September 19, 1959. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev reacts angrily to news that a planned family trip to Disneyland was to be scrapped due to security concerns. Khrushchev was making an historic first visit of a leader of the USSR to the USA and travelled with his wife and children. He arrived in Washington before flying to Los Angeles, where he met a host of Hollywood stars on a tour of the 20th Century Fox studios. The rest of his family was scheduled to visit Disneyland while he was to be shown elsewhere, but Khrushchev asked to be included in the trip to the theme park. However US officials felt unable to guarantee his safety in such crowds at such short notice and refused his request. At a luncheon later that day he told the gathered press:
“Just now I was told that I could not go to Disneyland. I asked ‘Why not? What is it? Do you have rocket-launching pads there?’ I do not know. And just listen, just listen to what I was told…‘We - which means the American authorities - can not guarantee your security if you go there’. What is it? Is there an epidemic of cholera there or something? Or have gangsters taken over the place that can destroy me? Then what must I do? Commit suicide? This is the situation I am in. Your guest. For me, this situation is inconceivable. I can not find words to explain this to my people.”
Also on September 19: US president James A. Garfield dies of gunshot wounds inflicted in July that year (1881); New Zealand becomes the first country to give women the right to vote (1893); suspected of being a communist, Charlie Chaplin is banned from re-entry into the United States while on a trip to London (1952); T-Rex headline the first ever Glastonbury Festival (1970); the first known digital emoticon is posted on the Carnegie Mellon University Bulletin Board System (1982).”
Born on September 19: Emil Zatopek (1922), Brian Epstein (1934), Umberto Bossi (1941), ‘Mama’ Cass Elliot (1941), Jeremy Irons (1948), Jarvis Cocker (1963), Youva Bouzidi (1979).
Back in the Day: angry Khrushchev denied visit to Disneyland