1947 – Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose,” also known as the “Hughes Flying Boat,” makes its first and only flight. The massive wooden airplane had a wingspan longer than a football field and was designed to carry more than 700 men to battle. Largest aircraft ever built at the time.
1948 – In one of the greatest upsets in presidential election history, Democratic incumbent Harry S. Truman defeats Republican challenger Thomas E. Dewey, the governor of New York. Political analysts and polls had predicted a Dewey victory and the Chicago Tribune even published an early edition with the banner headline: “Dewey Defeats Truman.”
1960 – The ‘Lady Chatterly’s Lover’ obscenity trial ends with an acquittal of Penguin Books, which had published an unedited version of the D.H. Lawrence book.
1983 – Pres. Ronald Reagan signs a bill designating a federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., to be observed on the third Monday of January.