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December 14

Events - December 14
1798 - David Wilkinson of Rhode Island patented the nut and bolt machine, and the screw, too!

1819 - The 22nd entry into the United States of America, Alabama, was officially admitted on this day. Deep in the “Heart of Dixie,”(one of the state’s nicknames), Alabama was first inhabited by the Creek Indians (Alabama means ‘tribal town’), then explored by the Spanish, settled by the French, and then controlled by the British. The region was ceded to the U.S. following the American Revolution. The Confederacy was founded in Alabama; the state flag still bears a resemblance to the Confederate Battle Flag. Alabama’s motto, "Audemus jura nostra defendere – We Dare Defend Our Rights" - has been taken very seriously throughout the state’s history, especially in the 1950s and 1960s , as it was the site of landmark civil rights actions. The state tree, pinus palustris or Southern longleaf pine; and the camellia, the state flower, are plentiful throughout the state, as is the state bird, the yellowhammer, which is also the state’s other nickname. Julia S. Tutwiler (lyrics) and Edna G. Gussen (music) wrote the state song named after the state. No, the title is not, "Yellowhammer" or "Tribal Town". It’s just plain, "Alabama". No kidding. But for some reason, we can’t recall ever hearing the band Alabama sing "Alabama".

1902 - The "Silverton" set sail from the Bay Area. The ship was about to lay the first telephone cable between San Francisco and Honolulu. The project was completed by January 1, 1903.

1911 - After centuries of unsuccessful expeditions in search of the South Pole, Roald Amundsen and four companions made the discovery this day.

1928 - America’s original Funny Girl, Fanny Brice, recorded "If You Want the Rainbow (You Must Have the Rain)", a song from the play, "My Man" -- on Victor Records.

1934 - The first streamlined locomotive, nicknamed the "Commodore Vanderbilt", was introduced by the New York Central Railroad. The locomotive was quite impressive: 228 tons and 4,075 horsepower. The 'bathtub' shroud that gave the "Commodore Vanderbilt" its streamlined appearance was designed by the Case School of Science in Cleveland, Ohio. After an October 1945 collision with a truck at a grade crossing, all the streamlining was removed.

1936 - "You Can’t Take It with You" opened at the Booth Theatre in New York City.

1944 - MGM released the movie "National Velvet". Elizabeth Taylor starred as Velvet Brown.

1953 - Fred Allen returned from semiretirement to narrate Prokofiev’s classic, "Peter and the Wolf", on the "Bell Telephone Hour" on NBC radio.

1953 - Sandy Koufax, age 19, was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers. The kid reportedly had played no more than 20 games of baseball in his entire life. In the next 12 seasons, Koufax posted 167 wins, 87 losses and 2,396 strikeouts, becoming a baseball legend!

1963 - Singer Dinah Washington died in Detroit at 39 years of age. She popularized many great songs, including "What a Diff’rence a Day Makes", "Unforgettable", and several hits with Brook Benton ("Baby [You’ve Got What it Takes]" and "A Rockin’ Good Way [To Mess Around and Fall in Love]").

1968 - Marvin Gaye was number one in the U.S. with "I Heard It Through the Grapevine". The smash was stuck at the top of the charts all the way through Jan 1969. It turned out to be Gaye’s biggest hit.

1970 - George Harrison received a gold record for his single, "My Sweet Lord".

1970 - Golfing great Lee Trevino had won only two tournaments during the year; but became the top golf money-winner with $157,037 in earnings for the year.

1973 - Jerry Quarry defeated Ernie Shavers in 2 minutes, 21 seconds of the first round of their heavyweight boxing match in New York. Quarry broke his hand in the short fight and failed miserably at a later comeback attempt.

1983 - The musical biography of Peggy Lee opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York City. The show was titled "Peg". You say you are not familiar with this gem? The reason could be that the show closed three days later after only five performances.

1984 - "The Cotton Club" opened around the U.S. There were nine classic songs by Duke Ellington on the soundtrack of the movie.

1985 - America’s winningest high school football coach called it quits this day. Gordon Wood, 71, of Brownwood High School in Central Texas retired after 43 years. Wood sported a career record of 405 wins, 88 losses and 12 ties. The football stadium at Brownwood High has since been rebuilt and named for him.

1996 - The disabled freighter "Bright Field" rammed a crowded New Orleans riverfront mall on the Mississippi River. Quick action by the vessel’s pilot may have averted disaster. The pilot sent off a last-second warning blast of the horn and tried to redirect the ship by dropping an anchor. The ship slammed bow-first into the busy riverfront shopping complex, injuring dozens of people, but no one was killed.

1999 - U.S. and German negotiators agreed to establish a fund of $5.2 billion for Nazi-era slave and forced laborers. The breakthrough in the months-long negotiations came after the German government raised its offer to $2.6 billion, equaling the amount already pledged by industry to compensate those forced to work for Hitler's war machine.

