1865 - John Wilkes Booth, a well-known actor, was permitted upstairs at Ford’s Theatre. Thus, he gained access to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s private theatre box as Lincoln watched the performance of "Our American Cousin". It was just after 10 p.m. when Booth, a Confederate sympathizer, shot Lincoln in the head. After shooting the President, Booth leaped to the stage below, shouting, “Sic semper tyrannis!” (“Thus always to tyrants!”, the state motto of Virginia.) He broke his leg in the fall but managed to escape the theatre (which was in Washington, D.C.), mount a horse, and flee to Virginia. Booth was hunted down and shot as he hid in a barn near Port Royal, Virginia. Lincoln died at 7:22 a.m. the next day.
1894 - The kinetoscope was demonstrated by its inventor, Thomas Alva Edison, in New York City. A viewer that held 50 feet of film -- about 13 seconds worth -- showed images of Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill. The demonstration was actually called the first peep show, as one had to peep into the device to see what was on the film. Movies were not projected on a screen at that time.
1902 - J.C. (James Cash) Penney opened his first store -- in Kemmerer Wyoming. In partnership with Thomas M. Callahan and William Guy Johnson, Penney named the store Golden Rule. The dry goods and clothing store had a first-year profit of $8,514.36 on sales of $28,898.11.
1910 - The Philadelphia Athletics, under manager Connie Mack, played the Washington Senators in what became a most historic game. This game was not only the season opener; but also, the first time a United States President had thrown out the first ball. The president was William Howard Taft. The game was held in Washington, DC and appropriately, The Senators won 3-0. And so began a baseball tradition. Play ball!
1912 - “Up in the crows nest, Frederick Fleet was staring into the darkness. It was around 11:30 p.m. on a very odd calm moonless night when he noticed a black object immediately in their path, he knew it was ice!” The Royal Mail Steamship "Titanic" of the White Star Line struck an iceberg at approximately 11:40 p.m. The great ship, on its maiden voyage, sank just under three hours later. 1,517 passengers were lost at sea. (See TWtD, April 15.)
1912 - Frederick Rodman Law was a stunt man and became the first man to intentionally jump from the Brooklyn Bridge in New York without intending to take his own life. He was OK after the leap.
1935 - Babe Ruth played his first game for the National League in Fenway Park in Boston, MA. This time, he was playing for the Boston Braves, not his old Red Sox. Ruth was in his last year of pro ball in the major leagues. In this, his last season, Ruth played only 28 games, getting 13 hits and six home runs, before hanging up his spikes for good.
1941 - Hildegarde recorded the standard "Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup" on Decca Records. Hildegarde was the elegant singer with the long white gloves who was accompanied by the Harry Sosnik Orchestra. It took another 14 years, but Nat ‘King’ Cole turned the song into an even bigger hit, landing at number 7 on the pop music charts.
1956 - Ampex Corporation of Redwood City, CA demonstrated the first commercial magnetic tape recorder for sound and picture. The videotape machine had a price tag of $75,000. These early Ampex units were too large to fit in a small room. That’s back when bigger was better.
1958 - Pianist Van Cliburn was presented on national TV for the first time on Steve Allen’s NBC-TV show.
1958 - Laurie London reached the top spot on the music charts with "He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands", knocking Perry Como’s "Catch a Falling Star" down a peg or two.
1960 - The musical "Bye Bye Birdie" opened at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York City. Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke starred in the Broadway show which ran for 607 performances.
1967 - Herman’s Hermits, featuring lead singer Peter Noone, went gold with the single, "There’s a Kind of Hush". It was a two-sided hit, with the flip-side, "No Milk Today", also receiving considerable play. "Hush", however, was a top-five song, while the ‘B’ side just made it into the top 40 at number 35.
1968 - Bob Goalby won the Masters Golf Tournament after Roberto DeVicenzo signed an incorrect scorecard. DeVicenzo signed for a score higher than his actual score on the 17th hole (a par 4 when he actually made a birdie 3). The rules say that you have to stick to the higher score, once you sign for it. The lower score would have pitted DeVicenzo against Goalby in a playoff match and who knows what might have happened? Ouch! On top of this, it was DeVicenzo’s 45th birthday, as well!
