1881 – Anna McNeill Whistler dies

Known to history as “Whistler’s Mother”, after the painting she was the subject of, Anna Matilda (née McNeill) Whistler was 76 when she died. It had been nearly ten years since she sat for her son James, becoming the subject of his eponymous and best-known painting – which was actually titled “Arrangement in Grey & Black No.1” by her son.

Ironically, for such a quintessentially American painting, it was painted while she and her son were both living in England. Anna Whistler later died, still in England, and was buried in Hastings Cemetery.

Referenced in:
Done Too Soon — Neil Diamond

1967 – Jack Ruby dies

On November 24, 1963, Jack Ruby changed the course of history when he shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald before Oswald could stand trial for the murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Since Oswald was in police custody at the time, Ruby was swiftly arrested and brought to trial.

Throughout the course of his trial and later statements, Ruby gave a number of contradictory statements regarding his motives for the murder. One point on which he did remain solid over the years was his insistence that he had acted alone, and was no part of any conspiracy to kill the President. In trial, he was convicted and sentenced to death, a sentence he managed to have overturned in 1965.

However, before his case could be retried, Ruby entered hospital on December 9, 1966. Although he complained only of a cold, doctors diagnosed him with cancer, and he died less than a month later, convinced that his cancer had been artificially created and that he was being murdered.

Referenced in:
Jack Ruby – Camper Van Beethoven

1989 – “The Arsenio Hall Show” is first broadcast

First broadcast on the evening of January 3rd, 1989, “The Arsenio Hall Show” was a very popular talk and variety show in the United States. Hosted, as the name suggests, by comedian and actor Arsenio Hall, it rapidly became the place to be seen – especially if one was attempting to reach that market sector known as ‘the MTV Generation.’

The show ran for five years, for a total of 1248 episodes, before its cancellation. The final episode was broadcast on May 27th, 1994. Today, it is probably best-remembered for the June 1992 appearance of Bill Clinton on the show – he played “Heartbreak Hotel” on his saxophone, impressing many young viewers with his ‘coolness’.

Referenced in:
My Generation (Part II) – Todd Snider