It Happened Today: WMMR Changes The World By Playing The Beatles, Kobe Bryant Makes A Big Announcement, and Someone Is Shot With Marvin Harrison’s Gun

A look back at Philadelphia history

In the 1950s and 1960s, radio airwaves were tightly controlled Top 40 wastelands. No freaks, fags, or hippies allowed. But that all changed on April 29, 1968, when a WMMR DJ named Dave Herman debuted “The Marconi Experiment,” a tripped-out five-hour program from 7 until midnight (right after “The Sinatra Hour”!), during which he would play whatever the hell he wanted, giving birth to so-called underground radio. The first song he played: “Flying” by the Beatles. Makes us wish we had a Dave Herman today.

Other notable happenings: The Supreme Court rules that Girard College for Orphans must admit black students (April 29, 1957); Scarfo hitman Pasquale Spirito (his friends called him Pat the Cat) is shot two times in the back of the head (April 29, 1983) because he didn’t carry out the murder of Robert Riccobene; from the gym of Lower Merion High School, Kobe Bryant announces that he’s going to the NBA instead of college (April 29, 1996); and drug dealer Dwight Dixon is shot with a gun belonging to Super Bowler Marvin Harrison (April 29, 2008), and the ensuing investigation is later expertly captured by Philly Mag contributor Jason Fagone in GQ. Go here to read that article.