On This Day, October 31st
1. 1926: Harry Houdini passes away
It was on this date in 1926 that one of the most talented and well-known escape artist and magicians, Harry Houdini passed away. While it was common for Houdini to perform death-defying stunts such as being submerged in water while wearing a straight jacket, it was a fairly simple trick that led to his passing. According to reports, Houdini was in Montreal twelve days prior to his death speaking to a group of students after a lecture when the topic of his stomach came up. He commented on how strong his stomach muscles were and his ability to withstand crushing blows. Without warning, one of the students punched him in the stomach two times thinking he would be able to handle it. But the blows caught Houdini by surprise and therefore had not prepared for them. The blows caused major damage, rupturing his appendix which as you may know can be fatal due to poison being released. He underwent an operation that was attempting to remove the appendix and all damaged tissue but it was too late.
2. 1950: Earl Lloyd becomes the first African-American player in the NBA
The name Earl Lloyd should ring a bell in the same way that Jackie Robinson does. Not only was Lloyd the first African American to play a game in the NBA on this date in 1950, but roughly twenty years later he was the first full-time African American Head Couch for the Detroit Pistons. Lloyd was drafted in the ninth round of the 1950 draft to the Washington Capitols. However, after just seven games he was drafted into the United States military and sent to fight in the Korean War for two years. By the time he got back, the Capitols were no longer a team and he went on to play for the Syracuse Nationals which would later become the Philadelphia 76ers.
3. 1957: The first Toyota dealership in the U.S. opens in Hollywood
It was on this date in 1957 that Toyota opened their United States headquarters, which also became the first dealership in the U.S. They used an old Rambler dealership in Hollywood, California and they had intentions of making an impact on the second car market with their inexpensive little car known as the Toyopet Crown sedan. Although they only sold an estimated 286 examples that first year, they would soon become one of the most popular and best-selling cars in the world. The cars sold in the U.S. over the next few years would make a major impact on Toyota selling its 1 millionth car by 1972. Especially thanks to the Toyota Corolla released in 1968 which went on to become the best-selling passenger car of all time.