Events - December 28
1732 - "The Pennsylvania Gazette", owned by Benjamin Franklin, ran an ad for the first issue of "Poor Richard’s Almanack". The ad promised “...Many pleasant and witty verses, jests and sayings ... new fashions, games for kisses ... men and melons ... breakfast in bed, &c.” "Poor Richard’s Almanack" was published from 1733 to 1757 by Richard Saunders, who was really Ben Franklin. An almanac is a calendar, but Franklin found room on his calendars to include short, witty sayings about daily situations. This unique idea was a popular success and Franklin became very rich.
1846 - Exactly one year and one day after the 28th state entered the Union, the United States of America grew one state larger by adding Iowa. The 29th state’s name is derived from an American Indian word meaning ‘the beautiful land’. It is widely thought that Iowa’s nickname, the Hawkeye State, is in honor of Black Hawk, the famous Indian chief who led the Sauk and Fox tribes against the Iowa area settlers in the Black Hawk War of 1832. Iowa City was the first capital of Iowa. 11 years later, Des Moines, the state’s largest city, became the permanent capital. The Iowa state bird is the eastern goldfinch, the state flower, the wild rose, and the state motto: “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.”
1869 - William Finley Semple of Mt. Vernon, Ohio patented “the combination of rubber with other articles adapted to the formation of an acceptable chewing gum.” Yikes! Sounds to us, here in the lab, that this guy was trying to make tires, not chewing gum!
1877 - John Stevens, of Neenah, WI, applied for a patent for his flour-rolling mill which boosted production by 70%. We can thank John for all of that flat flour we have today.
1902 - The first World Series of pro football was played -- at Madison Square Garden in New York City. New York and Syracuse played in the indoor football game before 3,000 on this day. Syracuse, with Glen (Pop) Warner at guard, won 6-0 and went on to win the tournament.
1912 - The first municipally-owned street cars took to the streets of San Francisco, California. The first car was named, "RICE-A-RONI". (We’re still checking that last fact.)
1941 - "The Helen Hayes Theater", on CBS radio, was called the first casualty of World War II. Lipton Tea dropped sponsorship of the program as it prepared for shortages in tea imports from India.
1944 - The musical, "On the Town", opened in New York City for a run of 462 performances. It was Leonard Bernstein’s first big Broadway success. The show’s hit song, "New York, New York", continues to be successful.
1956 - After five years on television, the last "Ding Dong School" was seen on NBC-TV. Miss Frances (Dr. Frances Horwich) rang the bell for one last time this day.
1957 - "At the Hop", by Danny and The Juniors, hit #1 on the music charts. It stayed at the top spot for seven weeks. The title of the tune was originally "Do the Bop", but was changed at the suggestion of ‘America’s Oldest Living Teenager’ Dick Clark. Trivia: Danny and The Juniors filled in for a group that failed to appear on Clark’s "American Bandstand" show in Philadelphia. He called The Juniors to come into the studio immediately. They did and lip-synced "At The Hop" (written by Junior, Dave White and a friend, John Medora). It took off like a rocket to number one. (A few years later, Danny and The Juniors handed stardom to Chubby Checker when they failed to appear on Clark’s show.) I’m Casey Kasem in Hollywood. Keep your feet on the ground. Keep reaching for the stars...
1958 - An exciting football game was played this day. The National Football League championship game saw quarterback Johnny Unitas lead the Baltimore Colts over the New York Giants, 23-17, in an extra sudden-death overtime.
1964 - Principal filming of the movie classic, "Doctor Zhivago", began on location near Madrid, Spain. When completed, the film was 197 minutes long and so spectacular that it received ten Oscar nominations, winning five of the Academy Awards, including Best Original Score. Remember "Lara’s Theme"?
