This Day in History – November 15 – Hijinx, Humor, and Insight


NewsWhistle is pleased to feature Gary Jenneke’s “This Day In History” column.

You can read the original at Gary’s THIS DAY IN HISTORY blog — or scroll down to enjoy Gary’s unique look at life’s comings and goings.




1720 – Anne Bonny captured.

Anne Bonny and Mary Read were pirates aboard the ship of Calico Jack Rackham. They fought, drank, cursed, boarded other vessels, and being equal part of the bloodshed, gore, and violence, they were accepted as true pirates by their shipmates. After they were captured both Anne and Mary escaped the hangman’s noose because they were pregnant. Mary read died in prison. Anne’s fate remains unknown. It is believed she survived prison and then disappeared somewhere in colonial America.

Anne Bonny might be described as one of the earliest feminists. Slightly different spelling but is it possible William Bonney, AKA Billy the Kid, carried her genes? Similar approach to life.


1884 – 1st day of conference in Berlin; Germany to colonize Africa.

Portugal called for conference, also known as the Congo or West African Conference. Otto von Bismarck, Germany’s first chancellor, then organized it. Those joining began what was called the “Scramble For Africa” as countries eager to gain an edge in the continent to collect their spoils. Before the conference most of Africa (80%) was under traditional and local control. By its own standards the conference was certainly successful because by 1902 90% of the continent was under European control.

I guess power and greed made these men think they had the right to subject nearly a whole continent to their will. The colonial rule shaped what still is a troubled continent beset by poverty, war, greed and corruption. On the plus side it did give a lot of missionaries a chance to earn their chops, not to mention it inspired a pretty fine movie in “The African Queen.”


1990 – President George H.W. Bush signs Clean Air Act Amendments.

“I take great pleasure in signing S. 1630 as a demonstration to the American people of my determination that each and every American shall breathe clean air.”

What a quaint concept, caring about each and every American instead of just the rich ones. If George Sr. was still around today an attitude like that would get him kicked out of his own party.



1907 – Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg.

The man who tried to kill Hitler. Troubled by the atrocities of the Third Reich, and Hitler’s military incompetence and insane desire for war, von Stauffenberg joined with fellow officers in plotting against Nazi rule. On July 20th, 1944 von Stauffenberg placed a brief case with a bomb inside under the table at Hitler’s Wolf’s Lair headquarters in Eastern Prussia. The bomb wounded but failed to kill Hitler. Von Stauffenberg was executed by a firing squad and thousands more were rounded up and also executed due to the assassination plot.

There is a small degree of relief knowing that within that evil inner circle some came to their senses.


1929 – Ed Asner.

Actor with hundreds of credits, including Up, Elf, and JFK. Stout with a fierce appearance, Asner used those characteristics to good effect in his role as Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” He also made enemies off the screen with his liberal politics.

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” ranks high in the annals of TV sitcoms, and I applaud Asner for his political beliefs.


1940 – Sam Waterston.

Actor. Waterston is best known for his roles in “The Killing Fields” and “Law and Order.” Little known fact, he is a descendant of a passenger who was aboard the Mayflower.

I attended Sundance Institute’s summer workshop as a screenwriter. One of the people I was fortunate to work with was Sam Waterston. Based on our brief interaction he seemed to be a good guy. At least he took the time to talk to a fledgling screenwriter. Some actors absorb their roles and he had just finished “The Killing Fields” at the time and I wondered if he was still in the throes of that character. He was quite serious, almost morose. I have a tendency to joke around. Although we had a pleasant conversation, it was not an extended one.



At various junctures of his life, Gary has been an indifferent grade school student, poor high school student, good Navy radioman, one-time hippie, passable college student, inveterate traveler, dedicated writer, miscast accountant (except for one interesting stint at a Communist café), part-time screenwriting teacher, semi-proud veteran, unsuccessful retiree and new blogger.

You can reach him at



The above information was sourced from the following sites and newspapers.



We’d also like to thank the following photographers and videographers for the use of their images:

* Lead-In Image (“Up” Movie Art)  Disney Movies

disney movies - pixar - disney plus - up - movie art - embed - this one

* Clean Air Act (video) – Tech Insider /

* Ed Asner (video) – 92nd Street Y /

* Sam Waterston (video) – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment /

* Outro (Man-In-Museum Cartoon) – SkyPics Studio /