Today is Wednesday, Oct. 4, the 277th day of 2017. There are 88 days left in the year.

On Oct. 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit. The family sitcom "Leave It to Beaver" premiered on CBS.

In 1777, Gen. George Washington's troops launched an assault on the British at Germantown, Pennsylvania, resulting in heavy American casualties.

In 1931, the comic strip "Dick Tracy," created by Chester Gould, made its debut.

In 1970, rock singer Janis Joplin, 27, was found dead of a heroin overdose in a Hollywood hotel room.

In 1990, for the first time in nearly six decades, German lawmakers met in the Reichstag for the first meeting of reunified Germany's parliament.

Birthdays: Author Roy Blount Jr. is 76. Author Anne Rice is 76. Actress Lori Saunders (TV: "Petticoat Junction") is 76. Baseball Hall of Famer Tony La Russa is 73. Susan Sarandon is 71. Music producer Russell Simmons is 60. Singer-guitarist M. Ward (She & Him) is 44. Actress Alicia Silverstone is 41.

Thought for Today: “Knowledge is like a garden: if it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested.” -- Guinean saying.