Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.
On July 31, 1964, the American space probe Ranger 7 reached the moon, transmitting pictures back to Earth before impacting the lunar surface.
On this date:
In 1777, the Marquis de Lafayette, a 19-year-old French nobleman, was made a major-general in the American Continental Army.
In 1875, the 17th president of the United States, Andrew Johnson, died in Carter County, Tennessee, at age 66.
In 1919, Germany’s Weimar Constitution was adopted by the republic’s National Assembly.
In 1930, the radio character “The Shadow” made his debut as narrator of the “Detective Story Hour” on CBS Radio.
In 1933, the radio series “Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy,” made its debut on CBS radio station WBBM in Chicago.
In 1942, Oxfam International had its beginnings as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief was founded in England.
In 1954, Pakistan’s K2 was conquered as two members of an Italian expedition, Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli, reached the summit.
In 1964, country singer-songwriter Jim Reeves, 40, and his manager, Dean Manuel, were killed when their private plane crashed in bad weather near Nashville.
In 1972, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton withdrew from the ticket with George McGovern following disclosures that Eagleton had once undergone psychiatric treatment.
In 1973, Delta Air Lines Flight 723, a DC-9, crashed while trying to land at Boston’s Logan International Airport, killing all 89 people on board.
In 1989, a pro-Iranian group in Lebanon released a grisly videotape showing the body of American hostage William R. Higgins, a Marine lieutenant-colonel, dangling from a rope.
In 1991, President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in Moscow.
Ten years ago: The Vatican issued a document denouncing feminism for trying to blur differences between men and women and threatening the institution of families based on a mother and a father. Actress Virginia Grey died in Woodland Hills at age 87.
Five years ago: Three American tourists were arrested by Iran on suspicion of espionage while hiking along the Iraq-Iran border. (Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were sentenced to eight years after being convicted on spy-related charges, but were released after more than two years; Sarah Shourd was released on health grounds after 14 months.) Space shuttle Endeavour and its seven astronauts returned to Earth, completing a long but successful construction job that boosted the size and power of the international space station.
One year ago: President Barack Obama’s national security team acknowledged for the first time that, when investigating one suspected terrorist, it could read and store the phone records of millions of Americans. Voters in Zimbabwe went to the polls in national elections that were won by President Robert Mugabe amid opponents’ allegations of fraud.
Today’s birthdays: Actor Don Murray is 85. Jazz composer-musician Kenny Burrell is 83. Actor Geoffrey Lewis is 79. Actress France Nuyen is 75. Actress Susan Flannery is 75. Singer Lobo is 71. Actress Geraldine Chaplin is 70. Former movie studio executive Sherry Lansing is 70. Singer Gary Lewis is 69. Actor Lane Davies is 64. International Tennis Hall of Famer Evonne Goolagong Cawley is 63. Actor Barry Van Dyke is 63. Actor Alan Autry is 62. Jazz composer-musician Michael Wolff is 62. Actor James Read is 61. Actor Michael Biehn is 58. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is 58. Rock singer-musician Daniel Ash (Love and Rockets) is 57. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban is 56. Rock musician Bill Berry is 56. Actor Wesley Snipes is 52. Country singer Chad Brock is 51. Musician Fatboy Slim is 51. Rock musician Jim Corr is 50. Author J.K. Rowling is 49. Actor Dean Cain is 48. Actor Ben Chaplin is 45. Actor Loren Dean is 45. Actress Eve Best is 43. Retired NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte is 43. Actress Annie Parisse is 39. Actor Robert Telfer is 37. Country singer-musician Zac Brown is 36. Actor-producer-writer B.J. Novak is 35. Actor Eric Lively is 33. Country singer Blaire Stroud (3 of Hearts) is 31. Singer Shannon Curfman is 29. Actor Rico Rodriguez is 16.
Thought for today: “The art of life is to show your hand. There is no diplomacy like candor. You may lose by it now and then, but it will be a loss well gained if you do. Nothing is so boring as having to keep up a deception.” — E.V. Lucas, English author and critic (1868-1938).