Today In History – March 6, 2012

1646 – We go waaaay back in time to when Joseph Jenkes of Massachusetts received the first machine patent. Trouble was, though he had patent in hand, he didn’t quite have a clue as to just what machine he patented, since there were no machines back then. His supposed reply to getting the patent, anyway, was, “Hey! Thanks!” 1808 – The first college orchestra was founded — at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. So, strike up the band today!

1941 – Les Hite and his orchestra recorded The World is Waiting for the Sunrise on Bluebird Records. The instrumental became Hite’s most popular work. A decade later, Les Paul and Mary Ford added a vocal to the tune, making it one of their biggest-selling hit songs.

1947 – The USS The Newport News was launched from a shipbuilding yard at Newport News, VA. It was the first air-conditioned naval ship.

1948 – Ralph Edwards created a quiz on radio’s Truth or Consequences called The Walking Man. After ten weeks of guesses by contestants playing the game, it was finally revealed that Jack Benny was The Walking Man.

1962 – Frank Sinatra recorded his final session for Capitol Records in Hollywood. Sinatra had been recording for his own record label, Reprise, for two years. His final side on Capitol was I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues, with Skip Martin’s orchestra.

1964 – Tom O’Hara ran the mile in 3 minutes, 56.4 seconds, setting a world indoor record in Chicago, IL. And he still didn’t beat that speedy dromedary.

1976 – The Waylon & Willie (Jennings and Nelson) song, Good Hearted Woman, started the last of three weeks at the top of the country music charts. Waylon and Willie wrote the song in 1969 during a poker game in Ft. Worth, TX. According to Jennings, “I’d been reading an ad for Ike and Tina Turner and it said, ‘Tina Turner singing songs about good-hearted women loving good-timing men.’ I thought, ‘What a great country song title that is!’” He was mighty correct, y’all.

1981 – Walter Cronkite, the dean of American television newscasters, said “And that’s the way it is” for the final time, as he closed the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. An audience estimated at 17,000,000 viewers saw ‘the most trusted man in America’ sign-off. Cronkite retired after more than 30 years in broadcasting. He was replaced by Dan Rather at the anchor desk.

1982 – The most points scored by two teams in the National Basketball Association made history. San Antonio beat Milwaukee 171-166 in three overtime periods to set the mark.

1983 – The United States Football League began its first season of pro football competition. Fans didn’t support the new spring league opposition to the National Football League and, as a result, team names such as the Bandits, Breakers, Blitz, Invaders and Wranglers were relatively short-lived. The league was forced to fold amid controversy, low fan acceptance and lower television ratings. It was not long before players began to scramble for spots in the NFL. The USFL lasted two seasons.

1985 – Yul Brynner played his famous role as the king in The King and I in his 4,500th performance in the musical. The actor, age 64, opened the successful production on Broadway in 1951.

 

NOTABLE BIRTHDAYS: 1926 – Alan Greenspan economist: chairperson: U.S. Federal Reserve Board [1987-2006]

1927 – (Leroy) Gordon Cooper U.S. astronaut: one of original seven Mercury astronauts [orbited earth 22 times aboard Faith 7 (Mercury 9): May 15, 1963]; flew on Gemini 5 [1965], set flight record of 190 hours, 55 minutes, orbiting the earth 120 times; died Oct 4, 2004

1928 – Gabriel Garcia-Marquez author: A Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera

1937 – Valentina Tereshkova-Nikolaeva Russian cosmonaut

1939 – Cookie (Octavio Victor Rivas) Rojas baseball: Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies [all-star: 1965], KC Royals [all-star: 1971-1974], SL Cardinals

1941 – Willie (Wilver Dornel) Stargell Baseball Hall-of-Famer: Pittsburgh Pirates [all-star: 1964-1966, 1971-1973, 1978/World Series: 1971, 1979: MVP/Baseball Writer’s Award: 1979/AP Male Athlete of the Year: 1979]; 475 career homers: lead N.L. twice [48: 1971, 44: 1973]; drove in 1,540 runs, scored 1,195, 2,232 hits, lifetime batting average of .282

1942 – Ben Murphy actor: The Winds of War, The Chisholms, Time Walker, Alias Smith and Jones, Yours, Mine and Ours

1944 – Mary Wilson singer: group: The Supremes: Where Did Our Love Go, Baby Love, Come See About Me, Stop! In the Name of Love, Back in My Arms Again, I Hear a Symphony, Nothing But Heartaches, You Can’t Hurry Love, You Keep Me Hanging On, My World is Empty Without You

1945 – Hugh Grundy musician: drums: 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 – Bob Trumpy football: Cincinnati; broadcaster

1947 – Kiki Dee (Pauline Matthews) singer: Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, Amoureuse, [You Don’t Know] How Glad I Am, Star

1947 – Dick Fosbury Olympic Gold Medalist and record holder: high jump [7’, 4 1/4″, 1968]; National Track & Field Hall of Famer: 1st to break 7’ indoors; invented the Fosbury Flop high jump technique

1947 – Rob Reiner Emmy Award-winning Best Supporting Actor/Comedy Series: All In the Family [1973-74, 1977-78], Postcards from the Edge, Sleepless in Seattle; director: When Harry Met Sally, This is Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride, A Few Good Men; Carl’s son

1959 – Tom Arnold actor: Roseanne, The Jackie Thomas Show, Tom, True Lies

1972 – Shaquille O’Neal basketball: Orlando Magic: NBA Rookie of the Year [1993]; LA Lakers