit, with the cast members proclaiming, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” The guest host for the premiere was stand-up comedian George Carlin. Many of the stars that first season went on to have successful careers in comedy and entertainment, including Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Eddie Murphy and, in later seasons, Dana Carvey, Mike Meyers and Tina Fey.
However, there were originally two “Saturday Night Live,” programs, one of them produced by ABC, with the legendary irascible sportscaster Howard Cosell as host, according to “The Platinum Age of Television” author David Bianculli who earned $5 a pop reviewing each week’s program for a Gainesville, Florida newspaper.
ROBBINS AND BERNSTEIN — CHOREOGRAPHER JEROME ROBBINS, born on Oct. 11, 1918, as Jerome Wilson Rabinowitz, may never have had his lucky break in show business if the Depression hadn’t cut short his college education. But rather than work in manufacturing, he got a break through his sister Sonia at Irma Duncan and Senya Gluck-Sandor’s Dance Center, an experimental troupe. He then got another breakthrough with George Balanchine and joined Ballet Theatre (later American Ballet Theatre), but in Robbins’ opinion, the theater was not dancing to nearly enough American themes. Robbins sought out a young composer named Leonard Bernstein, and they collaborated on “Fancy Free,” a jazz ballet about three sailors on shore leave, which on its April 12, 1944 premiere at the old Metropolitan Opera House, received 22 curtain calls. Robbins and Bernstein turned “Fancy Free” into a musical named “On the Town.”
Robbins directed and choreographed many Broadway musicals. In addition to “On the Town” they included “West Side Story” (and the 1961 film version), “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The King and I” and more. He won five Tony Awards and two Oscars.
OLDEST-LIVING PAST PRESIDENT— FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER ON OCT. 11, 2002, WON THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.” During his one-term presidency (1977-81), Carter mediated peace talks between Israel and Egypt. The Nobel Committee had wanted to give Carter the prize in 1978 for his efforts, in tandem with Egypt’s President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachim Begin. However, the party nominating Carter had not done so in time for the official deadline. After leaving the White House, Jimmy and his wife Rosalynn founded the humanitarian organization Carter Center in 1982, with the goals of alleviating human suffering and advancing human rights. Carter, who at age 99 is now the oldest living former President, began working with Habitat for Humanity in 1984 to alleviate homelessness for lower-income Americans.
The Carter Center issued a statement on Oct. 8, 2023, that “condemns the targeting of Israeli and Palestinian civilians and calls for genuine dialogue as well as international collective action to halt hostilities in the region.”
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