1. 1981: MTV makes its debut
It was on this date in 1981 the music video for the song “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles plays on debut of the now famous network known as MTV. What was originally intended for the New Jersey area has now become one of the biggest networks on TV. The words “Ladies and Gentleman this is Rock and Roll” were said by one of the networks creators John Lack before rolling into the music videos. Although we don’t see a whole lot of music videos on MTV nowadays, that was their main priority back then. It was reported that over 80 different videos were played during the first week. It wasn’t long before they started to incorporate actual showed directed towards a smaller audience. Some people feel as if MTV paved the way for reality based programming with their show The Real World, plus they were the station that brought us Beavis and Butthead!
2. 1961: Six Flags Over Texas opens
Texas oilman, Angus Wynne Jr., opens the doors to the first Six Flags theme park in Arlington, Texas on this date in 1961. Located on a 212 acre lot it was originally intended as a temporary way to make a quick buck on the vacant land until it was turned into an industrial complex. It cost an estimated $10 million to build the park, but Wynne was able to recover his initial investment in the short time of just 18 months forcing him to reconsider and eventually make the park permanent. It wasn’t just a clever name, it actually was part of the theme of the park that payed tribute to the six different countries that at one time or another flew their flag over texas. This would be the first theme park to have some of the rides that are standard at almost any amusement park in the world. The mine train rides, man-made river Rapids, log rides and even the first 360 degree looping rollercoaster, just to name a few. Six Flags would become a household name in the theme park world, they currently control more than 30 parks around the world that roughly 32 million people visit each year spending a small foutune each time they walk through the doors.
3. 1966: Texas University Massacre
It was on this date in 1966 atop the 300 foot tall tower observation platform at Texas University, Charles Whitman opens fire on the innocent and unsuspecting people below. Whitman was a former United States Marine that apparently had just started showing signs of severe mental disorders earlier that year. The night before the shooting he had taken the lives of both his mother and wife in a brutal fashion. There was reports that Whitman had told a psychiatrist that he had thoughts of not only killing his family, but specifically going up to the top of the tower with a rifle and start shooting people. However the doctor took it with a grain of salt and didn’t follow up on the now obvious red flag. On the morning of the shooting he reportedly stopped to buy ammunition as well as a few other guns, like a M1 carbine famously used in the military. He also stopped and got all sorts of other supplies like food, vitamins, toiletries and many other things. Point being he was packing for the long haul. It was estimated that he had at least 10-12 guns, most of which long distance rifles, and at least 700 rounds of ammunition. Being that he was a marksman, he apparently made shots at over 500 yards. The shootout would last almost 90 minutes before The Austin Police department could get up to the tower and take Whitman out. During that time there were over 30 injured and 16 casualties. The tower where this took place was shut down for over 20 years until it reopened in 1999.