Today In History – March 7, 2012

1854 – Charles Miller received a patent for the sewing machine that stitches buttonholes! Imagine what our clothes would be like without buttonholes! We’d use Velcro? Safety pins? Fishing hooks? Snaps? Paper clips? Staples? All of the above? And just why is it that women’s clothes have buttonholes on the opposite side of men’s clothes? Yet, so many women wear men’s clothes. It’s all so confusing. Time to take a nap to think about it. 1876 – Alexander Graham Bell of Salem, MA ‘rang’ up a patent for his invention, the telephone. It was an invention, incidentally, that almost bankrupted his company in the beginning. Now, it’s his invention that almost bankrupts those of us who use the phone to call long distance each month…

1911 – Willis Farnsworth of Petaluma, CA patented the coin-operated locker. So, if you hang around the bus or train station or visit an amusement park today, remember this when placing your belongings inside a locker. And remember, we are not responsible for lost or stolen articles. Thank you.

1933 – CBS radio debuted the first daytime radio serial on this day. Marie the Little French Princess had a successful run of two years on the air.

1939 – Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians recorded one of the most popular songs of the century. The standard, Auld Lang Syne, was recorded for Decca Records … about two months and a week late, we’d say.

1944 – Norman Corwin hosted a program titled, Columbia Presents Corwin on the CBS radio network this day. It was the first time the show was broadcast.

1946 – Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard was the site of the 18th Annual Academy Awards celebration. Bob Hope hosted the first half of the show with James Stewart stepping up to the mike for the second half. The Best Motion Picture of 1945 was Paramount’s The Lost Weekend, produced by Charles Brackett. It also won for Best Director (Billy Wilder), Best Actor (Ray Milland), and Best Writing of a Screenplay (Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder). The Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role went to James Dunn for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Best Actress was Joan Crawford for her perfomance in Mildred Pierce. The votes for The Best Actress in a Supporting Role prize went to Anne Revere for National Velvet. The Best Music/Scoring of a Musical Picture Oscar went to Georgie Stoll for Anchors Aweigh and Best Music/Song was It Might as Well Be Spring (from State Fair) by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers.

1954 – Russia defeated Canada 7-2 to capture the world ice-hockey title in Stockholm, Sweden. It marked the first time that Russia participated in the ice-hockey competition and started a dynasty — until being checked by Team USA in the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, NY.

1955 – Peter Pan, with Mary Martin and Cyril Richard, was presented as a television special for the first time.

1955 – Comedienne Phyllis Diller made her debut at the Purple Onion in San Francisco, CA, leading to a stage, club and television career that spanned more than three decades … and as many facelifts.

1955 – Baseball commissioner Ford Frick indicated that he was in favor of legalizing the spitball. The commissioner said, “It’s a great pitch.” Many, like Gaylord Perry and others would agree, but the rules never changed to allow the dastardly pitch. Catchers often said that when catching a spitball, one needed to wear a raincoat for protection.

1956 – Lonnie Donegan’s hit song, Rock Island Line, was doing well on the pop music charts from across the big pond. The popular music from Great Britain’s ‘King of Skiffle’ ushered in the new music craze called ‘skiffle’. Donegan was born in Glasgow, Scotland and was a member of Chris Barber’s Jazz Band. He had one other major hit on the U.S. pop charts even bigger than Rock Island Line. In 1961, Donegan’s Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It’s Flavor (On the Bedpost Over Night) made it to the top five in America. The song was a top-10 hit in 1924 by Ernest Hare and Billy Jones. However, instead of “Chewing Gum” in the original title, it was “Spearmint”. Donegan recorded his version of the song in 1959, two years before it became a hit. Incidentally, John Lennon and George Harrison of The Beatles both started their careers in skiffle bands. I’m Casey Kasem in Hollywood and the countdown continues…

1985 – The song We Are the World, from the album of the same name, was played on the radio for the first time. Forty-five of pop music’s top stars had gathered together to combine their talents to record the music of Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson. Richie and Jackson sang, too, while Quincy Jones did the producing of the USA for Africa record. The proceeds of the multimillion-selling recording went to aid African famine victims. The project, coordinated by Ken Kragen, was deemed a huge success.

