Today in history: Sid Vicious, Jimi Hendrix, Nikita Krushchev and Mao Zedong were all in the news

October 12 was a day to remember thanks to the Jimi Hendrix Experience being formed in 1966, Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev causing a stir at the UN today in 1960, and in 1976, Hua Guofeng succeeds Mao Zedong after his death

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 October, 2018, 6:16pm
UPDATED : Friday, 12 October, 2018, 6:16pm

October 12 is the 285th day of the year and notable for a number of historical events. From space exploration to assassination, from rock to nursery rhymes, from prisons to terrorist attacks, the day has provided many exciting headlines. Here is a selection of events from October 12.

Crime and punishment

October 12 1933 was a big day in US crime history.

Gangster Machine Gun Kelly (George Francis Barnes Jnr) was sentenced to life in prison after kidnapping oil tycoon Charles Herschel.

On the same day, another famous gangster John Dillinger escaped from Allen County jail in Ohio.

Alcatraz unofficially became a federal prison in 1933. The famous prison was built to house the worst of the nation’s offenders, including Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, and various other kidnappers, armed robbers, escapees and prison undesirables. It is debatable whether anyone ever successfully escaped ‘The Rock’.

Today in 1978, Sex Pistol Sid Vicious was charged with the murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen in New York City.

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She was found dead from stab wounds in the bathroom of their room in the Chelsea Hotel. Vicious never went to trial; he died of an overdose while out on bail.


The Jimi Hendrix Experience was formed today in 1966. The power trio played major festivals including Monterey, Woodstock and the Isle of Wight, and had a number of hit singles and albums, before breaking up in 1969.

Classic nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice was published in London in 1609.

Rick Parfitt of rockers Status Quo was born today in 1948. At the other end of the scale, country popster John Denver died in a plane crash on the same day in 1997.


Japanese politician Inejiro Asanuma was assassinated on live TV by 17-year old nationalist Otoya Yamaguchi with a traditional sword during a televised debate in 1960.

Hua Guofeng succeeds Mao Zedong after his death as chairman of the Communist Party in 1976. Hua was ousted by Deng Xiaoping in 1978.

In 1901 on this day President Theodore Roosevelt renamed the Executive Mansion and the White House was born.

In 1910 Roosevelt became the first president to fly in a plane flown by Arch Hoxsey, an associate of the Wright brothers and the first pilot to fly at night.

Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev’s famous shoe banging incident happened at the UN today in 1960. Angered by the Philippine delegation’s remarks about Soviet imperialism, Krushchev raised his hand to speak. After being ignored by the president of the session the Soviet statesman took off his shoe and the rest is history.

Today in 1958, the USSR conducts a nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya, and another at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk on October 12, 1961.

Not to be outdone, cold war rivals the US held its own nuclear tests at its Nevada test site on this day in 1962, 1985 and 1990.

Also today in 1985. the non-partisan group International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War won the Nobel Peace Prize.


Christopher Columbus “discovered” the Americas today in 1492 when his ship made landfall in the Caribbean.

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Obviously he did not count the population who were already living there when he landed.

October 12 is a major day in space history too. Here are some notable events that happened today.

The launch of Voskhod 1, the first spacecraft with a crew of more than one. Its three-man crew (Komarov, Feokistov, Yegorov) took to the sky in 1964.

Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 7 was launched in 1969.

In 1972, Mariner 9 took pictures of the Martian north pole.

Nasa launched space vehicle S-195 (the first space shuttle) in 1975.

Today in 1977 saw the fourth test of the space shuttle Enterprise.

In 1985, the ill-fated shuttle Challenger moved to Vandenberg air force base for maintenance.

The Arecibo radio telescope in Chile began its Microwave Observing Project: the search for occupied planets in 1992.

Contact with Nasa lost contact with Venus orbiter Magellan today in 1994.

Today in 2005, the second Chinese human space flight got underway with the Shenzhou 6 launch, carrying Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng into orbit for five days.


Today in 1984, the Provisional IRA set off a long-delay time bomb at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, England where British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and members of her Conservative Party were staying during their annual party conference, killing five people. Thatcher narrowly escaped the blast, which gutted the bathroom of her room.

USS Cole was damaged by a terrorist bomb today in 2000. Al-Qaeda launched the suicide attack in a small boat, killing 17 and injured 39.

Today in 2002, members of Jemaah Islamiah, detonated two bombs in Bali’s tourist heavy Kuta, killing 202 people and injuring another 209.

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The first blast was a suicide bomb in a backpack inside the Sari Club, followed soon after with a car bomb. A third smaller bomb went off outside the US consulate in Denpasar, but did little damage.

Assorted milestones

Scottish chemist and inventor Charles Mackintosh came up with his eponymous waterproof raincoat in 1823.

Today in 1915, Ford manufactured its millionth car at the River Rouge plant in Detroit.

Today in 1999 the world population hit six billion.

In 1850, the first women’s medical school opened in Pennsylvania.

The first submarine, the USS Holland, was commissioned by the US Navy in 1900.