1812 – There aren’t many states that can boast an abundance of pelicans, but Louisiana, the 18th state to enter the United States of America, has plenty. That’s why it calls itself the Pelican State and the state bird is the eastern brown pelican. Named in honor of Louis XIV of France, Louisiana has several other nicknames: Sportsman’s Paradise, Sugar State, and Creole State. The capital of Louisiana is Baton Rouge and the beautiful magnolia is its adopted flower while the state tree is the bald cypress. All together now, let’s sing You are My Sunshine, Louisiana’s state song. Give Me Louisiana is also considered a state song, and the state motto is: Union, justice and confidence. We’re not too confident in choosing which song to sing, though.
1889 – The first national holiday in the United States was celebrated. The citizens of the U.S. observed the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration. Although this is no longer a national holiday, you’ll be happy to know that there are now at least half a dozen holidays — most on Mondays — that give folks in the U.S. a day off from work and a reason to have a parade, picnic, or go shopping at the mall to take advantage of the holiday sales. These national holidays include: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King’s Birthday, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving Day.
1900 – Train engineer Casey Jones was killed when trying to save the Cannonball Express as it highballed its way through Vaughn, MS. The famous song about Jones is loosely relatable to the train accident which cost the railroad engineer his life.
1903 – Victor Records made its first Red Seal recording this day. The premiere disk featured Ada Crossley, an opera contralto.
1922 – Charlie Robertson of the Chicago White Sox pitched the major league’s fifth perfect game. The Chisox defeated the Detroit Tigers, 2-0.
1939 – The first railroad car equipped with fluorescent lights was put into service. The train car was known as the General Pershing Zephyr.
1939- Baseball’s ‘Iron Horse’, Lou Gehrig, played his last game with the New York Yankees on this day.
1939 – Public Television began. President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first chief executive to appear on TV. Roosevelt spoke at the opening ceremonies of the New York World’s Fair in Flushing, NY on WNBT in New York.
1940 – Jimmy Dorsey and his band recorded the bandleader’s signature song, Contrasts, for Decca Records. The song went on to become one of the most familiar big band themes of the era.
1940 – Belle Martell was licensed in California by state boxing officials to be the first American woman prize-fight referee!
1944 – The New York Giants (of baseball) whipped the Brooklyn Dodgers 26-8. They also set a major-league record for runs driven in by a team in a single game.
1945 – “How would you like to be queen for a day!” That opening line, delivered by host, Jack Bailey, was first heard on Mutual radio on this day. The first Queen for a Day was Mrs. Evelyn Lane. Years later Bailey would take the show to TV for a long, popular run.
1945 – Arthur Godfrey began his CBS radio morning show. His theme was Seems Like Old Times. Arthur Godfrey Time ran until this very same day in 1972. Godfrey’s show was different in that he used live talent and not records. His popularity with listeners was the major reason that several sponsors gave Godfrey the freedom to ad-lib their commercials and, from time to time, joke about the products as well.
1947 – Maps had to be changed as Boulder Dam was changed back to its original name, Hoover Dam. Some people, mostly those who live in the community of Boulder, Nevada, still refer to the dam as Boulder Dam. Many of them think that changing the dam’s name was a damn shame.
1953 – Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle became a team this day at Capitol Records in Hollywood. Sinatra’s new musical style, under Riddle’s direction, brought the crooner to the top of the record world for the second time in his illustrious career.
1964 – TV sets would be drastically different after a ruling by the FCC stating that all TV receivers should be equipped to receive both VHF (channels 2-13) and the new UHF (channels 14-83). As a result, TV dealers scrambled to unload their VHF-only models as fast as possible. Antenna manufacturers were kept busy, as the new UHF receivers required new antennas too.
1975 – Saigon — and all of Vietnam — fell into communist hands this day, the unofficial end of the Vietnam War. As the U.S. withdrew completely from Saigon, the old noncommunist capital fell to North Vietnamese tanks. Americans commemorate the fall of Saigon with memorial services for the 58,153 Americans who died in Southeast Asia during the war.
1985 – The National Basketball Association set an all-time season attendance record as 19,506,355 fans attended games in arenas around the league. Seven NBA cities — Boston, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles and Philadelphia — drew over a million fans each in the 1984-85 basketball season.
1987 – Three more compact discs of music by The Beatles went on sale for the first time. The discs were Help!, Rubber Soul and Revolver. All became hits again for the Fab Four.