Those Were the Days: Current Issues

Birthdays - December 14
1503 - Nostradamus (Michel de Notredame) (physician, astrologer, clairvoyant, author: book of prophecies [many still believe he accurately foretold the future]; died July 2, 1566)

1896 - James Doolittle (aviator: U.S. Army Air Force Lt. General: awarded Congressional Medal of Honor for leading 1st U.S. aerial raid against Japan in WWII; died Sep 27, 1993)

1897 - Margaret Chase Smith (politician: 1st woman elected to both houses of U.S. Congress; died May 29, 1995)

1902 - Billy Burke (golf champion: North & South Open champion [1928], US Open [1931], U.S. Ryder Cup team [1931]; died Apr 19, 1972)

1908 - Morey Amsterdam (comedian, actor: The Dick Van Dyke Show; radio: NBC Monitor; died Oct 27, 1996)

1911 - Spike (Lindley Armstrong) Jones (musician: drummer; band leader: City Slickers: Cocktails for Two, Der Fuhrer’s Face; died May 1, 1965)

1915 - Dan Dailey (singer, dancer, actor: When My Baby Smiles at Me, State Fair, There’s No Business like Show Business; died Oct 16, 1978)

1918 - James T. Aubrey Jr. (movie/TV executive: president: MGM, CBS; died Sep 3, 1994)

1920 - Clark Terry (musician: trumpet, flugelhorn: with Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones; died Feb 21, 2015)

1922 - Don Hewitt (Emmy Award-winning producer: Coverage of Martin Luther King Assassination and Aftermath/CBS News Special Reports and Broadcasts [1969], The Selling of Colonel Herbert/60 Minutes [1973], 60 Minutes [1973]; died Aug 19, 2009)

1932 - Abbe Lane (Abigail Francine Lassman) (singer, glamour actress: Americano; photographed in bathtub filled with coffee [50s]; bandleader Xavier Cugat’s ex)

1932 - Charlie Rich (‘The Silver Fox’: Grammy Award-winning singer: Behind Closed Doors [1973]; Lonely Weekends, The Most Beautiful Girl; died July 25, 1995)

1935 - Lee Remick (actress: Bridge to Silence, The Omen, QB VII, No Way to Treat a Lady, The Tempest, Days of Wine and Roses, Anatomy of a Murder, The Long, Hot Summer; died July 2, 1991)

1939 - Frank St. Marseille (hockey: NHL: SL Blues, LA Kings)

1944 - James Sutorius (actor: Dynasty, The Andros Targets, The Bob Crane Show, On Wings of Eagles, A Question of Love)

1946 - Jane Birkin (actress: French Intrigue, La Belle Noiseise, Le Petit Amour, Evil Under the Sun, Death on the Nile, Catherine & Co., Romance of a Horsethief, Blowup)

1946 - Patty (Anna Marie) Duke (Academy Award-winning actress: The Miracle Worker [1962]; Emmy: Captains and the Kings [1976-1977]; died Mar 29, 2016)

1946 - Pat McCauley (musician: keyboards: group: Them)

1946 - Joyce Vincent Wilson (singer: group: Tony Orlando and Dawn: Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree, Candida, Knock Three Times)

1948 - Jon Staggers (football: Green Bay Packers)

1948 - Dee Wallace-Stone (actress: The Frighteners, Temptress, The Road Home, My Family Treasure, I’m Dangerous Tonight, Popcorn, Miracle Down Under, Critters, Wait Till Your Mother Gets Home, Skeezer, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, The Howling, 10, The Hills Have Eyes, Together We Stand, The New Lassie)

1949 - Bill (William Joseph) Buckner (baseball: LA Dodgers [World Series: 1974], Chicago Cubs [NL batting champ: 1980/all-star: 1981], Boston Red Sox [World Series: 1986], California Angels, KC Royals)

1949 - Stan Smith (International Tennis Hall of Famer: Amateur US Open Champ [1969], US Open Men’s Singles Champ [1971], Wimbledon Men’s Singles Champ [1972])

1949 - Cliff Williams (musician: guitar: group: AC/DC: LPs: Powerage, Highway to Hell, Back in Black, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, For Those about to Rock, Fly on the Wall, Who Made Who, Blow Up Your Video)

1958 - Mike Scott (musician: guitar, singer: group: The Waterboys)

1963 - Cynthia Gibb (actress: Gypsy, Death Warrant, Malone, Jack’s Back, Youngblood, Modern Girls, Stardust Memories, Madman of the People, Fame)

1964 - Rebecca Gibney (actress: Halifax f.p.)

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Chart Toppers - December 14
1951
Sin (It’s No) - Eddy Howard
Slowpoke - Pee Wee King
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry
Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way - Carl Smith

1959
Heartaches by the Number - Guy Mitchell
Mr. Blue - The Fleetwoods
In the Mood - Ernie Field’s Orch.
The Same Old Me - Ray Price

1967
Daydream Believer - The Monkees
The Rain, the Park & Other Things - The Cowsills
I Say a Little Prayer - Dionne Warwick
It’s the Little Things - Sonny James

1975
Fly, Robin, Fly - Silver Convention
Let’s Do It Again - The Staple Singers
Saturday Night - Bay City Rollers
Love Put a Song in My Heart - Johnny Rodriguez

1983
Say Say Say - Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson
Say It Isn’t So - Daryl Hall-John Oates
Union of the Snake - Duran Duran
Tell Me a Lie - Janie Fricke

1991
Black or White - Michael Jackson
It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday - Boyz II Men
All 4 Love - Color Me Badd
For My Broken Heart - Reba McEntire

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


Those Were the Days, the Today in History feature
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