1. 1965: First man to reach 600 mph on land
It was on this date in 1965 that Craig Breedlove became the fastest man on earth when he pushed his jet-powered car, the Spirit of America Sonic 1, to the mind-blowing speed of 600mph to set a new land speed record. During the late ’60s, land speed racing was very popular and it was common for records to be broken quite often. Less than two weeks prior, Breedlove had set the record at 555.483mph and just five days later another competitor, Art Arfons, set a new record at 576.553mph with his Green Monster. Breedlove and Arfons had been “one-upping” each other for the record for a full year setting numerous records along the way. But when the Spirit of America hit the 600mph mark it would stand until 1970, which is only 5 years, though previous records had been held for as little as 5 days. Also in 1965 Breedlove’s wife, Lee, got behind the wheel of the Spirit of America Sonic 1 out at Bonneville Salt Flats, a common location for land speed records, and she reached 308mph making her the fastest woman on the planet.
2. 1956: Elvis makes his big screen debut with “Love Me Tender”
Elvis Presley made his debut on the big screen on this date in 1956 when the film Love Me Tender was released in theaters nationwide. He plays the role of Clint Reno in the film that was originally to be called the “Reno Brothers”. The film was based in Texas after the American Civil War and followed the life of Clint Reno, the younger brother of a Confederate soldier. Co-starring with Elvis was Debra Paget and Richard Egan, but it was Elvis that was the real star of the show. This film would help him become one of the most popular rock icons of modern history. Creators of the film decided to change the name to Love Me Tender after the song of the same name that Reno sings during the film, which was incredibly popular. Elvis went on to star in 31 movies over his career, singing in the great majority of those, which is interesting because that’s not normally something that would happen currently.
3. 1867: The stock ticker makes its debut
A man named Edward Calahan revolutionized the New York Stock Exchange on this date in 1867 when he debuted his new machine called the Ticker Tape, or Stock Ticker. It got its name from the ticking sound it made, but what it did made a significant impact on the United States economic system, and therefore the worlds. What the stock ticker did was transmit information in real time allowing investors to make snap decisions versus waiting for the mail, or courier, to arrive with the latest information like it had been done since 1792 when the NYSE was founded. The paper tape that was used to print the information was later seen in the famous “ticker-tape parades” that started in 1886. Just two years later, Thomas Edison himself improved upon Calahan’s ticker and patented a new easier to use model that actually became his first lucrative invention. The mechanical stock tickers were eventually replaced with computerized tickers, but that wasn’t until late 1960’s. It’s mind-blowing to think about the money and commodities bought and sold using this machine over that hundred year span.