Comedian Phil Hartman is murdered by his wife. During a heated argument earlier that evening, he had threatened to leave her if she began using drugs again. After he went to bed, she shot him while he slept at about 3 am, killing herself later that morning as police were removing the children from the home. Hartman was known for his extensive television and film work, such as: Saturday Night Live, Pee-wee’s Playhouse (Captin’ Carl. He and Paul Reubens co-created the Pee-wee Herman character), and The Simpsons (voice of Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz). He also designed album covers for bands such as Poco.
May 29, 1942
Bing Crosby records the song White Christmas. This recording of White Christmas has sold over 50,000,000 copies and is the world’s best-selling single of all time. It took only 18 minutes to record and was recorded with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra and the Ken Darby Singers and for Decca Records.
This recording is the only single to top of the U.S. charts three times (1942, 1945, 1946).
Crosby would also sing the song in the movies Holiday Inn (1942) and White Christmas (1954).
The song was written by Irving Berlin, who was Jewish. The various versions of the song have sold over 100,000,000 copies.
May 30, 1911
Ray Harroun wins the first running of the Indianapolis 500 with an average speed of 74.59 mph, finishing in 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 8 seconds. His strategy was to maintain a steady speed of 75 mph, because through testing he found that tires wore out significantly faster at higher speeds. In those days, changing a tire was a time-consuming process. His strategy worked: He only had to change four tires. The second place winner changed 14 tires and finished only 1 minute 43 seconds behind – a time he would have easily made up with less tire changes.
May 31, 1921
A white mob attacks residents and businesses of the African-American community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. With a death toll estimated at 300, it is one of the worst incidents of racial violence in the U.S.
The riots started when a black man was arrested for raping a young white female elevator operator. A white mob formed at the jail in an effort to lynch him. When blacks gathered to protect him, gunfire erupted and 10 whites and two black people were killed. Over the next several days, thousands of white people rampaged through the black community, killing men and women, burning and looting stores and homes, and dropping fire bombs from airplanes.
Thirty-five blocks of the district, at the time the wealthiest black community in the U.S., were destroyed with property damage estimated over $2 million ($31 million in 2018 dollars).
According to conflicting reports, the initial arrest was prompted after a black man tripped in an elevator, and a white store clerk who saw the incident misinterpreted it as an “assault” of the female elevator operator. The elevator operator refused to press charges.