1. 1933: America’s First Drive-In Movie Theater Opens
It was on this date in 1933 that the first drive-in movie theater opened in Camden, New Jersey. It was designed by Richard Hollingshead Jr., whose family owned a massive chemical plant in the area. He had started tests in his driveway with an old 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of his car and an old white sheet that had been nailed up on a stack of tires. Hollingshead really focused on the proper spacing between vehicles and the sound quality for each car. Using blocks he was able to determine the proper height that the ramps would need to be built in order for each car to have the optimum view. Popularity of the drive-In theater would increase significantly over the next forty years, reaching its peak in the 50’s and 60’s with more than 5,000 theaters across the country. Unfortunately, in today’s world there are said to be less than 500 theaters still in business.
2. 1944: D-Day
It was on this date back in 1944 that one of the most significant battles of World War II took commenced. More than 6,000 landing crafts containing a reported 180,000 troops set off on the morning of June 5th after General Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the go ahead for Operation Overlord. Later that night, 822 aircraft filled with paratroopers took off to meet up with naval convoy on the trip from England to France. General Eisenhower also ordered roughly 13,000 additional aircraft be on standby to go and assist during the actual invasion. By daybreak of June 6th, there were said to be more than 18,000 allied paratroopers on the ground. At roughly 6:30 a.m., the invasions began off the coast of Normandy France, The Canadians and British stormed the Juno, Sword and Gold beaches without much problem, and the Americans stormed Utah beach with relative ease. Omaha Beach was not that easy, as more than 2,000 allied troops were lost. By day’s end, more than 155,000 allied troops had successfully taken the beaches of Normandy, and the battle was considered to be the beginning of the end of WWII.
3. 1981: Cow causes train wreck that takes 600 lives
In India, many Hindu believe that cows are sacred animals, and there was a prime example of just how strongly they feel about this on this date back in 1981. A nine-car train carrying more than 1,000 passengers left from Calcutta, traveling northeast through the state of Bihar. The area had been plagued with monsoon-like weather for quite some time so conditions were not ideal. As the engineer approached the bridge that would get them across overflowing Baghmati River, he spotted a cow crossing the tracks. In an effort to not harm the cow in any way, the engineer slammed on the brakes much harder than he should have and because of the wet conditions, the cars slid on the tracks and ended up derailing. Most of the passenger cars were sent into the murky waters of the Baghmati, and because of their remote location any rescue efforts were at minimum hours away. It was reported that an estimated 600 people lost their lives that day, but due to the raging river just under 300 bodies were found.