1968 - The (double) album named "The Beatles" (called by most, "The White Album") was #1 in the U.S. It was the Beatles’ first album on their own Apple label and was #1 for nine weeks. The tracks: "Back in the U.S.S.R.", "Dear Prudence", "Glass Onion", "Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da", "Wild Honey Pie", "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Happiness is a Warm Gun", "Martha My Dear", "I’m So Tired", "Blackbird", "Piggies", "Rocky Raccoon", "Don’t Pass Me By", "Why Don’t We Do It in the Road", "I Will", "Julia", "Birthday", "Yer Blues", "Mother Nature’s Son", "Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey", "Sexy Sadie", "Helter Skelter", "Long, Long, Long", "Revolution I", "Honey Pie", "Savoy Truffle", "Cry Baby Cry", "Revolution 9", and "Good Night".
1973 - The Chamber of Commerce of Akron, OH terminated its association with the All-American Soap Box Derby, stating that the race had become “a victim of cheating and fraud.” Overanxious youngsters and their dads were found to be hiding things like heavy lead in secret places in the home-built cars; and they could also do funny things with the wheels to make them spin faster; and some cars were designed like Indy cars instead of soap box cars. “Clever... but unfair,” the folks in Akron said.
1973 - Alexander Solzhenitsyn published first volume of his "Gulag Archipelago" in Paris. It was an expose of the Soviet prison and labor camps. The publication led to his expulsion from the Soviet Union in February of 1974.
1981 - WEA Records (Warner-Elektra-Atlantic) raised the price of its 45 rpm records from $1.68 to $1.98 this day. The company was the leader of the pack with other labels soon boosting their prices. Within a few years, the 45 rpm record was boosted right out of existence.
1983 - The Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson drowned in Marina Del Ray, California while diving at the location where his boat "Harmony" was docked. Autopsy reports showed Wilson was legally drunk. He had been diving to bringing up personal items that he had previously thrown overboard. Some accounts say that Dennis brought up a wedding photo of him and ex-wife Karen Lamm from their first wedding, and then he dove again, but didn’t resurface.
1986 - Starting a comeback after being sidelined seven months for back surgery, Pat Cash (ranked 412th among world tennis competitors) won the Davis Cup (men’s international tennis team championship) for Australia by defeating Mikael Pernfors.
1998 - “For rewriting the book on crime and punishment, for putting prices on values we didn’t want to rank, for fighting past all reason a battle whose casualties will be counted for years to come, Bill Clinton and Kenneth Starr are TIME’s 1998 Men of the Year.” 2000 - President-elect George W. Bush selected former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to return to the Pentagon and push for a missile defense plan that was central to the Bush campaign. “This is a man who has great judgment,” Bush said. “He has strong vision and he's going to be a great secretary of defense -- again.” Rumsfeld served as defense secretary under President Ford from 1975 to 1977; before that, he was Ford’s chief of staff, U.S. ambassador to NATO under President Nixon and an Illinois congressman.
Birthdays - December 28
1763 - John Molson (beer brewer: founded Molson Beer; died Jan 11, 1836)
1856 - Woodrow Wilson (28th U.S. President [1913-1921]: asked Congress to declare war on Germany [Apr 2, 1917]; president of Princeton University [1902-1910]; Governor of New Jersey [1911-1913]; married to Ellen Axson [three daughters], Edith Galt; nickname: Schoolmaster in Politics; died Feb 3, 1924)
1905 - Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines (musician: piano: classic duet with Louis Armstrong: Weather Bird; songwriter: Blues in Thirds, A Monday Date; bandleader; died Apr 23, 1983)
1905 - Cliff Arquette (Charley Weaver) (actor: The RCA Victor Show, The Roy Rogers & Dale Evans Show, The Jack Paar Show, The Jonathan Winters Show; TV panelist: Hollywood Squares; grandfather of actress Roseanne Arquette; died Sep 23, 1974)