1969 - This was a night of firsts at the 41st Annual Academy Awards ceremony. For the first time, the happenings at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles were beamed to TV audiences worldwide. Appropriately, a foreign (British) film was honored as Best Picture: "Oliver!" (John Woolf, producer), which also won for Best Director (Carol Reed); Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (John Box, Terence Marsh, Vernon Dixon, Ken Muggleston); Best Sound (Shepperton SSD); Best Music/Score of a Musical Picture/Original or Adaptation (Johnny Green). And, for the first time, there was a tie for Best Actress. Barbra Streisand picked up her statuette for her starring role in "Funny Girl", and for the second year in a row, Katharine Hepburn was honored as Best Actress, this time for her performance in "The Lion in Winter". Other veteran actors received their first Oscars this night: Cliff Robertson for his Best Actor role in "Charly"; Jack Albertson for his Best Supporting Actor role in "The Subject Was Roses" and Ruth Gordon for her Best Supporting Actress role in "Rosemary’s Baby". Even the Best Music/Song award was presented for the first time to Michel Legrand (music) and Alan and Marilyn Bergman (lyrics) for the song "The Windmills of Your Mind" from the "The Thomas Crown Affair". Other great 1968 films that were Oscar-winners or nominees: "2001: A Space Odyssey"; "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"; "For Love of Ivy"; "Planet of the Apes"; "Bullitt"; "The Odd Couple"; "Romeo and Juliet"; "The Producers"; "Rachel, Rachel".
1980 - Stan Mikita retired after 21 years with the Chicago Black Hawks of the NHL. His #21 jersey became the first Blackhawks number to be retired.
1980 - Kramer vs. Norma, Apocalypse vs. Jazz. That’s how the honors were divided at the 52nd Annual Academy Awards ceremony at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. Johnny Carson was hosting quite a contest! But the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role went to Melvyn Douglas for his performance in "Being There". Was it going to be an upset? "Being There" was a long shot to win Best Picture and this was its first award all evening. "All That Jazz" had already won four of the golden statuettes and "Apocalypse Now", two. Next, it was Meryl Streep who picked up the Best Supporting Actress Oscar and Dustin Hoffman, Best Actor, for their roles in "Kramer vs. Kramer", making it a trio of Oscars for "Kramer", so far. Then "Norma Rae" picked up two awards: Best Music/Song, "It Goes like It Goes", David Shire (music), Norman Gimbel (lyrics) and Best Actress, Sally Field. But it was in the cards for "Kramer vs. Kramer" as it won for Best Director (Robert Benton), and then, Best Picture (Stanley R. Jaffe, producer). Going into the evening, "All That Jazz" and "Kramer vs. Kramer" each had nine Oscar nominations, "Apocalypse Now" had eight, and "Norma Rae", four.
1985 - Bernhard Langer shot a 282 and won the Masters golf tournament. It was the West German’s first official year as a member of the PGA Tour.
1985 - The once-notorious Lexington Hotel in Chicago received a visitor, in the person of Geraldo Rivera, along with a camera crew. A record audience watched as the long-sealed vault of racketeer, Al Capone was opened during a much-hyped TV special. Guess what? All that Geraldo found were broken bottles and no trace that Capone and his gang had ever stashed anything there.
Birthdays - April 14
1866 - Anne Sullivan (Macy) (‘The Miracle Worker’: famous for teaching the blind and deaf Helen Keller to read, write and speak; died Oct 20, 1936)
1889 - Arnold (Joseph) Toynbee (historian, author: A Study of History, The Western Question in Greece and Turkey, The World and the West, Acquaintances, and Experiences; died Oct 22, 1975)
1904 - Sir (Arthur) John Gielgud (Academy Award-winning [supporting] actor: Arthur ; Emmy Award-winning actor: Masterpiece Theatre miniseries Summer’s Lease [1990-1991]; Becket, Chariots of Fire, The Elephant Man, Gandhi, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, A Man for All Seasons, Murder on the Orient Express, The Charge of the Light Brigade, War and Remembrance; died May 21, 2000)
1923 - Roberto De Vicenzo (golf: champ: British Open ; won 230 tournaments worldwide during career; see 1968 [above])
