Today In History – April 30, 2012

  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.

Birthdays
April 30
1899 – Ellis Wilson
artist: Guggenheim Fellowship winner [1944]; The Open Market of Charleston, Haitian Funeral Procession; died Jan 1, 1977

1908 – Eve Arden (Eunice Quedens)
Emmy Award-winning actress: Our Miss Brooks [1953], 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 [1971]; 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 [1964], 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 [1964]

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

Chart Toppers
April 30
1944
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

1952
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

1960
Stuck on You – Elvis Presley
Sink the Bismarck – Johnny Horton
Sixteen Reasons – Connie Stevens
He’ll Have to Go – Jim Reeves

1968
Honey – Bobby Goldsboro
Cry like a Baby – The Box Tops
Young Girl – The Union Gap
The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde – Merle Haggard

1976
Disco Lady – Johnnie Taylor
Let Your Love Flow – Bellamy Brothers
Right Back Where We Started From – Maxine Nightingale
Together Again – Emmylou Harris

1984
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

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