Before being vilified as a traitor, Benedict Arnold was a keen Patriot general; on this date he defended Valcour Island on Lake Champlain in New York from a British fleet.
Though the Continentals would eventually lose the fight, Arnold’s forces gave ground troops enough time to mount strong defenses around New York. The British advance into the city would not be attempted again until the following year.
Arnold was also a hero of the capture of Fort Ticonderoga the year before. In 1780, angry that he had not received enough credit for his military victories, he took a bribe from British brass and surrendered American intelligence.
Pope John XXIII gathers the Second Vatican Council.
The gathering of bishops was to consider ways to modernize the Church in an advancing society. It also aimed to bring together disparate Christian churches, particularly the Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, and Protestants.
Though Pope John died the next year, his successor, Paul VI, continued the Council.
Apollo 7 launches into orbit.
It’s the first manned Apollo mission. On board are Wally Schirra, Don Eisele, and Walter Cunningham.
The mission lasted 11 days. The crew was the first to broadcast live on TV from orbit.
Arkansas lawyers Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham get married in Little Rock. There aren’t too many details on the wedding – and the rest is history.
The first episode of NBC’s Saturday Night premiers.
It stars Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Garrett Morris, Jane Curtin, and Laraine Newman.
At the time it competed with an ABC show called Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell, but NBC bought the naming rights in 1977.
It has since become the longest-running and highest-rated show in late-night TV. The show has always been broadcast from studio 8H of the GE Building (now Kabletown) in New York.
Peanut farmer Jimmy Carter is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The former one-term president had worked extensively to undermine American policy between Israel and other Arab countries.