Way back when: Today in history
BY GENE CURTIS
Friday, February 08, 2013
2/08/13 at 3:06 AM
1963 - RFK hikes 50 miles
Attorney General Robert Kennedy completed a 50-mile hike with a 200-yard sprint the day after his brother, President John F. Kennedy, expressed an interest in improving the physical fitness for White House and other federal officials. Robert Kennedy said he started his hike at 5 a.m. at Great Falls, Va., and wound up at 10:50 p.m. near Harper's Ferry where he hitched a ride to Camp David. His four hiking companions gave up early in the walk, he said. President Kennedy's interest in physical fitness came about because of a recently unearthed order by President Theodore Roosevelt that required Marine Corps officers to march 50 miles to test their fitness.
1968 - Music not political
Metropolitan Opera baritone Robert Merrill and British Prime Minister Harold Wilson agreed that "music knows no politics" after the White House asked Merrill to change the songs he planned to sing at a state dinner honoring Wilson. The White House was afraid the songs "I Got Plenty of Nothin'" and "On the Road to Mandalay" would offend Wilson because he had just devalued the British pound and had announced a military withdrawal from the Far East. After hearing about the change request, Wilson said, "I like the songs; Mr. Merrill likes the songs. I hope he will sing them." He did.
1977 - Hustler publisher sentenced
Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt was sentenced to 7 to 25 years in prison by a Cincinnati judge after he and his magazine corporation were convicted by a jury of engaging in organized crime and pandering obscenity. Flynt and the magazine also were fined $11,000 each. Magazine Vice President Van Schaik said some of the Hustler's editorial content might be toned down. Flynt's conviction was overturned on appeal. He was paralyzed from the waist down when he was shot a little more than a year later in Columbus, Ga.
1980 - Draft registration reinstated
With the cold war raging and after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, President Jimmy Carter announced plans to reinstate registration for the draft and suggested that women also should be subject to the draft. Immediate opposition developed on Capitol Hill to including women among the 19- and 20-year-olds who would be required to register. Carter would have needed congressional approval to include women in his order but issued an executive order a few days later directing registration for men. Under Carter's plan there were no draft cards, no classifications and no physical examinations but the young men were required to fill out forms at post offices and notify the Selective Service of any address changes.