1908 - Lew Ayres (actor: All Quiet on the Western Front, Johnny Belinda, Advice and Consent, Of Mice and Men, Battle for the Planet of the Apes; died Dec 30, 1996)
1911 - Sam Levenson (humorist: Today I Am a Fountain Pen; died Aug 27, 1980)
1913 - Lou Jacobi (actor: Irma La Douce, Arthur, Avalon, The Diary of Anne Frank, Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex; died Oct 23, 2009)
1921 - Johnny Otis (Veliotes) (‘inventor of R&B’: composer, song writer, musician: drums, vibes: group: The Johnny Otis Show: Willie and the Hand Jive, Every Beat of My Heart, Roll [Dance] with Me Henry; died Jan 17, 2012)
1922 - Stan Lee (artist, writer: creator of Marvel Comics)
1925 - Hildegard Knef (actress: The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Three Penny Opera, Svengali, Bluebeard; died Feb 1, 2002)
1931 - Martin Milner (actor: Surfside 6, Route 66, Adam 12, Columbo, The Halls of Montezuma, Mr. Roberts, Valley of the Dolls; died Sep 6, 2015)
1932 - Dorsey Burnette (singer: Tall Oak Tree, Hey Little One; brother of singer Johnny Burnette; died Aug 19, 1979)
1934 - Dame Maggie Smith (Tony Award-winning actress: Lettice & Lovage ; Academy Award: Best actress: Prime of Miss Jean Brodie ; British Academy Award: A Room with a View ; Sister Act)
1935 - Bruce Yarnell (actor: The Road Hustlers, Irma la Douce, Outlaws; died Nov 30, 1973)
1938 - Charles Neville (musician: saxophone, flute, percussion: group: The Neville Brothers: Mardis Gras Mambo, Cha Booky Doo, Zing Zing, Oooh-Whee Baby, Sitting in Limbo, Iko Iko, Brother John, The Ten Commandments of Love)
1946 - Hubert ‘Hubie’ Green (golf champion: U.S. Open ; PGA )
1946 - Jorge Velásquez (jockey: Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner [1981 on Pleasant Colony])
1946 - Edgar Winter (musician: keyboards, saxophone, singer: group: Edgar Winter’s White Trash: Hangin’ Around, Frankenstein, Free Ride, LP: They Only Come Out at Night)
1947 - Dick Diamonde (Dingeman Van Der Sluys) (musician: bass: group: The Easybeats: She’s So Fine, Wedding Ring, Sad and Lonely and Blue, Woman, Come and See Her, Friday on My Mind, Who’ll Be the One, Hello How are You, Good Times)
1947 - Aurelio (Ituarte) Rodriguez (baseball: California Angels, Washington Senators, Detroit Tigers, NY Yankees [World Series: 1981], SD Padres, Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles; died Sep 23, 2000)
1950 - Alex Chilton (musician: guitar, singer: groups: Big Star: LPs: No.1 Record, Radio City; The Box Tops: The Letter, Neon Rainbow, Cry like a Baby, Choo-Choo Train, I Met Her in Church, Sweet Cream Ladies Forward March, Soul Deep; died Mar 17, 2010)
1954 - Denzel Washington (Academy Award-winning actor: Glory ; Malcolm X, St. Elsewhere, The Pelican Brief, Crimson Tide, Courage Under Fire, The Hurricane, Remember the Titans)
1958 - Carlos Carson (football: Louisiana State Univ.)
1962 - Keith Lee (basketball: Memphis State)
Chart Toppers - December 28
I Can Dream, Can’t I? - The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (vocal: Jack Leonard)
A Dreamer’s Holiday - Perry Como
Dear Hearts and Gentle People - Bing Crosby
Mule Train - Tennessee Ernie Ford
Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley
At the Hop - Danny & The Juniors
Great Balls of Fire - Jerry Lee Lewis
My Special Angel - Bobby Helms
Over and Over - The Dave Clark Five
I Got You (I Feel Good) - James Brown
The Sounds of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel
Buckaroo - Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
The Most Beautiful Girl - Charlie Rich
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John
Time in a Bottle - Jim Croce
If We Make It Through December - Merle Haggard
Physical - Olivia Newton-John
Waiting for a Girl like You - Foreigner
Let’s Groove - Earth, Wind & Fire
Love in the First Degree - Alabama
Another Day in Paradise - Phil Collins
Don’t Know Much - Linda Ronstadt (featuring Aaron Neville)
Rhythm Nation - Janet Jackson
A Woman in Love - Ronnie Milsap
Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end...
Written and edited by Carol Williams and John Williams
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.