This Day in History: Nov. 18

On this day, Nov. 18 …

1928: Walt Disney’s first sound-synchronized animated cartoon, “Steamboat Willie” starring Mickey Mouse, premieres in New York City.

Also on this day:

1883: The United States and Canada adopt a system of Standard Time zones.

1916: The World War I Battle of the Somme, pitting British and French forces against German troops, ends inconclusively after 4 1/2 months of bloodshed.

1959: “Ben-Hur,” the Biblical-era spectacle starring Charlton Heston, has its world premiere in New York City.

1966: U.S. Roman Catholic bishops issue a Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence, which tosses the rule against eating meat on Fridays outside of Lent.

1978: U.S. Rep. Leo J. Ryan, D-Calif., and four others are killed in Jonestown, Guyana, by members of the Peoples Temple; the killings are followed by a night of mass murder and suicide by more than 900 cult members. (Ryan aide Jackie Speier, now a member of Congress herself, survives five gunshot wounds.)

1985: The comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes,” created by Bill Watterson, is first published.

1987: The congressional Iran-Contra committees issue their final report, saying President Ronald Reagan bears “ultimate responsibility” for wrongdoing by his aides.

1991: Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon free Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite and Thomas Sutherland, the American dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut.

2003: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules 4-to-3 that the state constitution guarantees gay couples the right to marry.

2004: Britain outlaws fox hunting in England and Wales.

2008: Detroit’s Big Three automakers plead with Congress for a $25 billion lifeline, warning of a national economic catastrophe should they collapse.

2008: Belgium-based InBev SA forms the world’s largest brewer with its $52 billion takeover of U.S.-based Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.

2013: Toronto’s city council votes to strip scandal-plagued Mayor Rob Ford of many of his powers following a heated debate in which he knocks over a city councilor.