Today is the 294th day of 2012 and the 29th day of autumn.
TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee opened its first hearings on communist influence in the film industry.
In 1973, the "Saturday Night Massacre" occurred as President Richard Nixon had Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox fired by the solicitor general, after Attorney General Elliot Richardson and his deputy had resigned rather than fire Cox themselves.
In 1977, three members of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd were killed (along with their road manager and the two pilots) when their chartered plane crashed in Mississippi.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), poet; Bela Lugosi (1882-1956), actor; Art Buchwald (1925-2007), columnist; Mickey Mantle (1931-1995), baseball player; Jerry Orbach (1935-2004), actor; Tom Petty (1950- ), musician; Keith Hernandez (1953- ), baseball player/sportscaster; Viggo Mortensen (1958- ), actor; Snoop Dogg (1971- ), rapper/actor; John Krasinski (1979- ), actor; Gillian Jacobs (1982- ), actress.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1968, American Dick Fosbury won a gold medal and set an Olympic record when he high-jumped 7 feet 4 1/4 inches at the Olympic Games in Mexico City, marking the international debut of the "Fosbury Flop," his signature jump style.
TODAY'S FACT: There were only five self-defined communist states in the world in 2012: China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "Every time you think television has hit its lowest ebb, a new program comes along to make you wonder where you thought the ebb was." -- Art Buchwald
TODAY'S NUMBER: 18 -- World Series home runs hit by Mickey Mantle in his 18-year career, a record that still stands.
TODAY'S MOON: Between new moon (Oct. 15) and first quarter (Oct. 21).