1987 – World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight champ, ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson, became the youngest heavyweight titlist ever as he beat James Smith in a decision during a 12-round bout in Las Vegas.

NOTABLE BIRTHDAYS 1849 – Luther Burbank naturalist: creator of new varieties of flowers, trees, edible fruits and vegetables; died Apr 11, 1926 1875 – Maurice Ravel composer: Bolero; died Dec 28, 1937

1908 – Anna Magnani actress: The Rose Tattoo, The Miracle, The Fugitive Kind, Bellissimo: Images of the Italian Cinema; died Sep 26, 1973

1917 – Lee Young jazz musician: drummer: Nat King Cole Trio, Lee Young Band; died Jul 31, 2008

1922 – Andy Phillip NBA Basketball Hall of Famer: Univ. of Illinois [‘floor general’: Whiz Kids]; Philadelphia Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons; Associated Press all-time All-American team [1950]; died Apr 29, 2001

1923 – Mahlon Clark musician: clarinet/reeds: Lawrence Welk’s band; died Sep 20, 2007

1927 – James Broderick actor: Alice’s Restaurant, Dog Day Afternoon; died Nov 1, 1982

1930 – Tom (Thomas James) Acker baseball: pitcher: Cincinnati Redlegs, Cincinnati Reds

1934 – Willard Scott (Willard Herman Scott Jr.) weatherman: Today show

1938 – Homero Blancas golf: champ: Phoenix Open [1972]

1938 – Janet Guthrie auto racer: first woman in Indianapolis 500; International Women’s Sports Hall of Famer

1940 – Daniel J. Travanti Emmy Award-Winning actor: Hill Street Blues [1980-81, 1981-82], Weep No More My Lady

1942 – Tammy Faye Bakker (Tamara Faye LaValley) TV evangelist; once married to founder of PTL CLub, Jim Bakker; died Jul 20, 2007

1942 – Pete Beathard football: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback: Super Bowl I

1943 – Bill MacMillan hockey: NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs, Atlanta Flames, NY Islanders; coach/GM: New Jersey Devils

1943 – Rick (Richard) Redman football: Washington State, Univ. of Washington; San Diego Chargers

1943 – Chris White musician: bass: group: The Zombies: She’s Not There, You Make Me Feel Good, Tell Her No, She’s Coming Home, I Want You Back Again, Time of the Seasons

1945 – John Heard actor: The Pelican Brief, Radio Flyer, Home Alone series, Rambling Rose, The Milagro Beanfield War, Big, Beaches, First Love, Between the Lines, Perfect Murder, Perfect Town

1946 – Matthew Fisher musician: organ: group: Procol Harum: Whiter Shade of Pale; solo: LPs: Journey’s End, I’ll be There, Matthew Fisher, Strange Days; operated own recording studio

1946 – Peter Wolf (Blankfield) singer: group: J. Geils Band: Centerfold; Lights Out, Freeze-Frame; married Faye Dunaway

1950 – Franco Harris Pro Football Hall of Famer: Pittsburgh Steelers running back: Super Bowl IX, X, XIII, XIV

1950 – Bernie MacNeil hockey: NHL: SL Blues

1950 – Billy Joe DuPree football: Dallas Cowboys tight end: Super Bowl X, XII, XIII

1951 – Jeff Burroughs baseball: Washington Senators, Texas Rangers [all-star: 1974], Atlanta Braves [all-star: 1978], Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays

1952 – Lynn Swann Pro Football Hall of Famer: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver: Super Bowl IX, X, XIII, XIV; TV sportscaster

1960 – Ivan Lendl tennis champion: Australian Open [1989,1983,1990], French Open [1984, 1986, 1987], U.S. Open [1985, 1986, 1987]

1966 – Paul Davis musician: keyboards: group: Happy Mondays


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