The Almanac of Alarming Events -- April
4/1 1946: A series of eight tidal waves hit the Hawaiian Islands, causing widespread devastation; many of the 173 fatalities are killed as they rush to the shore to check out the damage caused by the first wave.4/2 1920: Jack Webb, creator and star of the TV and radio series "Dragnet", as well as Mr. Julie London, born in Santa Monica.4/3 1974: In a taped message to a progressive Berkeley radio station, kidnap victim/newspaper heiress Patty Hearst announces that she's changed her name to "Tania" and joined her captors, the Symbionese Liberation Army.4/4 1958: Sick of seeing her mother knocked around, 14-yr. old Cheryl Crane, daughter of actress Lana Turner, fatally stabs Mommie's hoodlum boyfriend Johnny Stompanato to death in Hollywood.4/5. 1926: Roger Corman, the legendary director and producer of low budget horror movies like "Little Shop of Horrors" (the one without the songs) born, Detroit, Michigan.4/6 1867: Legendary Wild West outlaw and train robber Bob Parker, better known as "Butch Cassidy" (the Paul Newman character in the movie), born, Circleville, Utah4/7 1970: In response to student disturbances at the University of California Berkeley and San Francisco State, then Governor Ronald Reagan is quoted as saying "If it takes a blood bath, let's get it over with."4/8 1898: British serial killer John Reginald Christie, who murdered seven women and a baby in his flat at 10 Rillington Place in London during the '40s, born in Halifax, England.4/9 1942: Bataan Death March begins: Japanese soldiers force malnourished Allied POWs to start marching 75 miles to a new camp; 8000 will die en route.4/10 1978: Playwright James Thomas bludgeons aspiring actress Patricia Cowan to death with a sledghammer following her unsuccessful audition for a part in his new play, "Hammer", Highland Park, Michigan.4/11 1980: Palm Sunday Tornadoes--a series of 37 twisters spice up holiday observances throughout the central Midwest, killing 271 people.4/12 1922: A young Jewish boy named Herbert Khaury is born of humble parents in New York City; little did the proud parents know that their boy would grow up to have a hit single, be married on the Tonight Show, and eventually epitomize the has-been under his stage name Tiny Tim.4/13 1981: Washington Post reporter Janet Cooke becomes the first person to fraudulently win a Pulitzer Prize for a story she fabricated out of whole cloth about an 8-yr. old heroin addict, New York City.4/14 1912: The "unsinkable Titanic" collides with an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage; it sinks 2 1/2 hours later, taking with it 1500 very surprised people of the 2200 on board.4/15 1945: The Bergen Belsen concentration camp, where 41,000 people (including diarist Anne Frank) died, becomes the first Nazi camp liberated by the Allies, Germany.4/16 1947: An explosion on a freighter sets off several fires and triggers a series of explosions that will virtually flatten Texas City, Texas and kill 468 people.4/17 1975: Pol Pot leads his victorious Khmer Rouge forces into Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capitol, to cap off his successful revolution; within a week, the "Killing Fields" will begin with the entire population of the city forcibly evacuated into the jungle.4/18 1906: A major earthquake, followed by three days of fire, devastates San Francisco; 75% of the city is destroyed and at least 700 people killed.4/19 1989: A group of "wilding" teens gang rape and severely beat a 28-yr. old investment banker out for a jog in Central Park; although they leave her for dead, she survives to add further fuel to one of New York City's most memorable tabloid frenzies.4/20 1893: Two prisoners become the first men to break out of the Sing-Sing death house; although they escape the prison successfully, they are both found near the prison a few days later, dead of mysterious gunshot wounds.4/21 1951: Tony Danza, who obliterated his coolness-by-association from his role on "Taxi" with his series "Who's the Boss?", born in New York City.4/22 1934: Bank robber Lester "Baby Face" Nelson kills his first (of three) FBI agents in a gun battle while fleeing police near Spider Lake, Wisconsin.4/23 1987: Upset by teenagers walking on his lawn, 59-yr. old retired librarian William Cruse grabs his gun and goes on a shooting spree through the mall in Palm Bay, Florida; he will kill six people and injure 10 more before surrendering early the next morning.4/24 1980: The Afghan National Field Hockey team bus is ambushed by insurgents disapproving the of team's recent road trip to the Soviet Union; at least 19 players will be shot, Kunduz, Afghanistan4/25 1986: Operators of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant start an unauthorized, unsuccessful experiment that will end with the reactor blowing up and killing 31 people outright and radioactivity spewed over much of Europe, Soviet Union4/26 1937: In a dress rehearsal of World War II, Franco's air force drops 100,000 pounds of bombs on the Basque village of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, killing 1654 people and inspiring one of Picasso's most famous paintings.4/27 1937: An unknown assailant strangles Mary Phagan in the basement of an Atlanta, Georgia factory; her employer Leo Frank, although almost certainly innocent, will be convicted and become the first Jew lynched in the South when his death sentence is commuted.4/28 1933: Carolyn Jones, whose portrayal of Morticia on the "Addams Family" from 1964 to 1966 continues to inspire successive generations of Goth fashion, born in the unlikely town of Amarillo, Texas.4/29 1863: Newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, the inventor of yellow journalism as we know it, born, San Francisco, 18634/30 1966: Two days after the publication of what would be his highly successful first novel, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me, folksinger Richard Farina dies in a motorcycle crashes after leaving a party for his book in Carmel, California.