History: November 21


The whaling ship Essex is attacked by an 80-ton sperm whale off the coast of South America.

Whales provided materials for oil and their bones had many uses. The crew of the ship got into a tussle with the giant whale, who rammed the boat twice and managed to capsize it.

The whole crew made it into life boats, but only 5 of the 20 survived. They were eventually picked up 83 days later by other ships.

Stories of cannibalism were rampant. It would’ve been the only way to survive. It is legend that men drew straws to see who would be shot in order to be eaten.

The story inspired parts of Herman Melville’s novel “Moby Dick.”



A meddling Senate committee reports that American agents had engineered at least 5 assassination plots of foreign leaders.

The Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities linked the U.S. to a failed attempt on Fidel Castro’s life. ┬áThe bureaucrats found no information that an American president ever authorized an assassination.

President Ford decried the report, saying it undermined the country’s foreign policy initiatives.



“Rocky” premiers in New York City.

After it was released two weeks later across the country, it became a huge hit at the box office.

The boxing flick would take home 3 Oscars, including Best Picture.

Then-unknown Sylvester Stallone even wrote the screenplay.



A worldwide television audience of more than 350 million people watch the episode of Dallas that reveals who shot JR.

SPOILER ALERT: It was Kristin Shepard, his wife’s sister and his former mistress.

The CBS drama ran for 12 full seasons, beginning in 1978.

In the US alone, the episode drew in 83 million people. That’s 76 percent of all TV sets in the country at the time.