1924 - Shorty Rogers (Milton Rajonsky) (musician: trumpet, bandleader, songwriter: Keen and Peachy, Martians Go Home, Sweetheart of Sigmund Freud; composer, arranger: film: That Certain Girl; died Nov 7, 1994)
1925 - Rod Steiger (Rodney Stephen Steiger) (Academy Award-winning actor: In the Heat of the Night ; On the Waterfront, The Pawnbroker, Dr. Zhivago, The Longest Day, Back Water, In Pursuit of Honor, Mars Attacks!; died July 9, 2002)
1927 - Gloria Jean (Schoonover) (actress: Copacabana, The Ladies Man)
1930 - Bradford Dillman (actor: Compulsion, The Bridge at Remagen, The Way We Were, Court-Martial, King’s Crossing, Falcon Crest)
1930 - Jay Robinson (actor: Sinatra, Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex [But Were Afraid to Ask], My Man Godfrey, The Virgin Queen, Demetrius and the Gladiators, The Robe)
1934 - Marty (Richard Martin) Keough (baseball: Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs)
1935 - Joan Darling (Kugell) (actress: The President’s Analyst, The Two Worlds of Jenny Logan, Sunnyside)
1935 - Loretta Lynn (country singer: Coal Miner’s Daughter, I’m a Honky-Tonk Girl, One’s on the Way, The Pill; 1st woman to earn the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year award; named ACM Artist of the Decade )
1936 - Bobby Nichols (golfer: PGA Champion )
1941 - Julie Christie (actress: Dr. Zhivago, Petulia, Shampoo, Separate Tables, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Fahrenheit 451)
1941 - Pete (Peter Edward) Rose (‘Charlie Hustle’: baseball: Cincinnati Reds [Rookie of the Year: 1963/all-star: 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1985/World Series: 1970, 1972, 1975, 1976/Baseball Writer’s Award: 1973/manager: 1986-89]; Philadelphia Phillies [all-star: 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982/World Series: 1980, 1983], Montreal Expos; banished from baseball  for alleged gambling on major-league games; lifetime totals: hits: 4,256, games: 3,562, at bats: 14,053, lifetime batting average: .303)
1942 - Dick Brooks (auto racer: NASCAR legend; died Feb 1, 2006)
1945 - Ritchie Blackmore (musician: guitar: solo: Getaway, Little Brown Jug, LP: Rainbow; groups: Deep Purple: Black Night, Strange Kind of Woman, Fireball, Smoke on the Water; LPs: Deep Purple in Rock, Made in Japan, Who Do We Think We Are?, Machine Head; Rainbow: Since You’ve Been Gone, All Night Long, I Surrender, Stone Cold, LPs: Rainbow Rising, Straight Between the Eyes, Bent Out of Shape)
1948 - Larry Ferguson (musician: keyboards: group: Hot Chocolate: Emma, Disco Queen, You Sexy Thing, So You Win Again, I’ll Put You Back Together Again, Every 1’s a Winner, Girl Crazy, Chances)
1949 - Dennis Bryon (musician: drums: groups: Amen Corner; Bee Gees: Jive Talkin’, Fanny [Be Tender with My Love], How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, How Deep is Your Love)
1949 - John Shea (Emmy Award-winning actor: Baby M ; WIOU, Lois & Clark - The New Adventures of Superman, Backstreet Justice, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, Small Sacrifices, A Case of Deadly Force, Nativity)
1968 - Anthony Michael Hall (actor: The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Edward Scissorhands; comedian: Saturday Night Live)
Chart Toppers - April 14
It’s Love, Love, Love - The Guy Lombardo Orchestra (vocal: Skip Nelson)
I Love You - Bing Crosby
Besame Mucho - The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra (vocal: Bob Eberly & Kitty Kallen
Too Late to Worry, Too Blue to Cry - Al Dexter
Wheel of Fortune - Kay Starr
Anytime - Eddie Fisher
Tell Me Why - The Four Aces
(When You Feel like You’re in Love) Don’t Just Stand There - Carl Smith
The Theme from "A Summer Place" - Percy Faith
Greenfields - The Brothers Four
Mama - Connie Francis
He’ll Have to Go - Jim Reeves
Honey - Bobby Goldsboro
Young Girl - The Union Gap
Cry like a Baby - The Box Tops
You are My Treasure - Jack Greene
Disco Lady - Johnnie Taylor
Let Your Love Flow - Bellamy Brothers
Right Back Where We Started From - Maxine Nightingale
’Til I Can Make It on My Own - Tammy Wynette
Footloose - Kenny Loggins
Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now) - Phil Collins
Hello - Lionel Richie
Thank God for the Radio - The Kendalls
Written and edited by Carol Williams and John Williams
Contributing writer: Joe Benson
Produced by John Williams
Those Were the Days, the Today in History feature
from 440 International
No portion of these files may be reproduced without the express, written permission of 440 International Inc.