440 International Those Were the Days
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April 1

Events - April 1
1760 - One of the first reportings of All Fools’ Day was in "Poor Robin’s Almanack" (no, not Poor Richard; but Poor Robin) on this day. Poor Robin said, “The first of April, some do say, is set apart for All Fools’ Day, but why the people call it so, nor I nor they themselves do know.” What is an April Fool? Someone who you trick into doing or saying something ludicrous, nonsensical, or fake. In other words, someone you make out to be a fool. Since this is pretty ludicrous, and you’re reading it, could it be that you’re an April Fool?

1826 - Samuel Morey of Oxford, New Hampshire patented the internal combustion engine. It was pretty much the kind of engine we still use in cars and trucks, but not as complicated and needing less maintenance than those of today. That’s what we call progress.

1930 - Leo Hartnett of the Chicago Cubs broke the altitude record for a catch by catching a baseball dropped from the Goodyear blimp 550 feet over Los Angeles, CA.

1931 - Pitcher Jackie Mitchell was signed by the Chattanooga Baseball Club. Yeah? So? Well, Mitchell was the first woman in organized baseball. Miss Mitchell was 19 years old. So there...

1949 - The first all-black-cast variety show was presented on WENR-TV in Chicago, IL. The show was called "Happy Pappy".

1955 - "One Man’s Family" was seen on TV for the final time after a six-year stay on NBC-TV. The longtime popular radio show of the same name continued until 1959.

1956 - Chet Huntley began his successful news career with NBC. He started as a reporter and analyst of the Sunday news series, "Outlook". Soon, he would be teamed with David Brinkley for election coverage. The duo would click and become coanchors of "The Huntley-Brinkley Report" nightly on NBC with Huntley presenting news from the New York studio while Brinkley reported from Washington, DC. John Chancellor, who would become the sole anchor of the "NBC Nightly News" years later, was also a part of the broadcast giving comment and analysis on the day’s top news. Huntley and Brinkley closed each news broadcast with the trademark, “Good night Chet. Good night David. And good night from NBC News.”

1957 - All of Great Britain was fooled this April Fool’s Day by England’s famous newscaster, Richard Dimbleby. The newscaster, wrapping up the day’s news on "Panorama", the BBC’s current affairs program, reported about the “spring spaghetti crop in southern Switzerland.” The filmed report showed the spaghetti (some ten pounds of the stuff) being picked from a tree. Many Brits believed him, by Jove! One member of our staff remembers doing something similar by asking radio listeners to “send us $100 and we’ll send you 25 words or less.”

1960 - 1960 - The first U.S. weather satellite was launched. "TIROS I" was put into orbit and soon meteorologists saw the first pictures of a midlatitude cyclone over the northeastern United States. Other, more powerful satellites launched since then provide pictures and more exact climatological data.

1963 - The daily TV serial, "General Hospital", began its long and popular run on ABC-TV. Not to be left on the operating table alone, NBC-TV countered with its popular program, "The Doctors".

1985 - George Plimpton played an April Fool’s joke on readers of "Sports Illustrated". He introduced the U.S. to Sidd Finch, a 28-year-old aspiring monk, who could throw a 168 MPH fastball! Whoa! Finch was said to be a free-agent pitcher in the New York Mets’ spring training camp; that he had learned the art of the pitch while playing the French horn in his spare time. Hmmm. Plimpton later admitted that Finch was the figment of a most active imagination. No such person existed. Still doesn’t.

1985 - Unranked Villanova defeated top-rated Georgetown 66-64 to win the NCAA basketball championship, ending the Hoya’s hopes for back-to-back wins.

1985 - The long-awaited album, "We Are the World", was finally released. Eight rock stars donated previously unreleased material for the LP. Three-million copies of the award-winning single of the same name had already been sold. The song, "We Are the World", was number five, and moving up, on the "Billboard" magazine pop single’s chart this day.

1987 - Steve Newman became the first man to walk solo around the world. No foolin’! The 15,000-mile trek took him four years and untold pairs of shoes to complete. His first words after completing the journey, “Man, my dogs are achin’!”

Those Were the Days: Current Issues

Birthdays - April 1

1873 - Sergei Rachmaninoff (musician: pianist, composer: Prelude in C Sharp Minor, Second Piano Concerto; died March 28, 1943)

1883 - Lon (Leonidas F.) Chaney (actor: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Bushwackers, The Phantom of the Opera, The Unholy Three, He Who Gets Slapped, Oliver Twist, West of Zanzibar, The Horror of it All; died Aug 26, 1930)

1885 - Wallace (Fitzgerald) Beery (Academy Award-winning actor: The Champ [1931-1932], Grand Hotel, We’re in the Navy Now, Treasure Island, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Last of the Mohicans, China Seas; died Apr 15, 1949)

1915 - Art Lund (singer: Mam’selle; actor: The Most Happy Fella, Donnybrook, Black Caesar, Bucktown, The Last American Hero; died May 31, 1990)

