This Day in History: Nov. 18

US and Canada adopt a system of Standard Time zones; Walt Disney’s first sound-synchronized animated cartoon, “Steamboat Willie” starring Mickey Mouse, premieres

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.