1899 – Ellis Wilson
artist: Guggenheim Fellowship winner ; The Open Market of Charleston, Haitian Funeral Procession; died Jan 1, 1977
1908 – Eve Arden (Eunice Quedens)
Emmy Award-winning actress: Our Miss Brooks , Anatomy of a Murder, Grease, Stage Door, Tea for Two; died Nov 12, 1990
1914 – Vermont Royster
Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, editor: The Wall Street Journal; columnist: Thinking Things Over; author: Journey through the Soviet Union, A Pride of Prejudices, My Own, My Country’s Time: A Journalist’s Journey; died July 22, 1996
1916 – Robert Shaw
conductor: Robert Shaw Chorale; music director of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus; died Jan 25, 1999
1923 – Percy Heath
jazz musician: bass: founder of Modern Jazz Quartet; group: The Heath Brothers; died Apr 27, 2005
1923 – Al Lewis (Albert Meister)
actor: The Munsters, Car 54 Where are You?, My Grandpa is a Vampire, Married to the Mob; died Feb 3, 2006
1926 – Cloris Leachman
Academy Award-winning actress: The Last Picture Show ; Emmy Award-winner: A Brand New Life [1972-73], The Mary Tyler Moore Show [1973-74], Cher [1974-75], Screen Actor’s Guild 50th Anniversary Celebration [1983-84]; Phyllis, Backstairs at the White House, The Facts of Life
1933 – Willie Nelson
singer: see Willie Nelson Day [above]
1938 – Gary Collins
actor: Born Free, The Iron Horse, Roots, The Sixth Sense, The Wackiest Ship in the Army
1940 – Burt Young
actor: Excessive Force, A Family Matter, Rocky series, Once Upon a Time in America, Convoy, Chinatown, Cinderella Liberty, Roomies
1941 – Johnny Farina
musician: rhythm guitar: group: Santo & Johnny: Sleepwalk, Tear Drop
1943 – Bobby Vee (Robert Velline)
singer: Devil or Angel, Rubber Ball, Take Good Care of My Baby, Run to Him, The Night Has a Thousand Eyes, Come Back when You Grow Up
1944 – Jill Clayburgh
actress: An Unmarried Woman, Luna, Portnoy’s Complaint, Semi-Tough, The Silver Streak, Terminal Man, Firestorm: 72 Hours in Oakland, Honor Thy Father and Mother; died Nov 5, 2010
1944 – Richard Shoff
singer: group: The Sandpipers: Guantanamera, Come Saturday Morning
1946 – Don Schollander
Olympic Hall of Famer: 1st swimmer to win 4 gold medals in one Olympics , also won two gold in 1968; International Swimming Hall of Famer: set 8 world records in the 400-meter freestyle and 9 in the 200-meter in his career; Sullivan Award (U.S. outstanding athlete 
1948 – Perry King
actor: A Cry in the Night, Kaleidoscope, The Lord’s of Flatbush, Mandingo, Search and Destroy, Switch
1953 – Merrill Osmond
singer: [w/Jessica Boucher]: You’re Here to Remember, I’m Here to Forget; group: The Osmonds: Anytime; brother of Alan, Donny, Jay, Marie, Wayne, Jimmy
1967 – Turbo B (Durron Butler)
rap singer: group: Snap
Click to Order Those Were the Days Deluxe
I Love You – Bing Crosby
It’s Love, Love, Love – The Guy Lombardo Orchestra (vocal: Skip Nelson)
San Fernando Valley – Bing Crosby
Too Late to Worry, Too Blue to Cry – Al Dexter
Wheel of Fortune – Kay Starr
Anytime – Eddie Fisher
Blacksmith Blues – Ella Mae Morse
(When You Feel like You’re in Love) Don’t Just Stand There – Carl Smith
Stuck on You – Elvis Presley
Sink the Bismarck – Johnny Horton
Sixteen Reasons – Connie Stevens
He’ll Have to Go – Jim Reeves
Honey – Bobby Goldsboro
Cry like a Baby – The Box Tops
Young Girl – The Union Gap
The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde – Merle Haggard
Disco Lady – Johnnie Taylor
Let Your Love Flow – Bellamy Brothers
Right Back Where We Started From – Maxine Nightingale
Together Again – Emmylou Harris
Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now) – Phil Collins
Hello – Lionel Richie
Hold Me Now – The Thompson Twins
Right or Wrong – George Strait