1920 - Toshiro Mifune (actor: Shadow of the Wolf, Shogun, Winter Kills, 1941, Midway, Paper Tiger, Red Sun, The Bad Sleep Well, Throne of Blood, Samurai series, Rashomon, Drunken Angel; died Dec 24, 1997)

1922 - William Manchester (writer: The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur, 1880-1964, A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance Portrait of an Age; died Jun 1, 2004)

1928 - George Grizzard (actor: Advise and Consent, Bachelor Party, False Witness, The Stranger Within, Scarlett; died Oct 2, 2007)

1929 - Jane Powell (Suzanne Burce) (actress: Deep in My Heart, Hit the Deck, Small Town Girl, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)

1932 - Gordon Jump (actor: WKRP in Cincinnati, Sister Kate, Growing Pains, Bitter Vengeance, Ransom Money, Making the Grade, Dirkham Detective Agency; died Sep 22, 2003)

1932 - Debbie Reynolds (Mary Frances Reynolds) (actress: Singin’ in the Rain, Tammy and the Bachelor, The Tender Trap, The Unsinkable Molly Brown; singer: Tammy, A Very Special Love; mother of actress, Carrie Fisher; died Dec 28, 2016)

1934 - Jim Ed (James Edward) Brown (singer: group: The Browns: The Three Bells, Scarlet Ribbons; solo: Morning; CMA Country Duo of the Year [w/Helen Cornelius - 1977]: I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You; died Jun 11, 2015)

1936 - Ron (Ronald Peter) Perranoski (baseball: pitcher: LA Dodgers [World Series: 1963, 1965, 1966], Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, California Angels; pitching coach: LA Dodgers [1981], SF Giants [1994])

1939 - Rudolph Isley (singer: group: The Isley Brothers: Shout, Twist & Shout, It’s Your Thing, This Old Heart of Mine)

1939 - Ali (Alice) MacGraw (actress: Goodbye Columbus, Love Story, The Getaway, The Winds of War)

1939 - Phil (Philip Henry) Niekro (baseball: pitcher: Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves [all-star: 1969, 1975, 1978, 1982], NY Yankees [all-star: 1984], Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays)

1941 - Guy Trottier (hockey: NHL: NY Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs)

1942 - Alan Blakley (musician: guitar: group: Brian Poole and The Tremeloes: Twist and Shout, Do You Love Me, Someone Someone, Silence is Golden)

1942 - Phil Margo (singer: group: The Tokens: The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Tonight I Fell in Love; Cross Country: In the Midnight Hour)

1944 - Rusty (Daniel Joseph) Staub (baseball: Houston Colt .45’s, Houston Astros, Montreal Expos, NY Mets, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers; restaurateur)

1945 - Johny Barbata (musician: drums: groups: The Turtles: Happy Together, It Ain’t Me Babe, Let Me Be, You Baby, She’d Rather Be with Me, You Showed Me, Elenore; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Jefferson Starship: LP: Dragonfly, Red Octopus, Spitfire, Earth; Miracles, We Built This City, Sara, Tomorrow Doesn’t Matter Tonight, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now)

1947 - Norm Van Lier (basketball: Cincinnati Royals, Chicago Bulls)

1948 - Willie (Guillermo Naranjo) Montanez (baseball:California Angels, Philadelphia Phillies, SF Giants, Atlanta Braves [all-star: 1977], NY Mets, Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos, SD Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates)

1948 - Doug Sutherland (football: Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle: Super Bowl VIII, IX, XI)

1950 - Billy Currie (musician: synthesizer, keyboards, violin: group: Ultravox: Vienna, All Stood Still, The Thin Wall, The Voice)

1952 - Annette O’Toole (Toole) (actress: Imaginary Crimes, Love Matters, White Lie, Broken Vows, Superman III, 48 Hrs., Cat People, Smile)

1956 - Libby Riddles (dogsled racer: 1st woman to win Iditarod [1985])

1961 - Mark White (musician: guitar: group: ABC: Tears are Not Enough, Poison Arrow, Be Near Me, When Smokey Sings, King Without a Crown)

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Chart Toppers - April 1
1947
The Anniversary Song - Dinah Shore
How are Things in Glocca Morra - Buddy Clark
Managua, Nicaragua - The Guy Lombardo Orchestra (vocal: Don Rodney)
So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed - Merle Travis

1955
The Ballad of Davy Crockett - Bill Hayes
Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White - Perez Prado
Dance with Me Henry (Wallflower) - Georgia Gibbs
In the Jailhouse Now - Webb Pierce

1963
He’s So Fine - The Chiffons
South Street - The Orlons
Rhythm of the Rain - The Cascades
Still - Bill Anderson

1971
Me and Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin
Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me) - The Temptations
Proud Mary - Ike & Tina Turner
After the Fire is Gone - Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn

1979
Tragedy - Bee Gees
What a Fool Believes - The Doobie Brothers
Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits
I Just Fall in Love Again - Anne Murray

1987
Lean on Me - Club Nouveau
Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now - Starship
Tonight, Tonight, Tonight - Genesis
Small Town Girl - Steve Wariner

Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end...


Comments/Corrections: TWtDfix@440int.com

Written and edited by Carol Williams and John Williams
Produced by John Williams


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